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Council tables sidewalk standards discussion

by / 0 Comments / 31 View / September 3, 2015

By Devin Corbitt, The Belton Journal

The Belton City Council spent more than an hour discussing changes to the Sidewalk Standards and Policy of the Subdivision Ordinance during their meeting on Tuesday before tabling the item for the Sept. 8 council meeting.

The ordinance is designed to provide specific guidelines for where sidewalks should be build throughout the city, increasing pedestrian safety. The previous set of standards outlined width requirements for sidewalks; however, the only areas that were required to have sidewalks were streets adjacent to schools, which also proved to be a vague guideline.

In order to clarify these guidelines and increase public safety, city staff began drafting new guidelines more than a year ago. After hearing from several citizens and local contractors, staff proposed a new policy at Tuesday’s meeting. The new requirements include sidewalks on both sides of arterial streets and collector streets within new subdivisions, but they are not required on residential streets. On existing streets, sidewalk installation will be required in conjunction with building permits, as well as with additions or structural alterations to the street side of a building.  The revised policy did not address streets adjacent to schools.

In the end, council requested that city staff add clarification to the requirements for streets adjacent to schools, parks and other attractions by including a “safe route for pedestrians” within the city.

“When it’s obvious that there’s going to be pedestrian flow for whatever reason—a lake, H-E-B, a park, a movie theater, a bowling alley, wherever we’re going to have a lot of people going to it—we need a safe route,” council member David K. Leigh said.

The motion to table the item until Sept. 8 pending modification was passed unanimously.

The council meeting also hosted public hearings for the 2016 budget and tax rate. The council has opted to maintain the current tax rate of 65.98 cents. This will increase revenues by 2.2629 percent due to an increase in property values. No one came forward to speak on either item. The second public hearings for the budget and tax rate will take place on Sept. 8, and they will be adopted Sept. 22.

During the meeting, Jon Charles and Lori Briere came before the council to give an update on the Belton Christian Youth Center (BCYC) and its new affiliation with the Boys and Girls Club of Central Texas.

“This gives them (BCYC) a national presence by merging with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America,” Charles said. “We look forward to a long and great relationship.”

Later in the meeting, the council unanimously approved a zoning change for a 10.75-acre tract of land on Nolan Bluff Road that will allow for an RV park. The park will be built in two phases. The first will construct 74 RV sites: 10 pull-through and 64 back-in. Each site is about 32 feet by 50 feet and allows for an RV and an additional vehicle, as well as outdoor space for guests. The second phase will contain 14 lodging sites on the north side of the property.

A Façade Improvement Grant totally $9,078 was unanimously awarded to J.A.I.L. Ministry, 211 East Central Avenue. The money will be used to replace the three exterior doors and repair the stonework on the front of the building. The project also includes repairing three windows with wood trim above the doors.

A final plat for River Place Estates, Phase IX, Section 1, was brought before council. The property consists of 8.676 acres and, once complete, will offer 30 single-family lots. The applicant has also opted to pay a fee-in-lieu of required parkland, a total of $6,000 for Section 1. The plat was approved unanimously.

The Belton City Council will reconvene at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 8 in the Harris Community Center, 401 N. Alexander in Belton.