By David Tuma, Publisher
Dealing with growth is never easy. That was made clear at the city council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 24. It was civil, with many pointing out their love of Belton.
The City of Belton is dealing with multiple issues in this proposed annexation in four areas. Residents repeatedly pointed out how difficult it will be to service these areas just outside of Loop 121. There are valid points to this with one residents pointed out he had to cancel his planned business because of the expense of road connection.
Bell County is growing from a mostly rural population to a metropolitan area. Without question, the state threw a curve ball to communities with a December 1 deadline for counties dealing with high growth. Counties with population under 500,000 can opt out of annexation. The question is can Bell County deal with the financial expense of growth if it opts out.
Looking at Killeen’s immense growth over the past 20 years, West Temple’s massive growth and Belton’s expansion, there are many issues that are going to have to be dealt with.
The Belton Independent School District purchase a large track of land at the intersection of Shanklin Road and Loop 121. The majority of the extensive complaints came from the residents of area 2 and 3.
Area 2 is 850 acres near where BISD is going to build a high school one day. It is South of Auction Barn Road and north of the Lampasas River. Area 2 is 450 acres and located south of IH-14 (new interstate) and east of FM1670 and along both sides of Auction Barn Road.
Many of these residents have lived in this rural area just outside of Belton for decades. Some purchase small tracks to live out in the country in the past few years. The residents of these areas signed a petition and got enough to where there may have to be a third meeting. The city also voted to delay annexation in some areas by ten years.
Roads have popped up all over West Temple in just the past few years. Some of the rural residents saw potential roads (Belton’s possible plan) going over their dream house. For everyone, it was tough to watch somebody see a road planned over their house. The room, which was far from quiet, did go silent during this part of the meeting.
For either side, the residents of rural Bell County and the City of Belton, there is no easy answer on what to do. BISD is growing at an incredible rate. They purchased the land and everywhere they have, major development follows. Property can, and may, start selling by the square foot in these areas.
The council approve the 2030 Comprehensive Plan for future land use. Belton’s population is expected to rise to near the 30,000 level. Also approved was zoning change to commercial on a ten-acre tract of land located on the east side of IH-35, South of Grove Road. A zoning change from agriculture to family zoning for the construction of duplexes on a 24.995 track on the west side of Connell Street, North of Huey Drive was approved. The council approve the final plat for Southwood Hills on the west side of Connell St.
They approved the purchase of crime scene vehicle and three police cars. First United Methodist Church was name Best Block part for National Night Out.