By Cassidy Pate, News Editor
The Belton City Council met for a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
City Manager Sam Listi said the City of Belton is reviewing Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s phased-in approach to the reopening of Texas and will soon have a corresponding reopening plan for Belton. This includes the reopening of the City’s lobby areas, parks locations, facilities and events, the Harris Community Center and the Lena Armstrong Public Library, as well as the means of conducting future public meetings.
“We’ll be presenting a phased reopening plan for the City of Belton very, very soon, with continued precautions to protect our employees and citizens,” Listi said.
Belton Mayor Marion Grayson read a proclamation naming the week of May 3-9, 2020 National Small Business Week and expressed her appreciation for small businesses and the Belton community for doing what they can to support one another during these unprecedented times. David Laws, regional director of the Better Business Bureau, accepted the proclamation on behalf of local businesses and said he looks forward to celebrating small businesses during a time when their efforts have made a significant difference in maintaining the positive mentality of Belton.
Director of Planning Cheryl Maxwell presented various land developments, all of which were unanimously approved by Council.
Maxwell held a public hearing regarding the rezoning of three acres near the northwest corner of the US 190/I-14 and Wheat Road intersection. 1.142 aces are being proposed as Commercial-2 District from Agricultural District, and the remaining 1.90 acres are being proposed as Retail District from Agricultural District for International Motors Auto Repair Service.
A zoning change from Commercial Highway District to Planned Development (Single Family-3) District was proposed for Lot 1, Block 1 of the James M. Wilson’s Addition at 1001 S. Walker Street. The purpose of this request is to divide one remodeled lot into three for residential use.
Remaining on the topic of the James M. Wilson’s Addition, Maxwell presented the final plat of Replat No. 1, concerning the shift from Commercial Highway District to Planned Development (Single Family-3) District.
A preliminary plat was then considered for Connell Subdivision, located on an extension of Huey Drive and consisting of 6.226 acres. The current zoning is Single Family-3, and 27 lots for single family residential use on undeveloped property are being suggested.
She then offered a final plat for two commercial developments located on 6.097 acres within the Haun Hollow Addition on the north side of US 190/I-14.
The final plat of Sebek First, a three-acre, one lot, one block subdivision located in Belton’s ETJ at 2828 W. Amity Road in Salado, was considered and is being proposed for residential use.
Following these proposals, Maxwell presented on various amendments to the Subdivision Ordinance for the purpose of expediting the plat process. Council unanimously approved of the amendments.
“I would like to say thank you to the staff for persevering and compiling all of this; I think we’ve really made some progress here,” Councilmember Craig Pearson said.
Assistant City Manager/Chief of Police Gene Ellis held a public hearing to consider a one-hour extension to the City of Belton’s juvenile curfew ordinance. The current ordinance, last renewed in 2017, authorizes a curfew of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight to 6 a.m. Friday through Saturday.
Ellis proposed the extension of the Sunday through Thursday hours to midnight to 6 a.m., making the curfew consistent for every day of the week.
In 2019, there were eight warnings and one citation given due to curfew violations, Ellis said.
Council unanimously approved of this curfew ordinance extension.
City Manager Sam Listi and Grants and Special Projects Coordinator Bob van Til discussed the selection of a road improvement project for the 2020 ‘Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development’ (BUILD) Grant Program. Two projects were recommended for selection: Connell Street (Loop 121 to IH 14) or E. 6th Ave. (IH 35 to TX 317).
A Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) – measures if and/or how much the benefits outweigh the cost – was required for the grant application, and the Central Texas Council of Governments (CTCOG) assisted the City on this matter. Connell Street has an estimated cost of $7.5 million, a local match – must pay 20 percent out of local funds – of $1.5 million and a BCA of 1.61, whereas E. 6th Ave. has an estimated cost of $10.45 million, a local match of $2.09 million and a BCA of 1.44.
These factors considered, van Til recommended an application for the Connell Street project to the BUILD Grant Program. This project includes the expansion from a two-lane divided street into four lanes with a 12-foot path on the east side and a six-foot sidewalk to the west; water, wastewater and storm drainage improvements will also be incorporated.
Council unanimously approved of this recommendation.