Killeen officials said they had reached an appropriate agreement with a developer who wanted to circumvent the city’s architecture and design standards in building hundreds of homes along South Fort Hood Boulevard.
“The applicant initially requested that it have a smaller setback requirement for approximately 386 plots of land in two zoning areas,” Ed Revell, executive director of city development services, told city council members on Tuesday. “What the developer has done is reduce the number of blocks they are calling for to mitigate the setback, from 386 to 246 blocks, and the number of zoning areas from two to one.”
On August 23, board members told JOF Developers – owned by Gary Purser Jr. – They will not negotiate with that company or others to exceed the new architectural and design standards approved in May. They eventually made a decision on the developer’s request to reduce relapse lines for the types of homes they planned to build in the planned unit development to give employees, Killeen Engineering and Surveying and JOF Developers time to discuss their options.
Make an effort
“Really, it’s a response to what was said in that meeting – that the developer and staff have more conversations,” Revell said earlier this week. “The applicant made sufficient effort to meet all the requirements that the staff had. We believe this is consistent with the overall plan and, therefore, we recommend agreeing to the PUD amendment as submitted by the applicant.”
In its application reviewed by the City Council on August 23, the developer wanted to reduce front yard bounce from 25 feet to 20 feet, reduce side yard bounce from 7 feet to 5 feet and reduce back yard bounce from 25 feet to 20 feet.
What followed in the weeks since that meeting was a “compromise” on the cuts.
“They… are not asking for a front yard setback adjustment,” Revell said. “But they are still asking to modify the side yard from 7 to 5 feet and the backyard from 25 feet to 20 feet. The developer agreed to retain the landscaping requirements as well as add several architectural requirements.”
New architectural requirements include a redundancy standard, a garage standard, improved windows, architectural details, a variable roof design and at least three of the following: a covered garage, a vertical joint, a covered front porch, variable exterior finishing materials or improved garage doors.
“I would like to thank the board for advising employees to work with us on this project,” Michelle Lee of Killeen Engineering and Surveying said on Tuesday. I would also like to thank the Planning Department for meeting us. We’ve come to an agreement. We downsized a bit for what we were asking for.”
The amendment applies to about 63 acres out of 173 acres to allow for lower rebound requirements for 246 lots.
He explained that “the amended request is to modify the building setbacks for a number of (246) plots designated (a residential neighborhood for one family).”
Although the new standards do not include setback guidelines different from those in the PUD requirements, the developer’s floor plans would have triggered clauses in the Architectural Design and Site Standards Ordinance that would prevent the company from building homes to builders’ specifications.
The Levy Crossing PUD was approved in July 2020 – nine months after the property was annexed to city limits. Killeen’s new architectural and site design standards were approved on May 22 and entered into force on May 30. The developer was impressed because he wanted to include three-car garages in the construction of at least some of the homes.
“Staff find that the revised order to reduce setback applies only to the ‘R-1’ zoning area that constitutes a reduced number of lots and includes a set of architectural standards to be implemented immediately,” according to city documents. “Staff find this request consistent with the policies and principles discussed in the newly approved comprehensive plan. Therefore, Staff recommends approval of the PUD amendment request as submitted by the applicant.”
According to the city’s new design standards, two restrictions apply to the construction of garages. If the garage faces the street, then it can represent no more than half of the house. And garages can’t stand out more than anything else in the house.
Staff recommended on August 23 that the developer’s application be approved on the condition that the planning and zoning commission’s decision include that it applies the city’s new architectural and design standards. The meeting of the Planning and Division Committee took place on July 18, when Liu Guizhen submitted a motion to approve the application. The commissioner withdrew his request when fellow Planning and Zoning Commissioner Louie Minor said architectural and site design criteria should be a condition of approval. In the end, Gukeisen made a motion with Minor’s recommendation, Minor revolted against the suggestion and was approved, 6-0.
The other commissioners are Kirk Latham, Council member Ramon Alvarez, Lovina Sabri, Sandra O’Brien and Randy Bloekelmann, Council member Riacus Adams and Cindy Rowe.
On Tuesday, Revell said the architectural standards the developer will use “apply immediately and there could be a situation where there could be a two-year delay. We think that’s a great offer from the developer.”
Mayor Debbie Nash King praised the “compromise”.
“Mr. Revell, thank you and your staff for working with the applicant to come up with a solution.” “What I like most about it (is) that it remains in our overall plan.”
The request for amendment is on the approval agenda for Tuesday’s meeting at City Hall, 101 N. College St.