City council to discuss budgets, hold west side rezoning hearings
By LYNETTE SOWELL
During the workshop preceding the 6 p.m. city council meeting tonight, the city will recognize one employee, Lenora Couch, for her 20 years of service at a workshop beginning at 5 p.m.
Following that recognition, the council will hear from Lee Hamm, the contract city engineer. Hamm will give a presentation on the city's current wastewater system, and the council will discuss and give possible direction on the city's wastewater master plan.
For the city council meeting which follows, there is a lengthy consent agenda, the majority of which is approving minutes from a number of special and regular council meetings. Additionally, the council is being asked to approve a contract with the Copperas Cove Independent School District for policing services at Copperas Cove High School.
Four public hearings are on the agenda, three of which are rezoning requests and one hearing for amending the city's future land use plan involving one of the rezoning requests.
The first hearing is for the rezoning of approximately 307.8 acres which the city annexed in February 2015. The acreage is located west of F.M. 116 and north of Lutheran Church Road. The request is to change the zoning from R-1 residential to a PDD, which is a planned development district.
The next hearing is for a request to rezone 12045 F.M. 2657, approximately 1.91 acres, from AG-1 Agricultural to B-4 Business. The reason given for the rezoning request is that this property was vacant with highway frontage when annexed, and it is to “bring zoning in agreement with historic usage of adjoining property.” The city's comprehensive plan envisions this area for future retail.
All but one of the area citizens' written comments were in favor of the rezoning of that property, owned by Joe and Nancy Carothers. The sole objector was concerned that a parking lot in that area would end up being a hangout or meeting area for mischievous youth.
The third and fourth hearings are for the same piece of property, also located on the west end of Copperas Cove, at 2053 F.M. 2657, which is at the corner of F.M. 2657 and the bypass. This 1.414 acres is owned by Fieldstone Commercial, LLC, of which James Clark II is the president. The third hearing is to amend the city's future land use plan for this piece of property and to change this property's use from medium density residential to local retail, followed by a hearing to rezone it from AG-1 Agricultural to B-2 Retail. Clark, who is also on the Planning and Zoning Commission, recused himself from voting when the Planning and Zoning Commission approved these changes in June. The property is on the corner of Highway 190 and F.M. 2657.
Eight of the 12 written forms that came from residents in the area objected to the proposed zoning change. Gary Hall pointed out that Clark is on the Zoning Commission, and has already started construction on that property before the first zoning change hearing at the commission. Clark and his wife were two of the four area property owners and/or residents providing written support of the change. Others who objected said they did not want the noise of a batting cage nearby. There were also concerns about increased traffic and potential safety issues. Another neighbor, Donna Simon Rogers, doesn't want the batting cage, but would prefer a gas station or convenience store instead in that area, calling a batting cage “inharmonious to the environment.”
For action items, city manager Andrea Gardner will be presenting yet again the fiscal year 2015-2016 proposed budget, along with the 2015-2017 budget plan, as well as the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation's budget.
She will present several budget changes, among which include public safety market adjustments for paying police and fire personnel, along with a rate stability increase, at a total cost of $285,000.
Among the fee schedule change recommendations for next year, the city is looking at reducing its entrance fees for the city's pools, along with seasonal pass fees lowered, and adding a punch card for water aerobics instead of charging monthly. Gardner will also be presenting a budget summary which contains a tallying of all funds. She will also be presenting a letter from the Copperas Cove Leader-Press regarding its prior request for $15,000 of Hotel Occupancy Tax funding.
Several plans are on the agenda for the council's approval, to include the Personnel Plan, Capital Outlay Plan and the Capital Improvement plan for years 2016-2020.
The city secretary is presenting an action item for the council to order and establish procedures for a special election to fill city council place 3.
A number of appointments round out the agenda, to include appointing a city council member to the Youth Advisory Council, appointing two more members to the YAC, filling a vacated position on the cemetery advisory board, as well as appointing/reappointing two members to the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee.
The city council meets at the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation, located at 210 S. 1st. St. The agenda with complete information can be found on the city's website.