Council gets updated timeline for Business 190 project

By LYNETTE SOWELL
Cove Leader-Press 

During its Tuesday night workshop, the Copperas Cove city council received the Business 190 Master Plan from city planner, Charlotte Hitchman.
The Business 190 changes will begin at Constitution Drive and go all the way to the intersection of Business 190 with F.M. 116 on the west side of the city.
Hitchman talked about the need for the plan, which addresses safety, traffic flow, along with aesthetics, and called the Business 190 the “first impression” that people get when driving into the city. 
She also discussed mobility, which addresses getting traffic through the corridor in a timely fashion, as well as access for turning movements into businesses and side streets. 
The plan included traffic counts provided by the Texas Department of Transportation. Per the 2015 traffic counts—taken prior to the opening of the southeast bypass, Hitchman said—32,000 vehicles pass through Business 190 daily, and that number is expected to rise to 52,000 by 2035.
Phase one of the Business 190 of the 3.75-mile corridor began when the city contracted with BSP in August to begin design of Business 190 from Constitution Drive to Avenue D. The project involves a raised median and turning one travel lane on each side of the highway to a 10-foot wide sidewalk and bicycle path, and installing stops for The HOP.
Hitchman said the design is expected to be completed by June 2019, with the project let out for bid by August 2019, with construction to take place from October 2019 through April 2021. Phase 2 would extend from Avenue D to F.M. 116 and is not currently funded by KTMPO, but is on the priority list of projects.
One of the elements of the plan included a provision with a draft for “overlay zoning district”, a special zoning designation for new Businesses along 190, which would contain rules and regulations for buildings, signs and other zoning items by new businesses. 
Hitchman said it can be something light such as requirements for landscaping, parking lots or façades, or can be as restrictive as only specific colors or materials being used by businesses. The draft form, Hitchman said, does not go into that strict of detail. 
“This is designed to present that image that this corridor is looking for, but still allow for creativity.” The next step, Hitchman said would be adoption of the master plan after receiving direction by the council, followed by adoption by the council of any proposed overlay zoning district.
Councilmember Jay Manning didn’t think the overlay zoning district was such a good idea. 
“Businesses work hard to establish themselves and look different. When we’re at a point where we feel like we need to incentivize retail to come to Copperas Cove, stressing the people who’ve already been stressed by those incentives given to others, the timing’s not good,” Manning said. “My business is over there and it may cause me to reconsider where I want to be. Those are things the city needs to think about.”
During the regular meeting which followed the workshop, the council appointed two new members to the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation board of directors, and reappointed one member. Adam Martin was appointed to place 5, with newcomers Jeremy Tate being appointed to Place 2 and Joey Acfalle being appointed to Place 4. Acfalle is retired military with paralegal experience, calls himself a volunteer advocate for veterans, and is affiliated with the National Organization of Chamorro Veterans in America – Texas Chapter. Tate serves as an alternate for the city’s Board of Adjustments and served as the president of the Martin Walker Elementary School from 2012-2013.
Other applicants, Gary Kent and Jennifer Snelling, were not voted upon, and Jimmy Hammond was voted down 3-4. Councilman Kirby Lack had originally made a motion to reject applications from both Snelling and Hammond, as they didn’t live in the city limits of Copperas Cove but outside the city limits in the extraterritorial jurisdiction. 
The council also discussed the future of the city’s former Utility Administration office located at 305 S. Main St. At this time, the council agreed to first explore the option of a property swap with Coryell County, followed by possibly selling the property, or looking into renovating it for future office use.

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