Killeen considers requiring developers to pay for traffic impact studies

(Photo by Sam DeLeon)
(Photo by Sam DeLeon)(KWTX)
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 9:23 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) -Developers looking to build in Killeen may soon be faced with more costs than they’ve been in the past as the city considers a new ordinance.

The ordinance was presented to the Killeen City Council Tuesday and would would require residential and commercial developers to pay for long term traffic studies in the area where they are building.

In the past year there has been an increase in the number of new developments and construction taking place around the city as developers look to capitalize on a robust housing market.

But development often means more traffic and a need to conduct traffic studies to reconsider the layout of nearby roads and make proper modifications.

“It gives the city an opportunity to see if there is any needed improvements that will be a result of these developments, whether it be a turn late or stop signs or safety crosswalks,” said Andrew Zager, the city engineer for the City of Killeen.

As of now long term traffic studies are paid for by the city of Killeen. Zager says they can cost between $10,000 - $12,000 or more depending on how robust the study is.

Zager says it is common practice in cities across the country for developers to fund traffic impact studies and the City of Killeen is simply coming up to standard.

“It’s something that’s been kind of ignored over the years and we are just starting to notice that it’s putting a lot of onus on the city and we are playing catch up with more focus on roadways and how we are doing more repairs on our roads or we are seeing roads that fail too soon,” Zager said.

The timing of this ordinance being proposed could present some concerns that the extra financial burden on developers might deter them from building at a time when housing is desperately needed.

However the city says the cost of the studies is miniscule compared to the millions of dollars developers are already spending on their projects in order to capitalize on a robust housing market in Killeen.

“It is common in a lot of other jurisdictions so I think they knew it was coming,” Zager said. And it helps provide data and justification on when things need to be built.”

Under the proposed ordinance once a traffic study determines that a certain improvement (like a stop sign or crosswalk) needs to be made, the cost of the improvement will be handled by the city if it is an improvement that stems from general growth and usage. If the need for the improvement is directly a result of the development then the developers would be responsible. The city says each development would be handled on a case by case basis.

The Killeen City Council has not yet voted to approve the ordinance.

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