Killeen makes moves on new plan for city development

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 9:00 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - The suggestions are in and now the plan is to move forward in Killeen, where officials have started the task of re-organizing the way the city is developed.

Called its “comprehensive plan,” it outlines how Killeen can better manage its growth. And there is lots of emphasis on what it could do downtown

“Sometimes you need to take a step back and evaluate what you have been doing so you can figure out what you need to do,” said Kirk Latham, chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

It is a plan to look at what the currently has and try to grow from there.

On Monday, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission took the first steps to officially get things off the ground. This follows nearly two years of work Killeen has done with a company called Verdunity.

“So this whole process and this final plan is about how can we improve the quality of life and how can we manage the growth a little bit better,” said Kevin Shepherd, founder and CEO of Verdunity.

One of the biggest factors Shepherd and his team found was suburban growth is taking up a lot of the city’s resources and focus would be better spent on revitalizing places like downtown.

“As development comes in the developers build the neighborhoods,” said Shepherd. “And the cities are on the hook to take care of that infrastructure forever.”

And that development focus was what many of the P&Z commissioners talked about Monday night.

“Having these big subdivisions with big-wide roads, that’s not fiscally sustainable for a city,” said Louie Minor, vice-chair for commission.

Based off the plan’s text, that would mean building more resources in neighborhoods, focus on ways people can get around and diversify housing options.

“I don’t necessarily agree that it’s going to bring a lot more traffic, crime, etc,” said Latham. “It will definitely help the tax base for that area.”

According to shepherd, a more focused eye on how to expand is something being seen in other cities around the nation.

“And we’re starting to see more and more cities that are struggling with finding the money to fix the streets,” said Shepherd. “Really for the resident, it comes down to getting a better quality of life for the same or better tax rate.”

Now that these commissioners have OK’d a near-finalized plan, implementation lies in the hands of the city council, which could formally adopt the plan by the end of the month.

“Now, we’re going to be able to codify what we want our city to look like,” said Minor.

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