More than 50 people attended the Future Land Use Plan advisory committee’s first public hearing July 9 at Keller Town Hall.About 20 people spoke during the hearing, with most opposed to zoning being changed in North Keller.Serving as a guide for city staff, the Future Land Use Plan helps address factors that influence development, demographics, land use patterns and future growth and development opportunities.The existing plan was adopted in 1998. Changing trends in housing is a current issue challenging both the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council, with more developers asking for amendments to allow for smaller lot sizes.The Future Land Use Plan advisory committee was appointed by council to make recommendations about which portions of the plan should be retained, deleted or revised.Committee members include Mayor Pat McGrail, committee chairman; Councilman Doug Miller, vice chairman; Planning & Zoning Commissioners Jay Brown and Paul Frederiksen, and citizens Melanie Belcheff, Peter Sackleh and Tom Soulsby.Before the public spoke, Tom Elgin, director of community development, reminded the audience what the charge from council means.“The charge here is very specific — to look at retaining, reviewing or removing content but not actually creating that content,” Elgin said. McGrail said the sole purpose of the committee is to review the plan, chapter by chapter, and look and see how it applies to Keller today and see if anything needs to be changed or deleted.“We are only a recommending body,” McGrail said. “We will make a recommendation to the City Council and it will be their final decision to do whatever, based on our recommendation.”After the public hearing, committee members met for discussion and thus far agreed the plan at least needs reviewing.In an email sent to the Keller Citizen, Elgin stressed the committee is considering the plan for the entire Keller community.“Everything from how easy it is to understand to how it relates to what’s on the ground today to how it aligns with other city plans and current zoning,” he said. “There are lots of factors in deciding to recommend review, not the least of which being that the 1998 plan assumed population and development projections that have now proven to be way off.”Elgin said if the committee recommends and council decides to update the current plan, it will likely be a long and detailed process involving many more public input meetings.The next public hearings are scheduled for July 23 and Aug. 27 at Keller Town Hall. Recommendations will be made to City Council in September.
Susan McFarland, 817-390-7547 Twitter: @susanmcfarland1