For the small, but steadily growing, city of Haslet, 2015 and future years will require a large amount of careful planning by elected officials and professional staff.
Not surprisingly, then, the northwestern Tarrant county municipality of roughly 1,650 people has begun the new year with a key addition to its full-time staff — a city planner.
City Administrator Jim Quin recently hired Walter Reeves Jr. to lead Haslet’s planning efforts.
Reeves has American Institute of City Planners (AICP) certification from the American Planning Association and has 21 years of experience in planning. He has held planning positions in Denton, Austin and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
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"Consistent with Mr. Quin’s efforts to upgrade Haslet with knowledgeable and experienced personnel, Haslet is now better prepared to address development issues and has enhanced its ability to deal with them in a timely and informed manner," said Haslet Mayor Bob Golden.
Golden characterizes Haslet as a prime location that’s poised for growth. That growth process includes several big development projects.
One of those projects is a $4.3 million bond-funded infrastructure project that will bring water/sanitary sewer infrastructure to Haslet’s Interstate 35W frontage from Westport Parkway south to the elevated tank on Harmon Road.
"This infrastructure will support future development along I-35W," Golden said.
The proposed project will begin with easement acquisition from February to October.
The bond issuance is scheduled for March. The bonds are supported by the city’s water and sanitary sewer fund and by the city’s Type A and Type B economic development corporations.
The bidding and awarding of the bid are scheduled for September to November. The infrastructure project should be completed by June 2016.
Housing growth’s also on the horizon for Haslet this year.
The preliminary plat for Regal Ridge, located at approximately 600 Blue Mound Road East, was approved back in October, and the final plat is on the City Council’s Jan. 19 agenda. Regal Ridge will feature 84 lots on 63.56 acres.
Two other proposed housing developments will also go before the Council early this year. One is the Heights, located at approximately 500 Blue Mound Road East, which is a proposed 154.98-acre, 195-lot development that will be developed in phases. A rezoning application is being submitted to the city this month and could come to the Council for consideration in March.
The other proposed development is LeTara Residential, located west of BNSF Railroad and south of Avondale-Haslet Road. This master planned community would be 1050 lots of approximately 434 acres. This development would be funded by the establishment of a PID (short for public improvement district). Discussions about the establishment of the proposed PID are currently taking place between the city, the developer and the property owner. A PID is a way of funding a development where the developer pays the costs up front and then as property owners buy homes, they pay a PID fee, reimbursing the developer.
Those housing and infrastructure projects are not the only ground that’s being turned up in Haslet. A section of BNSF track is being removed from the Westport Parkway area near Old Town. That removal is being facilitated by the installation of an additional north-south track and an east-west spur to the west of the Westport section. The track removal should be completed in the third quarter of this year.
Also, the Amazon fulfillment center in Haslet will this year undergo a $21.5 million internal expansion. This will include the introduction of more robotics to the site.
"Eventually, increased property and sales tax revenue will be realized from this project," Golden said.
The Northwest school district’s expanding in the Haslet area, too. The district’s third comprehensive high school, V.R. Eaton, will open this fall. Haslet freshmen and sophomores will attend the new campus.
"Our record-setting school district continues to be one of the biggest attractions to this area of the Metroplex," Golden said.