Colleyville takes first step on sidewalk reform

11/18/2013 3:10 PM

11/18/2013 3:11 PM

Colleyville city leaders have started reshaping the city’s sidewalk policies.

City Council members hosted a sidewalk work session with the city’s Sidewalks Committee to review the current sidewalk policy on Nov. 12.

“It was a step forward to resolving concern that is out there on our sidewalk policy,” Councilman Chuck Mogged said.

The current policy requires new developments to construct a sidewalk or pay into an escrow fund that the city uses to pay for sidewalk projects, but not necessarily on the same property.

Earlier this year the council addressed several residents and developers that wanted to waive building a sidewalk or paying an escrow fee for the city to later build a sidewalk.

At Tuesday’s meeting the group discussed both policy and procedure to create a walkable community.

City engineer Jeremy Hutt lead a discussion, asking for input on several scenarios including new subdivisions, new single-family home developments and sidewalks along roads that are under repair.

He walked away with some key points that the city staff will address and bring before the committee and council in January.

One point was giving city staff more authority when reviewing sidewalk issues. Currently, each issue must be reviewed by Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council.

The term that was shared through the discussion was “equitable,” making sure the policy is fair for all residents.

Currently, the city follows a sidewalk master plan map that was created in 2008 to decide where sidewalks need to go, and which residents must build or pay an escrow fee.

Mayor David Kelly said the issue goes beyond the current map and needs to hit on implementation.

“Maybe we don’t need the map,” he said. “Maybe we need the policy to dictate how to implement sidewalks.”

Resident Chris Putnam, who has paid the escrow fee on his new home, attended the meeting prepared with a presentation of policy recommendations, but did not speak.

City spokeswoman Mona Gandy said Putnam sent his presentation to a council member and the city shared the presentation to all members of the council and committee.

Putnam said the city needs a connectivity plan.

“Where is the discussion around creating a well-thought out plan for connectivity?” he said via email. “Why not establish criteria for where sidewalks should be constructed to ensure contiguous connectivity.”

Committee member Kathryn Howlett said connectivity is key to walkable communities.

“Our policy needs to reflect connectivity,” she said. “You're looking at connecting with the aura of the neighborhood. You’re connecting with the pedestrian.”

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