MIDLOTHIAN – The Midlothian City Council voted 4-3 to approve a resolution supporting the re-establishment of a Municipal Management District for the Windsor Hills Development.
The resolution allows the developers to file for the MMD during the next state legislative session.
The city council had previously supported the MMD in 2010, and it was approved by the legislature. However, the expiration date of 2015 by which to create the MMD was changed in error to 2012 by the legislature.
Windsor Hills Development representative Kirk Wilson asked the council to correct the error and approve a new resolution supporting the re-establishment of the MMD. The decision to create the MMD is up to the legislature, but requires the support of the local governing body for consideration.
“All I want you to do tonight is to correct an error made not by you,” Wilson said.
Wilson made the argument that approving the resolution in no way binds the city to allow the development to be constructed, but some council members were still opposed to the resolution.
“If we approve this resolution it gives the impression to you to move forward,” Councilman Mike Rodgers said. “I’m concerned with the school district and city staff being able to handle this kind of strain.”
Nearly all of the council members expressed opposition to the development being constructed because of its size and the increased strain it would put on Midlothian’s school district and city services.
Mayor Bill Houston was the first to speak out against the Windsor Hills Development.
“I have constituents that are overwhelmingly opposed to this development, so do I listen to the people now or the council’s decision back in 2010,” Houston said.
Mayor Pro Tem Joe Frizzell also expressed concern about the additional tax that would be placed on residents (as part of the MMD) in the development on top of the city’s tax rate.
“I would feel very hypocritical to support this now and turn it down later,” Frizzell said.
Mayor Pro Tem Joe Frizzell and Council Members Rodgers and Ted Miller voted against supporting the resolution.
Wilson informed the council that other representatives would come before the council at a later date to answer all of their questions about zoning and population size within the development.
In other discussion, the city council considered fencing issues on South Fifth Street and at Ridgeview Park.
The council members unanimously voted to construct a fence on South Fifth Street adjacent to a residents house to resolve a long standing issue. The discussion of the issue began at the previous council meeting when resident Carolyn Meacham explained the history of the issue.
When an improvement project of Fifth Street raised the elevation, engineers said headlights from passing vehicles would shine through the Meacham’s bedroom window of their house sitting adjacent to the street. The current city manager contracted a fence constructed for the Meachams, but the fence was improperly and insecurely built. The responsibility for maintaing the fence was turned over to the Meachams and they have been fighting ever since to have the fence repaired and built properly. However, the city council stood on the precedent, not knowing the fence had never been constructed correctly, that the Meachams owned responsibility for maintaing the fence.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the council members agreed to resolve the problem, take over responsibility for the fence. The council selected three bidders and city staff will meet with the potential contractors and Meachams to ensure the new fence meets quality standards.
The council asked city staff to present more options for fencing material after discussing construction of a fence around Ridgeview Park.
Interim Parks and Recreation Manager Billy King presented the item and noted that a resident living adjacent to the park was requesting an ornamental wrought iron fence to be constructed along their property line.
“The Durstens had spoken with the previous parks manager (Jim Berman) and said he had promised them an ornamental wrought iron style fence,” King said.
The council asked King to come back with figures for a coated chain link fence in addition to the steel cable fence and ornamental fence presented.
In other action, the city council:
•held a workshop to review annexation and directed staff to proceed with three technical annexations of property within the city limits, yet erroneously zoned as not being annexed
•received a presentation from the Middle School Problem Solvers on Project CHEWY
•voted 6-1 to remove the registration fee for electricians by city ordinance
•received a report and discussed rezoning property (formerly Dairy Queen) from multi-family to commercial zoning. However, because of an advertising error a public hearing could not be held and the city council was unable to take action to approve the rezoning.
•approved an annual contract with Douglass Distributing Company for bulk unleaded and diesel fuel to save the city about $8,000 to $11,000
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