7 takeaways from the July 6 Leander City Council meeting


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Leander City Council members discussed annexation, speed limits and a senior citizen center project at their meeting tonight. Here are some takeaways from the meeting.

1. Citizens objected to involuntary annexation

During a June 1 regular meeting, Leander City Council opted to initiate the annexation process of six areas of land totaling approximately 4,937 acres south of CR 280, west of North Bagdad Road and north and east of West Old FM 2243, which is now known as Hero Way. The annexations would be involuntary, meaning the property owners did not request to be annexed.

The first required public hearing on the annexations took place during the meeting, and three citizens took the opportunity to speak. All were in opposition to some aspect of the annexation.

“I think that it’ll overextend city services for no good reason,” said Michael Zuelke, a citizen whose property is not affected by the annexation. “[Land owners are] not planning to develop; they don’t need the services the city will provide by annexing.”

The second and final public hearing is scheduled for July 13. Ordinance readings will occur on Aug. 3 and 17, said Assistant City Manager Tom Yantis.

2. Annexation agreement terms extended to all property owners

Tax code exempt agricultural or wildlife management-use property owners within the parcels of land to be annexed can enter a development agreement with the city of Leander which allows them to postpone annexation for 20 years, given they do not choose to develop the land, Yantis said. If they develop the land, it will then be annexed.

Some landowners who do not qualify for tax code exemptions but own property subject to the annexation requested to enter the same development agreement, Yantis said.

Council directed city staff to offer the development agreement to all landowners in the area pending annexation.

3. Fund established for police department programming

Council members approved an ordinance establishing a donation fund for Leander Police Department programs, including community outreach and victim services programs.

The ordinance will direct donations to community programs hosted by the department, such as Bikes for Kids, according to the agenda packet.

Chief of Police Greg Minton said the victim services programing includes funding for care bags with toiletries, hotel rooms and travel tickets for people who need to leave their homes.

4. Ordinance to be updated to allow for rock crushing

Council conducted a public hearing on an amendment to the Composite Zoning Ordinance to allow temporary rock crushing, which is currently prohibited by city ordinances. The council voted to pass the amendment to allow rock crushers when users have active permits issued by the city.

City council will vote on the amendment again July 20. If approved, it will go into effect.

5. Architectural and engineering service selected for senior activity center

Council members voted to authorize City Manager Kent Cagle to negotiate a contract with design firm PGAL for the design of a senior activity center. PGAL will be responsible for architectural and engineering services in the planning stage of Leander’s Senior Center and Head Start Childhood Development Center project, according to the agenda packet.

6. Design and construction company determined for new trail

Council approved a professional services agreement with the MWM Design Group, who will be designing and managing construction administration for the Mason Creek Greenway Trail project.

The trail project, which is scheduled to be complete in 2018, will include approximately 3,545 feet of trails parallel to Mason Creek in Leander, according to the agenda packet.

7. Speed limit to be increased on portions of Crystal Falls Parkway

City Engineer Wayne Watts said the engineering department conducted a speed zone study for sections of Crystal Falls Parkway and East Crystal Falls Parkway, where the speed limit is currently set at 40 mph. The study determined the speed limit can be increased to 45 mph, except for a curve in the road east of Bagdad Road, according to the agenda packet.

The council approved a motion to set the speed limit in these areas to 45 mph and to install new signage, which is estimated to cost $500. Cautionary 40 mph signage will be installed at the curve near Bagdad Road, according to the packet.