Last week the Benbrook City Council listened to a presentation from Elizabeth Beck-Johnson from the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG). Beck-Johnson gave them an in-depth look at a grant that will aid Benbrook today as they plan for tomorrow.
The grant was received by NCTCOG on behalf of the member cities of the Regional Coordination Committee (RCC), a group that is made up of municipalities surrounding the base. Born from a joint land use study several years ago, the RCC works to ensure that development around the base is compatible with the base’s mission.
Beck-Johnson spoke about the formation of the RCC, saying that this grant will help them fulfill some of the principles that the RCC set out to accomplish. Beck-Johnson spoke of the desire to help support the communities around the base by using the grant to help with their comprehensive plan updates.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re trying to support those neighborhoods that are already there,” Beck-Johnson said. “We’re trying to ensure that the economic competitiveness and viability of the western part of Tarrant County remains there through Lockheed and the base.”
She was sure to tell the council that NCTCOG wasn’t going to lose sight of who the plan was really for.
“This is not a plan by COG for you, it is a plan by you for you,” Beck-Johnson said.
Involvement from not only Benbrook city staff and council but also from Benbrook citizens is going to be sought as the comprehensive plan update moves forward. Beck-Johnson also assured the council that just because NCTCOG was working on comprehensive plan updates for several cities didn’t mean they were making them all the same.
“This isn’t a one size fits all plan for every city. Benbrook’s needs are drastically different than River Oaks, and we know that,” Beck-Johnson said.
There are four major elements that will go into the comprehensive plan update. The first of those is an economic market anaylsis.
“That piece really is the foundation upon which all of the other pieces will be built,” Beck-Johnson said.
The other three parts of the update are a housing and retail feasibility study, an enhanced transportation options study, and an ordinance compatibility review.
Open house events to kick off the update will be held in June, with public meetings to be held in September. Community workshops will go on in September and October and NCTCOG hopes to have the final product ready sometime early in 2013.
“I’d like to thank the COG staff for an awful lot of hard work,” Council member Ron Sauma said.
Sauma went on to speak about the need to make sure that the base doesn’t close as he mentioned the importance of co-existing with the base.
Public Services Director Walter Shumac brought the next two items of business before the council. The first was regarding the Tarrant County Interlocal Agreement overlay program. There is $235,000 budgeted for this item that sees Tarrant County help with asphalt overlay of streets.
“The City pays for the asphalt, prepares streets for the overlay and provides traffic control,” Shumac said. “The county will furnish labor and equipment.”
This year’s project will overlay two and a half miles worth of streets, and will also include a continuation of the hike and bike trail on Winscott. The project is tentatively set to start in the spring.
Council member Rickie Allison spoke about how superior this process is when compared with methods that were used in the past. A motion was made to approve the interlocal agreement, and that motion passed unanimously.
The other item brought forward by Shumac was the new alley that was recently constructed between Mercedes and Cozby Street North. Residents are concerned with cut through traffic going up and down the alley, and staff proposed an ordinance that would make the alley one way to cut down on the amount of cars going through. The proposed one way traffic would go from Park Center Street to Warden Street.
A motion was made to approve this ordinance and it passed unanimously. Council member Jim Wilson praised staff for hearing citizens concerns and coming up with a solution to them.