City revising comprehensive plan for managing growth

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 1/18/22

Katy city officials described efforts to update the plan used to manage the city’s growth at a Jan. 13 State of the City presentation.

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City revising comprehensive plan for managing growth

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Katy city officials described efforts to update the plan used to manage the city’s growth at a Jan. 13 State of the City presentation.

The Katy Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the event, which took place at the Embassy Suites, 16435 Katy Freeway. Council Member-at-Large Chris Harris and City Administrator Byron Hebert gave the presentation. Harris served as a stand-in for Mayor Bill Hastings. Hebert said Hastings had COVID-19 and is recovering at home.

The city is growing. Hebert said in 2021, the total taxable value within the city increased by $409 million. The tax revenue raised from new property added to the tax role increased by 12.5%.

With strong commercial and residential growth over the past 20 years, city leaders knew it was time to rethink future plans. The last comprehensive plan came out in 2001 and is meant to guide the city’s growth over a period of decades.

Last October, the city signed an agreement with Kendig Keast Collaborative for urban planning services and a comprehensive plan for the city’s growth. The organization has coordinated data with city staff, met with council members and staged town hall meetings to gather needed information for a revised plan. The plan is expected to receive council review and approval this spring.

Enhancing parks and recreation opportunities will be a key part of that vision. The city last March provided for hiring a new parks and recreation director. The city had been without a full-time director since 2017.

Last May, Katy voters approved a $4.2 million bond for city park improvements. These improvements include a hike and bike trail system. Last July, Kevin Browne became parks and recreation director.

Last November, the city bought the Old Fussell House, 5402 Franz Road, and a tractor and trailer that came with it. The house is on a 1.24-acre plot near the Katy Library.

The house will serve as both parks and recreation department headquarters and as a parks learning center. Hebert unveiled a logo for the city’s learning center at the State of the City event. Learning activities will be on what was the back porch of the house.

Leyendecker Landing will be a key part of the city’s plans for its parks. The landing is a water detention facility north of Morton Road and east of Pitts Road.

Harris said after the presentation that a formal dedication for Leyendecker Landing is planned after adoption of the strategic plan.

Harris and Hebert gave a brief overview of the Katy Boardwalk Project, for which the first Boardwalk Lofts complex is now open. Construction is expected to begin on the second complex this summer. Meanwhile, the hotel and convention center are in the planning and design phase, they said.

The boardwalk will include a nature preserve. Phase 1 of the nature trail is open and phase 2 of the trail system is under design, Harris and Hebert said.

Mobility is another issue the city is working to address. At the Jan. 10 council meeting, council members authorized $33.5 million through METRO from Katy Development Authority bonds and cash for various street projects around the city.

The city will be addressing these and other issues with a new mayor. Hastings announced last month he would not seek another term, choosing to retire and focus on his family. The only announced candidate for mayor is Dusty Thiele, who works in insurance and is a former council member. Filing deadline is Feb. 18. The election is May 7.

City of Katy, Katy Area Chamber of Commerce, State of the City

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