Work on code revisions begins

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Representatives from Denver-based Clarion Associates are in the city this week to begin work on revisions to the city’s development code, which should include fostering infill development.

Matt Goebel, principal with Clarion, gave the City Council a brief overview of his group’s plan during the council’s work session Tuesday afternoon as another Clarion associate, Tareq Wafaie, was busy with interviews of city staff. The group is focused on a targeted assessment of the overall development review process, the city’s barriers to infill, and some other housekeeping measures, Goebel said.

In addition to interviewing council members today, Goebel and Wafaie will be interviewing members of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Goebel told the council that the group has already noted that the city’s definition of “infill development” is probably too narrow and more flexibility is needed.

“We’re hearing from people who want this for infill,” Goebel said.

Once the group concludes its interviews, it will prepare a summary report for the city on its recommended changes. The 30- to 40-page report will likely be ready about May, Goebel said in an interview after the presentation.

After receiving and reviewing comments on the report, the team will draft for the council’s consideration the amendments, which will likely affect several different areas of the code, such as parking and landscaping requirements.

Some of the group’s review will include Denton’s downtown implementation plan, including how its specialized code can be implemented and whether that specialized code could, or should, be used in other parts of the city, Goebel said. Clarion works to respect past efforts and decisions the city has made, rather than deliver boilerplates, Goebel told the council.

Once Denton is ready to adopt the development code amendments, the group will come back and provide training to both the city staff and the development community on the new rules and how they will affect the development review process.

The City Council authorized the consulting agreement with Clarion in September for up to $150,000 to help the city address problems in the development code. Clarion recently assisted the city of San Antonio with new historic design standards and is also working for the city of Arlington on code revisions.

Landowners and developers have complained that the city’s development code is too restrictive for infill. City Council members have said they have heard complaints for years that the development process, in general, is slow and burdensome.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her e-mail address is pheinkel-wolfe@dentonrc.com .

IN OTHER ACTION

During a meeting Tuesday, the Denton City Council also:

•  Renamed the airport to Denton Enterprise Airport.

•  Ordered the election to operate a gas utility near the airport.

•  Appointed members to the board of Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 2 and to the Capital Improvement Program Oversight Committee.

•  Approved $32 million in certificates of obligation to reimburse capital expenditures from the electric fund.

•  Approved contracts with Power Engineers for $1.58 million for engineering services and with Can-Fer Utility Services for $16.6 million for construction services for electric transmission line and substation projects.

•  Amended a contract with Trilliant Networks for advanced metering systems for $2.9 million.

•  Authorized purchase of 2.486 acres for a 69-kilovolt power line along McKinney Street for $350,000.

•  Retained Kelsey, Kelsey & Hickey for legal services for transmission line and substation projects.

•  Approved a three-year contract for $270,000 with Duke’s Root Control Inc for sewer line services.


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