DeSoto City Council Votes Yes on Fire Station Renovation Design

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City of DeSoto sign
City of DeSoto sign

Fire Station #3 Renovation Project Gets Green Light

DESOTO – After the recent cold snap and a number of house fires in the Best Southwest area including a fatal house fire in DeSoto, council gave a nod earlier this week for the city to execute an agreement with Brown Reynolds Watford Architects, Inc. for $248,600 for the Fire Station #3 renovation project.

The existing fire station, located at 1301 W. Pleasant Run Road, was constructed in the mid-1980’s. Over the years, the facility has had limited renovations. It was originally constructed for males in barrack-style accommodations with limited privacy and sleeping quarters, restrooms and showers.

In 2018, City Council authorized the execution of a professional services agreement with Architect Design Group (ADG) to provide design services for the renovation project. The professional services agreement between the City and ADG was fully executed on February 1, 2019, however after minimal design work the agreement was terminated this past September.

When the design is complete, there will be an additional two bathrooms added as well as an addition north of the existing bays for a safe room, a decontamination area, and bunker gear storage. The crew area will be completely renovated to include new HVAC systems and electrical upgrades. The new plan will provide better privacy in the sleeping areas, a commercial kitchen, larger dining and day room, fire sprinklers and an air-conditioned space for fitness. The existing roof will remain and minimal changes to the site will occur.

The overall budget authorized for this project is $2,024,000. To date, $17,820 of the monies budgeted have been used. The professional design services added $248,600.

Council Considers DeSoto Zoning Changes

“Council also voted to continue to April a public hearing they were conducting for a zoning change from a Single Family-10 to Planned Development-182 on 17.55 acres located at 1304 & 1306 Melody Lane. The proposed subdivision will include 54 residential homes. The Ordinance change details a waiver for alley connections as well as permission for no more than 25 percent of the garage entrances or openings to face the front of the lot. This item will be continued at the April 6th council meeting.”

A second public hearing to consider a zoning case and an amendment of the zoning ordinance to include a Tree Mitigation Plan and adopting the ordinance failed. A motion by Place 6 councilmember Candice Quarles with a second by Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Raphiel to approve as presented failed 5-2. It was also noted the Planning and Zoning recommended that the Ordinance be denied. Because it came forward by staff with a denial from the Planning and Zoning Commission, a super majority of Council was needed to approve the Zoning Ordinance in order for it to pass.

Winter Water Infrastructure Preservation Credit Approved

Council unanimously passed a Resolution to provide a Winter Water Infrastructure Preservation Credit to all City of DeSoto water and sewer utility bills to provide a cap that is the lower of either the amount of water and sewer billed for the month of January 2021 or February 2021. Staff notes reported the financial impact of this credit is approximately $70,000 of lower water utility revenue and $50,000 of lower sewer utility revenue for a combined total of $120,000.

Mayor Rachel Proctor said after the meeting “DeSoto City Government is aware of how punishing and disruptive the recent winter storm has been to our residents and businesses and we have been working hard to help them get through it. The DeSoto City Council recently approved two new initiatives designed to reduce some of the financial burdens that they might have incurred as a result of the storm, and we are hopeful that this will assist them in their efforts to make the necessary repairs and to move forward.”

During its February 23rd meeting, the DeSoto City Council had voted unanimously to approve a resolution to waive all storm damage-related permit fees for home and business property repairs related to the Winter Storm. This includes waiving the standard fees for building inspections and fees associated with repairing damage caused by the weather. This relief is being provided through the end of April.

During its March 2nd meeting, the Council voted to provide protection against high water and sewer bills as a result of the cold weather. The Winter Water Infrastructure Preservation Credit caps City of DeSoto water customers’ next bills at the lower of either actual usage during the month of January or February 2021. Without this protection, many customers would have received higher bills for February due to higher usage from burst pipes or continuously running faucets. DeSoto customers do not need to anything to receive this credit. It will be automatically applied to bills received during the month of March.

Both initiatives were discussed in a 30-minute broadcast from the DeSoto Economic Recovery Advisory Task Force geared for DeSoto’s homebound Seniors on Thursday, March 4th, at 9:00 AM. Those meetings can be viewed on the City of DeSoto website at www.desototexas.gov/desototownhall, via the City of DeSoto’s Facebook Page, or on DeSoto City TV programming on either Spectrum (Channel 16), or AT&T Uverse (Channel 99).

Council completed the task of moving four board members from the DeSoto Economic Development Corporation Board to the DeSoto Development Corporation Board with staggered term limits while also adding an additional three board members with three-year terms.

There were also six members moved from the Park Development Corporation Board to the Parks and Recreation Board with staggered one to three year terms.

DeSoto City Manager Brandon Wright explained “All of these removals and confirmations are due to the restructuring… As you know in order for that to happen we had to move people across different boards.”

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