Midlothian City Council Passes Revised Joint Airport Agreement in 4 – 3 vote

Midlothian City Council
Top left Mike Rogers, Mayor Justin Coffman, Ed Gardner, (front row, from left) Clark Wyckliffe, Hud Hartson, Anna Hammonds and Allen Moorman. Photo courtesy City of MIdlothian

MIDLOTHIAN – After months of back and forth with Midlothian and Waxahachie City Councils discussing the Joint Airport Board, in a 4 – 3 vote Tuesday night, the Midlothian City Council did adopt the agenda item for a revised Joint Airport Agreement with the City of Waxahachie regarding the operation of Mid-Way Regional Airport.

The Airport Board was suspended this past September, and several city council meetings were full of dialogue about the future of the Airport Board’s ongoing role at the airport.

The revised agreement put any doubts to rest that the board will strictly act in an advisory role. An airport manager will be hired as part of the agreement. It was noted that the changes in the revised agreement also include the airport manager, who does not work for the airport board but works for a person in the dual cities overseeing the airport.

Place 5 Ed Gardner, since the beginning of the discussion, has been against this latest move. He said again Tuesday night he was “adamantly opposed to stripping the management from the airport board,” saying instead, the cities should be empowering the board and giving it the tools to manage the airport “rather than micromanaging it with two cities that do not have the expertise or the knowledge of airport operations.”

He said again that his prediction denotes a recipe for disaster, “and I can’t believe we are doing this,” he added.

Place 6 Hud Hartson echoed Gardner’s sentiments and said that the ordinance “will deter future board members” because they will have no power and will not feel valued.

Place 1 Allen Moorman motioned to deny the ordinance, which failed 4 – 3 after being seconded by Gardner.

Place 3 Anna Hammonds then motioned to pass the ordinance, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Clark Wickliffe and passed 4 -3, the nays being Moorman, Gardner, and Hartson.

Midlothian Water Quality Criticized By Local Boy Scout

At the opening of the meeting, one Dorian Carra, a young student and star Scout, addressed the council regarding the city’s poor water quality. Carra said, “The water tastes bad and makes me feel bad.” He gave three reasons that were more than three, but all logical, as to what can be done and why it should be done to improve the water quality in the city. He also asked, “Is mediocrity how we want Midlothian to be perceived?”

Two of the three consent agenda items passed unanimously in one vote, including the minutes of the December 12 city council meeting and a resolution authorizing the Spring Wine, Arts & Craft Brew Festival to be hosted by the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce on April 6, 2024, in accordance with a Special Event Permit established by the City of Midlothian Zoning Ordinance.

Moorman had an item regarding amending the “Keep Midlothian Beautiful Advisory Board” pulled for further discussion. It passed in the vote after explaining that the item allowed the board to return to nonprofit status versus being a subcommittee under the Parks Department.

Midlothian Public Hearings January 9, 2024

The public hearing for an ordinance to change the zoning on U.S. Highway 67, east of South Wyatt Road, from a Single Family One (SF-1) Zoning District to a new Planned Development District for Nonresidential uses was continued until the January 23 city council meeting.

A public hearing for an ordinance for a Specific Use Permit (SUP) for a “group home” zoned Single Family Two (SF-2) District at 1710 Sage Drive was withdrawn by the applicant.

A public hearing for an ordinance to use and develop .78± acres at the northwest intersection of FM 663 and Lena Lane, 1111 S. 9th Street, to change from Planned Development No. 14 (PD-14) District to Urban Village Planned Development (UVPD) District for nursing care passed.

One resident, Chris Rolick, the property owner to the north of the proposed nursing care facility, spoke and opposed the change due to increased traffic and noise.

Midlothian Mayor Justin Coffman said that, overall, he believed there would be minimal traffic impact.

After more discussion, the city’s fire chief told the council they always use the Fire Lane on Lena Lane for the ambulance.

Councilmember Place 2 Mike Rodgers said he felt it was tight.

Gardner pointed out more concerns regarding parking and said the ideas had changed, and they also didn’t know what the exterior would look like. He suggested regrouping and revisiting the item at the next meeting.

Hammonds motioned to approve, as presented on the screen with the mentioned ride in/ride out, and adding the 14 parking spaces.

For the public hearing regarding an ordinance for a Specific Use Permit (SUP) for a solar farm for 678+ acres located to the north of U.S. Highway 67, between Ward Road and South Weatherford Road and extending north of South Wyatt Road, Mayor Coffman stepped out, and Wickliffe took the helm.

The ordinance was to change the zoning from a Single-Family One (SF-1) District; it passed 6 – 0.

A public hearing passed unanimously for an ordinance amending the use and development regulations of Planned Development No. 106 to allow for constructing a new data center building and accessory structures off U.S. Highway 67, between Railport Parkway and V.V. Jones Road.

And in a 5 – 2 vote after the public hearing an ordinance for 71.737+ acres located on the south side of West Main Street, east of Highway 67 and north of State Spur 73 had a zoning changed approved from Planned Development and Light Industrial District, to Planned Development District No. 171 for Community Retail. This ordinance also allows for a Conceptual Site Plan, Sign Elevations, Outdoor Display and Storage Plan, Landscape Plan, and Elevation/Façade Plan.

On the regular agenda, the council tabled an item until January 23 to authorize the City Manager to enter into a Professional Services Agreement with Parkhill for $388,250 for design and engineering costs related to the city’s Heritage Park expansion and downtown design improvements.

Council passed a bid award to Texas Standard Construction, LTD for the S. 14th Street and Hawkins Run Road Traffic Signal Installation Project for $541,952.45. The City Manager was authorized to execute a Pipeline License Agreement with the Ellis County Rural Rail Transportation District (District) for the City’s sanitary sewer main crossing of the District’s right-of-way near VV Jones Road.

The Midlothian Police Department had four items approved; the city manager was authorized to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding between the Midlothian Police Department and the nonprofit Jensen Project, Inc. to fund an investigative position with the North Texas Trafficking Task Force (NTTTF) to allow the city’s PD to backfill the vacant investigator position for three years.

Also passed was the addition of an employee count allowing the backfill of a police sergeant position to replace the sergeant assigned to the Tri-County Auto Theft Task Force for FY 2023-2024 per the Interlocal Agreement and a full-time employee count to include an additional full-time peace officer position for the Crisis Intervention Unit Program with funding from a JAG Award in the amount of $98,751.56 with no matching dollar amount.  It was noted that salary savings would be used to cover the difference between the grant award and the actual cost of filling the position.

And a final unanimous vote to increase the Midlothian Police Department part-time employee count to include an additional Crime Victims Advocate position with funding from the General Victim Assistance Grant Program Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).