Midlothian City Council welcome incoming Place 6 Wayne Shuffield

man taking oath
Wayne Shuffield being sworn in Photo by City of Midlothian

MIDLOTHIAN – The first order of business at last week’s Midlothian City Council meeting was to canvas the votes from the runoff election from June 15 for the Place 6 seat. Wayne Shuffield received 975 votes to incumbent Hud Hartson’s 453 votes.

Shuffield was administered the oath of office and took his seat in the Place 6 seat to begin his term.

The council also recognized outgoing Hartson’s service, and Mayor Justin Coffman said, “We appreciate councilmember Hartson for his four-plus years serving here in Place 6 and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Coffman also read a proclamation designating the month as National Parks and Recreation Month.

During citizens’ comments Midlothian resident Pat Tyson said he and his neighbors were “outraged when they saw the 2045 Comprehensive Plan indicating Willow Bend would be extended past Plainview and what looked like the extension of Ashford.”

He said he had written about it and then acknowledged that city staff responded to him, and the street extension was removed from the plan. He stated that 55 homes were in the affected neighborhood, and there had been 100% support in opposing the comprehensive plan.

Consent agenda items passed 7 – 0 including the minutes from the City Council meeting of June 11, 2024, and a resolution authorizing the PlayStation/MLB The Show Tournament, an event hosted by 24 Sports, and scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14, 2024, in accordance with a Special Event Permit established by the City of Midlothian Zoning Ordinance.

There was one Public Hearing, which was a continuation of the consideration of an ordinance amending the regulations of Planned Development District No.146 (PD-146) by changing the use and development regulations regarding the single-family residential and non-residential ratio. This public hearing was related to a property located between Highway 287 and Old Fort Worth Road. The item was originally brought to council at the June 11 meeting.

After amending the original plan from Phase 5 of the Westside Preserve Planned Development, the applicant is now requesting to decrease the Commercial acreage from 26 to 11.88 acres. Another amended change is to increase the single-family residential lots from 193 to 237 lots (increased by 44 single family lots).

The city council’s concerns at the June meeting included replacing lots that backed up to the gas well with open space, reducing front entry garage percentages from 65% to 60%, and providing a buffer for homes located near the service road/highway.

Staff notes indicated the revised proposed changes now include increasing park-and/open space from 4.218 acres to 5.28 acres, increasing the maximum percentage allowed for front-loaded garages from 60% to 62% with the 44 newly proposed lots to be front-loaded garages, increasing the total Type III lot count from 193 to 237, and the revised Concept Plan to reflect a 200-foot buffer between the closest residential lots and edge of pavement on U.S. Highway 287. The revised Concept Plan will also show the open space area at the northeast of Phase 5 to create a larger buffer between the gas well and the nearest residential lot. The Type III lots within Phase 5 also allow for revisions, including an increase in the total maximum lot count from 980 to 1,024, a reduction in the total commercial acreage from 51.5 to 36.02, and an increase in the single-family density per acre from 2.77 to 2.81.

This item was approved as presented 6 – 1 with Mayor Pro Tem Clark Wickliffe the lone no vote.

Regular agenda items passed including item 2024-216 to adopt the FY 2024-2029 Strategic Plan. This plan will be a planning document for the City of Midlothian to include personnel and capital equipment for the General Fund, Utility Fund, Ellis County Radio Fund, Conference Center, and Senior Citizen Center. Midlothian’s City Manager, Chris Dick said this plan had not changed significantly from what was presented in the workshop.

Dick said, “Prior to me presenting the budget to you at the end of July we will not present a $10 million deficit to you.”

Coffman mentioned the large deficit and asked, “How does this help you plan?”

Dick said this would be a point of discussion for the next month or so.

This item passed 6 – 1, with Place 1 Allen Moorman voting against the approval of the Strategic Plan.

Item 2024-217 authorizing the City Manager to negotiate and enter into a Professional Services Agreement with Parkhill for the design and costs associated with the Heritage Park expansion and downtown design improvements passed as presented 7 – 0.

This item was discussed at the January 9, 2024, City Council meeting and continued until January 23rd, when it was tabled indefinitely. It was discussed again at the May 28 meeting, where a revised scope of work was requested. Overall, funding for this item is available out of the $5,000,000 Tax Note, Series 2023, issuance approved by the City Council on September 5, 2023.

City staff noted the first task regarding this item is a Heritage Park Masterplan to cover approximately 5.75 acres, including the existing Heritage Park, City Hall site, storage facility, Back Alley Plaza, and the street frontage on the east side of the new City Hall and Library. The master plan will include streetscape components, site paving, water features, vendor spaces, food truck spaces, relocating the existing log cabin, parking, site lighting, seating areas, landscape and irrigation, and other amenities associated with a civic plaza.

The second task is to examine the master plan for approximately 1.75 acres of land between the Texas Central Business Railroad and N. 10th Street. The scope of this master plan will be determined during the public engagement process and with input from city staff.

The timetable for this project was not determined.

Item 2024-218, a review and discussion of the Zoning Ordinance criteria for approval of secondary dwelling units, was discussed only with no vote.

Staff said that over the past few years, approximately 10 Specific Use Permits for secondary dwelling units have been brought to the City Council, and most of those cases have been approved. Adjusting the criteria for Secondary Dwelling Units can reduce the number of cases by 50%, reducing the cost for citizens who want to have a family member living nearby.

The council determined that more research was needed, and Coffman said, “I personally would be interested in seeing the recommendations from staff as you research what other cities are doing.”

The council convened into an executive session, and action was taken on several items.

The first motion read by Place 3 Anna Hammonds was to authorize the city manager to negotiate and execute a purchase and sale agreement by the city and NH Storage, Inc. to sign documents and perform acts to close the transaction on the property located at 100 East Avenue E consisting of 1.9 acres. The item passed 7 – 0.

The second item passed 7 – 0 for the Shepherd House Church of the Nazarene to purchase a tract of land for drainage easement for $3000.

A third item was for the city manager to negotiate an agreement with Guy Rogers and Gina to purchase a tract of land for street right-of-way in Lot 33, block one in Mockingbird Estate Phase One, for $2000. This item passed 7 – 0.

The City Manager was also authorized in a 7 – 0 to hire a payroll administrator above the mid-point salary range.

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