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City approves new EISD campus plan

An issue that has been on the agenda for review was settled Monday night as the Planning and Zoning Commissioners voted to approve the abandonment of a segment of Caesar Street to be used by the Ennis Independent School District in their planning for the new Intermediate school.
The issue had raised concern from some residents in the area who worried about increased traffic.
City manager Steve Howerton said that 36 notices were mailed to residents with property adjoining the area in question. He said 14 were returned in favor and four were returned in opposition. Howerton recommended the Commission approve the case on the condition that the requirements outlined by the city be met, which include EISD dedicating by plat the required easements for water, sewer and drainage lines, as well as re-locating an existing natural gas easement. The city also reserved the right not to file the ordinance for abandonment for record until such time as all public utilities serving the adjacent areas through the subject property have been relocated.
Robert Howman with Glen Engineering represented the EISD and addressed the concerns about traffic flow and safety, explaining the firm had done a study based on actual numbers of students taken from previous year’s enrollment as well as data collected from past principals and found with all traffic coming in off of N. Clay Street and exiting out on W. Belknap and Caesar streets the flow could be maintained to prevent a backup of traffic and long lines.
Commissioner Brian Holley addressed Howman about the figures used to calculate the traffic flow.
"It is my understanding that usually the figures you use for calculations is based on an average that you receive from another source, but I feel better about this knowing you used actual data and factored in a realistic account of the traffic situation in that area," Holley said.
Commissioner Joyce Plasek spoke to Howman of her concerns about how EISD or the city planned to control the traffic turning up W. Belknap Street.
"I’m sorry there wasn’t more planning put into the overall plans of how people are going to come in and get out," she said. "West Belknap is a narrow, little street and is not intended to take on an increase in traffic."
Howman offered the possibilities of blocking the street with cones until people got used to not turning on W. Belknap when leaving the school area or having it patrolled by the Ennis Police Department.
Howerton said while the city would not commit to placing an officer at that location full-time, offenders caught using the street inappropriately would face a fine between $130-170.
The city has also agreed to partner with EISD to share expenses to make repairs to Caesar Street. The EISD has committed to share the costs for the least expensive method to improve the street, and is in the process of checking the budget to see if they could share costs if the city chooses a more costly option. Commissioner Carter Gaddis believes the school district should be open to more than just one option.
"I think EISD should have to pay half of whatever the Commission chooses as the best solution," he said.
In the end the commission approved the ordinance, with Gaddis being the only vote against the motion.
In other action, the commission voted to approve the Planned Development Site Plan for EISD on a tract of land 16.993 acres in size for use of the new Intermediate school project.
Approval was given to change the zoning ordinance from transitional to commercial planned development for a tract of land located south of the 1800 block of W. Lampasas Street and east of the 700-800 blocks of Hwy. 287.
The planned development sites for two projects to be built on that site were also approved. One site will be a day-care facility and the other will be a medical/general office building.
A zoning change request was approved for a tract of land located at 107 E. Waco St. from light industrial district to industrial planned development district as requested by Leggett & Platt. Representative Tony Vitovsky indicated the zoning change was being requested to allow for the sale of the property and a new business to be located there.
The commission tabled a zoning amendment change requested by Sill Tec because representatives were not in attendance to answer questions. Commissioner Holley explained to the audience that it is a policy of the commission to not vote on an item if representatives are not present to offer further explanation.

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Posted by on Oct 28 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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