Council may revise parts of master plan
Rockdale’s Planning & Zoning Board (P&Z) is recommending the city council eliminate controversial “thoroughfares” from the city’s master plan and start over.
That action, on a unanimous 7-0 vote, came after a sometimes intense 90-minute discussion in a public hearing at City Hall Tuesday afternoon.
The master plan was adopted in 2003 as a response to what then seemed the certainty of a US 79 loop around Rockdale.
City council members asked the P&Z to review the master plan. “What I’m hearing them saying is that the (streets portion) of the master plan is too aggressive, too big, there’s too many of them and they may be in the wrong place,” Lon Williams, P&Z chairman, said.
P& Z member Joan Ratlif f termed the plan “obsolete,” noting that the city has changed since its adoption eight years ago.
The thoroughfares plan calls for 120-foot rights-of-way on Ackerman and Main streets, which would encroach into properties and homes.
It also designates Childress Street as a thoroughfare. The new Rockdale High School was built over part of Childress.
“We (the P&Z) are saying it’s kind of ridiculous at this point,” Ratliff said. “We’re not going to knock down the new high school. We’re not going to go 10 or 12 feet up into the houses along Ackerman.”
The master plan controversy first came to light last year when land owner A lan Noack told the council a designated “inner loop”—which he termed a “sixlane highway” —north of Skyles Street was preventing him from selling lots to Skyles residents who desired extended back yards.
P&Z members approved a subdivision ordinance request by Noack to help alleviate that problem.
That recommendation goes to the city council for action.
The master plan was designed in 2002, at a cost of $80,000, and adopted by the city council on Aug. 11, 2003.
Williams said in addition to streets, the master plan addresses water, wastewater and drainage.
“These areas are interrelated,” he said. “What you do with one affects them all.”
Judith Matula, a Skyles Street resident who made the most pointed comments, said she was unable to tell whether the controversial thoroughfare “is in my living room or my back yard.”
She recommended the city “hire someone to find out where it is instead of spending money beating up your citizens.”
Williams termed the master plan a “concept” and added “it’s not drawn to accuracy; it was drawn in somebody’s office.
“Rockdale has just not achieved a lot of its projections so far as population growth,” he said.
Updates Matula said some members of the city council have told her “they don’t know what they adopted.”
Williams, who was not employed by the city when the master plan was passed said he “isn’t 100 percent sure TxDOT was ever given this plan.”
P&Z members were unsure of their mandate from the city council to “review and update” the master plan until Ratliff made a motion to “remove Class A and Class B thoroughfares from the master plan and work on reviewing and revising it as necessary.”
P&Z members stressed they are not recommending the end of the master plan and that future workshops will fine tune the document.
“Businesses have master plans, too,” Ratliff said. “But they need to be reviewed every three to five years.”