Council gives nod to townhome site development permit

The  Council moved seamlessly through Monday’s  regular agenda and with a series of unanimous votes, approved a site development permit application for Liberty Trails Townhomes and  awarded a bid to a company that will bore a water line under State Highway 29.

In the absence of Mayor Jamie Williamson, the Council took no action on two agenda items that she had placed on the agenda — a discussion on the City Manager’s vehicle allowance and an addendum to the fiscal 2012 audit.  Another item she had placed on the agenda was tabled relating to the ongoing Utility Rate Study. The issues appeared on the agenda for the April 28 meeting, which was cancelled due to lack of a quorum.

The Council approved a site development permit application for Liberty Trails Townhomes. The  100-unit rental community accepting low to moderate-income residents will  be constructed on RR 1869 near the intersection of State Highway 29. Although the application is under review by staff, the city’s engineer and Williamson County Emergency Services District #4, the Senior Planner Amber Lewis said council approval was needed now so Picerne Development could meet deadlines to secure support from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In other business, the Council unanimously approved a proposal by Skyblue Utilities, Inc., to install a water line under SH 29 that will help Liberty Hill Dental meet fire codes when it builds its new facility. When the new dental office is complete, a fire hydrant will be installed near the property that will also serve neighboring businesses.

The City’s Economic Development Corp. on May 6 approved an allocation of up to $65,000 for the project that was bid at $58,000 by Skyblue Utilities. The Council also unanimously approved an interlocal agreement between the City and the EDC for the payment of the project.

Councilmember Wendell McLeod requested the new line be connected to an existing two-inch water line.

The Council also unanimously approved the appointment of Jim Wofford as a reserve or non-paid officer for the Liberty Hill Police Department.

Also this week, the Council selected a tentative date of May 31 for a City Clean Up Day pending availability of county probationers fulfilling public service hours.

Jeff Garrett of US Water, a company recently hired by the City to manage its wastewater treatment plant, told the Council the plant is now in compliance with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The company has been at the plant for two weeks, and in that time has hauled as many as 18 loads of sludge out of the facility. The company took over management of the operations from Brazos River Authority.

“We’ve done a lot of cleaning and hauled off lots of sludge,” said Garrett. “So, as of three days ago, you are back in compliance.”

Mrs. Lewis told the Council that the City is seeking funds through the Community Development Block Grant to improve the sidewalks in downtown Liberty Hill. In a future meeting, the Council will be asked to appoint a committee to make recommendations on sidewalks in need of repair.

During the discussion, questions were raised about  whether the City could repair the sidewalks as some believed the sidewalks were owned by Texas Department of Transportation as owners of Loop 332, the street that runs through downtown Liberty Hill. Although the question was not answered completely by Mrs. Lewis, she did say the matter would be researched.

In a report to the Council by Manager Greg Boatright, he said progress is being made at City Park with regards to the construction of basketball courts and paving of an entrance near the football field.

In a report provided to the Council by the Municipal Court, there were 55 new cases filed in the month of April, 57 cases closed, 14 warrants issued, 16 warrants cleared for a total revenue collected of $8,827.81. The court held three hearings before the Judge, 11 pre-trials with the city Prosecutor, no jury or bench trials.

City Utility Superintendent Brian Kirk warned that city residents could see new water restrictions in the weeks ahead. Currently, residents are permitted to water one day each week and the City may have to prohibit watering during the summer months as well levels have dropped three feet in the past two weeks.

Councilmember Vicki Brewer left the meeting at 7:10 p.m. — about five minutes prior to adjournment — explaining she had a family medical emergency.