By BECKY KISER
Development of large lots, more than 2 acres, in the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) of Hays will be discussed Thursday by city commissioners.
The intent of the ETJ, the three-mile-area outside the city limits, is to provide a high level of protection for Hays’ future growth.
According to the city’s Unified Development Code (UDC) “Urban type development is not to be encouraged unless the city or the county agrees to provide the level of service necessary to provide a reasonable level of fire and police protection, a public water source, sanitation service, paved streets and administrative service, such as a coordinated street naming and addressing system.”
The Hays Board of Realtors has approached the city about allowing large lot developments within the ETJ. In April during a joint meeting, city and Ellis County Commissioners decided a policy should be created to guide such development.
According to Assistant Hays City Manager Jacob Wood, city and county staff have worked together to design a map indicating areas where large lot development may be acceptable, and developed a draft policy to provide guidance. The policy has been revised to reflect the desire of a 2 acre minimum lot size rather than the 5 acres as originally proposed.
“Currently, we treat anything that is inside the 3-mile ETJ as if it were right on the doorstep of the city,” Wood explained.
“It’s not our intent to have large 2 and 3-acre lots on the edge of town because they cost a lot as far as infrastructure and they don’t help pay back the city. If you have 1 acres that has 20 houses on it, that helps property taxes pay back the streets, infrastructure for sewer and water that goes in. But if you have a large lot with only 1 house on it, it’s a lot harder for the city to get its return on investment,” Wood said.
The draft policy implies development of large lots in areas not identified as such on the map would be discouraged, not
recommended, and likely not approved if submitted. The Planning Commission unanimously voted Aug. 21 to adopt the draft policy and recommends the city adopt it.
Other agenda items tonight include proposed changes to narrow the setbacks of commercial and industrial buildings, and a proposed change to the UDC to allow breezeways between houses and garages.
Director of Parks Jeff Boyle will present the low bid of $55,900 to install sidewalks in Frontier Park, Hickok Park, Ekey Park, and a short section of Indian Trail. Boyle will also present a low bid of $24,320 for the staining and sealing of the wood structures at the Hays Aquatic Park.
The complete Oct. 12 agenda is available here. The meeting starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. in Hays City Hall, 1507 Main.