Katy City Council approves apartment upgrades, discusses park camera and downtown plaza

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 1/12/21

Katy City Council met virtually Jan. 11 for its first meeting of the calendar year. During the meeting council members discussed the ongoing Katy Downtown Plaza project, authorized installation of a …

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Katy City Council approves apartment upgrades, discusses park camera and downtown plaza

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Katy City Council met virtually Jan. 11 for its first meeting of the calendar year. During the meeting council members discussed the ongoing Katy Downtown Plaza project, authorized installation of a camera to monitor the Katy Dog Park and approved a waiver for fees associated with renovations to the Katy Manor Apartments.

“This development has been on the ground since 1997, and (Fieser Development, Inc.) purchased it and it was originally financed with … United Stated Department of Agriculture funds. That funding will stay in place and we are applying to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for housing tax credits to rehabilitate the property,” said Robbye Meyer with Arx Vantage, a real estate development consulting firm that specializes in affordable housing.

Mind your manor

The Katy Manor Apartments, located at 5360 E. 5th St. in Katy, is an affordable housing facility that includes three residential buildings and one community building. The complex provides 48 two-bedroom apartment homes reserved for families making 60% and below the Katy area’s median income – or about $47,000 annual household income.

Rehabilitation of the facility will include several upgrades including Energy Star appliances, tile floors, roofing replacements, new gutters, new sinks and retrofitting parking areas for handicapped accessibility.

Applications for federal grant money are being processed and awards for the grants are expected to be released in July. As part of that process, a resolution of support from the city was required as well as a waiver of the $250 fee. Both were approved unanimously by City Council.

If all applications are approved, the project is expected to begin work on the complex in June of 2022.

Watchdog

City Council also approved the installation of a camera at the City of Katy Off-Leash Dog Park located at 5414 Franz Road. The item was placed on the agenda by Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris and Council Member Rory Robertson after they were made aware of animals being abandoned at the park on regular basis, according to city documents.

City Administrator Byron Hebert said that, after receiving the request to have the issue of the camera at the dog park on the agenda, he spoke with Police Chief Noe Diaz and other city staff regarding the issue.

“We figured out how we’re going to be able to put that camera up, pay for it and get it done,” Hebert said. “(The camera’s) already been ordered.”

Diaz joined in on the discussion at that point and clarified that a pole had been identified to mount the camera on which would allow good reception between the nearby police station and the camera and that the camera would be installed Jan. 19, barring hazardous weather.

“For us, it was functional, you know. The council was very concerned about the persons unfortunately having to drop off a pet inside of our kennel,” Diaz said. “… It happens on occasion and we think we’ll put a stop to it immediately. So it’s twofold, that helps us there and it helps us not having excess pets inside our kennel as well.”

Robertson said he was glad the project was moving forward to monitor the dog park for animal abandonment and that he felt the move was a victory for animals and for the city of Katy.

“We cannot allow animals to be dumped at any of our city parks, and this number was not small,” Robertson said. “We must stop this practice.”

Plaza please

Council also received an update and a request to change part of the Downtown Katy Plaza project. Construction on the facility broke ground in 2019 but has been delayed due to COVID-19 and other issues that have arisen.

Council Member Janet Corte and Harris asked for the item to be on the agenda, according to city documents.

Chris LeBlanc of LJA Engineering provided an update on the project. In an email to the city dated Jan. 4, LeBlanc said pavement layout is complete and an electrical line for the Katy Civic Center has been relocated. Remaining hardscaping items that need to be completed are construction of footings for a trellis that began in early January, with the associated trellis work being ordered the first week of the month as well.

In terms of landscaping, Lacebark Elms have been planted, flower bed preparation and layout are complete, irrigation mainlines and controls have been installed and pavers have been installed where needed.

Landscaping items that need to be completed include an electrical installation for the irrigation controls, a functional check of the irrigation system and planting.

Council approved a request to change from seed to sod for planting grass in the area at an additional cost of just more than $8,900, bringing the total cost up to slightly more than $49,600 for this phase of the plaza’s development.

Corte also asked for the city to request additional input from residents on the plans for the plaza to ensure residents were still in agreement of the plaza’s development as planned.

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