—A detailed examination of the city water system.
—The first overhaul of the city’s comprehensive plan in 10 years. The first step has been taken on the water works study, the hiring of an engineering firm to examine the collection, treatment, delivery and disposal of water throughout the city. A small committee headed by Compliance Officer Sarah Sherrer received several proposals and last month, chose the Brandon Wall engineering firm to do the review.
The cost of the review, she said, will be well under half a million dollars and won’t require either a tax increase or a bond issue. Noting that the city’s water pipes range from quite old to fairly new, Sherrer said the bursting last month of the main at Mulberry and 4th is indicative of problems that could occur elsewhere in the system.
The incident shut down city water to much of downtown for several hours before the pipe was repaired. The Blue River is the primary source of Durant’s water.
Lake Durant water, when needed, can be run through the water treatment plant, which is on the bank of the river, she said. The plant was upgraded a few years ago when one of two clarifiers, about 40 years old, was remodeled. The other clarifier has not yet needed replacing. A waste water treatment plant was built in 2004, “replacing an old fashioned system of lagoons that treated the water,” she said.
She added that revision of the city’s comprehensive plan will help in calculating pipelines and other infrastructure needs out as much as 50 years.
That plan revision will be tackled by a committee of officials and others, all residents living inside the city limits, said Joseph Marquardt, director of the city’s Planning and Zoning Department.
Two main goals, he said, will be to protect residents from encroachment by retail and commercial businesses while ensuring adequate property is available for retail, commercial and industrial development.
He noted that the city’s growth has brought business and residential properties close together in many parts of the city, citing as one example a recent subdivision on the east side of the “South 9th corridor” toward Mineral Bayou. Similarly, he said, while University Boulevard is zoned primarily for residential use, businesses have begun to spread west of Highway 69/75.
Asked about enforcement of zoning ordinances, Marquardt said the “permit process” is the primary method. Permits are required for all construction proposals, as well as signage and other efforts described in city ordinances. Unfavorable permit decisions may be appealed through the Board of Adjustment and the City Council.
Marquardt said the plan will be developed through public hearings with the committee and the zoning map will be drafted by the Planning and Zoning Department’s staff. There will be no cost to taxpayers, he said.