— By BRIAN SMITH
HUDSON OAKS — Hudson Oaks city officials and council members are working to update the city’s subdivision ordinance.
The council received an overview of the proposed ordinance during a Sept. 26 council meeting, with another detailed look on community standards concerning sidewalks and streetlights and other design criteria expected at the meeting Oct. 24. Final approval is expected to come at the city’s November meeting, according to City Administrator Patrick Lawler.
Residential growth over the last five or six years has forced the city to take a look at its ordinance to ensure quality of life issues and to ensure people continue to move here, Lawler said. The new ordinance, for which work began in 2008, looks to unify prior construction in the city with development that is happening now.
“Developers are always looking to do something cheaper nowadays,” Lawler said at the September meeting. “We just want to ensure they’re doing things to our standards.”
Lawler said the new ordinance will fit closer with the city’s Comprehensive Plan, for which work on the subdivision ordinance was halted, and also pays more attention to detail. For example, if a four-way signal is determined to be needed at an intersection the developer is working, the developer will be forced to pay for it.
Under the new ordinance, additional testing, paid by the developer, will ensure streets are up to code throughout the process and that developers help pay for work on them because of the heavy truck traffic while construction is ongoing.
Sidewalks will now be required in all commercial developments but will continue to be left out of residential areas. Streetlights will also be left out of residential areas to aid with the city’s dark skies ordinance.
“Residents like to see the stars at night here. That’s why there are no streetlights,” Lawler said. “Because the zoning and subdivision ordinances should work seamlessly together, a new platting process is being included to ensure developers more closely follow the rules.
“In many cases, the re-platting process for developers was taking 45 to 60 days,” Lawler said. “It will be about 15 days under the new ordinance. We want to make is easier for builders and for the business community to come here. We have now given developers literally a step by step process of what our standards and procedures are, how to build a road, how to build a sewer line, pretty much everything.”