Sunday, August 1, 2021

Comprehensive Plan Envisions the Future of Southlake

The City of Southlake develops many of its Comprehensive Plan elements in-house. The Comprehensive Plan is the City of Southlake’s playbook that defines the City’s goals related to capital projects and facilities, City programs and resource allocation. The plan is aligned with the City’s strategic vision for the future of Southlake.

The projects and programs that are now visible in the community were planned years in advance. The Comprehensive Plan is a living document that is constantly adapted and updated every few years. To create the plan, City staff works with various City boards and commissions, Southlake residents and stakeholders, and the City Council.

Some of the Comprehensive Plan recommendations that have been completed this past year include the Zena Rucker Road expansion and roundabout art, N. White Chapel Boulevard roundabout, Continental Boulevard sidewalk, I Believe in Southlake mural, National Preparedness Month education, Solar Panel ordinance, Town Square sign ordinance, family quarters ordinance and a tourism market study.

Continental Sidewalk

 

I Believe In Southlake Mural

I Believe In Southlake Mural

 

N. White Chapel Boulevard Roundabout

N. White Chapel Boulevard Roundabout

 

Zena Rucker Roundabout and Extension

Zena Rucker Roundabout and Extension

 

The Parks Master Plan is currently in development as part of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Staff is working with the City’s Parks and Recreation Board and Southlake residents on developing recommendations to incorporate into the plan. If you’re interested in contributing ideas, attend the Parks and Recreation Board meeting. The City of Southlake estimates the plan to be finalized in summer 2021.

For more information about the Comprehensive Plan, individual plan elements, or to comment on the plan, visit our Comprehensive Plan webpage.

Help Southlake By Providing Your Opinions on Development Projects

Residents have a vision for the community they live in. Together, the City of Southlake, residents and businesses can create the best possible Southlake.  

To do this, it requires the implementation of plans and processes that undergo rigorous examination. We need your help in reviewing potential development projects. 

The Southlake Program for the Involvement of Neighborhoods was created in 1993 as a forum of open communication, typically between Southlake residents and applicants with development proposals. Occasionally, the City of Southlake will bring proposals through SPIN, like when the City proposes improvements to a City facility or park. 

SPIN is a first step in the development process. Sometimes items presented during SPIN are still in the concept phase. Though it’s not a required step, City staff encourages developers to present their ideas during SPIN meetings. 

During SPIN meetings, votes are NOT taken. The discussion is purely a learning experience for everyone involved. 

When a developer comes up with a project idea, they are able to present it during a SPIN meeting with an approximate timeline to start the conversation with the community. In many cases, this happens before a developer submits any formal project plans to the City. 

In 2019 alone, there were 39 different ideas presented during SPIN meetings. Many concepts went on to receive final approval and some chose not to continue the development process. 

SPIN is an opportunity for developers and residents to exchange information. Developers gain an understanding for how residents feel about their project and residents can hear ideas and provide feedback early in the development process. 

With the assistance of residents, the City of Southlake can enhance the quality of life for the entire community and achieve the high standards we’ve set for ourselves. 

Interested in attending the next SPIN meeting? It’s scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, 2020 and will be held virtually. Click here to see what’s on the agenda and learn how to watch or participate.

For future meetings, subscribe to the SPIN calendar on the City’s website (“Notify Me”) to be notified when an agenda is posted. 

Watch for announcements on when SPIN meetings are held by following the City of Southlake Facebook pagechecking the calendar on the City of Southlake website or registering to receive SPIN notifications through Alert Southlake. 

Learn more about SPIN here. 

Planning Balances Safety and Simplicity with Virtual Inspections

In March 2020, life as a whole seemed to shut down. While some simply picked up their laptop and continued their jobs in yoga pants on their couch, others set to rethink their work in the age of mask wearing and social distancing.

Before City of Southlake employees transitioned to working from home, the building inspectors of the Planning and Development Services Department met virtually to come up with a plan to continue to provide building inspection services in a safe manner throughout the stay at home order.

“Our inspectors stepped up to the challenge and developed a plan to allow building inspections services to continue in a manner that was safe for the both customer and inspector, while still continuing to maintain our high standards of excellence,” Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker said. “They proactively created and implemented a plan and worked together as a team to go above and beyond for our residents and businesses during a very challenging time. The building inspectors continued providing the inspection service uninterrupted throughout this very challenging time and I’m very proud to have each and every one of them as part of the Planning and Development Services team.”

So how did the City plan to continue inspections and maintain newly implemented social distancing guidelines?

“Inspections weren’t going to stop. We came up with solutions so that we could keep residents and ourselves safe and maintain our quality services,” Building Inspector Ernie Aguilar said. “Homeowners appreciated our efforts.”

A virtual process was created for certain types of inspections such as those for water heaters, roofs and HVAC systems. The virtual inspections process allows photos and videos to be submitted to the City in lieu of an inspector physically visiting a home or site to perform the inspection. This results in eliminating the social interaction between the customer and inspector. Other benefits of the virtual inspection is now the homeowner or contractor does not have to stay at home or on the site and wait to meet the inspector. This virtual process also allows the City to improve efficiency and save money by reducing travel time and cost.

The City also created safety protocols for on-site building inspections. This included making sure the building inspector was equipped and wore appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when conducting inspections and that all homeowners and contractors social distanced from the inspector while on site or in the home.

“Our residents and contractors have been very understanding and respectful of the safety and social distancing protocols we have put in place and for that we are very appreciative,” Baker said.

“Any time we had concerns, they were addressed. The City made sure we had the tools to get our jobs done,” Building Inspector Charlie Wright said. “We always had access to PPE and COVID-19 testing if we needed it.”

Access to masks and protective gear was imperative since inspectors would still be required to enter multiple homes and businesses per day for more complex inspections.

“Our supervisors made themselves available anytime we needed them. I felt like this was a team effort,” Aguilar said.

Through our City of Southlake values of Teamwork, Innovation and Commitment to Excellence, our building inspectors were able to achieve the high standards we set for ourselves as employees and meet the expectations of those who live, work and play in Southlake.

“I’ve only worked for the City of Southlake for four months, and it’s evident why there is very little turnover,” Wright said. “Southlake writes the manual every day for what working for a City should be.”

Learn more about the City of Southlake inspection process here.  

The City’s Online Permitting and Inspection System “EnerGov” is Getting an Upgrade!

On Thursday, June 25, the City of Southlake Planning and Development Services (PDS) Department will upgrade their online permitting and inspections system called EnerGov, which is specifically designed to automate and centrally connect critical processes, including permitting, planning, inspections, code enforcement, engineering and more. Currently, customers can apply for permits, pay fees and schedule inspections all online.

Click here to connect to the online portal.

The upgrade allows external users to access more information about their specific permits and plans and simplifies the application and registration process. In addition, the upgrade provides a ‘Forgot your Username?’ feature and fixes previous software bugs.

To ensure EnerGov continues to provide simple and streamlined processes for customers, the PDS Department plans to continue upgrading the software to enhance the eReview capability and to allow external users to apply for professional licenses online.

“The upgrade allows the customer to do more from home or the office related to permit and plan applications and eliminate the need for customers to come to Town Hall to conduct business,” Ken Baker, Director of Planning and Development said. “Optimizing this system is key to providing quality customer service by making the permit application process simple.”

The EnerGov system is scheduled to be offline from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 25 to allow for the upgrade and post implementation testing.

Learn more about EnerGov here. For questions about EnerGov or how it functions, please contact the PDS – Building Inspections Division at 817-748-8236 or 817-748-8237.

Changes to Grapevine Lake Master Plan Are in the Works

The Grapevine Lake Master Plan will undergo revisions to verify compliance with new federal regulations. The original plan was completed in 1971 with a supplement plan published in 2001.

Plan Officials along with the Fort Worth District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have recently initiated the process to revise the plan and desire input from the public.

USACE defines the Master Plan as the strategic land use management document that guides the comprehensive management and development of all recreational, natural and cultural resources throughout the life of the water resource development project.

The new revisions will address changes in regional land use, population, outdoor recreation trends and USACE management policy.

Key topics that will be addressed in the revised master plan include:

  • Revised land classifications
  • Revised natural, cultural and recreational resource management objectives
  • Recreation facility needs
  • Invasive species management
  • Threatened and endangered species habitat

Suggestions from the public are encouraged. The public involvement process will be conducted online in lieu of face-to-face workshops until the COVID-19 virus pandemic subsides.

The City of Southlake also plans to submit comments on the proposed Master Plan.

“Grapevine Lake is a great natural resource and provides our residents a nearby opportunity to experience nature firsthand with its many hiking and horseback riding trails,” Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker said. “It’s imperative that the City’s citizens are aware of the Grapevine Lake Master Plan process and provide their input on how this land is utilized in the future.”

USACE will accept comments up to June 26, 2020. The USACE website contains a brief presentation describing the revision process, a copy of the current master plan, a map of the current land use classifications and instructions for submitting public comments.

For questions about the City’s role in the Grapevine Lake Master Plan, please contact City of Southlake Planning and Development Services at 817-748-8621.

Southlake Awarded 2019 Certificate of Achievement for Planning Excellence

Congratulations to the City of Southlake for receiving the 2019 Certificate of Achievement for Planning Excellence from the American Planning Association Texas Chapter! This certificate recognizes the dedication and support shown by City Council, members of the Planning and Zoning Commission and City staff to uphold professional planning standards for the City.

The American Planning Association Texas Chapter awards city municipalities this certificate for planning excellence through their Richard R. Lillie, FAICP Planning Excellence Recognition Program. The goals of the program include:

  • Increasing community awareness of the importance of planning;
  • Recognizing planning departments which meet certain professional requirements;
  • Recognizing planning efforts that have achieved community support;
  • Encouraging the funding of professional training for Planning Commissioners and staff; and
  • Aiding economic development and community image.

This marks the fifteenth consecutive year that the City of Southlake has been recognized for this award. The City scored well above the 100-point threshold to receive recognition. Some of the evaluation criteria include level of training of Planning Commissioners and professional staff, professional qualifications of the planning staff, formulating and updating master plan components, and completion of other planning related projects.

If you would like to view the certificate or have additional questions please visit the Planning and Development Services Department in Southlake Town Hall, Suite 310 or visit our webpage here.

Ways to Get Involved in the Parks Master Plan Update

Get involved in shaping the future of Southlake Parks! The City has kicked off the update to the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan. City staff is working closely with the Parks and Recreation Board on crafting policy recommendations for many of the community’s parks and wants your help too. There will be multiple opportunities to provide your comments throughout this process. The next park to be discussed is the Southlake Sports Complex at the October 14 Board meeting. This meeting will take place at 6:00 p.m. at Legends Hall at The Marq Southlake.

Ways to Get Involved:

 Attend a Meeting

The Parks and Recreation Board meeting schedule has been posted and outlines the specific parks that will be discussed during each meeting. This will be helpful if you would like to hear about or provide comments on a specific park! These meetings are open to the public. Just make sure to monitor the webpage (www.CityofSouthlake.com/Parks2035 ) for information related to changes in the agenda.

The City will be placing signage out during this update to provide additional notice to the neighbors, similar to how the S.P.I.N. signs are placed to promote Town Hall Forums. Keep an eye out for these signs that will contain information about meeting dates for a specific park. Make sure you are also following the City’s Twitter and Facebook for reminders about these meetings. You may also subscribe to the Southlake 2035 calendar on the City’s website (“Notify Me”) for updates.

 Send in a Form

If you are unable to attend a meeting, don’t let that stop you from sending your feedback to staff and the Parks and Recreation Board. A form has been created for residents to submit comments digitally. This can be found on the Parks Master Plan webpage or by clicking here.

Throughout the development process, there will be opportunities for involvement. The anticipated adoption date for this master plan is fall 2020. As with other master plan elements, this plan will go through the legislative process before adoption. This will include a S.P.I.N. Town Hall Forum and open house, as well as public meetings and presentations to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council.

In the meantime, you may find more information about the currently adopted Parks plan here.

 

Southlake Awarded 2018 Certificate of Achievement for Planning Excellence

Marking the fourteenth consecutive year, the City of Southlake received the 2018 Certificate of Achievement for Planning Excellence from the American Planning Association Texas Chapter. This certificate recognizes the dedication and support shown by City Council, members of the Planning and Zoning Commission and city staff to uphold professional planning standards for Southlake.

The city scored well above the 100-point threshold to receive recognition. Evaluation criteria included the following; level of training of Planning Commissioners and professional staff, professional qualifications of the planning staff, breadth and currency of master plan components, and completion of other planning related projects.

If you would like to view the certificate or have additional questions please visit the Planning and Development Services Department in Southlake Town Hall, Suite 310 or visit our webpage .

Action on Proposed Developments Tabled to December

Council action on two proposed residential developments has been administratively tabled until the December 5, City Council meeting.

The items are ordinance No. 480-730, ZA17-064, 1st Reading Zoning Change and Development Plan for Stony Brook (formerly known as Stone Trail and Holmes Builders) and Ordinance Nos. 480-729 and 480-220a, ZA17-060, 1st Reading Zoning Change and Development Plan for Metairie at Southlake and Zoning Change and Concept Plan for Kirkwood Grove West.

The items are being moved to the December 5 meeting due to a heavy agenda at the November 7 meeting.  The Council meeting that had been scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving, November 21, was canceled by the Council at the October 3, 2017 meeting.

“The proposed developments are working their way through the City Council process,” said Planning and Development Services Director Ken Baker. “Mayor Hill has indicated that she will open up public comment at the December 5 meeting and the December 19 meeting for interested residents.”

If you have questions please call (817) 748-8621 or you can visit www.CityofSouthlake.com/Planning.