City seeking public input as it updates its strategic plan

Monday, March 07, 2022

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By: George Slaughter - Katy Times

The consultant who is working with city officials to update the city’s strategic plan said she expects an updated plan to be ready for city council approval early next year.

Meredith Dang is a community planning practice leader with Kendig Keast Collaborative. She spoke of the plan’s development at a Feb. 24 special joint meeting of the Katy City Council and the city’s planning and zoning commission.

Dang said developing the plan will be in five stages. The stages are:

  • Identifying where the city is presently.
  • Devising top priorities.
  • Developing the concrete recommendations with an eye towards 2040.
  • Identifying how to implement those priorities and identify partners.
  • Finalization and adoption.

Dang said the city’s planning and zoning commission will review and approve the plan before it is submitted for council approval.

Dang said five factors stood out when discussing the city’s priorities with city leaders and the public. Those are the city’s growth capacity, land use and development, transportation, economic development, and recreations and amenities.

Dang said she and her Kendig Keast colleagues are working with the city Parks and Recreation Department on a parks plan that is expected to be released in the summer. She said the parks plan is expected to be funneled into the city’s overall plan. She said the city’s current strategic plan is about 20 years old.

Dang said the U.S. Census reports the city’s population at 21,894 people, a 55.2% increase since 2010. Housing developments such as Cane Island helped fuel that growth. But looking at the Greater Katy area as its own city, she said the population would be about 375,000 people. That figure would be ninth of the state of Texas in ahead of Corpus Christi (317,863), she said. Nationally, she said, the Greater Katy area is bigger than Cincinnati (309,317) and Pittsburgh (302,971).

Dang said 35% of the housing and city of Katy has been built since 2000, and that 50.9% of renters pay more than 30% of their income and housing costs.

But while more people are living in Katy, they are not necessarily working there. Dang said approximately 26,800 people commute to jobs in Katy but do not live in the city. Meanwhile, 1,419 people live and work in the city, and 7,354 people live in Katy but commute to work elsewhere. She said 95% of local workers do not live in the city.

Before she shared these statistics with city leaders, Dang asked them to think of some of the city’s significant accomplishments in recent years. She said these deeds might be used as a starting point in identifying what would need to be done next.

Ward A Council Member Janet Corte said the city has momentum with capital improvements for drainage and street improvements. Other accomplishments include the renovation of the downtown plaza across the street from City Hall, and cutting property taxes several times in past years while growing the city’s tax base through commercial development west of the city and suburban development.

Despite these accomplishments, officials suggested there would be challenges. Council Member-at-Large and Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris said one challenge was to promote the City of Katy. Ward B Council Member Rory Robertson said the city must show that it is proactive, not reactive, in dealing with issues such as drainage.

Dang said Kendig Keast and city officials would continue to solicit public input as it develops the new plan.

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