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Mission mayor objects to high cost for developer

MISSION—Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas argued that a property developer should have some assistance from the city on the project in constructing a lift station for its commercial development, which includes an apartment complex.

“It’s too much money that has nothing to do with construction,” he said at Monday’s Mission City Council meeting.

The item is a preliminary plat approval for Santa Lucia Subdivision, to be constructed on 13 acres of land at the intersection of Colorado and Taylor roads.

The subdivision includes eight lots. One is a large lot for multi-family residential use while the other seven lots are commercial lots facing Colorado Road. Approximately 158 apartments are to be built on the residential lot.

The total preliminary construction costs being assessed to Blanca A. Gutierrez totals to $191,000. The costs included a private lift station at $120,000. The mayor said the planning department should have worked with Gutierrez so that some of the cost of the plant belonged to the city.

Danny Tijerina, planning director, said Gutierrez was in a hurry to get the plat done so she could apply for HUD funding, which offers a three percent loan on certain projects. The project is not a low-income housing project, but Gutierrez hoped to take advantage of the three percent loan to build the apartments. She needed to get her application into HUD quickly and did not have time to work with the city to get help for the cost of the lift station.

Salinas said there were other apartments in Mission that had been able to take advantage of the three percent loan that were not low-income apartments.

After discussion, Norie Garza made a motion to approve the preliminary plat approval, but to have the city look at ways to help the developer if she does not get the low rate loan for construction.

This week city leaders also discussed having the National Butterfly Center be the official host of the Texas Butterfly Festival in November 2013 and the possibility of providing $30,000 from the Hotel/Motel Occupancy Tax Fund.

In their discussion, Salinas said that the Mission Chamber of Commerce was charged with planning and funding the event. However, he was told the chamber wanted to concentrate on the Outdoor Life Festival it sponsors around the same time and let the Butterfly Center take over the planning for the National Butterfly Festival.

Salinas said the chamber receives $400,000 for all of the projects it funds. If they were going to turn the National Butterfly Festival over to the National Butterfly Center, they would have to give them the $30,000 allocated for that festival. The city could not afford to fund the festival from other funds, he explained.

In other action, the council approved an ordinance changing speed limits of Glasscock, Stewart, Bryan, Mayberry, Holland, Los Ebanos, Inspiration and Moorefield roads north of Griffin Parkway to the city limits to 40 miles per hour. After receiving complaints that traffic in those areas was moving at 45 mph, a speed study was conducted.

The study showed that 84 percent of the traffic was traveling 38-to-44 mph. The Traffic Committee met and recommended the speed limit be changed between Griffin Parkway and the northern city limits to 40 mph. The speed limit on those roads between Expressway 83 and Griffin Parkway will remain at 35 mph.

Finally, the council heard a presentation from Transportation Director of the Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Organization (HCMPO) Andrew Canon about the need to stress safety for pedestrians and bikers using public roads. He said there were two presentations being shown in theaters across the Rio Grande Valley now and the HCMPO hoped to get the short videos into schools with video address systems, as well.

Canon gave the council bumper stickers that state, “Share the Road” by giving three feet of space between cars, bikers and pedestrians.

Canon said the campaign is to create awareness of “vulnerable road users” so they can arrive to their destination safely. With spring and summer coming with more people being outdoors, drivers should be aware of the need to share the road.

When asked for specific guidelines, Canon said a car should drive at least three feet away from a curve to allow those using the road adequate space. He said if a car is turning left and a cyclist is come toward the car, the motorist must wait until the cyclist passes before turning left. If the driver is turning right across the path of a cyclist, the car cannot turn and cut them off. The motorist must wait to turn until the cyclist has gone by.

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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