The City of Navasota has required new developments coming to town to build sidewalks for many years. In some instances, the builder can pay a fee in lieu of placing in a sidewalk. But, some businesses have complained and a potential amendment to the ordinance was brought before the Navasota City Council on Monday night.
So far, two develpers have paid the ‘in lieu of’ payment to the city. The proposed amendment would take away the sidewalk ordinance completely and refund the fees paid by the developers.
Community Development Director Guadalupe Diosdado noted that if the ordinance requiring the sidewalks is amended, then no fee can be taken by the city anymore. It is a fee the city can collect and use anywhere at its discretion.
Councilman Geoff Horn made his concerns about changing the ordinance known first.
“I just think it is short-sighted for us to remove the sidewalk requirement. On a second note, I think it is bad to put that money into an account and use it elsewhere,” said Horn. “The who point of this ‘in lieu of sidewalk’ is so that in the future, when we do need to have a sidewalk there, we have the money.”
Council talked for about 20 minutes regarding the ordinance. Most of the council agreed that areas, especially along the feeder road on Highway 6, need a sidewalk for safety reasons. However, Mayor Bert Miller says that the focus on sidewalks, while warranted, should be placed elsewhere in town first – like on the sidewalks that are regularly used.
“I see more usage on the ones downtown, in fact we should be encouraging where there are sidewalks, and then finish the ones we have. Plus the ones where we have trip hazards and one ones where you have a whole block that does not have anything,” Miller said. “I think we need to think about the big picture here, and not just focus on Highway Six because Highway Six is a highway that is fifty miles per hour on the feeder road…on the feeder road. I would not encourage anyone to walk there even if there was a sidewalk.”
The Council decided to take no action on the ordinance.