Nacogdoches city council hires firm for controversial comprehensive plan

Under controversy Nacogdoches city council hires firm for comprehensive plan
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 10:39 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 11:24 PM CST

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - In a packed Nacogdoches city council chamber, a firm was hired to conduct a hotly debated city comprehensive plan. It’s taken fourteen months of interviews, presentations, reviews, and debate to reach this point.

Colorado based DTJ Design is charging $450,000 for four studies. They are the comprehensive plan, an I-69 corridor plan, a housing needs assessment, and a downtown master plan.

A few spoke in favor. Fourteen opponents spoke their mind one last time.

“Why do we want to spend a half a million dollars for someone to tell us what we already know,” asked opponent Carolyn Davis in her address.

Mary McCleary said, “For the past month I cannot for the life of me figure out why you’re so intent on hiring this firm.”

Larry King served on the Strategic Plan Committee. He concluded, “You should work from the existing plan, supplementing and updating it as appropriate.”

Councilwoman Kathleen Ballenger cast the lone vote against the contract, calling it vague and lacking conclusive performance parameters.

“We have to listen to the people. If we don’t listen to people, their voices are just going to get louder,” she said in her conclusion.

The council majority said the study is desperately needed to plan and preserve Nacogdoches and the best firm was selected.

City Council Member Jay Anderson generated boos from the crowd when implying the opposition was ‘based on misinformation. He concluded, “Change without a plan is what you should fear.”

City Council member Amelia Fischer said, " The plan, if people participate in it will be reflective of the community’s need and desire.”

Council member Roy Bolten said, “Each one of us individually have a vision. I think this plan is a vision overall for the city of Nacogdoches.”

No one from the DTJ Design spoke. The contract involves close working relations with city staff, and it promises public involvement.

The contract agreement and background information as presented can be found on the city’s website.

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