Recently, we sat down with Felix Landry, Senior Planner for the City of Waco, to find out about exciting new plans for Wacotown.
Tell us a little bit about what your role is for the city.
I work in the planning department. So I work with development projects reviewing site plans for compliance to city ordinances such as landscaping, parking and signage regulations. I have also worked on a number of ordinance drafts and amendments such as the College and University Neighborhood Special District or the Farmers Market permit ordinance. Currently though, I’m working primarily on updating The City Plan with Dr. Bill Falco, who served as planning director when I first arrived in Waco and has come out of retirement to work on the update. A big part of updating The City Plan is gathering public input and we’re hoping the online platform gives citizens more opportunities to give input than they’ve had in the past.
How do you feel like your talents and passions are being used in your job?
My talents and passions mostly center around reading, writing, system and stories. My love for reading and writing has made school and work more enjoyable, and my interest in complex systems and stories led me to city planning. On a daily basis I find myself working at improving the city system and furthering the story of Waco. That could happen through writing ordinances, reviewing development plans, responding to public inquiries or a variety of research topics I am assigned.
What are you currently most excited about in the city?
I’ve been excited about the amount of development we’ve seen recently. It really picked up the end of last year and has continued. There also seems to be steady interest in downtown. Our downtown has more potential than most other downtowns for developing well. It’s a true downtown, not just an office/business district or entertainment district, but a place where all aspects of city life come together. Currently though, I’m excited to start the public engagement process for the update to The City Plan.
What exactly is the City Plan and how does that affect our city?
The City Plan is a legally required document that guides much of the city’s development policies. For example, The City Plan establishes a land use plan, which guides all of our zoning policies. The City Plan also touches on transportation, water, sewer, storm water, parks, housing, solid waste and anything else the city regulates. We last updated The City Plan in 1999, so it needs an update. The effect the plan has on the city will come in two phases.
How do you plan on getting feedback from all of our community members?
Traditionally most of our citizen input has come from the public meetings we host at various locations around town. We have already scheduled five public meetings at the end of October and at the beginning of November. We’re hoping to broaden our input gathering efforts, so the City has established an online citizen engagement platform. The City will regularly post topics online through this platform for citizen participation and feedback. The topics could be a broad question, survey, poll or a variety of other topic types. The goal is to hear from a segment of the population who may not have time or the resources to attend the public meetings.
How can Antioch members be involved in the process?
Antioch members have a variety of opportunities to get involved. The online platform has a number of topics already posted for citizen input. It’s easy to create an account and begin giving feedback. You can also give comments through email or by calling 254-750-5660. Lastly, we have five public meetings scheduled:
- South Waco Recreation Center; October 27th at 6 p.m.
- Harrison Community Center; October 29th at 6 p.m.
- Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce; November 3rd at noon and 6 p.m.
- Paul Quinn Multi Use Center; November 6th at 6 p.m.
Okay last question. What is your crazy, off the wall, pie-in-the-sky dream for Waco?
My dream for Waco, as far as city development goes, consists of Waco achieving a development scenario in which folks who do not want to or cannot afford to own a vehicle can sustain the same quality of life as those who do/can. Achieving this scenario involves about 1,000 smaller hopes and dreams coming true as well.