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Planning Division

Planning Commission
Planning Commission
Seated: Chairman Jason Dupree. Standing from left to right: Clyde "Boots" Thomas, George Coker, Bertha Dunn, Randall Hickerson. (Absent Thomas Scott and Mark Townsend).

The function of the Planning Division is to analyze current and projected future development to ensure that growth of the City is a planned, orderly activity. It involves planning efforts to guide the course of the City to achieve desired beneficial and necessary objectives of local development as reviewed by the Planning Commission and authorized by the City Board of Directors in the 1988 Comprehensive Development Plan. The Planning staff is composed of:

Position Number
City Planner/Preservation Officer 1
Planning Technician Vacant
Planning/Historic Preservation Assistant 1
Total 2

The Planning Division is responsible for the comprehensive planning process (long-range planning) of the City and in that regard administers the land-regulation ordinances. On a day-to-day basis (short-term planning), the Planning Division prepares and processes all rezoning petitions, subdivision plat reviews, conditional use, flood plain reviews, etc. that appear before the planning commission each month. In addition, the division processes all variance and special exception requests (setbacks, lot area, lot width, height of structures, etc.) and appeals of the building official's denials for building permits that are heard by the Board of Adjustment.

The Planning Division is responsible for maintaining the City's base maps and the official zoning districts map. Two other important maps that are routinely updated are the right-of-way (ROW) abandonment map (showing abandoned streets and/or alleys) and the annexation map (showing annexations and/or detachments). The Planning Division also maintains a complete listing of all annexations since Texarkana, Arkansas was incorporated. A complete listing of all streets within the City of Texarkana, Arkansas and Extraterritorial Subdivision Jurisdiction (ETJ) is also available. All of the maps are used on a daily basis. The planning technician is responsible for maintaining the CAD system and updating the official City maps. In addition to the mapping activities, the planning technician serves as network manager of the Public Works Department computer system, annual billboard inventory, serves as computer technician (generating specifications and providing installation/maintenance of the department computer), and assists other departments with their computer systems. The City, through the Texarkana Water Utilities (TWU) Department, has developed a Geographic Information System (GIS) of which the maps are available over the internet. The maps are digitized from aerial photographs and efforts are underway to include all of the annexations of 1999-2000 into the system.

In performing its functions, the Planning Division works closely with other divisions and departments. The planning staff interprets the land regulation plans and ordinances, while the code enforcement staff enforces the regulations by approving and/or denying building permits, performing inspections, and issuing certificates of occupancy. The checks and balance system between planning and code enforcement is a necessary relationship for efficient planning and enforcement. The Planning Division and street division (engineering) coordinate primarily concerning subdivision plats, rezonings, street/alley right-of-way abandonments, parking plans for conditional use permits, etc.

The Planning Division's relationship to the administrative department (containing the City Manager's office, finance, personnel, and legal) is evidenced by the department's need for updated information about the development and growth of the City (i.e. Census (www.census.gov) , growth trends, population counts, etc.). Additionally, the staff completes the annual Boundary & Annexation Survey for the U.S. Department of Commerce/Bureau of Census.