City to overhaul master plan

Big Spring will follow a new “road map” when dealing with future growth.During its Monday meeting, the city council voted 5-0 (Mayor Larry McLellan and Raul Benavides were absent) to authorize a comprehensive overhaul of the city's master plan, which officials said will serve as a guidepost of sorts as the city deals with growth issues brought on by the shale oil boom and other factors.“It's like you want to go to Dallas, but you don't have a road map. How do you know which direction to go?” City Finance Director Peggy Walker said. “We're already looking at bringing light retail and housing divisions in … we don't want to have heavy commercial businesses next door to those. You've got to have a plan in place so you can deal with those sort of issues and that's what the master plan will do.”The council authorized the architectural firm of Freese and Nichols to rewrite the city's master plan and also approved an expenditure not to exceed $225,000 to finance the project. While that amount proved to be a sticking point for some council members — particularly Mayor Pro Temp Marcus Fernandez — Walker said it is possible the city won't have to spend a penny for the project.“I feel very confident that the (Big Spring Economic Development Corp.) will supply the money for this,” she said. “But we have to have the financing in place before (Freese and Nichols) can begin work on the master plan.”