MIDLOTHIAN — Police Chief Carl Smith began a presentation before the Midlothian City Council by laying out the many problems with the current police and court buildings before asking that the city begin looking to the future. Smith then turned the discussion over to Gina Irwin of Brinkley, Sargent, and Irwin to illustrate the needs of an expanded law enforcement facility.

“The future facility plans need to look toward development on the site of the current court and police facility,” said Irwin during the Feb. 28 meeting. 

Irwin cited needed improvements that range from larger property and evidence secure areas to increased parking — both secured and public — and additional court areas, such as public conference areas and an increased court clerk area.

“Often there are lines outside the door of people waiting to take care of court business,” Irwin said.

According to Irwin’s need-assessment analysis, the police department will grow from a present staff of 45 officers and 27 civilian employees to 108 officers and 54 civilian staff members by the year 2020. The growth coincides with that of the population.

Likewise, the City of Midlothian Municipal Court currently has a four-member staff and will grow to at least six employees by 2020.

To meet this growth need the City of Midlothian will need a facility of at least a combined area of 64,236-square feet for both the police and court facilities. Presently, both are in a 46,500-square-foot building.

Irwin proposed two configurations — one with the police and court in the same multiple story building and the other with the court in a separate building.

“With the court in a separate building, there will be some loss of public parking,” Irwin said.

The cost estimate of the new facility was projected by Irwin to be approximately $30,599,500.

“This could be funded through a bond program plus city funds,” Irwin said.

The bond-funding plan proposed included a bond election in November 2017 with the design, engineering and bidding processes going through the spring of 2019. Construction would start around the same time, with the building ready for occupancy by December 2020.

No action was taken, as this was a report from an assessment study.

In new business, several amendments to the Midlothian Zoning Ordinance regarding Masonry Standards for Residential Districts were unanimously approved. Assistant City Manager Kristine Day introduced the changes to be heard during the public hearing.

“The staff is bringing forth this ordinance amending the text of the Zoning Code under Section 3.5500 Masonry, Architecture and Building Standards for Residential Districts,” Day said

The changes requested included renaming the section, consolidating the section with Section 3.5502, and amending provisions regarding approval of accent feature materials, authorizing standing seam roofs, compliance with requirements for spacing of like building elevations and providing additional approval of alternative roof pitches.

Day explained the addition of the metal roof materials was for a standing-seam roof only.

In the consent agenda, an item canceling the May 6 General Election was unanimously approved. There were three city seats with expiring terms currently held by Midlothian Mayor Bill Houston, and Councilman Place 1 and Place 2 held by Wayne Sibley and Mike Rogers, respectively.

All three incumbents filed for reelection for a three-year term and, according to Houston, "there were no other persons filing for the election."