A proposed east-west roadway that would connect Robinson Road and Walnut Grove Road drew opposition from a number of residents as well as some Midlothian City Council members at Tuesday night’s semimonthly regular meeting.
A public hearing on the road is scheduled for the next City Council meeting on Feb. 25.
The roadway is identified on the city’s thoroughfare plan as a major collector with four undivided lanes and an 80-foot right-of-way. The road would be a continuation of Robinson that would extend it to intersect with Walnut Grove.
The to-be-developed property is known as The Villages of Walnut Grove. It is adjacent to a light industrial area to the west, and this new thoroughfare is expected to draw truck traffic.
Mike Varrichio, a real estate agent who represents the buyer for the southern portion of the property, was the first speaker to address the council.
Varrichio said his client opposes the east-west road because the cost of construction causes a burden on the landowner, and also because driving industrial trucks through a property that is planned for high-end commercial and entertainment makes no sense.
“In addition to the fact that that road will be there with trucks going through it, my buyer believes that the land will be reduced in value, and limits our options on what we can do there,” Varrichio said.
David Hanson, who has the contract on the property, echoed many of Varrichio’s concerns.
“You’re running this road on the southern edge of a residential district and kids on bikes seven, eight, nine years old are going to be riding that road,” Hanson said. “We feel there’s a real safety concern there. I understand the desire to avert the safety concerns at (U.S. Highway) 287, but we feel like we’re trading that safety concern off for a whole new group of safety concerns.”
Jacob Wheat spoke on behalf of Liquid Stone Concrete, which operates in the industrial park on Eastgate Drive. Wheat said driver safety is the company’s top priority and drivers are directed to access U.S. 287 directly with a right turn, using the Texas turnaround at Midlothian Parkway when headed east.
David Karmy, the co-owner of Liquid Stone Concrete, added that it isn’t in the best interest of his company to have residential vehicles passing through an industrial park.
Kevin Seals, who works for Waste Connections Inc. at 1080 Eastgate, said the proposed road passes next to the gate for the company’s truck parking and there are 31 different routes that the trucks run out of that lot. The creation of the road would create a problem for the trucks.
Council members spent 30 minutes discussing options to avoid mixing industrial and commercial traffic, including eliminating connections to Eastgate.
“I agree with the truck drivers,” councilman Ted Miller said. “I don’t want city cars running on that street and I don’t want semi trucks running down their street.”
Councilman Mike Rodgers, who operates A&M Fence Supply at 881 Eastgate, said he views the road plan as “disastrous.”
“I see the benefits of safety are far outweighed by the non-desired, non-deserved impact on Eastgate, which is a medium industrial district,” Rodgers said. “You do not mix medium industrial with privatized citizenry for any reason as far as I’m concerned.”
Rodgers made the recommendation to staff that the Robinson connection with Eastgate be removed. The council voted on the non-binding recommendation and sided with Rodgers by a 6-1 vote.
Council member Art Pierard cast the “no” vote, saying he preferred mixing cars and trucks on a 30-mph road to doing it on the higher-speed U.S. 287. Pierard cited a number of wrecks on 287 at Clinton Road, where trucks merge with westbound traffic.
“I don’t want to be the vote that says somewhere down the road, when there’s a wreck, and the parents say ‘Why were those trucks out on that road?’ and it’s because the City Council of 2020 blocked any other option of them but to get on to 287,” Pierard said. “I don’t want to be part of that.”
The council spent a large portion of Tuesday night’s meeting considering a number of zoning-related issues, approving four agenda items. One item was withdrawn by the applicant and another was continued to the next Council meeting, which will be Feb. 25.
A specific use permit for a car wash at Silken Crossing was approved by the board. The canopy at the car wash was painted red, which is against the city’s code and required council action to override it.
The zoning of two undeveloped lots at the northwest corner of West Avenue F and North 6th Street was changed from commercial to urban village. City planning manager Marcos Narvaez said the lot will be replatted into three lots for single-family use.
An approximately 4.142-acre property on the north side of U.S. Highway 287 was rezoned from commercial to a planned development district for medical and general professional uses. This property will be the site of a Baylor Scott & White clinic and the change allows the clinic to use two monument signs.
Another planned development district was established at the southwest corner of 14th Street and Mount Zion Road, which is just south of U.S. 287. City planning director Trenton Robertson said the original design called for seven structures but was reduced to six to accommodate better traffic flow in and out of the property. A restaurant will be part of this development.
• Council members adopted a new ordinance to prohibit parking, stopping or standing along designated roadways with a fine of $200. The ordinance was proposed to address trucks parking in right-of-way along Robinson Road.
• Tony Sanders was nominated to the city Utility Advisory Board to fill a vacancy created when a current board member’s six-year term expired.
• Doug Clark of the Gryphons Motorcycle Club spoke to the council and thanked them and the Midlothian Police Department for their support in the 35th annual Ellis County Toy Run on Dec. 8. The toy run is held the second Sunday of every December.
• No action was taken following an executive session.