Mapping growth: Council discusses, approves new subdivision

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror

A planned subdivision for the growing south side of Midlothian drew extended discussion before receiving approval during last Tuesday night’s meeting of the Midlothian City Council.

The subdivision, to be known as Ridgepoint, covers just over 52 acres immediately east of 14th Street, south of its intersection with Ashford Lane.

City planning manager Marcos Narvaez said a number of changes were made to the plans since the first time they had been brought before the City Council. Among those changes are a reduction in number of lots from 150 to 144, the addition of park space at the main entrance and a widened landscape buffer along 14th Street.

The Planning and Zoning Commission on Sept. 15 recommended approval with the conditions that no more than 50 percent of the dwellings should be constructed with front-entry garages and that larger transitional lots be placed along the eastern and southern boundary of the development.

The council added more conditions to its approval last Tuesday night: that some lots east of 14th Street contain a wrought-iron fence with columns, that 20-foot-wide common areas be added in a couple of spots and that front-entry and J-swing garages should be prohibited.

Among other conditions added, the subdivision will be screened from 14th Street with a three-foot berm with evergreen trees planted in the buffer zone. The lots closest to 14th Street will be limited to one-story homes to reduce visibility of homes from that thoroughfare.

The motion passed unanimously, 5-0, with the exception of councilmember Clark Wickliffe, who recused himself from the vote.

All councilmembers and Mayor Richard Reno were present.

Other items

• The council heard the quarterly investment report from Linda Patterson of Patterson & Associates, the firm that provides financial services to the city. Patterson said the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the economy greatly, and this month’s elections were creating uncertainty in the market. Interest rates will likely remain low well into the first quarter of 2021, Patterson said.

• Midlothian Economic Development Corporation president and CEO Kyle Kinateder provided the annual MEDC report. Kinateder touted developments in Midlothian Business Park in 2020, with the Sunrider project the crowning jewel, and also praised the MEDC board’s partnerships with other entities in the city and Ellis County. A five-year plan is in the works, and Kinateder said MEDC will be proactive in promoting the city and finding employers to fill industrial space that is planned speculatively.

• The city’s Thoroughfare Plan was amended by removing a short 150-foot portion of rural parkway along FM 875. This relates to action taken by the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court last month that will reconfigure the FM 875 intersection with U.S. Highway 287 in the county’s thoroughfare plan.

• The council amended the ordinance governing preliminary plats, extending their period of validity from 12 months to 24 months. The amendment will reduce the growing number of developers asking for extensions and staff work required in the process, assistant city manager Clyde Melick said.

• Councilmembers approved the abandonment of a 10-foot utility easement at 853 Tayman Drive because of the presence of a pool that preceded the easement.

• A 15-foot easement for a sanitary sewer line within Railport Business Park was granted to the city of Venus, which will support development in that city close to the business park.

• Because of the future widening of FM 1387, the council agreed to remove the requirement of construction of a left turn lane at the Massey Meadows development. The highway is scheduled for upgrade in the 2024 timeframe by the Texas Department of Transportation. The change will save about $450,000 in impact fees that can be spent on other projects in the area.

• Digital alerting equipment for Fire Stations Nos. 2 and 3 for an amount of $127,000 was approved. Fire Chief Dale McCaskill said the equipment will bring the two stations on par with the new Fire Station No. 1, which opened this year.

• An agreement with Oncor Electric Delivery for $56,779 for installation of underground lines and transformers at the new Midlothian Community Park Phase II was approved. A related contract with Dean Electric, Inc. for associated costs was also OK’d.

• Following an executive session, no action was taken. However, the council subsequently scheduled a special session for Monday, Nov. 2 to discuss the purchase of two downtown tracts totaling 1.188 acres at a maximum cost of $3.382 million.