P&Z OKs major developments

Commission rejects retail at corner of FM 663 and FM 875 as part of 4 ½-hour meeting

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
An aerial view of the proposed Westside Preserve development, which is highlighted in light green. The Midlothian Planning and Zoning Commission approved an updated planned development for the 500-acre site during last Tuesday's meeting.

In a marathon session that lasted more than 4 ½ hours, the Midlothian Planning and Zoning Commission tackled no less than four huge development projects at length among numerous other agenda items during its Oct. 19 monthly meeting.

The commission approved a planned development zoning change for 506.6 acres for the Westside Preserve west of the U.S. Highway 67 and 287 interchange; denied a planned development on the northeast corner of FM 663 and FM 875; unanimously rezoned a planned development for the proposed 350-acre Hillwood Midlothian Business Park for commercial and heavy industrial uses north of U.S. 67 and east of Ward Road; and rezoned a 66.441-acre property east of U.S. 67 between Spur 77 and Main Street for a mixed-use development.

The Westside Preserve project was originally zoned as a planned development in 2004, but city planning director Trenton Robertson said the new PD cleans up the many amendments that had been added to the original PD. The new PD adds 97 townhomes, reduces the commercial and community retail area from 162 acres to 56, and reduces the minimum lot size to 5,000 square feet, raising the total number of single-family lots to 980. The commission added the condition that a specific-use permit requirement be added for the townhome section.

The planned development at the corner of FM 663 and FM 875 reduced the average lot size from one acre to a half-acre, increasing the number of single-family lots from 35 to 53, and added community retail space on the corner of the two highways. The request was unanimously denied after objections were raised to the addition of the retail.

The Hillwood industrial development is adjacent to the Gerdau solar farm under construction and is immediately south of Westside Preserve. Robertson told commissioners that because staff had some concern over uses next door to Westside Preserve, some prohibitions were added to the PD and the requirement of specific-use permits were added to other potential uses. A 70-foot building height restriction was added to the approved plan.

The final major development discussed during the long meeting alters an existing PD for a property immediately adjacent to the northeast corner of the U.S. 67-287 interchange for mixed use. The PD adds multifamily housing on the southern end and no more than 40 townhomes, as well as commercial and retail. The motion was approved as presented.

Chairman Maurice Osborn and commissioner Angela Stephens were not present. Vice chairman Scott Koehler presided over the meeting.

Other items

• The minutes of the commission’s Sept. 21 meeting were approved.

• A preliminary plat of a 150.809-acre property east of Norrell Road and south of FM 875 was approved. The property, to be known as Jordan Meadows, contains approximately 99 single-family lots and is located in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

• A preliminary plat for the 213.421-acre Lone Star Ranch subdivision was approved.  This property lies south of FM 875 along Plainview Road and directly abuts Stout Road to the east and the west. This 500- lot development will be developed in three phases, beginning with 278 lots to be delivered by December 2022.

• Commissioners denied by a 4-1 vote a specific-use permit for a secondary dwelling at 1038 Lakegrove Loop after several neighbors showed up to speak in opposition. Robertson said the plan meets all requirements except that the applicant requested a second electricity meter for the dwelling, because wiring it to the main residence would be cost-prohibitive. Robertson also noted that the property is deed-restricted and the dwelling cannot be used as a rental. However, commissioner Mike Rodgers said the SUP allowing a second meter would be permanent, and enforcing a rental restriction would be difficult.

• An SUP allowing a restaurant at 4470 East U.S. Highway 287, Suite 1000 was approved. The suite formerly housed a bakery.

• An urban village planned development district for mixed-use residential and retail development at 211 and 301 West Main Street was approved. The location is known as the Lawson District and the two buildings were purchased last year by the city and have since been sold. Robertson said the purpose of the rezoning is to revitalize downtown and encourage infill development.

• Mainly over traffic and drainage concerns, commissioners unanimously denied a planned development for a proposed warehouse and distribution center on 29 acres located adjacent to U.S. 67 near Shiloh Road. The property is zoned Light Industrial at present and lies in the “industrial module” in the city’s comprehensive plan. Two buildings were planned for the site with access in the rear for tractor-trailers.

• The commission approved a zoning ordinance amendment allowing shipping containers as a special exception use. Anyone wishing to use shipping containers in the city will have to go through the City Council and staff.

• A zoning amendment request for a 280.26-acre property to the east of U.S. 67 between U.S. 287 and Auger Road for non-residential uses was withdrawn.