Isaac Cove denied, council accuses developer of using scare tactics

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Keller City Council recently denied a zoning change, and during a heated discussion members told the developer they will not be bullied into a vote.

Council unanimously denied the zoning change July 16 for Isaac Cove, a proposed single-family residential development on the north side of Florence Road, west of North Pearson Lane.

The developer requested the zoning to be changed from low density 36,000 square-foot minimum to 25,000 square-foot lots.

The item required a three-fourths approval by Council to pass, because 34 percent of nearby property owners submitted written objections, which is 14 percent more than the requirement for a super majority vote.

After learning about the super majority vote requirement, the developer, Skorburg Co. of Dallas, asked to table the item until the Aug. 6 meeting, but that was denied by council.

“This case has gone through planning and zoning at least four times, and has gone through a lot of discussion, a lot of debate and a lot of working with neighbors,” Mayor Pat McGrail said. “In all fairness to the citizens, it was advertised that tonight we would have a public hearing and vote on it. I feel like we need to do that because this has just been dragging on.”

Roughly 16 people spoke during a public hearing about the proposal, most speaking in opposition.

Adam Buczek, a representative of the developer, gave council members a presentation with photos of alternatives of what the developer could do if the item was not passed as presented.

“We do have a way, if the city so chooses, to just come out and plat 36,000-square-foot lots,” Buczek said.

The photos depicted developments with houses surrounded by trees versus developments with no trees.

“On the left is the type of development you would have under this proposal and on the right-hand side would be the alternative,” he said. “We’re going to plat this property either way.”

Councilman Doug Miller reminded Buczek that Keller has a tree preservation ordinance and that council would not allow the developer to cut down all of the trees with the alternative option.

“You’re not going to be allowed to come in there and clear cut 36,000 square foot lots,” he said.

Miller said “no builder or developer in their right mind is going to take that piece of property.”

“It’s a bluff, and it’s a poor bluff,” he said. “And it ticks me off that you come in here thinking that is going to scare us into voting for this.”

Buczek told Miller he is “not trying to scare anybody.”

“I’m just trying to move forward with a proposed development,” he said. “You can tell me whatever you decide, you have all the power.”

Councilman Bill Dodge said he also didn’t appreciate the applicant’s presentation.

“What turned me off completely was your slide show at the end. It’s a scare tactic, it’s not appreciated and no one in this room is stupid enough to believe it,” Dodge said.

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