Southlake City Council tables condo plan

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Southlake City Council voted to table a request to allow additional housing units downtown after council members raised many questions that the developer, Cooper and Stebbins, could not answer.

Residents continued to express concerns that the development will attract more high-density projects to Southlake and, ultimately, hurt property values.

“Not only will it not decrease values, I believe it will absolutely increase values in our city,” Mayor John Terrell said at the Sept. 3 meeting. “I am willing to see what you bring back based on what we’ve given.”

The plan would add 133 units, both brownstones and high-quality lofts, just north of the existing brownstones on the east side of Southlake Town Square.

Most of the council’s questions involved specifics about the buildings, such as garages, and how the developer plans to relieve traffic.

Frank Bliss, president of Cooper and Stebbins, said he plans to return for the Sept. 17 meeting, but might not be able to get answers to all of the remaining 35 questions by that date.

He said the back and forth between the council and the developer is to be expected for a project of this scope.

“We took detailed notes,” Bliss said after the meeting. “We see it all as an additive process.”

One major concern expressed by some residents was that the 40 lofts in a building called The Residences would be available for rent as well as sale.

The lofts would sell at an estimated starting price of $500,000 or rent starting at $3,000 a month. Cooper and Stebbins representatives said opening the units for rental allows the market to better gauge the financing and appraising of the units.

Southlake resident Michael Carter said he trusts Cooper and Stebbins’ commitment to high quality, but does not want to introduce high-density living in Southlake. He told the council of watching multi-family residences “ruin Irving” when he lived in that city.

“My fear is, once council approves high-density properties, it will open the floodgates,” he said. “We will see apartments up and down [Texas] 114.”

Councilman Martin Schelling said he does not share that concern.

“I don’t see how this 40-unit condominium is going to ruin Southlake,” he said. “I think they have some homework to do, but I think it’s appropriate.”

Southlake resident John Rafa brought a petition signed by more than 500 people who want to keep apartments out of Southlake.

“I have no problem at all with the condos as planned,” he said. “My issue is, they are saying up front that their intention is to lease them. The community needs more than good intentions.”

Brownstone owner Ryan Smith said people are opposing a plan that they do not understand.

“Somebody else labeled these as apartments,” he said. “The developer has not called them apartments, the council has not called them apartments. Everybody would sign on for no apartments.”

Grapevine resident Scott Hoyt said he lived in the original Southlake brownstones but moved because he wanted a single-level floor plan. He and his wife intend to move into the lofts if they open.

“If someone is willing to pay $3,000 to rent a luxury condominium in Town Square, you're not going to worry about them bringing drugs in and drive-by shootings, which I’ve heard referenced,” he said.

Some council members expressed major concerns with The Residences and their density.

“I do not like and cannot support The Residences that are on block 4,” Councilwoman Carolyn Morris said.

When the council voted to table the items for a future meeting, she voted against it. Council members Randy Williamson and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Muller also said they are not in favor of the development, but voted to table the items.

Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770 Twitter: @dustindangli

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