Keller P&Z recommends denial for Blackwood Hills

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Keller Planning and Zoning Commission recently recommended denial for a zoning change and land-use amendment for a development that includes patio homes in an area zoned for low density.

During an Oct. 14 meeting, applicant and developer Larry Cole presented commissioners with a proposal for Blackwood Hills, a single-family residential development consisting of 146 residential lots, 12 open space lots, one amenity lot and one private street lot on about 60 acres of land at 545 Rufe Snow Drive, just south of the Bear Creek trail.

The proposed development, to be on the east side of Rufe Snow Drive about 350 feet south of Bear Creek Parkway, would consist of three zoning districts — 64 patio homes with a minimum lot size of 5,000 square feet, 15 lots with a minimum lot size of 8,400 square feet and 67 lots at 15,000 square feet. The current zoning is for 36,000 square foot lots.

On Oct. 4, city staff mailed 63 notification letters about the public hearing to nearby property owners and three public hearing notice signs were posted on the site.

As of Oct. 10, city staff received two responses from the public in support and 16 letters and emails in opposition to the planned development zoning change request.

During the public hearing, 17 people spoke in opposition and one person spoke in favor of the project.

Concerns included increased traffic and congestion, drainage issues, decreased property values, higher taxes and overall quality of life.

Cole asked commissioners not to judge the quality of the house by the size of the lot and said home buyers in today’s economy are just not wanting big properties with large lawns to maintain.

“Buyers are moving down from larger lots so they can travel more and have less to take care of,” he said. “We are building lots for the market.”

Commissioners were not inclined to recommend the zoning change.

“I’ve heard all of the issues and I agree that quality is not equal to lot sizes, however, I don’t think this particular layout fits well in this community,” Commissioner Kenneth Lewis said. “To get variances of the type you are requesting goes against what the development for that area is slated to be ... and to me, this particular neighborhood looks very chopped up. The project doesn’t look like it flows.”

City Council will vote on the proposal during the Nov. 5 meeting.

Staff Writer Sandra Engelland contributed to this report.

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