The article regarding the July 25th City Council meeting, “Council gives second OK to Shops, ice arena” was interesting and covered most of the issues expressed by the citizens who spoke in opposition to the development. The issues were very rudely dismissed by one councilman saying, “I have noted all the issues mentioned and they have all been addressed before” without making any explanation about how they were addressed. This being my very first council meeting, I was appalled at the arrogant and dismissive tone he used to display his frustration with having been dealing with the “issue far too long.”
He seemed to be very annoyed that we even dared question the StarCenter, which is a $15-plus million dollar investment that benefits a very small percentage of Mansfield residents and, of course, a multi-billion dollar foreign-owned sports entity that is contributing only future rent and security deposit.
What was noteworthy is that the majority of the objections are to the newly added four-story, 330-unit apartment building with an adjacent four-story parking garage that will cause more traffic in an already congested residential area, complicate already horrendous drainage problems for those adjacent to the development, based on national studies bring a new influx of crime to the area, introduce additional students to an already crowded elementary school and add unneeded apartments when vacancies and already under construction new units within a 10-mile radius are taken into consideration.
Speakers very respectfully reviewed all these objections and cited multiple statistics as backup. The request was not even to disapprove the proposal but simply to table it for additional study. This seemed extremely reasonable particularly in light of the fact that the Mansfield Planning & Zoning Commission had already approved the development without the apartment complex. The deal seems to be that the developer gets far more profit from the apartment complex in exchange for agreeing to resurrect the StarCenter and providing the $2 million funding gap that caused the StarCenter project to be tabled last year. And the taxpayers of Mansfield just happen to also be paying for expanding Broad Street to six lanes and even Carlin Road, which is currently a narrow two lanes, will be pushed out to four lanes to accommodate entrance/exit for the apartments.
Oh, there was statement from the developer that adding the apartments will mean the ability to include more “high-end stores.” Sort of like give us the apartments or get another strip mall like all the others Mansfield already has. While we aren’t being told what these “high-end stores” will be, remember the development only has three large anchors planned – sporting goods, department and home goods. For those of us living in the Cannon residential communities, please think about the traffic we already have for the elementary school. Now think about adding new folks heading to/from work down Cannon to Matlock or 360 – nightmare! Then think about the developer’s statement that the average tenancy is one year. Do we really need transient residents who have no commitment to our community?
The next council meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at City Hall and will include the third and final reading for the development. Information can be accessed at the city website, https://mansfield.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx, which will include the agenda and information from the last readings and Planning & Zoning decisions. Emails may be sent to the mayor and City Council members whose email addresses are listed. No matter which side of the StarCenter debate you are on, please take action if you do not want more apartments in our community.