Council takes cautious steps on Stockyards

06/11/2014 5:36 PM

11/12/2014 6:06 PM

At the risk of sounding like Pollyanna herself, the view from here is that all sides benefited from Tuesday night’s City Council action on a huge new development plan for the Fort Worth Stockyards.

• The development team, the family-owned Hickman Companies and privately held California mega-developer Majestic Realty Co., achieved its initial goal of council approval for $26 million in tax breaks on work expected to cost $175 million (land cost not included).
• Opponents — maybe they’re better called “other concerned parties” at this point, because they seem to be pushing to preserve the historic Stockyards more than stopping any particular proposal — raised loud alarms about what should not be done.
• Council members, while voting 8-1 to approve the incentives, voiced their own desire for caution.

As with many other sensitive development proposals, they steered this one toward “planned development/mixed use with a site plan” zoning.

That means the developers will have to get city approval for individual elements of the development.

Opponents will have a chance to air specific concerns during future public hearings.

In a step that preservationists should consider significant, the council agreed to come up with detailed regulations for future development in the historic Stockyards.

No new permits will be issued until new zoning is in place.

In the universe of official City Council actions, it’s hard to see that anyone could have expected a better outcome.

Preservationists are right to emphasize that the Stockyards isn’t some fake western-themed amusement park.

It’s the real deal, and Fort Worth must make sure it remains authentic.

Still, no one should expect it to remain as-is forever.

It will either rot away or it will be developed in some commercially viable way.

Holt Hickman founded his company in 1964, and it owns most of the Stockyards land.

His son and daughter, Brad and Brenda, oversee daily operations.

They have a right to develop their property.

Concerned local residents and alert city officials can make sure it is done right.

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