The Fort Worth City Council was in a pro-development mood Tuesday night as it defied major opposition to two proposed projects and approved significant zoning changes in a southeast neighborhood and the historic Stockyards.
On a 7-2 vote the council gave its OK to rezoning the historic Glen Garden Country Club and golf course in the Rolling Hills neighborhood from residential to mixed-use, which will allow Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. to build a whiskey distillery on the property.
A supermajority vote was required because more than 25 percent of property owners within 200 feet of the property opposed the zoning change. More than 2,000 residents signed a petition against the distillery and conference center, and the community’s council representative, Kelly Allen Gray, opposed it.
In the Stockyards, council members voted 8-1 — over the objections of some longtime stakeholders and the Zoning Commission’s recommendation that the request be denied — to permit construction of a $175 million mixed-used development.
Those opposed to the idea thought the council was moving too fast on a project that could clash with the historic nature of the Stockyards and have a negative impact on the unique Western heritage that is preserved in this popular tourist attraction.
The development, a plan put forth by the Stockyards-invested Hickman family and Majestic Realty Co. of California, could include hotels, residences and corporate headquarters, as well as livestock auctions and other Western-themed businesses.
Now that both developments have been approved, it will be important that Rolling Hills residents and those interested in preserving the historic integrity of the Stockyards remain engaged as these projects go forward. The developers have promised that they will be good neighbors and do no harm to either area.
Councilwoman Gray has said she will remain involved with the distillery as that development moves forward, and the company has said it still wants to work with the community to address any concerns there may be.
That’s a good start.
The City Council’s votes project an optimism that both of these developments will be successful without damaging their surroundings.
The council must work diligently to ensure that optimism was not just blind faith.