The M3 Ranch finally got the green light to proceed with more than 1,500 single family homes and 375 townhomes in southwest Mansfield over the next decade.
In addition to approving the zoning change for the 714-acre project on July 9, the City Council approved an economic development agreement that reimburses the developer for public infrastructure costs.
Under the deal, Mansfield will pay M.R. Development 35 percent of the property taxes collected within M3 Ranch up to $18 million or 25 years, whichever comes first, said Peter Phillis, deputy city manager. That will pay for roads and other public infrastructure and quality of life amenities within M3 Ranch.
Overall, the project is expected to generate more than $100 million in property tax revenue and fees for the city during that time.
“This is the exact definition of growth paying for growth,” Mayor David Cook said.
Councilman Terry Moore asked Phillis if this was a good deal for the city.
Phillis said that it will generate returns for the city while not taking money out of pocket from the general revenue fund.
“That’s a significant investment in the southwest portion of the city,” Phillis said. “It will generate about 5,000 people for the community. Revenue from new residential product will repay the developer the costs for the infrastructure.”
While the zoning change passed unanimously, not everyone was board with the economic incentive.
Councilman Casey Lewis cast the lone no vote against the deal. The council agenda packet for the meeting had no information on what the deal would be. Instead, the council was briefed in closed session prior to the meeting and Phillis discussed it in public session before the vote.
“I wish I’d had a little more time to dig through it,” Lewis said. “I like the project but I’m struggling with the vote.”
Tamera Bounds, who ran unsuccessfully for council in May, wrote a letter to the council opposing the 380 developer agreement. She said Mansfield is already a hotbed for growth with developers falling over each other to get in the city so there’s no need to fast track this deal.
She said this “comes at a time when taxpayers are begging the city to be frugal with its budget and look for meaningful ways to provide tax relief to the homeowner.”
Property taxes are rising fast in Mansfield, in large part because appraisals are skyrocketing and the city and school district haven’t indicated that they plan to offer any relief this year.
Today, the future M3 Ranch is mostly sweeping pastures with a few natural gas well sites sprinkled throughout as visible from Farm to Market 917. The development will actually stretch on both sides of FM 917.
Ben Luedtke, executive vice president of Hanover Property Company, said there’s at least one future school site within the project. Mansfield ISD already owns land just to the east on Flying L Lane that could be a sixth high school.
There’s also prime real estate for future retail development along FM 917. The project could have at least two gated neighborhoods, one for single-family homes and another for townhomes.
Trails are planned throughout the project with pocket parks in key locations in the neighborhood. An amenity center is planned in the center of the project. There will be gathering places and ranch-style branding throughout to create a sense of place, Luedtke said.
He added that he would work with the city on possibly locating a fifth fire station in or near M3 Ranch.