The game of give-and-take between home developers and the City Council continues to play out on a 34-acre site on Southlake Boulevard just west of Davis Boulevard.
The latest proposal for the Stony Brook neighborhood was downsized from 64 lots to 48. This would mean more green space, in addition to having an average lot size of 19,794 square feet, bringing the density down to 1.38 units per acre, Terry Holmes, president of Holmes Builders, told officials at a recent council meeting.
But, that still wasn't enough to satisfy officials to buy in to the revised development plan.
Councilman Randy Williamson said the landowner needs to strongly consider the negative comments at the council session.
““They have to get real about what their bottom line is. It’s an awkward piece of property.”
Mayor Laura Hill acknowledged the challenges of developing this site, which backs up to high-density senior living at Watermere on the west.
“Unless you’re getting a steal of a deal on the land, I don’t know if anyone is going to be able to do what they want with this property,” Hill told the developer.
Some council members say the density is still too high for a gated neighborhood with one way in and one way out onto Southlake Boulevard.
Other council members supported the project and praised the developer for reducing the number of lots.
Southlake has other gated neighborhoods, including South Village, an age-restricted community just southwest of Stony Brook. The gated South Village has about 35 lots and is part of the larger Watermere retirement community.
The latest Stony Brook proposal showcased a 4-acre open space area with a pond in the center of the neighborhood. Council members said they’d like a gated neighborhood with a homeowners association to have amenities such as tennis courts, swimming pools and a playground.
The battle over density could only get worse because the remaining undeveloped land in Southlake is infill surrounded by existing homes and businesses. Also a factor: Land prices are booming, meaning developers want to cram as many lots on a property as they can to justify the expense of purchasing it.
This isn’t the first time a home builder has attempted to develop this site. Developer Paul Spain had plans for 65 lots two years ago but withdrew it after strong opposition.
While some homeowners on Brock Drive do oppose the project, Hill said that isn’t why she voted to table it.
“I appreciate how all the neighbors on Brock feel but that’s not what the conversation is about,” Hill said. “I had four meetings with Paul Spain before he threw up his hands and walked away,” she said. “We’re talking about this piece of property and its density. And is the city getting what it needs in exchange. We’re not going through that again.”