Residents who are fighting a developer’s plans to build new apartments in the city launched a petition drive Monday in hopes of forcing an election in May to change zoning ordinances regulating density for multi-family housing.
Tom Burnett, who helped organize Save Bedford Texas, said the group plans to be at polling places to get signatures in addition to going into neighborhoods. The group wants to get 2,000 signatures, although 1,584 are required to get a ballot initiative.
Burnett said the group got around 300 signatures Monday as long lines formed at the Bedford Public Library for early voting.
“This is not blocking residential development,” he said. “We told the council we hope they would act on it but nothing happened. We told the council we would take other action.”
The council will discuss the density issue at Tuesday’s meeting.
The group’s two proposed ordinances would limit the number of multi-family units to 12 per acre, Burnett said. The city now allows 20 units. The ordinance also calls for new apartments to have a certain number of parking spaces 15 percent of the units set aside for elderly and disabled residents.
Save Bedford Texas opposes a developer’s proposal to build a 240-unit urban lots geared toward young professionals in Bedford Commons, an area of undeveloped land which is already zoned for apartments.
“We are not against apartments, we are against high density development. We desperately need more sales tax dollars,” he said.
Councilman Roger Fisher said Bedford hasn’t seen any new apartments since the 1980s and that the developer was the first to approach the city to build in Bedford Commons.
“I admire the group’s effort and respect their petition drive,” Fisher said. “I still think the best way to do this is to make sure this complies with our current zoning code.”