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Updated 06/09/13 04:46:22 PM   
Colleyville P&Z says no to more high density homes in commercial zoned area

November 29, 2005
Raman Chandler wanted to turn CC-2 zoning into more "empty nester" lots at an average rate of 3.93 per acre.

P&Z Chairman Jeff Byerly said the fact that an Keller elementary school was built adjacent to the site did not render it inappropriate for commercial development.  Byerly pointed out the multiple office and services that have been built near Colleyville Elementary.
The history of developer Raman Chandler, in the City of Colleyville, is that patience and timing are critical.  For example, in 2001 the Colleyville Planning and Zoning turned down three different proposals to change the location of the old Nine Acres complex from commercial to residential.

LNO reported on June 12, 2001, "
The Colleyville Planning and Zoning Commission in a 4-2 vote Monday evening denied a request by developer Raman Chandler to rezone a 43.891- acre tract on McDonwell School Road. This was Chandler's third attempt to rezone the property. The request would have allowed the development of 53 single-family lots on 14.9 acres, a density of 3.55 dwelling units per acre. "

Chandler had proposed to utilize the CC2 zoning to construct a par 3 golf course development including a driving range, pro shop and batting cages, as an interim use of the commercial zoning until a higher use would be feasible.

A move to approve the zoning with modifications by Jo Ann Gasper and seconded by Jeffrey Wall was defeated 4-2. Bryan Hill then moved to deny the zoning, with a second by Mark Hollis. That motion carried with Luann Edwards, Tom Hart, Hill and Hollis voting aye, and Gasper and Wall voting nay. Commissioners opposing the zoning cited the density, variances from the development code, and their concern about the uncertainty of the commercial development as part of the reasons for their opposition.

As in provided by City Charter, Chandler decided to take his case of high density housing, in lieu of the commercial zoning to a city council he anticipated would be much more likely to ignore the Master Plan and revise the long planned Western Gateway of the city.

LNO reported on August 9, 2001 on the large citizen turn out to oppose Chandler.  A large group of Caldwell Creek residents gave the city council an earful concerning Chandler's actions in their subdivision that resulted in a long drawn out legal battle where Chandler has lost at every court level according to Steve Magee, an attorney living in Caldwell's Creek today.

At the August 9th meeting, then Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Tom Hart, now City Councilman Tom Hart, spoke regarding the Commission's recommendation to deny the zoning change for Westgate. He referenced the Western Gateway Plan completed in 1996 by the city for the development of Precinct Line Road. The land in question is part of the western entrance to the city and as such plays an important role in the commercial possibilities for the area. Hart emphasized that the proposal has been denied three times by the commission because of the developer's insistence on the CC2 zoning instead of PUD-C, which was the preference of the commission. The PUD-C zoning is more restrictive and allows the city more control over the ultimate development of the land. Hart pointed out that Councilman Joe Hocutt had voted to deny the zoning while still a P&Z Commissioner. He also took exception to comments made by the developer that the Commission did not know what they were doing.

LNO reported on August 22, 2001, at that meeting, former Mayor Richard Newton addressed the council telling them he wanted to speak to the issues of leadership and leverage. He said he opposed the change and felt it was a mistake to link the residential and commercial zonings in the same request. "The PUD-R request is outside the boundaries of what is allowed in the current PUD-R ordinance" Newton stated, "and by zoning the commercial portion CC2 rather than PUD-C you will be giving up the leverage the council has to develop that entire end of town.” He urged the council to use their leadership to plan commercial development in that area just as they have along Highway 26. According to Newton, the Precinct Line corridor is essentially undeveloped, unlike 26, and already has a large road with traffic. By developing a strategy, the entire corridor could be planned. "If you don't retain leverage to implement a strategy you lose control. Don't make a short term decision for one individual." 

Remington Park resident Cheri Lopez echoed some of Newton's remarks. She told the council this was a good opportunity to build a presence on the west-end of town. She thought CC2 was too broad and wanted PUD-C to enforce architectural controls and to portray the same image as Hwy 26. 

Rich Munson spoke in favor of the zoning change. He felt the residential request was a good idea as a buffer, but commented that there were problems with the suggestion that the commercial piece be designated as PUD-C. "Give Mr. Chandler the latitude to do this in a way that's going to be the most beneficial for Colleyville" Munson said. 

Following a few more comments and questions by the council, the city attorney, Ross Foster, was asked what options the council had at that point. Foster indicated that if the applicant wanted the PUD-R and CC2 zonings to be voted on separately, he had two choices. One would be to withdraw the CC2 zoning and allow a vote on the PUD-R. Foster pointed out that if a request were withdrawn it would have to be resubmitted and start the entire process over again. The other option was to allow a vote on each zoning separately. If either were denied the applicant would have to wait one year before making another request for the same zoning. Shortly after this explanation by Foster, Councilperson Ginny Tigue moved to approve the ordinance in its original form, both the residential and commercial portions. Councilman Brad Rice seconded the motion. After an amendment to the motion by Councilperson Feldman to include provisions in the plat that the purchasers of the villa lots would be made aware of the adjacent commercial zoning, the zoning for both tracts was unanimously passed. 

Left to right:  Councilman Joe Hocutt; Councilman Brad Rice; City Secretary, Cynthia Singleton; Deputy City Manager, Dianne McWethy and Mayor Donna Arp

Left to right:  City Attorney, Ross Foster; Councilwoman Dana Feldman and
Ginny Tigue
(not pictured at the council meeting was Councilman Dennis Marlin who was absent). While all of the members of the city council had received support from developer Chandler, Marlin was forced to resign six days later over an issue of his failure to pay city taxes.  Raman Chandler and his wife Diane were one of only three reported donors to Marlin's successful campaign against then Mayor Pro Tem Nelson Thibodeaux.  Donating $1,000 each along with a home builder in Chandler's development who donated $1,000.

At the Monday evening session Commissioner Mary Taylor was absent. Three residents spoke in favor of the zoning saying they lived in the "empty nester" and did not care about green open space and did not want commercial close to their homes.  While this has a familiar ring in the city, Linda Baker reminded the Commissioners of former Councilwoman Dana Feldman's amendment that included provisions in the plat that the purchasers of the villa lots would be made aware of the adjacent commercial zoning.  None of the new Rosewood Villas residents indicated if they had received such notice.

Rosewood Villas (originally Westgate Villas)  Commissioner Denis Duffy pointed out that he was not going to support the zoning change and appreciated learning the history of the project.  Commissioner David Dudziak moved to deny the zoning and the motion received a second by Commissioner Duffy.  The denial was unanimous with Chairman Byerly joining, Commissioners John Blassingame,  Thomas Bartkowski, and Robert McCormick voting.

The developer has the option of appeal to the full city council and, as he had during the first round of zoning on this same property.  


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