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       Linda Newton


Caldwell's Creek Residents Confront Developer at Standing-Room-Only Council Meeting


Dateline Colleyville: August 09, 2001 10:01 PM

Caldwell's Creek Residents Confront Developer at Standing-Room-Only Council Meeting

Tempers flared toward the end of Wednesday's city council meeting as residents of Caldwell's Creek squared off against developer Raman Chandler.  Only four council members were present to hear the concerns brought forth by twenty residents regarding the proposed 43-acre Westgate development on McDonwell School Road.  Mayor Donna Arp and Councilman Dennis Marlin were absent.  Mayor Pro Tem Ginny Tigue conducted the meeting.

Ginny Tigue, Mayor Pro Tem

The council was short Mayor Arp and Councilman Marlin

The property under consideration for rezoning is the old Nine Acres Club, which was rezoned PUD-C in February, 2000 to allow development of a private school.  The plan to build the school never materialized. Chandler has requested PUD-R zoning on 14.9 acres of the tract for residential development, with the intent to build 53 villa-style homes much like the Villas of Caldwell's Creek, with an average lot size of 6,753 square feet.  The Colleyville Development Code requires an average lot size of 16,000 square feet.  The proposal would rezone the remaining 29 acres CC2.  Opponents of the commercial zoning have voiced a preference for PUD-C zoning on that portion of the land because it would allow the city more control over the type of development that could occur there.

Just a few of the Caldwell's Creek Residents that spoke.

Most of the speakers during the two hour public hearing reside in Caldwell's Creek, a development that Raman Chandler began in the early 1990's.  The Caldwell's Creek Homeowners Association is currently in litigation with the developer over issues they say have not been resolved to their satisfaction.  Craig Calvery, one of the first residents to speak, asked "why aren't the other two council members here tonight".  Mayor Pro Tem Ginny Tigue started to respond, then said "I can't answer that", a reference to the rules of procedure followed by the council.  

Sue Guthrie, Caldwell's Creek Homeowner 
stated they are relocating and that "empty lot" 
was affecting her property values.

The majority of the speakers did not ask for a denial of Chandler's request.  Rather, they asked the council to table the zoning change until certain issues in their subdivision could be resolved.  Several residents of Caldwell's Creek referenced long standing problems in their subdivision, but focused mainly on a detention pond on a lot at the north end of Shepherd's Glen adjacent to John McCain Road.  After trying for months to get action from the city, residents met last week at the site with Mayor Arp and Raman Chandler.  Bob Kinley, a homeowner on Shepherd's Glen, expressed optimism at Wednesday's meeting that the issue could be resolved, but joined other residents in asking the council to use their leverage by withholding approval of the Westgate development until the Caldwell's Creek problems were addressed.

Jim Moore

Kipp Whitman

Steve Magee of Caldwell's Creek and Vickie Gardner of Remington Park, a subdivision adjacent to the proposed Westgate development, both referenced the current issue of the city newsletter, The Communicator, in their comments.  According to the newsletter, one of the top priorities selected by the council for the coming year is higher land development standards.  Ms. Gardner commented that the proposed zoning change "flies in the face of everything the Mayor has written and is in conflict with The Communicator that arrived in the mail Wednesday".  She further stated that the Planning and Zoning Commission, which has recommended denial of the current request, "has the interest of Colleyville at heart" and commended them for "being consistent in trying to uphold ordinances".

Steve Magee, Caldwell's Creek Homeowner

Vickie Gardner, Remington Park Homeowner

Jeff Zimmerman, owner of a home in Remington Park and acreage on Lavaca Trail, spoke against the zoning change.  He owns the property directly south of the proposed Westgate Villas.  Zimmerman stated that Chandler had met with him and had accused him of "being involved with his (Chandler's) political adversaries".  He believes the proposed CC2 zoning is too broad and supports the existing PUD zoning on the property.  He questioned Chandler's commercial development and golf course development experience.  He closed his presentation by saying "I don't want to live next door to an unregulated testing ground".

Jeff Zimmerman, Remington Park Homeowner
Lavaca Trail Landowner

Former council member and Caldwell's Creek resident, Nelson Thibodeaux, told the council "I know you are trying to do the right thing and I know you are looking at this objectively".  He asked the council to table the request and look at how PUD's are approved and how requirements placed on them are enforced.  He also announced that he had recently put his house on the market and probably would not be a citizen in the future, but implored the council to help the citizens of Caldwell's Creek. 

Nelson Thibodeaux, Caldwell's Creek Homeowner

Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman 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.

Tom Hart, P&Z Chairman

Addressing the commercial portion of the zoning, B&W Cabinets owner Mike Deaton expressed concern about the ultimate development of the entire area.  Deaton's business occupies the corner of the McDonwell School Road/Precinct Line intersection.  B&W Cabinets has been in operation on the same site for 28 years and employs 50 people.  Three generations of his family are employed by the cabinet shop.  They have updated their facilities in recent years and have plans to continue to do so.  He mentioned that a Wal-Mart Super Center is slated to develop across the street in North Richland Hills, and that Colleyville could benefit greatly from the proper development of the site in question.  Deaton does not feel CC2 is the appropriate zoning category for the land and that improper development  could adversely affect the value of his property.

Several members of the audience spoke in favor of the zoning change.  Nancy Dennis, a local realtor and Brook Meadows resident, said the "Caldwell Creek Villas have enhanced the beauty of the area and enhanced the values of the properties around them".  Bob Putnam, president of the Remington Park Homeowner's Association, said that Chandler had worked with their board in planning the proposed Westgate Villas and that they were in favor of the zoning changes.  Area resident Rich Munson spoke in favor of the changes as well.  He stated that while he empathized with the flooding problems being experienced by the Caldwell's Creek residents, he felt that Chandler was at the "mercy of the design" and placed the blame for the current problems on the engineers who did the plan and the previous councils who voted for it.  Gary Panno, a builder in Caldwell's Creek and the Villas praised Chandler, saying "they don't get better than Raman" and "if there's a problem he handles them".

Bob Putnam, Remington Park HOA President

Following the public hearing, presentations were made by the developer and his representative, Chuck Watson.  Upon taking the podium Chandler said he was going to present his side of the story.  Facing the residents who spoke about the Caldwell Creek issues he questioned "Why did all you folks buy homes there if it's in such disarray?" and then said that was meant in jest.  

Chuck Watson

Raman Chandler, Developer

Chandler stated that the drainage problems and flooding on Shepherd's Glen and Bellefonte were caused by silt buildup in the bar ditches on John McCain and problems with a drainage pipe under the road.  He stated that after the city corrects its problems there he can address the problems that are his responsibility.  It is his plan to remove the detention designation from the vacant lot and fill it in and build a home there.  In a reference to the number of residents present from Caldwell's Creek, Chandler said he felt he had been "blindsided tonight" and suggested that it might have been orchestrated by Mr. Magee and Mr. Thibodeaux.  At this point several citizens tried to call for point of order but were ignored by the council.

Ditches in front of Caldwell's Creek

One of the residents front yard on Bellefonte Lane in Caldwell's Creek

The lot on Shepehards Glen with the retention pond

After the presentations by the developer were completed, Mayor Pro Tem Ginny Tigue announced that she had a letter to read from the applicant, Raman Chandler, addressed to Interim City Manager Dianne McWethy.  The letter stated that information which had been requested by the city concerning the application was not yet available, and as a result of that he was asking that the item be tabled.  The reading of this letter followed a public hearing that had lasted over two hours.  Councilwoman Dana Feldman moved to table based on the requests of the applicant and citizens, Councilman Brad Rice seconded, and the vote was unanimous.  Immediately following the vote the residents in the audience who had requested that the item be tabled broke into applause.  At that point Feldman called point of order, admonished the audience for clapping and stated that it was not proper decorum for a council meeting.  Several Caldwell's Creek residents remained in the audience through the remainder of the meeting in order to address the council at the appropriate time about items not on the agenda, specifically their request that the council help them in their efforts to solve their problems with Chandler.  It was well past midnight before they were able to make their final requests.  

Dana Feldman