One of my new year's resolutions is to watch the Fairview and Lucas planning and zoning and City Council meetings. We sell so much in these two towns I want to stay abreast of any changes and make sure our team does too.
I'm fine with sharing my notes but keep in mind ...
I'm only reporting what I saw and heard. I'm not taking sides on any issue. If you have questions about anything you see here, please don't contact me, call the appropriate town.
Last night, I watched the Fairview Planning and Zoning Meeting on Ring. It was three and a half hours long and I took 3 full pages of typed notes. It would be impractical to share the entire meeting, so I'll just summarize what happened along with some of the comments,. There were four agenda items.
Changing the zoning on a site at the NWC of Meandering and Stacy from RE-1 (residential 1 acre lots) to commercial
Providing direction on the allowance appearance of privacy gates on private entrances
First Agenda Item
Changing the zoning on the Kelly Property from 3 acres to 1.2 acres
This property is currently zoned RE-3 which means one home on a minimum of 3 acres. Mr. Kelly would like to have it rezoned to one home on a minimum of 1.2 acres. His comments were summarized as follows ...
The town of Fairview has rezoned other similar properties in the past to a higher density at the request of the developers. He stated he would be treated unfairly if not allowed to rezone to a higher density just because he waited longer to request it.
The owner agreed to leave the pond area with all the trees in place to maintain the ambiance and the city liked the idea so they agreed to 1.2 acre lots instead of 1.5 acre lots
The town had already reached a settlement agreement with him so he's just asking for what has been agreed on
There were 64 Fairview residence who voiced their opinions against it. Their comments are summarized as follows ...
Several residents stated they resented the fact that on such an important issue they could not attend in person due to Covid. They requested the decision be delayed until the Covid crisis was over and they could show up in person to protest
One citizen stated Allen has been holding their meetings in person through the entire covid shutdown. Zoning discussed the possibility of renting a place like The Allen Event Center where people could show up but social distancing would still be adhered to.
One resident stated they weren't aware of any settlement agreements on the property and it appeared no-one else was either. Zoning stated they were sued several years ago for unfair zoning practices and it went to mediation. That's how the settlement came about.
One resident asked if the vote was cast in concrete and zoning replied they only made recommendations to the city council and they had the final approval. They also stated the would have to decide if they wanted to take the risk of another lawsuit by not adhering to the settlement.
One resident stated the townspeople had the right to review the settlement since no-one knew about it.
One resident stated with 9 more homes if there is an average of 3 students per home, that's an additional 27 students going to Puster. They asked if P and Z had contacted the district to see if that was going to be an issue. Zoning said they had spoken with the district about access to the school but not consequences of adding 27 more students.
One resident commented she thought her child was going to end up being bused from Puster all the way over to Hart at one time. It didn't happen but she was concerned it would be if there were that many new students.
One resident asked if Tim Jackson Custom Homes would be building on the property and the seller answered yes. Several people commented that was a good choice as he's an excellent builder but they still did not want the upzoning.
One resident stated there was "no demonstrable reason" to change the zoning as required by city ordinances
One resident stated when the residents moved into the area they looked at the future zoning beforehand and were assured by the town it would remain as is. They felt the town was betraying the citizens
One resident stated the property had been denied upzoning a couple of years ago so why is the issue being taken up again. Zoning pointed out owners can reapply for different zoning every year if they wish, which is why it's come up again.
Several callers said the camera image was grainy and they had now idea who was sitting where and even who the new members were
I didn't hear anyone in favor of passing the zoning request with the exception of the owner of the land however I was on a few minutes after the meeting started
The vote was 5 in favor and 2 against the rezoning so it was passed on to city council for final approval. I could not tell who voted for or against from the grainy video.
Second Agenda Item
Changing the zoning on the Stoddard property from one home per 3 acres to one home per 1.2 acres
The first caller pointed out that 64 people were in line to talk about the negative impact of the Kelly property right down the street and P and Z ignored them all then proceeded to "approve and kick it up the line" to city council. She also said the members "should sit up straight and stop looking bored" (In defense of zoning, it was a very long night and I didn't notice that)
One caller expressed their anger at just being informed of this settlement now and that's not the way to run a government
One caller said the viewers had no idea who the P and Z member were and how they voted. Said they couldn't read the name plates on their tables.
One caller who lived in Fairview Meadows, right next door to this project, expressed concerns there was already flooding with heavy rains at Country Club and more development and concrete would make the conditions worse
Another resident said the town needed a drainage plan before they approve
One caller asked why the town cannot live by their own zoning regulations. What's forcing them to change them to higher density
One caller brought up the concerns about Puster Elementary not being able to take on more new kids if everything is upzoned
One caller asked why zoning is requested the citizens not repeat the same comments to save time. There were 52 callers waiting to talk at one time and all wanted to say the same thing. By limiting the objections to just one person, it diluted the impact of how strongly all of the callers are opposed to the rezoning.
One caller asked if there was going to be any landscaping between Fairview Meadows and the new development. The representative for the developer replied there wouldn't be. They said the last time they went through this process at least the developer had agreed to landscaping however that was another developer.
One caller asked why P and Z isn't giving any consideration to the impact on the schools with more new students. Zoning replied the city and school district are two different entities. The caller wasn't satisfied with that answer and said something like this should be a joint cooperation between the two
Another caller asked if once it's approved and moved up to city council can it be denied. Zoning said "Yes, their job is to make recommendations and it's up to city council to approve or deny"
One P and Z member stated Lovejoy ISD had made their projections on the costs of running the district based on current zoning. Upzoning would mean more students.
One P and Z member who couldn't attend suggested they table it and set up a meeting with city council to discuss it further. He also stated he felt the residents were feeling like no matter what input they had, the zoning request was going to be approved and rubber stamped, which is not a healthy thing. He also agreed that not being able to appear in person to protest was a problem and it would have been more impactful if allowed.
Six of the seven members agreed to table it and set up a meeting with city council before the next P and Z meeting in February. Again, I could not tell who voted for or against this. Zoning also said they were going to contact Lovejoy ISD to find out what the impact of that many more students in both the Kelly and Stoddard property would be.
Third Agenda Item
Proposed rezoning from one home per acre to commercial for 13 garden office buildings
The applicant requested the project at the Northwest corner of Stacy Rd and Meandering be tabled but P and Z spent quite a bit of time trying to decide whether they still had to receive resident input. Zoning also wasn't sure whether they should view the applicants Powerpoint presentation or table it until next time. After some time, they decided it was best to allow the applicant to show his presentation now and to take resident input. The developer stated he wants to work with the town of Fairview and showed his designs.
The residents stated they were attractive buildings but that wasn't the point. The property was zoned RE-1 and there's no reason to change it.
One caller said that is a dangerous intersection as it is and this will compound the situation
One River Oaks homeowner said the development would devalue his property
Another River Oaks homeowner said he lives directly behind the proposed project and it would devalue his property for sure. He stated before he bought, he was assured that property would always remain residential and now they're trying to change it. He felt like he was misled. He also said considering P and Z was tabling the proposal on the Stoddard property because of higher density zoning, why aren't they tabling this project too. Especially since it was being changed from residential to commercial. He also stated he didn't want "smelly dumpsters backing up to his home"
Another Fairview resident said P and Z is not protecting its citizens
A Bridlegate resident said they moved to Fairview from Murphy to escape all the commercial coming in. Now it looks like Fairview is doing the same thing.
Another caller suggested P and Z just advise developers the zoning is not going to change and for their best interests to stop wasting money on proposed site plans
The applicant stated he wanted to table the vote so he could personally visit with the homeowners surrounding the property
One caller stated the applicant shouldn't waste his time doing this because it wasn't going to change anyone's mind.
One caller said when they moved to Fairview they were assured there would be no commercial beyond Greenville Ave and they were misled
Another caller was very upset threatening to sue if the development devalued his property. He also asked why P and Z passed the zoning on the Kelly property when everyone who spoke was against it. He said he was a developer and realizes it's a tough sell for residential along Stacy Rd. He said he'd buy it and let Tim Jackson build homes on it.
The vote was tabled until the next P and Z meeting. I couldn't tell from the video how everyone voted but it passed easily, and maybe unanimously.
Fourth Agenda Item
Zoning Regulations for Gated Entries on Estate Properties
This was about what homeowners not within HOA's can and cannot do with their gated entries. One of the P and Z members stated it was an arbitray number of 10 acres.
The first debate in Zoning was how large the property should be to allow a privacy gate. They came to the conclusion 2 acres was too small and 10 acres was too large to require a permit
One caller asked where they were getting their specs for the zoning requirement
One caller asked since they hadn't even decided on the size of the required lot size, how could they vote on the zoning?
The vote on the zoning was tabled however I could not tell what the vote was.