The Waxahachie Planning and Zoning Commission denied a final plat for the new AT&T store in Northgate Plaza during its meeting Wednesday.

Members voted against it because developers wanted to keep the current store’s existing drive on to U.S Highway 77.

“Where that drive is on that roadway poses a real safety hazard to drivers in the way they stack up to the light. Drivers are more concerned with watching the light than looking for traffic coming out of a business that is near the light,” director of public works Jeff Chambers said.

“That entrance might be convenient in the short term but, in the long run, it is going to be a traffic hazard and an inconvenience to customers,” he said.

Chambers also noted the driveway is in violation of new safety standards for Highway 77 as set by city.

Representing the applicant was John Grant from Grant Engineering, who suggested several alternatives so the store could keep its drive. One of the ideas was to make it a turn-in only drive with an exit elsewhere, an idea rejected by the commission because people simply ignore the rules sometimes.

The company plans to keep the existing building open while construction begins on the new one. When construction is complete in about six months, the old building will be demolished.

Commissioners suggested that Grant acquire right of way and use the single light that leads into Northgate Plaza as the entrance for the store.

Since Grant’s request was denied, members said the existing store could continue to use the current entrance. However, any new site plan submitted to the city will have to have another entrance into the store that is not off of Highway 77.

335-acre

development

In other business, members continued a public hearing before approving a zoning amendment request by Bill Olsen, who had asked for a change from future development to planned development commercial, general retail, multi-family and two-family residential.

The 335-acre development is to be located west of U.S. Highway 287 and east of Business 287. It is also a half-mile south of the intersection of Highway 287 and Parks School House Road.

“My intent here is to do a quality job because both myself and the city have a lot invested in it,” Olsen said.

“One of the goals when you build a project of this size is to attract major companies like FedEx or Caterpillar,” he said. “When you present them with a packet of information about the development and it has zoning already approved then that is a real bonus in getting companies to locate here. It says to them that a city wants them to be here.”

Olsen presented a number of pictures of projects he has worked on in the past from a large development in Arizona. He also presented conceptual drawings of buildings for commercial, office and general retail uses along with landscape designs. 

“When you came in here the first time saying you wanted to make a gateway project and something the city can be proud of, I think you’re honest about your request,” commissioner Rick Keeler said.

“But my only concern is outside storage for the commercial part of the project,” he said. “You just have to be careful of it so it won’t detract from the rest of the development.”

Sandra Clark received approval of a replat of lot 3A and 3B in block two of the Hugh McDaniel addition on Spring Branch Road.

The commission continued discussion of a final plat of The Oaks at Cedar Glenn, located at 450 N. Oak Branch, until its next meeting.

A report from the Heritage Preservation Commission on signage also was presented to commission members.

E-mail Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com