The Waxahachie Planning and Zoning Commission addressed the concerns of six Waxahachie residents who live near the planned development of a movie theater.

The commission approved zoning changes for the planned development, general retail, to incorporate a building height adjustment and allow for a multi-tenant sign.

The property, near Broadhead Road and U.S Highway 287, owned by Crepe Myrtle Enterprises, is slated for the development of a Showbiz Movie Theater. The zoning adjustment will incorporate a building height of 50 feet. An attached sign for the movie theater may project up to 15 feet above the top of the theater perthe site plan.

The zoning change on the height will allow the 12-screen theater to incorporate stadium seating.

Residents in the neighboring communities voiced their concern that the increased building height with a lighted sign would add invasive lighting into their subdivision.

The zoning arrangement states that the sign attached to the movie theater may be illuminated by neon or light emitting diode (LED) but must be less than 200-foot lamberts. The theater concept design includes a lighted sign with red letters.

Commissioners noted that the stadium lights from the nearby stadium were not on all the time unlike a business/building light, but the zoning arrangement states that the sign must be greater than 150 feet from residential areas or shielded from view.

The theater is part of a planned multi-business strip possibly including a bank and convenience store. A multi-tenant pylon sign will be erected at the entrance to the development with regard to easements. In addition, a backlit wall sign will be on the back of the building to face U.S. Hwy 287.

The residents speaking during public comments expressed general unhappiness about the development on the 18.3-acre site at the southwest corner of the intersection. Neighboring residents spoke about the increased traffic caused by such a large business so much as the four-lane future of Broadhead road would not handle the influx.

The size of the building was also an issue for the concerned residents since some residents were under the impression the “general retail zoning” meant nothing more than small strip shopping or single story business development. Residents were worried that development of the theater project and area would cause resale value of their homes to drop because of the huge structure blocking the view. Residents also worried about the safety for children, increased activity and noise pollution.

The area where the theatre is proposed was previously zoned for general retail and Planning & Zoning Committee Chairman James Ranton noted that this was a decision made in original city zoning. The law provides for the area to be developed in a manner to allow business.

The commission approved the zoning change with 20 staff comments. Some comments included that there would be prohibited uses for the property, other than the current general retail zoning ones. The property cannot have multiple family dwellings or apartments or an institution for alcoholic, narcotic or psychiatric patients. This would ensure the property would not be used for an apartment complex if the company terminated the project. Crepe Myrtle Enterprises representatives conferred and agreed to accept the additional stipulations.

The matter now moves to the City Council for consideration.

In other items on the agenda, commissioners approved a preliminary plat of Lakeview Park at the northeast corner of Parks School House Road for 210 lots.