WAXAHACHIE

The Waxahachie Planning and Zoning commission discussed the minimum sizes of recently platted lots during their session briefing Tuesday afternoon.

The briefing brought the commission together before their meeting to answer one question – does their comprehensive plan reflect the market as it is today?

“We have 6,000 total platted lots,” director of planning Shon Brooks said. “We have approximately 2,000 final platted, which leaves a remainder of 4,000 as preliminary platted.”

The issue, he explained, was if the city needs to decrease its square-foot minimum size for single family 1 units. He referred to a city council meeting on Nov. 19 where the council denied a single-family residential neighborhood because the lot sizes were too small. Brooks said the zoning ordinance was revised in 2012 to set the SF1 square foot size at 16,000 square feet.

“With that 16,000 square foot lot size, what you’ll find is there’s some understanding that not everybody is going to want to build 16,000,” Brooks explained. “The concern is are we getting smaller as we move forward with lot sizes?”

Brooks explained that the square-foot lot size has less of an impact on development than some might expect. In the last five years, 41 percent of lots used the pre-existing zoning for their site, while 59 percent of lots did not use their pre-existing zoning. In 2014, for example, many zoning cases changed lot sizes.

Brooks explained that tells a different story when it comes to the zoning.

“If we just look at the last four years rather than the last five years, instead of 60-40 to where they did change, it went 70-30 to where they didn’t change,” Brooks said. “The sum of all of this information was, in the past four years, we have not been shrinking lot sizes — we’ve been sticking to the existing zoning and saying these are what we have.”

Commission member Jim Phillips noted the committee did revise the comprehensive plan in 2015. He indicated the commission might have to revisit the policy.

“What council and P&Z is held accountable to is the comprehensive plan, the zoning that is in place and enforcing that zoning,” Phillips explained. “If that zoning is going to be given an exception, then what precipitates that exception?”

“I say this 100 times — we’re not going to make more land,” he iterated. “This is our one chance to get it done right.”

Chairman Rick Keeler said they received no pushback when the comprehensive plan was revised in 2015. Nevertheless, he said the commission could revisit the issue next year.

“People want to be here,” Keeler explained. “People want to come to Waxahachie. And we want the best development we can get. They want to be part of this community. Let’s be sure it strengthens the community and it doesn’t take away.”