By Bill Spinks

The Waxahachie City Council approved an amended plan on Monday night for a newly-redrawn subdivision after the first proposal was shot down exactly three months previously.

A zoning change for a planned development district at the northwest corner of Peters Street and Graham Street, to be known as Symphony Estates, passed by a 4-0 vote with councilmember Kevin Strength absent.

City planning director Shon Brooks said the zoning change for the property, which was formerly owned by Waxahachie ISD, allows for 129 single-family lots, with a half-acre dedicated to the adjacent Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, a water feature that will serve as a detention pond, and a walking trail that connects to Lee Penn Park.

The council had previously voted 5-0 to deny the original mixed-use proposal for Symphony Estates, which had included 120 multifamily townhomes and dedicated land to the city of Waxahachie and the church, at its April 20 meeting. Councilmember Chuck Beatty had led the opposition to the first plan back then, but at Monday’s meeting Beatty made the motion to approve the update.

Developer Jeff Crannell told the council that the new plan is an aggregation of input from councilmembers, Planning & Zoning commissioners and nearby residents. The planned architecture of the homes, with a mix of masonry and siding, will blend in with existing homes in that part of the city.

In other development items, the council tabled until the Aug. 3 meeting a planned development amendment for a 10.4-acre property, to be known as Phase II of The Mark on Conquest, located at Conquest Boulevard and U.S. Highway 287 adjacent to Waxahachie High School.

The first phase is currently open and consists of six buildings. The new phase would consist of nine buildings with 188 total units and an amenity center.

Brooks said the one-bedroom apartments in the plan are smaller than the city standard of 600 square feet, and he said he also had concerns with sufficient parking on site with a lack of enclosed garages, and with the roof pitch of the proposed buildings. Mayor David Hill also noted the 45-foot setbacks in the plan, as opposed to the 100-foot setback that is in the city zoning ordinance.

The proposal for Phase II was approved by Planning & Zoning by a 4-2 vote, but Brooks recommended that the council deny the amended planned development.

Developer Preston Munster told the council that the deviations are "mostly academic in nature" and are intended to match the style of the existing Phase I development. Munster argued that the detached garages are in line with what the council had previously approved in The Mark’s first two projects in Waxahachie, and that the building site simply doesn’t have enough space to make attached garages practical.

"We’re not asking for anything different from what has already been established as the standard for the highest quality multifamily development in the city," Munster said.

Grant Robinson, also with The Mark, added that the one-bedroom apartments meet the standard for "efficiency" apartments, but the addition of doors in the plan for more privacy changes them into one-bedroom units under the zoning ordinance’s definition.

Also continued to Aug. 3 was a request for a detailed site plan review for the proposed Dove Hollow subdivision, located adjacent to and south of Grove Creek Road. The item was first tabled at the council’s July 6 meeting.

Other items

• The council awarded a $63,000 bid to U.S. Underwater Services, LLC of Mansfield for the Lake Bardwell raw-water intake minor channel dredging project. In a separate action, the council OK’d reimbursement of the Water Fund from the proceeds of future bonds associated with the same project. Assistant city manager Tommy Ludwig said the dredging was necessary to avoid damaging the city’s pumps with silt.

• The council approved an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the closure of FM 813 between Spring Creek Drive and Grove Creek Drive in order to install a box culvert and drainage system. City public works director James Gaertner said the proposed closure is part of the North Grove development and will begin on Wednesday, with Sept. 2 as the date of reopening the highway. Detours will be marked with signage via North Grove Boulevard, U.S. 77, and either Butcher Road or Grove Creek Road.

• Consent agenda items included the approval of minutes from previous meetings and the renewal of parking and loading zone lease spaces.

• Police Chief Wade Goolsby announced that Sgt. Chris Dickinson was promoted to lieutenant on Monday, and the retirement of two sergeants will create a total of three openings for sergeants in the police department that Goolsby suggested will likely be filled from within.