Development goes back to the drawing board

Lack of second access point a stumbling block with P&Z on MLK Boulevard project

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
A rendering of the proposed Gibson Crossing development on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The Waxahachie Planning and Zoning Commission voted to continue a request for a zoning change until its Sept. 28 meeting.

A zoning change for a multi-family planned development drew plenty of discussion during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Waxahachie Planning and Zoning Commission.

In the end, developers agreed to come back before the commission on Sept. 28 and work out the shortcomings in the meantime.

Commissioners voted to table the development, located at 809 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, to allow developers to improve their plan. The greatest concern was access to the development by emergency responders, which is a common problem with infill developments in areas with older, narrower streets.

The site plan consists of 101 multi-family units with a mixture of detached and attached units on a single lot, and will also contain traditional single-family development. Site amenities include a pool, an outdoor courtyard/common area, on-site maintenance, a dog park and valet trash and recycling services.

As designed, the site plan calls for only one entrance and exit point. City planning director Colby Collins said that because of the size of the development, staff would like a second ingress and egress to be added to allow emergency access.

Other staff concerns included an excess of parking spaces, too few detached garages, and lack of masonry in screening walls. Collins said a reduction in parking spaces would allow for more green space.

An adjacent thoroughfare, North Young Street, is available, but Collins said that the street, which is older and only 14 feet in width, is too narrow for emergency equipment and cannot be widened much further because of homes on the street. Alternative options would require an agreement with adjoining property owners.

Applicants Josh Dunlap and Pedro Rodriguez said they were willing to expand the entrance/exit on MLK to four lanes to increase access, and install a gated emergency access point on Young Street. Rodriguez said more access will eventually become available via a neighboring property that was platted and zoned several years ago but is still undeveloped.

Commissioner David Hudgins suggested that the applicants meet with the city fire marshal to determine a second entryway that would meet code.

Jesse Gibson, the owner of the property, told the commission that his intent was to create affordable housing for those in the community who were being priced out of the new development arising in Waxahachie.

Commissioner Erik Test was absent.

Other items

• A replat of a 0.191-acre property at 309 Henry Street in the Oak Lawn Addition into two single-family lots was approved with a right-of-way waiver. The present lot is undeveloped. The replat passed 5-1, with commissioner Betty Square Coleman voting no.

• A replat of three existing lots into two lots at 500 and 502 U.S. Highway 77 North was approved. The site is currently occupied by Furniture by Sleep Quarters and a Twice the Ice vending booth.

• A plat of Phase 1 of Ridge Crossing, consisting of 128 lots on 51.48 acres at 601 Ovilla Road south of U.S. 287 Bypass, was approved.

• A replat of Symphony Estates to create 127 residential lots on 24.76 acres was approved. Also part of the replat are five open-space lots and one lot that will be dedicated to a neighboring church. The property was rezoned last July.

• A specific-use permit for a 7-Eleven convenience store at 1851 North Highway 77 was approved pending a mutually-agreed-upon development agreement. The store will be located at the southwest corner of 77 and North Grove Road.

• A total of three items were continued to the next scheduled P&Z meeting on Sept. 14. A request for a specific-use permit to allow heavy machinery equipment within a Commercial zoning district at 1313 North Interstate 35E was continued once again. Also continued was a zoning change request to Planned Development-General Retail to allow a private club use at 617 Solon Road; and a zoning change to Planned Development-Light Industrial to allow for storage warehouse use just west of I-35E and south of Butcher Road.

City Council meeting

The Waxahachie City Council will hold a special meeting this coming Tuesday night to conduct a public hearing on the city’s proposed fiscal year 2021-2022 budget and tax rate. The council will also vote to set a date for adoption of the new budget and tax rate.

Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Council Chamber at Waxahachie City Hall, 401 South Rogers Street.