Waxahachie council denies residential project, saying plan lacked enough detail

Chris Roark
Waxahachie Daily Light
The Oaks at Twin Creeks

A proposed residential development north of US 287 and west of Ovilla Road won’t be happening after members of the Waxahachie City Council expressed concern over a lack of variety in the project’s housing styles.

Monday a motion to approve a zoning change for The Oaks at Twin Creeks failed, 3-2, with Mayor Doug Barnes and David Hill supporting the motion and Council members Billie Wallace, Melissa Olson and Travis Smith voting against it.

The request was to rezone the land from Single Family-1 to Planned Development-Single Family-3.

The proposal called for a 153-acre development that would include 458 residential lots, 33.5 acres of open space, 2.7 miles of 6-foot trails, seven trail head connections and various amenities, including a dog park and a splash pad.

Chip Boyd, chief operating officer with John Houston Homes Development, said the project also included a variety of housing styles, something the Planning and Zoning Commission said was missing from the plans when it unanimously recommended denial of the request last week.

Boyd said the project would include five styles – craftsman, modern farmhouse, Tudor, French cottage and traditional.

Within each of those, he said, there would be at least three out of five architectural elements incorporated in them.

He said each of the five styles would make up 12 percent of the residential units, with the remaining 40 percent being determined later.

“It allows the market to determine what they want out of the five styles that we offer versus dictating it,” Boyd said.

Pictured is an example of a traditional style house that was presented during Monday's discussion about the proposed The Oaks at Twin Creeks project.

But council members were concerned the door was left open for the majority of the homes to take on the traditional look.

“I can tell you that if this development ended up with 50 to 60 percent of the traditional styles I think we would be embarrassed,” Wallace said.

Smith said the council wanted Boyd to provide more specifics on what the design will entail.

Boyd said his team provided what he thought it had been asked to provide.

“We’re trying to present a quality project with quality architecture, and we believe we have met that request,” Boyd said.

In addition to the multiple housing styles Boyd said the plan was to build the homes on five different lot sizes.

“We know there is a push to get away from the monotonous master planned communities, and we totally support that,” Boyd said.

An example of a French cottage style house

Council members had other concerns, such as the developer’s request to waive more than $500,000 impact fees. Boyd said that request was made since his team would have built a two-lane road along the north side of the project and the proposed Montclair Heights residential development to the west. He said it would have provided an important connection between US 287 and Ovilla Road.

Olson said that shouldn’t matter since any developer would have to build a connecting road either way. She also said she couldn’t support the request to waive over $183,000 in park fees. Boyd said his team made the request since it was proposing more than the minimum in open space.

The council’s denial follows the sentiment of the P&Z Commission, which said there was a lack of housing styles, lack of unique amenities and too many variance requests.

The commission and council both pointed to the Dominion Park residential development both entities supported in November, saying the project has a mix of housing styles and lot sizes.

Hill, who made the motion to approve the rezoning, told Boyd he believed the P&Z concerns have been answered.

Meanwhile the commission is expected to revisit the Montclair Heights plan again Jan. 18. The 188-acre development is proposed to include 384 residential lots, 36.7 acres of open space and parks and 39 acres of general neighborhood retail. In previous meetings the commission said the project also didn’t have enough housing style variations.