Proposed 3,000-acre Waxahachie development plans 10,000 homes, commercial expansion

Andrew Branca | abranca@waxahachietx.com
Pictured is an overlay of the planned development stages for Emory Lakes in western Waxahachie. The new development plans to consist of about 10,000 new homes, as well as new infrastructure and commercial expansion. The circle to the right shows the area targeted for phase one near Interstate-35E and Brookside Road. Phases two and three (arrow pointed north toward the top of the image) will head in the direction of FM 875 and Business 287, while phases four and five connect to FM 1446 and Lone Elm Road. The white areas are planned for residential, yellow indicates commercial land and the orange zones are for mixed-use.

WAXAHACHIE

A mixed-used development encompassing more than 3,000 acres was brought before a joint meeting of the Waxahachie City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday afternoon.

The proposed Emory Lakes development is anticipated to have more than 10,000 lots and hopes to break ground in the next 24 months. The project was first brought to the city in 2005 as Kemp Ranch.

Emory Lakes will be bordered by Brookside Rd, Farm-to-Market Road 875, Farm-to-Market Road 1446 and Lone Elm Rd.

Aaron Duncan, Mesa Construction, stated the development would maximize the existing natural features on the site.

“We have thought about everything with how the plan is and how it is laid out. There are a lot of natural amenities in the design. We look at what the site is telling us,” Duncan said. “The site has a lot of topography. There are rolling hills and existing ponds. I would say that 98 percent of the site has a prairie type of field.”

Duncan explained the development would incorporate some of the architectural stylings of Waxahachie to pay tribute to its history.

These styling cues will be at the entrance points to the subdivisions and structures. One example of the design element is the carriage style garage doors. There will also be non-traditional housing incorporated into the area like townhomes as well as three school sites and spaces for businesses.

Larry Reichhart, Walter Global Holdings planning and development manager, stated the infrastructure in the development would be financed through a public improvement district. Improvements such water and sewer lines and a water tower — once constructed — would be turned over to the City of Waxahachie. Full build-out on Emory Lakes is anticipated to take 30 years.

Rick Keeler, Waxahachie Planning and Zoning Commission chairman, asked why a traditional town square was not created in the development.

Reichhart told Keeler he didn’t want Emory Lakes to draw away business from the current downtown area around the Ellis County Courthouse. He felt the current commercial model in Emory Lakes would create a gathering point for residents to come together.

Mary Lou Shipley, a council member, stated the commercial element to the project needs to be considered at the beginning of the project, not later.

“We need some kind of commercial or business in the district because I can see people hopping on 287 and going over to Midlothian,” Shipley explained. “Commercial needs to be a large part of at first.”

Jim Philips, a Planning and Zoning Commission member, stated the city needs to have a better picture of what the development will look like to be able to serve future residents.

“In phase one we really need a better understanding of what the residential and commercial breakout would be,” Philips said. “For example, if you put 2,800 homes out there in the first phase there are going to have to be some municipal facilities out there to support that area.”

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Contact Andrew at abranca@waxahachietx.com or 469-517-1451. Follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI.