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The Waxahachie Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended approval of a mixed use residential development that would be located at the northwest corner of Washington Avenue and North Grove Boulevard.

The development consists of apartments, townhomes, office, retail, and restaurant spaces.

Coby Collins, city senior planner, presented the project to the commission for its consideration.

“We do want to point out that a lot of uses proposed within this development are allowed per the existing planned development (zoning),” he said. “The apartments, the mixed-use with the apartments, and retail, all of that is allowed per the existing North Grove Planned Development.

“The reason the applicant is coming before you tonight is they are proposing townhomes within the development,” he said. “That requires them to request an amendment through the existing planned development and have the planning and zoning and the city council review it.”

Collins said the seven four-story apartment buildings will be on 9.43 acres of the 12.435-acre site. Amenities include a pool, hike/bike trail, and open space (common area). The ground floor will be for commercial space with three residential stories above.

The project looks to construct a 7,000 square foot retail building where a restaurant is proposed along with townhomes. 

“The applicant is proposing nine townhome units, four of which will be in one building and the remaining five units will be in a second building,” Collins said.

Documents indicate the development will be constructed in three phases.

“The Place at North Grove is a mixed-use, new urbanism-style density development,” the project proposal reads. “Our vision for the development is to create a sense of place for the North Grove community. The place will not only be the hub of mixed uses for its residents but will become a destination for the residents of all the North Grove neighborhood.”

The development is designed to have a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere.

Terry Weaver of Sterling Development Company, consultant for the owner, spoke on the project.

“Over time, as the services are located there, people can walk to it,” he said. “Hopefully, we can attract a nice independent or small group casual dining there on the corner. The idea is to create a place where people will want to live. These will be probably the highest market rate multi-family units as far as rentals in the area. We are mostly one bedroom. There are two bedrooms in the mix, but the idea is to attract millennials and people creating households and then some empty nesters, people like myself, who are looking for a place that has less maintenance and somewhere we would want to live to be able to shop and dine right there.”

After the presentation, commission chairman Rick Keeler addressed the audience.

“As it has been stated several times by almost all of us, they have the right to do this,” he said. “The only reason that we are seeing this is because they want to add nine townhomes. They don’t need to ask our permission at all to build any of this, except the nine townhomes. They are doing this as a buffer between the residential and the multi-family.

“They could add more multi-family where the townhomes are located and don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to do so,” he said. “We are going to hear everyone’s opinion on this but, as far as the PD and the zoning, it allows them to do exactly what they are proposing.”

Residents expressed several concerns including more traffic, problems with parking, and the obstruction of scenic views from their homes. Several remarked that their home builder did not disclose this type of development would be constructed across the street.

Washington Avenue Resident Blake Hampton was among those expressing his concerns.

 “My concern is the school and the children because, at 2 or 3 o’clock, that road gets pretty full,” he said. “It backs up all the way to Washington and Brown there. And we are talking about putting (several thousand square foot) of retail space on top of apartments.

“Logistically that is a nightmare if you think about it,” he said. “I know getting home some days there are quite a few cars at that intersection. It does happen. We have no lights and, late at night, anyone coming back from Rockett likes to pull donuts in that intersection. Now we are talking about making it busier. I just can’t quite grasp the logic behind this.”

Keeler said he sympathized with the residents but said the commission had to uphold the city’s zoning ordinances. The North Grove Planned Development District was approved by the city council on March 3, 2014.

Commissioner Betty Square Coleman, who was the sole no vote, encouraged residents to express their concerns to the city council, which will have the final say on the development’s future.

Commissioner Erik Test was absent from the meeting and did not vote.  

The city council will consider the development at its April 5 meeting.

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