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Public to get first glimpse of proposed changes to townhome project

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One year after a lawsuit was filed against the City of Highland Village for blocking plans to convert an unfinished townhome project into apartments, there are signs that a resolution may be at hand.

A proposed zoning amendment for the property known as the District of Highland Village will be discussed by the Planning & Zoning Commission at their meeting this coming Tuesday, Oct. 16.

According to a press release issued by the city, the presentation is for informational purposes only, as there is currently not an application pending for rezoning of the property and no action can or will be taken at the meeting.

The 15-acre mixed-use project at the northwest corner of FM 407 and Briarhill Boulevard includes retails shops, office space and townhomes.

Highland Village-based HHSG, LLC, the District’s developer, filed a federal lawsuit against the city last October after city council denied a zoning amendment request to allow for the apartments.

The original approved plans for the District involved a mix of office and retail space with 73 single-family attached townhomes. After the real estate market tanked in 2008, the same year that the project first broke ground, demand for the townhomes plummeted.

According to the lawsuit, only one of the first twelve brownstones completed in 2010 was sold. Of the remaining 11 townhomes, 10 were rented out within a four-week span.

The last rezoning plan presented to the city in June 2011 before the suit was filed included 98 apartment units in two-story buildings with a minimum size of 750 square feet. If approved, the development would have been the first apartment complex in the city.

The parties over the last eight months have worked diligently behind the scenes to settle their dispute, according to a press release from the city.

“The result of those efforts to date is a development proposal that is considerably different from both the June 2011 rezoning request and the original Townhome Development plan. The new development plan is in direct concert with the City Council’s stated goal of seeking “superior development” for the entire site that will complement our community,” stated the press release.

At the Oct. 16 Planning and Zoning meeting, city staff will present to the commission the current drafts of the site plans and related drawings for the proposed development and zoning amendment. There will be an opportunity for questions at the end of the presentation. 

“It should be emphasized that discussions between the city and the property owners are ongoing. In light of the public interest in this development, all parties feel the discussions on the proposed redevelopment of the property have reached a point where some informal input of the public, particularly from owners of property closest to the development, is desired,” stated the press release.

The meeting will be held at Highland Village Municipal Complex Tuesday starting at 6:20 p.m.

Letters have been sent to residents living within 250 feet of the development inviting them to attend the meeting, and the meeting will be broadcast live on the city cable channel, HVTV (Time Warner-16, Verizon-43), as well as live and on-demand on the city website at www.highlandvillage.org.

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