Highland Village City Council members Thursday night unanimously approved the first reading of a new plan for The District of Highland Village development to allow for the addition of 168 upscale apartments.
The approval comes on the heels of a recommendation from the city’s planning and zoning commission on Nov. 15.
The redesign of the site plan for the unfinished development at the northwest corner of FM 407 and Briarhill Blvd. includes retail, office and multi-family components.
Under the new configuration, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment units ranging from 774 to 2,448 square feet will take the place of 73 single-family attached townhomes that were in the original approved plans.
Only 12 townhomes were built after the project broke ground in 2008 and just one was sold, with the rest snapped up as rentals.
Before the vote, residents stepped up to the podium and urged council to deny the plan, citing concerns with traffic, school crowding and property values.
“I guarantee you that you will be hopefully satisfied (with this development),” said Councilman Fred Busche as he addressed residents at the meeting.
Initially approved by city council in March 2007, the property was planned as a “Main Street” center with retail and residential townhouses.
The District’s developer, Highland Village-based Hawk, Hawk, Silvaggio and Green, LLC, (HHSG), filed a federal lawsuit against the city last October after city council denied a zoning amendment request to allow the switch from townhomes to apartments. Since that time, both parties have worked behind the scenes to settle their dispute, according to city officials.
Some residents who spoke against the plans accused the city of pushing the new development in order to make the lawsuit go away, which council members denied.
“The lawsuit has no bearing on my decision,” said Mayor Pat Davis.
Just before the vote took place, Mayor Davis asked HHSG to place a police substation in The District.
The development will be the first multi-family project in the city.
“I feel like we looked at every aspect of this project and this is the best answer,” said Councilman William Meek. “It is the best thing we could come up with.”
The zoning changes require two readings and votes by the council, with the second and final reading scheduled for the Dec. 11 council meeting.
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