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Flower Mound P&Z recommends 4-2 to remove Bunn East from conservation district

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A proposal to remove an estimated 152 acres from the Cross Timbers Conservation Development District received Flower Mound Planning and Zoning Commissioners’ nod of approval.

In a 4-2 vote, commissioners agreed Monday night to recommend the Town Council allow the property south of Cross Timbers Road and east of Flower Mound Road to be changed to medium density residential and retail uses as well as expand the boundary of the Long Prairie Wastewater Service District Map to include the property. Sandeep Sharma and Emily Strittmatter voted against the proposal.

“The differences of this little area from the rest of the Cross Timbers [Conservation Development District] are significant,” said Place 1 Commissioner Don McDaniel. “To me the issue tonight is does it make sense to pull these properties out of the Cross Timbers and I think unequivocally it does.”

The recommendation follows several public meetings and a public hearing where developers of the proposed project, known as Bunn East and Bunn West, explained plans to create a combination of residential and retail development in what they termed a high-end market area of Flower Mound.

Though a medium density designation on the residential portion would allow 10,000-square-foot residential sites on the east side, developers have said they intend to develop properties at closer to 15,000 square feet per home. An estimated 280 homes valued at $500,000 are proposed, which one P&Z commissioner said could generate up to a half million dollars in additional property tax revenues for the town and an estimated $1.7 million in additional revenues for the Lewisville school district.

The proposed Park West Village, situated on 18.79 acres on the southeast quadrant, would be a destination center offering high-end signature restaurants and other entertainment as well as maintain the aesthetics of the property with tree groves and water features.

Several of the five to six property owners spoke before the commissioners asking them to consider the development surrounding the property, including an elementary school and a church with a grocery store nearby.

Mary King, who has lived in Flower Mound with her husband since 1973, said neither envisioned Flower Mound would grow to the extent it has in the past 40 years. “We are now surrounded by houses on the south and southeast and a school,” she said, adding they were unaware that their property had been placed in the Cross Timbers Conservation Development District until recently. “I believe these developers have created a plan with a distinct look that this town can be proud of,” she said.

Gerald Robinson, a resident who has served on several town committees in Flower Mound, questioned the density and the project’s removal from the conservation district. “We’re talking about taking the word ‘conservation’ off the property,” he said. “We’ll have Parker Square West with a residential development.”

Mark Glover said the proposed removal of the property from the conservation district made sense due to the surrounding property uses. He also said the planned clustering of retail shops and dining “preserves trees and open space and brings shops and dining that we might otherwise not get in Flower Mound. It’s called distinctively different. I think that’s what we want in Flower Mound.”

Michael Kirby, a 20-year resident and veteran of the commercial real estate industry, said he questioned the viability of the proposed commercial development, indicating he believed there was not enough density to support the retail. Kirby cited studies showing restaurants seeking an estimated 90,000 to 100,000 residents within a five-mile radius to locate in any specific area.

Developers also told commissioners they had reached agreements with the mineral right owner and the gas well operator of the Bunn gas well pad to shut it down.

David Johnson, P&Z Commission vice chair, said the development and closing of the gas well made sense to him. “I’m in favor of this. It needs to happen.”

Plans for the Bunn West properties, which are solely owned by Toll Brothers, call for a residential development with homes valued at $650,000 to $800,000. Using a cluster development design, an estimated 105 lots would be located on almost 171 acres with 84.9 acres of open space. The estimated density would be .61 dwelling units per acre, said Robert Paul, division president of Toll Brothers. The Bunn West project was not part of Monday’s agenda as it will not require removal from the conservation district.

Claudio Forest, who as commission chair did not cast a vote, said the development has merit, in his opinion. “I don’t think this deters from the town and our objective – what we want this entire community to look like.”

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