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Argyle council approves 5T Ranch development

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Argyle council members unanimously approved a zoning change Tuesday to allow a 90-lot subdivision off Country Club Road as residents packed the council chambers to offer pros and cons.

The 5T Ranch owned by Miles Production, LP will be developed by James R. Harris Partners, LLC with varying lot sizes to meet the town’s comprehensive land use plan, according to Justin Welborn, a partner with the Fort Worth-based development company which also developed The Oaks of Argyle.

The 55.16-acre property falls within five land-use designations, which require the varying lot sizes, Welborn said. The overall density is 1.6 units per 1 acre. The project includes about 18.7 acres of green space including three soccer fields, tee-ball fields, a playground, picnic tables, an estimated 300 additional trees, a shaded area and a 200-foot buffer from Country Club Road, he said. The entry will be designed with a horse ranch concept.

The park concept has proven popular with another development in Aledo, Welborn said. “It engenders a sense of community within that development,” he said.

The proposed development has gone before town officials several times in the past couple of years with the developer cutting the number of lots from 142 to 90 and allowing more open space for the amenities. Though the current development concept has not gone before the Planning and Zoning Commission, an earlier concept was denied, requiring a super majority vote by the town council to approve the zoning change from agricultural district to planned development-single family residential minimum 10,000-square-foot lots on Tuesday. Under the town’s land-use plan, a total of 104 lots would have been allowed.

Welborn said the project will generate an estimated $1 million in additional revenue to the Argyle Independent School District with an estimated 59 additional students expected on build-out. The town would see a total of $968,670 in fee income from the project, he said.

Kevin Sanders, an Argyle resident for 13 years, told council members the project would help “keep Argyle relevant.” After attending a number of meetings, Sanders said it was evident that Argyle was split between groups asking for no growth and others who were pro-growth.

“Keep us relevant with quality developments like 5T Ranch,” he said, adding that quality residential development will attract quality commercial. “You can’t get commercial without residential,” Sanders said. “We should not shut the doors and keep others from moving here.”

Other residents in favor of the project pointed to the park as being something the town needed since it currently has a parks board but no parks.

Jack Burdett, chairman of the Miles Foundation which owns the property, reminded the council that Ellison Miles, a former World War II fighter pilot, relocated to Argyle. Prior to his passing in 2004, Miles asked the foundation to invest in Argyle. “We’ve been particularly excited about the 5T Ranch concept,” Burdett said. “Because we hold other tracts of land in Argyle, it is in our best interest to do the very best for Argyle.”

Scott Norton, a resident of a Argyle for 51 years, told the council it has taken four times to get the development to its current state. “How are we going to preserve our open spaces with high density houses,” he asked.

William Lightner said he moved to Argyle from Lantana to get away from high density. “Lantana was a quality development but we didn’t want to raise our son with cars whizzing by every day. We’re not against development, we’re against high density development.”

Patricia Peckham, who lives next to the 5T Ranch, asked about drainage issues with development of the property. “No one is talking about the flood situation,” she said. “My house is on a hill; 5T is also on a hill. The beautiful homes across the street will be flooded.”

An engineer with the development company later told the council the project was designed with two detention ponds on the northeast corner to hold additional runoff from heavy rains that would drain quickly and stay dry without retaining any water.

Others speaking against approval of the development cited the need for more 2-acre and larger tracts of land that originally attracted them to move to Argyle. Several said it had taken them years to find the larger tracts and they believed there was a demand for them. Several residents also cited concerns that allowing the 5T Ranch development would set the stage for other similar developments.

Welborn said properties are available online but they are expensive. In the development, the larger one-third acre developments could cost $150,000 just for the land. The cost of the custom-built homes are proposed at $500,000 plus.

“We need to decide as a group whether this meets the master plan,” Joey Hasty told fellow council members after several lengthy discussions about specific changes the council hopes to make to the master plan in the coming months. “To me, it meets the spirit and the intent of the comp plan,” Hasty added.

Council members asked the developer if he would be willing to meet with town officials and the council when more specific plans were available to review any concerns about design elements or other aspects of the proposed development. Welborn indicated he would be willing to meet with Argyle officials during the planning phase.

Mayor Peggy Krueger said the council recently met in a workshop to discuss different areas of the comprehensive land use plan and outlined some areas they were concerned about. “This council is extremely sensitive to density,” she said. “I think this is a beautiful concept. I think it does meet the spirit of the comp plan and I think that the developer has finally come up with something that Argyle can be very proud of.”

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