The newly-approved Conservatory Estates residential development will feature homes ranging in price from $1.2-million to $3- to $4-million in western Flower Mound, just east of Tour 18.
The luxury cluster-subdivision will allow homeowners to purchase more than a single two-acre lot which may be combined into an estate-style setting for a residence.
This first-of-its-kind cluster development is within the environmentally-sensitive Cross Timbers Conservation District (CTCD). The intent of the clustering option is to maximize open space conservation, including preserving Scenic Corridors and Vistas, on a site-by-site basis to realize a community benefit that provides the town with its unique country atmosphere and natural environment. The continuation and/or connection of open space areas between adjacent developments is important in protecting the ecological value in the District.
The town’s Master Plan allows two-acre lots, but it does not prohibit developers from performing a cut-and-clear land “scalping.” In the case of the Conservatory Estates developer, however, every Master Plan requirement was met; plus many more than those required, for building within the CTCD.
During its Feb. 1 meeting, the Town Council followed the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimous approval for both the rezoning and incentive package for the project at its Jan. 25, 2016, meeting.
The incentives are used as a “carrot” to encourage developer conservation and to go beyond the minimum environmental guidelines of the Master Plan. Council members approved the incentives of accepting cash in lieu of land in the amount of $70,425.60 in place of the otherwise required Park Land dedication; and, Park Development Fees in the amount of $88,832.00.
The environmental survey by W&M Environmental Group for the 103.2-gross-acres of the development reflects 52.6-acres of open space, a 71-percent preservation of the existing tree canopy and little impact on the 60-foot elevation hill at its center. The developer, RACO Development of Colleyville has designed the site around existing features; slopes from the hill; not impacting the 48.02-acres of upland habitat or the prairie habitat; and, improvements to and relocation of Freeman Rd. to be realigned with the median-cut at Chimney Rock.
A slide presentation by B&A Consultants representing RACO, showed the gated entrance, HOA-owned carriage house for staff parking, a storage barn and water pump maintenance buildings plus common areas, which will have an Old English country-style stone aesthetic. In addition, there will be a large glass conservatory building toward the front of the development to be used as a meeting site, as well as a real conservatory for the grounds’ staff.
The presentation also included examples of custom homes for the maximum 64-residential lots, tennis courts, four amenity ponds with minimum manicured land, and the wildflower meadow which will be in the 425-foot setback from FM 1171.
There will also be a general-use trail along FM 1171, as well as an equestrian trail which will also run along Freeman Rd.
Following the presentation, developer Raman Chandler of RACO also addressed the council.
He said that he “applauds the town’s environmental protection and wanting to work with what’s there; over the years it will ‘wear well’ and from [FM] 1171 no homes will be seen. Passing by people will only be able to see the new wildflower meadows and trees.”
He also shared that in addition to saving more than 78-percent of the existing trees, including where homes will be built, RACO will be planting over 400 trees—equal to eight-acres worth—in the development. All specimen trees will be maintained, will have vines removed and fire hazard undergrowth will be removed.
“We’ve also budgeted more [funds] than both the park fee incentives to saving 200 to 300 trees by clearing the vines that are slowly killing them,” said Chandler. “The ponds will also be a benefit to the view from the homes and they [homeowners] will not have to maintain them themselves.”
Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dixon said he supports the whole development, but also the fact that the developer is not requesting exceptions. He applauded the additional trees, the huge set-back, can’t see houses. He also said it won’t affect education density, because it’s not in LISD; and, no water impact, because they’ll have their own septic systems.
Place 1 Councilman Mark Wise said: “what I like the most is the natural view from 1171.”
Chandler also told the council that the development will use “dark skies” lighting.
“I remember growing up and laying in the back of a truck to look up and see all the stars,” he said. “I want to let our children and grandchildren to be able to see that, too.”