Nearly 100 people turned out Wednesday night for a meeting with Terra Manna, a real estate developer that wants to put a large residential and commercial development at FM 407 and Interstate 35W in Argyle.
The zoning application, which is posted on the town website, shows Lochlan of Argyle to be a 333-acre proposed development on the northeast corner of FM 407 and I-35W. It extends north to Sam Davis Road and east to just past Birch Court.
The land is currently zoned on the southwest side for commercial and the rest agricultural. Under the town’s comprehensive plan for future land use, most of the property is intended to be an 80/20 mix of residential and commercial space, with rural space in the northeast corner and other residential zoning in the southeast corner. It’s evident from the current plan that Terra Manna used that as a blueprint for Lochlan of Argyle.
Much of the development is dedicated to nearly 700 residential lots — some small patio homes, others much larger — with several ponds and parks throughout, as well as a large amenity center. There are also 20 proposed commercial buildings along the south and west sides of the map. They vary in size from 1,800-square-feet to 57,000-square-feet.
Terra Manna, which also has the Waterbrook mixed-use development near the Hwy 377 and FM 407 intersection, agreed to host a Program for Argyle Community Engagement meeting at Argyle Town Hall on Wednesday night to give a presentation about the plan for the development, answer residents’ questions and listen to their comments.
Most of the more than 90 attendees were at least concerned about potential issues caused by the proposed development, particularly traffic on FM 407.
“My biggest concern is there’s no infrastructure to support this kind of development,” said Rick Bradford. “[FM] 407 is already overwhelmed with traffic. We’re growing too fast for the infrastructure.”
The county has plans to expand FM 407 into a four-lane highway through Argyle; but, for now, the two-lane highway is heavily-trafficked. It becomes a traffic nightmare during the morning and afternoon rush hours, when a passing train forces a closure near the Hwy 377 intersection.
Terra Manna’s proposed plan funnels most of the development’s traffic to two exits onto FM 407, which concerned residents about having additional traffic on on the already busy road; and, more drivers taking back roads and neighborhood streets to avoid FM 407.
As Terra Manna partner Bret Pedigo was showing the proposed development map, one woman spoke up and said she’d like to see Argyle be unlike other Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs and keep its residential lot sizes at 1 acre or larger; many other residents applauded.
“I recognize that would be everybody’s desire,” Pedigo said.
He went on to explain that the proposed development includes parks and ball fields. It matches the market for homes in the area, particularly the patio homes for empty-nesters and others who like the area, but don’t want a large yard. He also said the larger number of homes would help the town’s tax base.
“The residents have concerns and we want to figure out a way to address them,” Pedigo said after the meeting. “We know there’s emotion that goes in this. Our job is to figure out a solution that works for everybody.”
Many residents were not convinced.
“It’s up to our elected officials to delay development until the town gets a better handle on the infrastructure needs,” said Dave Snell. “High-density development in an equestrian area is not the best use of land.”
During the beginning of the presentation, Pedigo gave more details about the plans for the development.
He said Terra Manna wants Lochlan of Argyle to be a high-quality development with, “a design style that fits in with Argyle” and “we want it to feel like a pastoral Scottish village,” such as Argyll in Scotland; which is believed to be the namesake of Argyle.
Lochlan of Argyle, as planned, will have $10-12 million in amenities, Pedigo said. If approved, Terra Manna would likely begin developing the south central section of the development, including some commercial space. But, most of the commercial development would likely come after the residential development he added.
Pedigo said the Lochlan of Argyle plan, which he said has been in the works for about nine months, will go to the Argyle Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on Aug. 1. If later approved by Town Council, Pedigo estimated the first resident of Lochlan of Argyle would probably move in come 2020. Depending on the market, it could be a 7-12 year buildout.
Several residents complimented the design of the development, but they just don’t want it to be in that busy spot.
“We want to get feedback and potentially make changes, if need be,” Pedigo said. “We’ll work out a plan for which everybody can get on board.”