A large, controversial development proposal will return to the Argyle Planning & Zoning Commission next month, after the developer makes several changes to its plan.
The Lochlan of Argyle proposal — a master-planned community with nearly 700 homes and 20 commercial buildings on 333 acres on the northeast corner of FM 407 and I-35W — went before the commission at Tuesday night’s meeting and was greeted with vocal opposition from dozens of residents.
“I’m feeling overwhelmed by the current developments taking place and the changes going on,” said Jennifer DiVecchia, who lives just south of FM 407. “I feel like my finger’s on a hole of a very leaky boat that is sinking fast in the feeding frenzy of what has become my town.”
Currently, the southwest portion of the land is zoned for commercial use, with the remainder 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.
Terra Manna used that as a blueprint for Lochlan of Argyle, said Matt Jones, the interim town manager, adding that it mostly meets the comp plan.
Much of the development is dedicated to the nearly 700 residential lots — some small patio homes, others much larger — with ponds, parks and fields throughout. There are also 20 proposed commercial buildings along the south and west sides of the map.
Many residents strongly oppose the development for two main reasons; the first is that it doesn’t fit in with Argyle’s rural culture. More than 100 residents attended the June 19 PACE (Program for Argyle Community Engagement) meeting held at Town Hall by Terra Manna.
“If this is what Argyle is going to look like in the future, the comp plan needs to change,” said resident Paul Kula, adding that the proposed plan looks like Lantana and Country Lakes.”This is a rural, charming community. I implore you to keep it that way … it’s not what Argyle is all about.”
The other big concern almost everyone mentioned was the traffic impact it’ll have on FM 407.
“We can barely get out of our street onto 407,” said Jacquelyn Humphrey.
FM 407 is heavily-trafficked during the morning and afternoon rush hours; and, traffic backs up for miles when a train comes through, closing 407 at Hwy 377. FM 407 is on the county’s list of roads needing to be expanded. It’s expected that in about five years, construction will start to make it into a four-lane highway from the FM 1830 interchange to west of I-35W.
While no residents spoke in favor of the development, the Heath family, who has owned the property since the 1880s, did speak in support.
Commissioners noted several issues with the plan and preparation, including that the transitions (the edges of the property) on the north and east edges of the property will either be adjacent to, or across from, ranch properties. The commissioners agreed they did not want so many small lots right up against those property edges.
They also said the density of the development needs to be lowered and a traffic study needs to be done, plus other changes. The developer said the team is open to finding a plan that works for everyone and will come back with a revised plan at the next P&Z meeting on Sept. 5. The commission tabled the issue until that meeting.