Highland Village P&Z gives nod to apartments

Highland Village Planning and Zoning commissioners last night unanimously recommended the redesigned plan, with modifications, for the unfinished District of Highland Village development for consideration by the City Council.

The special P&Z public meeting was scheduled following a public presentation on Oct. 16 of the developer’s redesign for The District development located at the northwest corner of FM 407 and Briarhill Blvd. 

The proposed redesign to the site plan moves the development to a mixed-use development with retail, office and multi-family components.

The commissioners’ approval included six plan modifications dealing with pool and amenity center specifics, specific building color and materials, parking canopy material changes, as well as concerns regarding the location and aesthetics of 13 garages facing Briarhill Blvd.

Planning & Zoning recommended that Council either require the developer to remove the residential parking garages on the southeast corner of FM 407 and Briarhill Boulevard or provide alternative designs or relocation within the development, provide more detail regarding the renovation of the existing pool and clubhouse and the parking canopies be constructed of metal instead of wood.

P&Z approval followed 13 residents speaking against passage and two speakers for the project. The major concerns voiced related to safety and traffic congestion, density issues and school classroom capacity.

“The new development plan is in direct concert with the City Council’s stated goal of seeking ‘superior development’ for the entire site that will complement our community,” said the city’s planning consultant Dan Sefko of Freese and Nichols.

Initially approved by Highland Village City Council in March 2007, the property was planned as a “Main Street” center with retail and residential townhouses.

In the Fall of 2010, the developers, Highland Village-based Hawk, Hawk, Silvaggio and Green (HHSG), submitted a zoning amendment request to allow the eastern 6.1 acres of the 14.81 acre property to be rezoned to a density of 16 apartment units per acre. In June 2011, City Council denied this request.

In October 2011, the owner of the property filed a federal lawsuit against the city based on its denial of the rezoning request.  In an effort to resolve the differences between the city and the owners of the property, the parties worked over the past year to develop a revised concept for use and development of the entire property within The District.

The new site plan will now go in front of City Council members for final approval at their next scheduled meeting Nov. 29.

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