After a marathon meeting in front of a packed house, the Argyle Town Council on Jan. 28 voted 4 to 1 in favor of a planned development amendment that will pave the way for a Brookshire’s grocery store.
The council meeting ran past 11 p.m. as citizens voiced both support and expressed concerns about traffic and safety related to the proposed location of the store near Hilltop Elementary School and the sale of beer and wine. Twenty-four people spoke in favor and twenty six spoke in opposition to the store.
During the presentation, Derek DeGuire from Argyle Town Village developer DEMA Partners explained that there is very little buildable commercial property in Argyle with the right mix of city services, such as sewer, and east-west road access to I-35W. He said that an informational grocery store website his company set up received over 1,100 signatures of support from area residents.
DEMA Partners also submitted a conceptual rendering of the ancillary retail planned next to the store to give citizens and council members a preview of the type of pedestrian-oriented feel of the proposed Cypress Street connection.
Before public discussion began, council member Jeff Cantrell moved to table the vote until April’s council meeting to allow for more public hearings. His motion failed to get a second.
After public input, council discussion, and questions for the applicants, the final vote was 4-1 to approve the amendment, with council member Joan Delashaw casting the only nay vote.
Brookshire officials indicated construction of the store would not start until 2015 or later.
The council’s approval of the change left many residents seething.
“We are frustrated and disheartened at how town officials have ramrodded this process,” said Bryan Livingston, co-founder of Keep Argyle Safe. “We’ve been denied due process. Argyle taxpayers deserve to have a voice in important matters like zoning. That did not happen here.”
In less than a week, more than 300 concerned Argyle parents and residents signed a petition opposing the grocery store across the street from Hilltop Elementary School.
“The safety of children in Argyle is at stake, and the citizens had virtually no voice in the process prior to last night’s meeting,” Livingston said. “Keep Argyle Safe asked the town council to vote against the zoning change, so as a community, Argyle can develop a solution that works for everyone.”
Livingston said that Keep Argyle Safe is considering legal action against the town, as well as running a slate of council and school board candidates, “who have at heart the best interests of Argyle and its children.”
Three town council members’ terms are up this May: Joey Hasty, Joan Delashaw, and Marla Hawkesworth, along with the school board seats of Dr. Peggy Miller, Kevin Faciane, and Jim Haltom.