As had been anticipated, the Flower Mound Town Council followed the lead of the Planning and Zoning Commission with its unanimous approval of The River Walk’s amphitheater Special Use Permit (SUP) and site plan.
“The zoning was established back in 2008 and required coming back for an SUP; so, it’s a housekeeping issue,” said Doug Powell, executive director of Development Services. “Today we received a concern about the noise from the amphitheater reaching the hospital, but there will be the Courtyard Marriott Hotel and other buildings between the theater and the hospital.”
It was also pointed out that, while the amphitheater is an open-air venue, it’s completely walled-in; creating a self-noise-reducing performance facility.
“If you’re selling tickets to an event, you don’t want people outside to get a free concert and I’m happy to see that it’s enclosed,” said Council member Jason Webb.
During his presentation, Bobby Dollak, senior project engineer of G&A Consultants, pointed out that while the back [behind the stage] drive is intended for emergency access and unloading/loading performance equipment, it’s also open for people to walk along the river and enjoy the water walls.
“I’ve seen the water walls working … and I got happy,” said Council member Bryan Webb.
Dollak said that Oncor’s been working on getting the power on for the lights for the water walls and other water features and they’re close to completion. In addition, the clock tower will be finished by mid-January.
He also added that there will be a parking garage to serve the restaurant diners and that talks are continuing with New Era [the developers of the hotel] for a northern parking garage. The River Walk total parking spaces will be 1,374 more than the minimum required.
A two-storied, 16,685-square-foot building wraps around the “back” of the amphitheater seating area along Royal Crescent Drive and will include office spaces for the River Walk Property Owner Association (POA), Flower Mound Police, restrooms, concession serving areas featuring vendors selling food from River Walk restaurants. There will be drop-off areas along the two-lane, one-way drive.
On either side of this building are tall arched retaining walls with parapets and wrought-iron guardrails along the top. The seating for 2,800 audience members—300 fixed seats and 2,500 lawn “seats”– steps down in tiers toward the center of the amphitheater and a 2,625-square-foot stage, with a two-storied green room and storage area underneath.
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Bryant said his concern was about the venue’s acoustics. He said the Dallas area has some great-looking large venues, with awful sound; and, some smaller places with terrific sound. That’s a major feature to draw performers.
“I’m concerned about the sound inside; that the sound will match the view,” he said.
Council member Don McDaniel expressed the feelings of the council when he said: “I’m grateful that we’ve gotten past some of the hard parts and we’re at that point now that it’s really exciting.”
Construction is expected to take approximately nine months.
Longtime Flower Mound resident Paul Stone put an exclamation point on the discussion, saying: “Let the ground be broken and let’s move this forward.”