Saturday, May 25, 2024

Pumpkin patch redevelopment plan denied

Janet Balekian, owner of the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch. (Photo by Helen’s Photography)

Monday night the Flower Mound Planning and Zoning Commission all but put a stake in the heart of the request to build a CVS Pharmacy where Janet Balekian’s famous Pumpkin Patch has been delighting North Texas families for decades.

After the original request for a Master Plan amendment and zoning request was denied by P&Z on March 26 and Town Council on April 16, the town’s process for filing an appeal allowed CVS and Balekian (LB Flower Mound, LLC) to make a significant change to their request in order to nullify a required waiting-period of one year before returning with a new application.

The significant change to the original request for the 2.48-acres to build a 14,612-square-feet CVS Pharmacy with drive-thru window on Balekian’s total 24.5-acres– located on the northeast corner of the FM 1171 and Lusk Lane intersection– was to add a request to change the existing zoning district from Agricultural to Planned Development, with a base-zoning of Single Family Estate Residential for the remaining 22-acres of the property.

Balekian has said her advancing age and the personal cost of holding the Pumpkin Patch– and Christmas tree farm– annually has led her to the decision to sell part of her property to continue the Pumpkin Patch.

As presented by Bobby Dollak, with G&A McAdams, the council’s previous denial (3-2) was the result of a required super-majority vote for a Master Plan amendment (four of five votes). He said the council’s concern was uncertainty for possible future zoning issues, which is why Balekian has added the new Tract 2 acreage as single-family residential.

“This would just set the groundwork on what can be there,” he said. “It gives the community reassurance.”

He added that Balekian plans to continue to live in her home and have the Pumpkin Patch until she can no longer physically do so.

Dollak also revealed a possible site plan proposing 11 buildable lots and six “x-lots.” Two of the proposed x-lots will each contain an existing stock pond, which will accommodate drainage from storm water runoff. Access will be provided from Cross Timbers Road, Lusk Lane and two points along the tract’s eastern line.

Changes proposed for the CVS site (now labeled Tract 1)– in addition to shortened hours-of-operation– include: preservation of large trees; a circular raised planter; brick-patterned sidewalks; bicycle racks; pedestrian benches; stone column and retaining wall features; enhanced landscaping; plus rural-style three-rail fencing; and, an equestrian trail along Cross Timbers Road to reflect the property’s location within the town’s transitional Cross Timbers Protection Area (CTPA).

None of the newly-proposed changes reversed the opinion of the 17 public speakers opposed to the requested Master Plan amendment or rezoning requests. In contrast to the previous mostly emotional comments concerning the Pumpkin Patch at last spring’s hearing, the comments on Monday night dealt mainly with extending retail zoning to the final town-sewered property on the north side of FM 1171, as well as the probability of selling residential lots adjacent to the large pharmacy.

“There’s no compelling reason to build a CVS, which will be a sore thumb,” said Donna Sullivan.

William Sullivan also questioned why no CVS representatives have every spoken during any of the public meetings. He pointed out that Bobby Dollak has been a spokesman for the engineering of the project and Balekian made an emotional appeal last spring, but no corporate presentation has been presented.

Dawn Birr questioned if any area residents, who will be directly impacted by the project, have shown support for the CVS project.

The speakers– all opposed to the project– reflected the overwhelming negative number of 83 total letters and emails the commissioners received.

For their part in the discussion, commissioners also voiced their lack of support.

Commissioner Laura Dillon agreed, saying she’d read the letters and emails the town received and one of the only writers supporting the CVS pharmacy lived on the other side of Flower Mound in the area of Lamar Middle School.

Commissioner Al Picardi pointed out that, “the Pumpkin Patch is essentially retail for a couple of months a year, but it’s in the Cross Timbers Protection Area and [the project] will remove a large number of trees.”

Chairman Perfecto Solis said that the outline of the Tract 1 CVS acreage is a unique one and difficult to develop.

“It’s going to be very difficult to repurpose that property if CVS leaves five years from now,” he said.

“The new application has a substantial change to the original denial, which is part of the process,” said Vice Chair Laile Neal. “I’m glad that even a single resident has the same weight to request a Master Plan as a group of residents. But, this is strictly about a change to retail and [if there’s] a failure to the Master Plan with a change.”

“It’s overwhelming that our residents don’t support it,” summed up Commissioner Brad Ruthrauff.

The commissioners unanimously voted to recommend denial for consideration of the requests to Town Council.

The Master Plan amendment and zoning requests will be reviewed during the next Town Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 5.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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