Furst Ranch heading ‘back to the drawing board’

The vision for Furst Ranch is to protect the natural scenic views and environmental features in western Flower Mound while providing an active lifestyle for the community. (Photo by Ken Vaughan Photography)

After a six-hour work session with the Flower Mound Town Council and Planning & Zoning Commission on Thursday night, Jack Furst says it’s “back to the drawing board” for the Furst Ranch team.

Furst Ranch is a nearly 2,100-acre piece of land at the intersection of FM 1171 and Hwy 377. The longtime ranchland owner, Jack Furst, created an enormous mixed-use concept plan for that property with an estimated 2,832 single-family homes, 520 townhomes, 760 condos, 4,000 apartments, 2 million square feet of business parks, 1.6 million square feet of office and nearly 1 million square feet of retail. Furst has called it a 25-30-year project.

While it’s mostly in the town of Flower Mound, it’s entirely in the Argyle ISD boundaries, and many residents in Argyle and Flower Mound are opposed to apartments and worry about the impact the proposed Furst Ranch will have on the overwhelmed school district and the area traffic and infrastructure.

The town of Flower Mound held the work session Thursday night as a way for the applicants to present their concept plan and for the council and P&Z to ask questions and give feedback. The concept plan would require major Master Plan and zoning amendment approvals from Town Council, which would receive recommendations from P&Z.

“Nothing happens without council, you have to have their support,” Furst said Friday.

Furst Ranch concept plan.

The first hour of the work session was spent on public comments from residents of Flower Mound and Argyle ISD. Some spoke in favor of the plan, but most were opposed to the density of the concept plan, be it primarily because Argyle ISD can’t handle that many more students or that it isn’t financially able — something Furst said “I completely disagree with” — while other residents, commissioners and council members said they liked parts of the plan, but the densest part with the apartments was not a good fit for the location.

“It’s, perhaps, not right for Flower Mound and preserving the character (of Flower Mound),” Council member Ann Martin said during the work session. “I think there are parts of it that don’t seem to fit what my residents are telling me and what I believe is Flower Mound. The single-family part of it, especially the lower density, feels more like what we were promised in the Master Plan.”

Furst said Friday that it is “always disappointing when somebody doesn’t like what you create,” but the Furst Ranch team is following the council’s lead and will “come up with another plan.”

“Clearly our plan missed the mark,” Furst said. “They were very gracious with their time and generous with their feedback, and it allows our team to digest it, take some time and go back to the drawing board. The tapestry we presented, they liked some pieces of it, but other instances fell short of their vision of what Flower Mound is and should be.”

Jack Furst

Furst said he and the team spent about two-and-a-half years working on the concept plan, but “visions without support are just dreams, so we’re going to go back and see if we can craft something that P&Z and council can get excited about.”

It’s “too early to say” what changes may be made, Furst said, but it “probably is going to have to have lesser density, so we’re going to have to figure that out.”

Furst Ranch is going to be presented to the Argyle ISD Board of Trustees on Monday night, but after that, the Furst Ranch team is “hitting a pause button.” During its presentation Thursday, the applicants had a hopeful timeline of presenting to a transportation commission meeting next month and getting council approval by this fall, but those things are going to be delayed as the Furst Ranch team gets to work on making its concept plan more popular with the Flower Mound officials.

“In this process, you regroup and you take some time,” he said.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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