A quiet Flower Mound neighborhood may have new neighbors… 330 school buses.
The Flower Mound Town Council on Monday night rejected a proposed residential development on 22 acres that Lewisville ISD is looking to sell, and the future use of the land could be a school bus depot.
The tract, called Emerald Place, is on Wager Road in east Flower Mound near Vickery Elementary School. The tract was purchased with voter-approved bonds that are subject to additional legal restrictions, making its sale more complex.
Lewisville ISD purchased the land back when it was one of the fastest growing school districts in the state to potentially use for future school campuses, but growth has slowed and there is no longer a need for new schools there, so Lewisville ISD is looking to sell.
Flower Mound-based Rembert Enterprises is under contract to purchase the Wager Road property, but needed Town Council to approve a Master Plan Amendment and rezoning request. The current zoning for the property is for agriculture uses.
The proposal initially called for a medium-density subdivision with 54 lots. Many nearby residents spoke out against the plan because of the project’s density. Some said they were worried about a significant increase in traffic and loss of trees. The P&Z commission unanimously recommended denial of the plan in September, and town council voted 4-1 on Oct. 4 to table the request.
Council asked school district officials and developer Reginald Rembert to work toward a new concept plan with less density, and they agreed to do so.
The revised proposal presented on Monday night was for a low-density residential subdivision with 44 homes on at least 15,000 square-foot lots, which works out to 1.98 homes per acre. Average home values were estimated to be around $800,000.
Dr. Kevin Rogers, LISD superintendent, said if the town does not approve a residential development plan for Wager Road, the district may decide to use the property as a depot for its school bus fleet, which is a permitted use.
If built, the bus barn could house over 300 school buses, a wash station and fuel station. School officials said the facility would save the district $500,000 a year.
“The residents are willing to take on the worst case scenario that may happen if this doesn’t get approved,” said Councilman Sandeep Sharma. “LISD has mentioned that they’ll save money with a bus barn over here, so in my opinion if we keep it the way it is, the residents win, LISD wins…”
Councilwoman Ann Martin expressed disappointment that no spokesperson from LISD was present at the meeting and said she did not like the district’s “threat” of a bus barn.
Councilman Jim Engel said that he spoke with a LISD board member and there was a strong possibility that the district will make good on its proposal to build the bus barn.
“It may be a win for LISD. It is absolutely a loss for the town and ultimately it will be a loss for the neighbors as well,” said Engel. “This a a hard choice… but this is a good offer and it’s a whole lot better than the alternative.”
Council members Sharma, Martin and Adam Schiestel voted to deny the Master Plan Amendment and rezoning request, sealing the fate of the land.
“We believe there was a good plan on the table,” said Tracy Scott Miller, LISD board president. “It’s regrettable that the Town of Flower Mound took this position. The proposal was reasonable for the Wager property, and the developer worked hard to accommodate the residents impacted.
“We respect the council’s decision. The LISD Board of Trustees will continue with plans to do what’s best for all of LISD.”