Friday, May 27, 2022

Flower Mound Council denies proposed Canyon Falls warehouses

During a long Town Council meeting on Monday night, the Flower Mound Town Council voted unanimously to deny a large proposed warehouse park next to Canyon Falls.

The Proposed Development

Crow Holdings’ site plan proposal for the Cross Timbers Business Park, a 10-building warehouse park on 263 acres on the northwest corner of FM 1171 and Hwy 377, has drawn a lot of opposition from area residents. The proposed buildings would total nearly 3.3 million square feet, with some buildings as tall as 60 feet, on land directly adjacent to the Canyon Falls subdivision and Argyle High School. Crow Holdings is asking for the town to zone the land for Planned Development District with Campus Industrial and Industrial District uses, as well as some building exceptions.

The land has been classified Interim Holding, a temporary designation given to land after it is annexed, since the town annexed it in 1999. The land must be zoned by Town Council for it to be developed for any purposes other than Agricultural uses. The town’s Master Plan designated commercial and industrial uses for the land in 2001. The Master Plan was amended in 2008 to allow for the development of the Canyon Falls and Trailwood residential subdivisions in 2008 and 2015, respectively, but the land at hand has been left alone in the Master Plan for over 20 years.

Crow Holdings has said the completed and leased project would generate about $2 million a year in tax revenue for the town of Flower Mound and $7 million for Argyle ISD.

Supporters of the development point to the potential tax revenue and the fact that the proposal is aligned with the town’s Master Plan. Opponents say the area has changed a lot since 2001, and the Master Plan needs to be updated to facilitate development more appropriate for the area.

Neighbors in Opposition

Crow introduced residents to its plans for the land in September 2021 with some presentations in Canyon Falls, which is partially within Flower Mound town limits and partially in Northlake. At those meetings, residents were baffled that Crow thought this was the right location for a warehouse park that would have a lot of tractor-trailer traffic. Many expressed that they are not opposed to the land being developed, but this would be one of the worst ways to do so. Seemingly all were in agreement that they don’t want a huge warehouse park in their backyards, and they immediately began calling and emailing Flower Mound Town Council members to express their opposition. More than 1,500 people have joined a Facebook group called NoMo FloMo WAREHOUSES. Many residents have spoken during the public comment portion of recent Planning & Zoning and council meetings — before the development had even been on the agenda for consideration.

Two weeks ago, the Argyle ISD Board of Trustees approved a resolution of opposition to the proposed development because of “increased 18-wheeler traffic, air and noise pollution, safety concerns on roads leading to school campuses, overcrowding conditions of the area, long-term health of families and students, and concerns regarding the negative impact on property value that may be consequences of the construction of this warehouse park.”

Monday’s Meeting

Hundreds of opponents of the proposed development attended Monday night’s meeting, most of them wearing white T-shirts emboldened with their “No Warehouses” message.

Town staff and Crow Holdings representatives gave presentations and fielded questions about the development from council members.

At one point, Councilman Sandeep Sharma pointed out that there were several other uses for the land that would align with the town’s Master Plan, “but you chose the worst use, at least according to what the residents are saying.” A Crow representative said Crow Holdings is a warehouse development company and it is hard to find such an available large piece of land that is zoned/Master Planned for such use.

For the public hearing portion of the meeting, more than 60 organized residents submitted their cards to speak. Many of the speakers discussed different sections of a prepared slideshow presentation; one resident would go over the slides about potential pollution created by the tractor-trailer traffic, and when his two minutes were up, the next speaker picked up where he left off, presenting the next slide in the presentation that questioned the economic benefit projection by Crow Holdings, and so on.

Resident Nicholas Reynolds said putting giant warehouses next to a school and neighborhood “does not pass the common sense sniff test.”

Another resident, John Leonard, criticized Crow Holdings for changing their plan and estimates over the past six months and declining some meeting invitations.

Multiple speakers said that in surveys of more than 500 local residents, 99% of respondents were opposed to the proposed Cross Timbers Business Park. Some residents brought up the potential danger of lots of tractor-trailers driving around school buses and teenage drivers, and some said human trafficking is tied to the trucking industry, and inviting so many trucks to be next to a high school would be extremely dangerous.

The overall message was clear: residents are not opposed to the land being developed — in fact, they’ve said they would love a grocery store and other places to shop and eat that are closer to home — but the Cross Timbers Business Park would severely negatively impact them. They urged council members to deny the developer’s requests.

After a long executive session, the council came back out around 11:30 p.m. and Councilmen Adam Schiestel and Sandeep Sharma briefly stated that they thought warehouses would be an inappropriate use for the land, and with no further discussion, Schiestel motioned that they zone the land for Planned Development District with many allowed uses, largely revolving around retail and commercial, offices, entertainment and other similar uses. Schiestel listed them all in quick succession, as well as several uses that won’t be allowed. He said future proposed developments for the land would have to get council approval to build there.

The council voted unanimously to approve Schiestel’s motion. Then, the council voted unanimously to deny the Cross Timbers Business Park without prejudice. They didn’t give Crow Holdings a chance to speak, though a representative tried. After a moment of stunned silence, the crowd erupted in cheers and slowly made their way out of the council chambers. In less than 10 minutes, the town council then heard a presentation for a proposed upscale restaurant in Lakeside, approved it and adjourned.

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

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