By Taylor Millard, Contributing Writer
The Highland Village Planning & Zoning Commission Tuesday night recommended to deny plans for apartments at The Shops at Highland Village.
Poag Development Group desired 280 apartment units on the northeastern part of the property. The 302,000-square-foot structure would have taken over the current location of the movie theater parking lot and forced Snuffer’s to move.
Supporters argued that the project would have resulted in higher property tax revenue for the city. They also vowed that the apartments would support the financial viability and sustainability of the city and The Shops. “What we know from a technical standpoint is having multifamily or residential units within close proximity to restaurants and retail helps them thrive,” said Abra Nusser of Peloton Land Solutions. “That’s just a technical basic of planning and designing.”
Developers portrayed the apartments as part of the future for The Shops due to the rise of online shopping. “We have sales at the shopping center of over $100 million,” commented Poag President and CEO Josh Poag to commissioners last night. “[But] you need to keep evolving and improving in order to stay relevant in these times.”
Residents weren’t convinced. They cited a variety of concerns including fire protection and infrastructure.
“The fire department is the same size that it was [17 years ago],” said resident Robert Sanderson to the commission. He noted that Highland Village has one fire truck and crews have to wait for support from either Lewisville or Flower Mound. “Insurance companies rate the communities based on their ability to protect the people and the homes. And Highland Village has recently been downgraded by the insurance companies. So, all of our insurance rates have gone up because of our lack of fire protection. That will put a bigger burden on our fire department.”
Planning & Zoning commissioners appeared swayed by the fire infrastructure argument.
“My biggest issue is that I wholeheartedly agree that Highland Village needs a new fire station,” opined Place 2 member Brent Myers. “I think that’s a major topic that we’ll have to deal with at City Council. The question becomes “How do we pay for that?” This is a step in the right direction, in my opinion. However, to be clear, I can’t go for this, guys… I love the product, I just don’t know that this is the right place for it.”
Residents broke out in applause after commissioners rejected the proposal.
The developer has the option to put the proposal before the City Council, who can override the denial recommendation with a supermajority vote. The next City Council meeting is May 23.