The Council voted to rezone 22 acres east of the Cooke County Justice Center and west of Floral Drive from agricultural to two-family. The Western Creek (aka. Western Hills) development is expected to include several duplexes.
“We like to say this development is west of the hospital, and not east of the jail,” Bobby Rawlings, a Plano developer, said, meeting laughter.
Rawlings said he took the plans for his developments to the Planning and Zoning Commission where they were approved.
Newly installed councilman Vince Rippy asked for a summary of the plans. Rawlings said it includes “mixed and matched” duplex styles and sizes. Rawlings said they will not be the traditional “mirror image” duplexes, with symmetrical sides, but unique designs with varied elevations. Also in the plan are a jogging trail, creek and other “common areas.”
The duplexes would retail for an average of $200,000.
Bob Smith of nearby Bob Smith Coachworks asked about drainage, saying “Sometimes it’s a toad strainer.”
Rawlings said a detention pond is planned near the creek to hold excess rainwater, and the plans are still in their early stages.
The Council voted to rezone from agricultural to two-family land located along FM 1306 between North Central Texas College and the new Gainesville High School site. This 16-acre housing subdivision project is “further along than the others” as trees have been cleared and road paths have been bulldozed, Rawlings said.
About eight acres include store sites — including room for a coffee shop and possibly a laundromat — and are in the preliminary site plans. The Council voted to re-zone those eight acres from agricultural to commercial.
Lisa Bellows, chairman of the Gainesville ISD Board of Trustees, urged the council to “strongly consider the property before you take action.” She said there are serious drainage issues with the property, which adjoins a creek bed.
Rawlings and engineer Jack Dyer appeared at a previous meeting of the GISD Board of Trustees to discuss the planned development in executive session.
“This is the site that brought me to Gainesville,” Rawlings said, noting his plans to create a series of “estate homes” on 80 acres, with drainage ditches instead of curbs and gutters and half-acre lots for homes in the low $200,000 range. The Council voted to rezone the land from agricultural to single-family.
Dyer said he is looking to create a “zero impact” drainage system which would include a man-made detention pond and utilizing the natural creek bed for drainage. He said all the lots on the plan are off the flood plain, except for 50-60 acres east of the development.
Rawlings said a natural line of trees and the creek would separate Tuscany Villas from Tuscany Ridge.
“Your projects look good and we’re pleased you’re doing this,” Loch said to Rawlings.
A hearing on a preliminary plat for the Tuscany Ridge development was tabled, as the Council did not suspend the charter and pass the rezoning on first reading. Rawlings requested earlier that the Council suspend the charter so he could proceed with development work.
In other business, the Council suspended the charter and passed an ordinance approving the final plat for lots 1-7 of the Compress Park development on North Dixon Street, currently home to Spindeltop, Inc.
“Ordinarily, we like to do that (host three readings at three meetings), as it gives it out to the people and gives the information a chance to appear in the newspaper,” Loch said.
He said if letters are sent out to neighbors some do not receive them and others may not notice them.
The Council also suspended the charter and approved permission 6-0 for Complete Energy Services to construct a series of spray painting booths at the former National Supply plant. It was explained the Texas Environmental Quality Commission (TCEQ) requires permission from the city before it will give permission to a business to build painting booths. Approval could take up to a year from the TCEQ.
The Council approved 6-0 a site plan for a La Quinta Inn to be built in the 4200 block of Interstate 35. Lot 2 of the plan is a restaurant site.
Prior to business, new members to the City Council were read and recited the oath of office. “Woody” Williams, who was unopposed in Saturday’s election, took his seat in the Ward 5 seat. Williams replaces Elaine McHorse, who also served as mayor pro-tem.
Charles Draper, who received more votes than one-term incumbent Tony Manning Saturday, took his seat for Ward 3.
Vince Rippy, who received more votes than 10-year incumbent Jim King, took his seat for Ward 6.
Incumbent Municipal Judge Chris Cypert was also read the oath, and he was unopposed in Saturday’s election.
“I’d like to wish these candidates a lot of luck, ’cause you’re going to need it,” City Attorney Belvin Harris said in his report, meeting some laughter.
After the oaths of office were read, Loch presented outgoing council members King, Manning and McHorse plaques thanking them for their service to the City Council.
Loch then took nominations for mayor pro-tem. Hearing none, he asked again. Draper nominated Jim Goldsworthy as mayor pro-tem, though Goldsworthy was absent. The nominations were closed and the Council named Goldsworthy mayor pro-tem 6-0.
“Jim Goldsworthy, wherever you are, congratulations,” Loch said, meeting laughter. He added Goldsworthy is a good choice for mayor pro-tem.
In other business, the Council passed 6-0 a resolution awarding a bid for property at 413 N. Clements St. for redevelopment. Jim Myrick was the high bidder at $5,255.
The Council also voted 6-0 to approve a revision of the agreement between the Texas Department of Transportation and the city to construct a World War II monument at the Texas Travel Station. The plan would now include five granite panels naming fallen soldiers.
The Council then passed 6-0 an emergency item to allow the Gainesville Municipal Airport to replace an “almost antique” John Deere tractor. Parts were unavailable for the former tractor, Matt Quick, airport director, said.
In reports, City Manager Mike Land informed the Council a tree was damaged in Leonard Park following severe storms the evening of April 28. An assessment of the trees was requested by the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department, and it was determined about a quarter of the trees in the park were unsafe and would have to be removed.
Land said replacement trees would be planted.
“We’re not talking saplings, but heavy duty trees,” Land said.
A more detailed report on the tree situation at Leonard Park will appear in a future Register.
Land asked for citizen cooperation in city efforts to fight mosquitos, such as emptying standing water pools.
Land also read a report that stated city employees logged in 16,000 hours of overtime in cleaning up after the storm April 28.
Tuesday was the first Council meeting to be videotaped and aired on Channel 2, Land said. The Council meetings are scheduled to be aired on Thursdays and other, various times throughout the week.
“I really believe that open, transparent government and an educated population is the only way we’re going to progress and spur economic development,” said David Jones, who at previous meetings, had requested the Council broadcast its meetings. “In my opinion, the Council members deserve the support of the community, and the community deserves public access. I’m thrilled!”
In presentations, Loch presented certificates to workers from the city’s utilities department in honor of National Public Works Week.
Prior to presentations, the Council canvassed the election results from Saturday. No changes were reported in regard to the victors.
No executive session was held and the meeting adjourned at 7:37 p.m.
Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org