- Mark Hill
Important City Council Meeting Tonight - High Density/Mixed Use
Tonight, April 8th, there are several contentious items on the city council agenda. Developers are continuing to push mixed use/high density housing projects that will forever negatively impact the Coppell unless you continue voicing your opinion at every opportunity.The developers of the proposed 310 unit project at 635 and Denton Tap are appealing the P&Z Commission’s unanimous decision not to approve the project. The concern is that the city council might be willing to overrule P&Z in order get the hotel that comes with the 310 units. Let them know that we can forego the hotel if it comes with 310 units.
For months now, city council members have told us to “allow the process to work” regarding mixed use/high density housing projects. It takes time for changes in local government to take place we are told. We have followed along patiently with the development of the mixed use standards and allowed “the process” to take its course as they requested. P&Z presented the standards for the MXD-1 and MXD-2 districts this past Thursday to the public. Supposedly there was going to be citizen input allowed for the creation of these standards. The revised draft of the standards was released only days before the hearing giving the public only minimum time to digest the information and formulate feedback on the issue. The feedback on that Thursday night given by the public was limited to a mere 30 minutes! Each presenter had to rush through their comments and were often interrupted by the buzzer. None of the suggestions made by the audience were integrated into the draft. Although there were numerous revisions made to the draft at the commissioners’ suggestions. Citizens asked the Planning and Zoning Commission that the public be given the opportunity to review the final document before sending it to council. However, they were insistent that the changes be read into the record verbally and the draft be sent on to city council for approval on the 8th. So our question is, “Where is the fire?” Why the rush to push this through? Is it because of the impending change in council members?
On the agenda is the vote for final approval of “The Avenue” which was deferred from last meeting because there were not enough council members on hand to ensure approval. Several issues are of concern regarding this mixed use/high density project. The first is the use of a “Planned Development (PD)” on a single building. The zoning classification “Planned Development” was never intended to be use to develop a single building. It was clearly intended to be used to development of large tracts of lands like residential neighborhoods and commercial complexes. To stretch the definition of “PD” to one building is clearly absurd and merely a device to skirt the zoning regulations. Please do not allow a few people’s specific vision for Coppell to subvert established rules and regulations. A “PD” is utilized by developers so that they can pick and choose the zoning regulations that they want to apply to a project. It is one of the oldest and most effective tricks in the books used by developers and P&Z departments to somehow make a project fit the rules. However, applying it to a tiny building is quite a stretch! The other disturbing issue we see with “The Avenue” is that it would not even conform to the newly proposed MXD-1 standard. It is too tall given its adjacency to residential areas. A few months ago, we formally requested that the city council direct the P&Z Commission to put a hold on approving mixed use/high density housing projects because there were no standards in place. Now we are at that point that they are almost in place and surprisingly “The Avenue” does not comply. Who could have ever seen that coming? We need everyone’s support tonight at 7:30. It is not necessary for you speak but you are certainly encouraged to do so. Your presence is what is needed most. Please show up and be seen and heard.