It’s time to bring you an update on the proposed Grove development. First, a look at the schedule:
The City Environmental Commission will NOT hold a hearing on the proposal May 4, next Wednesday. We were notified by City staff that the planning and zoning staff has NOT completed its review and recommendation for the development. It is important that we all be prepared to voice our concerns to these boards and commissions, as well as the City Council. That’s how democracy works best! The next possible schedule for hearings looks like the following. Please note this is subject to change, and we will keep everyone informed if it does.
May 18—Environmental Commission. Topics covered: protecting the heritage trees, air quality affected by traffic, noise generated by the development and traffic, whether park space is adequate, proper drainage and any threat to future flooding downstream, etc. You still have time to write your letters to this commission to express your concerns!
May 24—Parks Commission. Topics covered: whether The Grove’s proposed park space is inadequate to be considered “superior.” (Remember that PUDs are required to be superior to conventional zoning to justify the greater flexibility and entitlements PUD zoning affords.) The Grove is currently unwilling to provide park space beyond the bare minimum required under conventional zoning, and we agree with Parks staff that The Grove’s parkland proposal is NOT superior.
June 7—Zoning and Platting Commission (ZAP). Topics covered: everything! ZAP is charged with looking at the entire PUD and recommending to the City Council whether this development is “superior.” ZAP is incredibly important so mark your calendars!
June 16 or June 23—City Council could take this development up for a final vote as early as one of these dates.
Also in the works…
As you probably know, a group of neighbors immediately surrounding this property filed suit against the City this past week challenging the City’s interpretation of a State law that has been on the books since 1927. This law says that if 20% of the property owners within 200 feet of a proposed change in zoning protest that change, then the change can only be approved if three-quarters of Council approves the change. This right is afforded to ALL property owners in Texas, but the City claims that neighbors around The Grove site do not have these rights because the tract of land was previously unzoned.
The lawsuit asks the judge to stay any City action on The Grove PUD until the court can decide which interpretation is correct. This could delay some of the hearings mentioned above.
On another issue, the developer has, so far, refused to share with us the data file prepared by their traffic engineer for the “Traffic Impact Analysis.” This data file (called a Synchro file) is needed to see whether the 19,400 new vehicle trips per day created by this development could actually move through critical intersections. We simply want Rosedale’s newly-hired traffic engineer to complete an *independent* review of the Synchro file. The Grove proposes to put an unprecedented amount of traffic on our neighborhood streets, and it should undergo an unprecedented level of review and scrutiny.
The City legal department, rather than deeming this data file public information, punted the issue to the Texas Attorney General for a determination on whether this is public information. The Attorney General is not required to render an opinion until the end of May. When we asked the developer again last week if he would release this data file to our traffic engineer, he said no.
The BCRC board has begun a series of intensive weekly meetings with the developer and a facilitator to try and find reasonable compromise solutions to the concerns expressed by the neighborhoods. It is too early to tell if significant progress can be made, but we remain hopeful and we feel that the last two meetings have been more productive than the previous year of meeting with the developer. So stay tuned!
For more information and recent media stories…
Press Release on Lawsuit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6-feEnOfVkIWGtWNTZnVXh5Y1k/view
Sara and Grayson