Developer's plan for 318 acres advances to City Council

JIMMY REED, a member of the Tyler Planning and Zoning Commission, voted to send the plans to the City Council. "I believe we are charged here with making tough decisions with regard to people's properties and adjoining properties."

A city government panel has given preliminary approval to a development on 318 acres of land in one of the most rapidly growing areas of Tyler.

The proposed development north of West Cumberland Road by the Genecov Group would be the largest development in that area of Tyler since the city finished building the road in 2016.

The Tyler Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-2 Tuesday to approve zoning changes for the Genecov Group that will facilitate the development. The issue will now go before the Tyler City Council, which has the final say on zoning.

The vote came after the panel fielded hours of public comments at a meeting that drew nearly 50 people. After the vote, one opponent stood up to complain about the approval, and said the group would be back to express opposition.

The zoning request in question would change different portions of the property, which is largely zoned for agricultural use, to commercial, residential, multifamily housing and various mixed uses.

"This morning I looked out my window ... and I could see all the way to the creek, which is about a half a mile away because there's a fence line through there," said Bob Inlow, who lives on Princedale Drive. "We do not want to be looking at any more families."

The commenters raised concerns about whether zoning for multifamily housing would affect their property values, and whether there would be sufficient buffer zones to maintain landscaping on their properties.

Robert Wickham, who also lives on Princedale Drive, said the increased number of residents in the area could affect traffic on Old Jacksonville Highway.

He predicted an increase in accidents when people start cutting from that street through Hollytree Drive.

Mark Priestner, the owner of Planning Concepts, responded to concerns on behalf of the Genecov Group. He said the project has been planned with different buffer zones, such as lines of trees and other preexisting conditions of the landscape, such as water.

Additionally, Ray McKinney, the president of the Genecov Group, described how the company met with various homeowners associations of nearby subdivisions. He said the company did not accommodate requests from everyone but made efforts where possible.

This was a larger request than the one the Planning and Zoning Commission delayed in February. That application sought to rezone about 18 acres of property just east of Maple Lane, the road built last year connecting Hollytree Drive with West Cumberland.

"I believe that this property is going to be developed anyways," Jimmy Reed, a commission member, said before making the motion to approve the change. "It is prime real estate, and I believe we are charged here with making tough decisions with regard to people's properties and adjoining properties."

Reed said after the meeting that the smaller request in January did not adequately outline the Genecov Group's full intent for developing the property, but the most recent request did so. He said the new plan also has been thoroughly vetted.

Felicity Reedy, a Planning and Zoning Commission member who works for the Genecov Group, left the room during the discussion and did not vote on the issue.

The two "no" votes came from Jeb Jones, the panel's chairman, and Beth Whitney.

TWITTER and INSTAGRAM: @_erinmansfield

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