The Tyler City Council on Wednesday approved a zoning change for 115 acres near West Cumberland Road that will affect its development, despite hearing opposition from some residents who live near the property.
Roosth Properties proposed the zone changes to the undeveloped land, which is between Old Jacksonville Road and South Broadway Avenue, north of West Cumberland Road. The land is now zoned for housing, offices and commercial space.
The Tyler Planning and Zoning Commission approved the changes June 4, which sent it to the City Council for a final decision. The council approved the item on a vote of 5-1 with an amendment to the proposal reducing the density of multifamily housing units from 15 units per acre to 12 units per acre in one tract of the land.
District 1 Councilwoman Linda Sellers cast the lone dissenting vote.
Prior to the vote, members of neighborhoods that could be affected by the development, including Hollytree and the Bishops Gate community at Oak Hollow, voiced concerns to the council with opinions ranging from wanting modifications to the zoning designation to wanting it to be voted down entirely.
President of the Hollytree Homeowners Association John Hart spoke about concerns regarding the potential of increased traffic.
“We would like to restrict the access of these new tracts to Hollytree Drive to try to minimize the traffic,” Hart said.
He suggested a roundabout as a possible solution and said he felt the neighborhoods are for “responsible development” and would support the proposal if some changes were made.
Robert Inlow, of Bishops Gate, said he was also concerned that the development would lead to increased traffic and possibly have a negative effect on property values.
“We are asking you to decline this action totally and to find another solution,” he said. “We do not want any multifamily (units) in that subdivision.”
Mark Priestner, the planning consultant on the development project, said that traffic is taken into account.
“Traffic is always an issue,” he said. “We always want to look at that first.”
He said that development could have the opposite effect on traffic.
“The more connection points you have to any development, the better it is,” he said. “It reduces the overall congestion at any given location. What you’re trying to do is dilute traffic.”
Priestner also said that roundabouts could be built at key intersections, although roundabouts, a kind of traffic circle, were not part of this proposal.
“This is part of the public process,” said Heather Nick, Tyler managing director of planning and economic development. “You want to make sure that we are consistent with the community’s vision for our city.”
Nick said that an appropriate compromise was made based on the feedback received.
“When you see the community and the applicants and the city all working together then you know that the process is working,” she said.
In other business
— After the council voted on the zoning, Shirley McKellar was sworn in to take a seat as councilwoman for District 3, marking her first City Council meeting.
— The Fun Forest and Woldert Park pool and splash pad repurpose project was on the agenda. The council voted on an amount not to exceed $62,900 to develop the architectural and engineering plans and also to rescind $850,991 in authorized funds for Buy Board vendor Whirlix Design Inc. due to a contract issue. The item was unanimously passed.
— The council also approved multiple items regarding repairs of sanitary sewer mains.