Vacant Retail Among New Development Concerns

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A proposed 26-acre shopping center anchored by a grocery store does not sit well with residents concerned with the amount of abandoned retail space within the city.

The site for the new proposal sits at the southeast corner of Pearland Parkway and Barry Rose Road.
City Council discussed the development in a joint workshop with Planning and Zoning Monday, followed by a required public hearing.

During the public hearing, resident Wendy Whitman said many businesses have either closed or moved out in the area, creating plenty of deteriorating retail spaces already.

“We have an empty space where a gas station has been taken out and leveled which has been vacant for years,” she said. “I noticed 15 to 20 retail spaces on my way here. Why do we keep developing retail spaces that are going to be left empty? Do we really need to take up every patch of grass to start another fledgling retail business that may or may not survive?”

She questioned who really stands to profit from developing more retail space.

“I probably should have brought a camera and taken pictures, because that would have convinced you more than anything,” she said. “Empty spaces lead to problems. I see this as creating more problems and encroaching on a residential area.”

The proposal includes a change in the city’s thoroughfare plan. In the city’s original plan, Westminster would connect to Barry Rose Road. However, the center developer proposes connecting Westminster to Pearland Parkway.

Citizens also voiced concerns regarding the traffic impact and the plan’s drainage. The exact type of detention pond – wet or dry – has not been determined.

“There’s implications for each,” Councilman Greg Hill said.

Not all residents are against the development. Resident George King said he would like more information, and was uncommitted thus far.

Phase 1 of the development is the grocery-anchor and fuel station, followed by the strip center. City staff recommended approval of the development pending minor changes in the plan.
After the public hearings, the first reading of items discussed will appear at the future city council meeting. Two readings are required for final approval, and public comment is permitted during those readings.

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