City studies proposal against Townsite plan

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A proposal for a new residential development drew much discussion about Pearland’s future during a public hearing Monday.

The project known as Baker’s Landing would include up to 280 single family homes off the State Highway 35 corridor in an area identified as part of the Old Townsite Downtown Development District. The site is located between Main Street and Old Alvin Road, south of Walnut Street. The applicant is seeking a zone change from general commercial and office professional to planned development.

Much of the feedback centered on the city’s comprehensive plan, which calls for the site to be developed into not single family residential, but a walkable mixed use center.
“I think we need to take note of what we envision our city to be,” Councilman Greg Hill said of the proposal.

Ardent Hardcastle broker Stephan Robinson of Ardent Hardcastle, who represented the seller and marketed the property for two years, emphasized that the need for residential is there, while need for more retail and office is not.

“We showed (the property) to a lot of different development companies,” he said. “We made them all aware of the townsite plan, and they all came to the same conclusion: that there just wasn’t any demand in this market and it wasn’t realistic at this point in time. We had a market study done, and that in there was almost no demand for retail or office space on that property. Their conclusion was the ideal use was multi-family and single family development.

“What we’re looking at is a very sound here and now proposal,” he said. “Some of those businesses along Broadway and 35 could use having some more residents in that area.”

Councilman Keith Ordeneaux also said he did not like the idea of putting homes along 35, but Councilman Tony Carbone pointed out large tracts of commercial land nearby the site that have sat vacant.

Among city staff recommendations were the developer provide a mixture of housing sizes and styles and diverse housing such as townhomes, in addition to pedestrian connectivity and pedestrian access to the Old Town area.

“It’s my understanding part of our comprehensive plan had called for and we’d approved it – diverse housing in some areas of town, meaning we were OK with townhomes and brownstones, under the impression that these are places you can buy,” Hill said. “I don’t think I’ve ever said I’m against those because there is a potential for those to lease out. Had that been the case, we wouldn’t have approved the comprehensive plan.”

Hill said his concern is the study of the 2020 economic plan is that high value commercial development must continue to be enhanced.

“I understand what the market study says. We need to come to some kind of middle ground here. I struggle with all these homes right along 35,” Hill said.

City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission held several required public hearings regarding zone change requests. Two readings before city council are required before action is finalized.

Discussed during a public hearing Monday was a change to the city’s Unified Development Code that would add micro-breweries, micro-distilleries, micro-wineries and coffee roasting.

Also addressed was a proposed zone change to a nearly 10-acre site at Main Street and Bailey Road. Windrose Land Services, on behalf of owner T&B Alexander Family LTD Partnership, is seeking zone change from heavy industrial to general commercial.

Monday’s proceedings also included a public hearing on an application by Stone Development Group on behalf of owner Baath Investments for a conditional use permit for a full service car wash just south of the Pearland Town Center. The 2.3 acre-site is off Business Center Drive west of State Highway 288.

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