City’s residential development continues its momentum

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Representatives from three of the city’s large developments made presentations of one form or another at Manvel’s city council meeting this week. Sedona Lakes would like to request a change to its development agreement and wanted to provide council notice of its intent and to explain the reasons. Landeavor acquired the development already in process in mid-2013 and has significantly upgraded the development’s landscaping and other things to overcome an image that had been less than favorable. Since acquiring the property, 192 lots have been delivered to builders and 140 are currently under development. The original developer had sold 180 homes in the nearly four years they had control at an average price of just under $400,000. Since the ownership change, 130 homes have been sold at “fairly significant” price points. Sixty foot lots are averaging $350,000, seventy foot lots are averaging around $450,000, and the eighty foot lots are averaging around $575,000. Thirty homes are currently listed for sale with twenty-five of them listed at more than $500,000.

While expressing pleasure at the high prices, the developer says they are missing an opportunity to appeal to buyers desiring a smaller home and lot size and a lower price point. One of their requested changes would allow them to market to those buyers. Phase 4 of the project lies to the south of Mustang Bayou and it is in that phase the developer would like to accommodate that smaller product.

The original land plan included 854 lots. The requested amended land plan would increase that count to 1051. 144 of those lots would come from a twenty-acre tract on the north-east side of the current development that was not a part of the original plan. It is currently under contract. The other 55 lots would come from a revision of Phase 4 of the plan with many attributed to a former parcel allocated to AISD for a school site. AISD apparently is willing to forego the property. Phase 4 was originally planned for all 60-foot lots. The proposed revision would provide a combination of 50-foot, 55-foot, and 60-foot lots. The developer claims the average lot size of the entire development would remain within the required 60-foot average the city mandates.

Another amendment requested by Landeavor would provide flexibility in the marketing of the 40-acres along Hwy 288 originally dedicated to commercial development. No interest from commercial developers has been forthcoming and they would like an opportunity to entertain other potential uses of the property that might include a combination of uses such as multi-family and high-density residential. The site is lacking appeal for commercial purposes due to the lack of easy access from 288. As no frontage road is planned along that portion of 288, access would be awkward and inconvenient. The developer allayed concerns from council that a multi-family development would detract from the quality of the development by explaining its natural buffer from the residential portion of the development by both County Road 94 which runs parallel to 288, a sizeable detention pond, and a natural wooded area “where you can’t even see the apartments from the residential.”

Landeavor feels they are not asking for anything not granted to other master-planned communities in the city and are just wanting a “fair shake.” When the original development agreement was negotiated the city was firm in not allowing apartments in the city. However, the Pomona development, located just across 288 from Sedona Lakes, has a master plan that provides for several multi-family options including apartments. As Landeavor explains it, they are just wanting a level playing field.
Council will expect the desired amendments to be put up for a vote in a future meeting.

The Lakeland subdivision petitioned council to approve variances in the Subdivision ordinance to alter setbacks on corner and cul-de-sac lots in Phase 3 of their project. The ordinance reads contrary to the city’s zoning ordinance which does allow for the actions requested. City staff has been slow to amend the ordinances to read compatible with one another. The corner setback request allows homes to face their respective streets in opposite directions. The cul-de-sac setback request allows for better placement of the home in relation to the circle drive. Both variances had been approved for both Phase 1 and 2 and council agreed to be consistent in its actions by authorizing the variances for Phase 3 as well. Lakeland also received approval for the preliminary plat for Phase 3 which consists of slightly more than 40 acres.

Developers of the Pomona master planned community were also in attendance requesting amendments to their development agreement. The changes would alter the path of a roadway and allow for an entry monument sign and a larger sign along the 5-acre lake that will greet visitors upon entering the project. Both requests were approved by council. Also approved was a request by the project’s developers to allow permits to start six model homes and the recreation center prior to the recording of the final plat. The approval will allow the model homes and rec center to be completed sooner than would otherwise be the case, thereby making them available to the public at an earlier date. An update on the progress of the development was given with an aerial photograph showing the site work that has been completed to date. Concrete was planned to be poured on the primary entrance to the project from County Road 101 this week. The 1,000-acre property will eventually contain approximately 2,100 single-family homes and will feature amenities, schools and gathering spaces linked by an extensive trail system. More than 300 acres of the property will remain open space in the form of wetlands and protective waters. Commercial and multi-family sites are also part of the master plan.

As the rooftops continue their progress it becomes increasingly likely that commercial and retail development will soon follow.

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