‘Friendswood Town Center’ fails to gain P&Z support

In News by Reporter News

A zone change request that may allow development of Friendswood Town Center didn’t garner a recommendation from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission last week.

While the news may be good for nearby residents who oppose apartments, that isn’t why commissioners couldn’t support the project. The volunteer advisory board gave much discussion to the proposal at FM 528, also known as the Whitcomb property.

Leery about a phasing plan presented for a development that includes a church and apartments, commissioners were concerned that the commercial component – the one that will ultimately provide tax burden relief for homeowners – isn’t guaranteed.

The proposal includes a 70,000-square-foot worship facility for Clear Creek Community Church — along with 600 apartments, and space for retail, restaurant and commercial. The proposed new zoning does now allow big box stores or hotels.

And even though existing zoning on the site does allow apartments, the reality of the 600 included in the current proposal are a concern for nearby citizens.

When apartment complexes go up, so does crime, noted Friendswood resident Chris Pemberton, who spoke before P&Z shortly before its decision March 19.

“Developers don’t care about you. They don’t care about your community and your way of life,” he said. “They care about dollar signs.”

“You won’t notice it right away, but over time, you will say, ‘I wish we hadn’t have done that,’” he added.

In addition to apartments, other residents objected to increased traffic and a large residential complex’s impact on Clear Creek ISD.

The commission tabled the issue in prior meetings, and then on March 19 voted unanimously not to recommend the project.

P&Z’s action does not end plans for the proposal, however. City Council can overlook P&Z’s advice should it choose to do so. Council members often ask for feedback on why a recommendation was not given.

Agendas for Friendswood City Council meetings are posted online three days before each meeting at www.ci.friendswood.tx.us. City Council meets on the first Monday of each month beginning at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, 910 S. Friendswood Dr.

P&Z meetings also are open to the public. The commission usually meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month at City Hall.

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