Town Center awaits final council vote

In News by Reporter News

With the most objectionable part of the Friendswood Town Center proposal gone for now, Friendswood City Council will soon look at final approval for a zone change to allow a commercial and church development on what is known as the Whitcomb Property.

The 135-acre, undeveloped tract lies at 3801 FM 528.

The proposed mixed use development includes a 70,000-square-foot facility for Clear Creek Community Church, plus commercial development. A previous inclusion of a multifamily component was removed before City Council gave approval of the first reading on June 1.

“In this case, they are saying, ‘Before we build any multifamily, we’re going to come back with an SUP (specific use permit),’ which as you know is done very similar to a rezoning,” assistant to the City Manager Nick Haby told the council in June. “You have the public hearings. You have two readings before council. You have a recommendation from Planning and Zoning. That’s different than what we saw originally.”

Construction of multifamily could still be approved, but applicants must complete the SUP process.

The application for the Planned Unit Development, or PUD, has been discussed and amended since February.

“The feedback I’ve gotten is: People love the church. Most people for a long time have seen this property as the last area that can be a commercial draw,” Councilman Pat McGinnis said. “They’ve wanted a really special development to come in there. The negativity has come down on the multifamily component.”

“What we don’t want to get is, ‘We’ve hidden this portion of it and it’s just going to come back up in the future,’” he said.

The council Oked the first reading unanimously June 1, met by energetic applause from supporters and church members.

But for some residents, the issue is not just apartments, but more commercial development in general.

Forest Bend subdivision resident Bobbi Jones said residents of her neighborhood have trouble getting out via FM 528 now.

“The roads can’t accommodate it,” she said. “We do not need any more traffic to keep us in our subdivision.”

City Council regularly meets on the first Monday of the month beginning at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, 910 S. Friendswood. Agendas are posted 72 hours in advance on the city’s website, www.friendswood.tx.us.

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