Baker’s Landing proposal resurrected

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City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission took another look at a proposed residential development near State Highway 35 Monday during a joint public hearing regarding “Baker’s Landing.”

Rejected in April on the second reading, the zone change necessary to develop the nearly 80-acre tract came before City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday night.

The plan was presented with changes at a June workshop, with 208 single-family homes on 55-foot lots and 48 town homes on 24-foot lots. The plan includes about 10 acres to be zoned general business.

The site is located between Main Street and Old Alvin Road, south of E. Walnut.

“It’s an interesting piece of property, and trying to put it to the best possible use can be a challenge,” Mayor Tom Reid said. “We can have all kinds of ideas, but the market says you can do certain things with a piece of property.”

“My own personal concern is that this is an extremely high density for a piece of property this close to town,” he said. “The lots are too small and there are too many of them.”

Councilman Derrick Reed questioned the width of the town home lots – which falls under the city’s required 30 feet.

“We’re at 24 feet (lot width on town homes). About this 30 feet – why can’t we meet that with the town homes?” he asked.

The developer responded the “pre-designed product” had been amended based on how it works in other markets to create a usable backyard for town home residents.

Reed asked for renderings or pictures of such products.

The applicant is seeking to change the zoning from General Commercial and Office and Professional to Planned Development. In the past, issues arose regarding down-zoning the site to residential. Some have a tough time giving up potential commercial development.

“I hate to give this up to residential,” Councilman Gary Moore said.

Councilman Tony Carbone pointed out there is plenty of commercial space sitting unused elsewhere in town.

“Seems like there is a lot of supply already there, GC and GB reserves throughout 35,” he said.

Nevertheless, city staff does not recommend approval at this time. The reasons include: The plan does not meet its “Village District” future land use designation of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, or those of the Old Townsite Plan, both of which were adopted by City Council.

“The proposed Design Plan does not show how the 10.2 acre GB tract will be integrated or connected to Grand Avenue or to the residential development to create a mixed use development,” city documents state.

Other reasons listed include density, lot widths and open space requirements not being met.

No action by the council was taken at Monday’s joint public hearing. For action to be taken, the item must be listed on the agenda of a future council meeting.

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