A somewhat controversial mixed use proposal took a stop forward Monday night after receiving a hard won zoning approval from Pearland City Council Monday night.
American Modern Green on Monday proposed increasing the office of its Ivy District mixed use project by 10 percent to 200,000 square feet and lowering the number of residential rental units.
“The multi-family is a hot button, and we would like to propose lowering that by 50 (rental units),” said Drew Pelter, speaking before the council on behalf of Modern Green.
“I know some would like that number to be zero, but a master plan is a master plan and you can’t leave one component out on a development of this size.”
City staff has been working with the developer for more than a year, Pearland’s Director of Community Development Lata Krishnarao told the council, and has recommended approval of the plan, namely because it is in compliance with the city’s comprehensive plan and the mixed use development of the Lower Kirby District.
Multi-family units and increased traffic congestion are chief among concerns about the project, which had been on the council’s Aug. 25 agenda, but was pulled by the developer.
Monday’s vote was 3-2, with council members Scott Sherman and Gary Moore opposed.
The Ivy District would include restaurants, hotel, offices, residential and green space, at the site once designated for the WaterLights District. The WaterLights developer went bankrupt and the site was sold to Modern Green.
Growth is here, and while the city can’t stop it, it can be shaped, said Councilman Keith Ordeneaux.
“The reason everybody moved to Pearland was easy access to Houston. If I thought this 300-plus acres could be developed without residential, I would be fighting for it,” he said.
“You’re not going to stop growth,” he said. “I can tell you I remember when Silverlake didn’t want Shadow Creek. It’s an interesting dynamic that happens.”
“It fits the comprehensive plan,” Councilman Greg Hill said of the proposal. “I they have have worked and worked and worked to bring us something that appears to be doable.”
“It would be great if we could zero multi-family, but that doesn’t work,” Councilman Tony Carbone agreed. “It would sit there vacant for years.”
Councilman Sherman expressed concern that nothing technically prevents the owned units from becoming rental units.
The district includes a 225-unit retirement community that combines independent living, skilled nursing and assisted living.
“The folks out there just don’t want more apartments,” Sherman said. “We have plenty of places to live. There are building more and more every day.
“Essentially, I know where we’re going with this. And everyone knows where I am,” said Sherman, who opted not continue fighting a losing battle.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission conditionally approved the requested zone change by a 4-2 vote in its July meeting.
“I think it’s going to create some night life and do some things we have not been able to do,” Mayor Tom Reid said. “The market drives what needs to be done, what is wanted and what’s going to work. These are workable things: a community center, restaurants and shopping. This has an awful lot of pluses to it.”