A request from James Webb of Oak National Development for approval of a conceptual plat of a new 278-acre subdivision with 1,159 single family lots with 11 common areas received preliminary approval of the Sulphur Springs City Council Tuesday night. A rezoning request was removed from the May 3 agenda, and some ground lease agreements at the airport were considered as well.
Proposed 278-Acre Subdivision
The preliminary plat approval is not final approval of the project, but was requested to give the applicant a good idea what the city expects from developers and a general direction of how to go about development of a final plat proposal. In order for the project to move forward, several steps will need to be taken, including numerous surveys, and meet at least six stipulations before a final plat will be considered by the city.
The proposed subdivision would be located 1 mile west of State Highway 19 on State Highway 11, adjacent to Stonebriar, and would be conducted in phases, the first with 30-40 lots developed, then subsequent phases in increments of 50-10 lots being developed at a time. Homes constructed by Oak National Development typically are valued at $320,000 and up, according to Jay Webb.
The property is not currently within the city limits of Sulphur Springs, but is within the city’s extra territorial jurisdiction. The developer indicated a willingness for the subdivision to be annexed into the city limits.
Impact on traffic and city utilities and services would need to be determined, to insure the subdivision would not be too much for city water and sewer systems to handle. Webb said the developer will pay for upgrades as needed for each phase of development.
When asked by Place 1 Councilman Jay Julian what makes Sulphur Springs attractive for this type of development, Webb noted that growth growth from Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex started in Crandall and has continued to grow outward from the city. Currently, that growth is headed eastward. He currently has developments in 13 counties, including Greenville, Terrell, Kaufman, Mesquite and Melissa. The developer said it is their understanding talking with realtors that this area is underserved as far as available housing is concerned.
Place 6 Councilman Doug Moore asked about two lots within a cul-de-sac being double frontage. Assistant City Manager/Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski noted that they’d have to work through that for the site project. As proposed, the project would provide housing equal to 25% of the single family housing currently within Sulphur Springs city limits. To avoid major traffic issues, the developer would need to address the two entrances. Engineering Concepts & Designs, LP, President Todd Winters told the council that could be modified to meet city requirements.
Mayor John Sellers asked the general size for the projects and if some variances would be required. Webb noted that a typical development would be 40-50 feet,, but most they do are 1,800-2,400, with pricing starting around $320,000. Whether or not variances are needed would depend on the final plat and size of the community, and different elevations.
The City Council gave approval on a vote of 6-0-1, with one member abstaining from voting due to a possible conflict of interest, of the preliminary plat request from Webb to conceptually plat the general layout for 278.24 acres of land into 1,159 family lots with 11 common areas. The six recommendations proposed by city staff that must be addressed prior to final plat submittal include:
- The city receives full engineering along with necessary off-site easements for water, wastewater, drainage and streets to be reviewed and approved by the city engineer prior to final plat submittal.
- The applicant provide documentation from Texas Department of Transportation for approval of access to the subdivision.
- The property be annexed into the city limits if the city agrees to extend services outside of the current CCN area along with a request to zone the property to the residential zoning designation of SF-6.
- The lots be modified to satisfy the minimum lot frontage requirements of Single Family=6 of 50 feet.
- The street configuration be modified to avoid double frontage lots.
- Approval of the preliminary plat does not constitute approval of the final plat.
Sulphur Springs resident Jed Walker, during public forum, commended the city for encouraging infill housing development which by his estimation has or is in the process of providing 15-20 new single family homes on lots in underdeveloped areas of the city. This has helped with the city, state and nation-wide issue of not having enough affordable housing – something he addressed the council about a couple of years ago
Walker then cautioned the City Council the told suburban sprawl can have on a city. Often, these types of neighborhoods become substantial liabilities for cities within 15-20 years because the tax revenue they bring in does not justify the cost of infrastructure upkeep. He said the city might be better served continuing to encourage growth in underdeveloped areas of town which already have access to city infrastructure such as streets, water and sewer services. The city has the space to grow within.
Resident Morgan Standbridge too addressed the City Council regarding the impact a huge new subdivision in that location would have on traffic. It bring to mind the impact large developments in the Princeton area have had on the traffic corridor off Highway 380 . A development of that size would most likely bring in twice as many vehicles and drivers entering SH 11 and town.
City Manager Marc Maxwell noted that is something that would need to be looked at to maintain the integrity of the highway.
Another city resident asked if a development of that size wouldn’t require more schools as it’s likely some of the families moving into the homes will have children. She asked if the current bond election factored that into the proposal. City officials told her that it’s their understanding the May 7 $93 million bond election is to meet current needs. Another bond would likely be required to provide additional facilities, but that would be an issue for the school district.
Other Agenda Items
Sulphur Springs City Council was also slated to consider a request from the Lacomfora family to rezone a piece of land they own on Church Street. The plat is split zoned, and the request was to make it all one zone for ease of development later on. The Planning & Zoning Commission during their regular April 18 meeting recommended the request for approval. However, due to wording that item was stricken from consideration on the May 3, 2022, City Council agenda, city staff noted.
The City Council also approved assignment of airport ground lease agreements for lots 1220-60A and 1220-60B. Essentially, the change would be a transfer of asset from one owner. The original 2004 lease agreement for Lot 1220-60A was between the city and Carl Bryant and the 2004 lease agreement for Lot 1220-60B was between the city and Max Bradford. An assignment of lease agreement between Bradford and Bryant was executed in 2013. Bryant now has entered into an agreement to sell his improvements (hangars) for 1220-60A and 1220-60B to Scott Swanson. The agreement assigns the existing leases for both lots to Swanson for the remaining term of the original lease, Sulphur Springs Aviation Department Director Joey Baker explained. The current lease for each is $323.64 annually with terms for adjustment at 5 year intervals.
Mayor Sellers also noted a proclamation was submitted declaring May 1-7, 2022, as National Small Business Week in Sulphur Springs. He noted Sulphur Springs has many small businesses to be proud of and encouraged residents to join him in observing the occasion by continuing to visit them.
Public Forum, Announcements
Clarissa Brumley expressed concern for public safety. She said there are often joggers out along city streets, some with no sidewalks, during the early morning or later evening hours, often in groups. She said Coleman Park and trails provide a safer area and aesthetic atmosphere for walking and jogging. She suggested perhaps a city ordinance be considered requiring joggers and walkers to enter streets single file only instead of in groups of 3 or more if they take that route as a safety measure. She noted coming upon a group of three wearing dark colors jogging side by side suddenly in a hard to see area, which cause fright and could have resulted. Perhaps an ordinance could stipulate they jog single file on the street and wear safety equipment so they can be seen.
Place 3 City Councilman Oscar Aguilar invites everyone downtown Saturday, May 7, from noon to 11 p.m. for a Cinco De Mayo observance filled with good Mexican food available for a fee and live DJs.
Place 5 Councilman Gary Spraggins invites the community to attend Northeast Texas Choral Society’s Endless Summer Spring Concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 7 and 2 p.m. May 8, 2022, in Sulphur Springs High School Auditorium. He promises it will be a fun show with Do-Wah-Diddy and Beach Boys style music. Tickets can be purchased from Choral Society singers, at local banks, or online at www.singerscount.org.