WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ)- Potential residential development in Wichita Falls is being met with opposition. Residents of the Canyon Trails subdivision packed memorial auditorium Tuesday morning as a new developer approached councilors with the hopes of changing the current development's master plan.
The current ordinance for the Canyon Trails Planned Unit Development allows only for the development of specific commercial properties on the front to land parcels at the entrance of the subdivision.
The developer, Gary Mehan of G.M. Properties, is now calling to change that ordinance to allow for the development of zero-lot line residential homes. The change would rezone 134.73 acres at the entrance of the subdivision.
“I really looked at that area, having commercial property in that area, thinking it would be best for it to go residential up against residential,” said Gary Mehan, Owner of G.M. Properties. “Zero lot line homes are becoming a commodity … so I thought this was a perfect fit.”
However, many residents said the rezoning changes are not the perfect fit for them.
“The issue is the original intent of the Planned Unit Development or PUD, 20 years ago the city council approved the plans for the Canyon Trails subdivision,” said Brian Hasse, a concerned resident. He said although the old master plan is still a work in progress he doesn’t believe it should be discarded completely.
When resident purchased the land they had certain expectations, and changing that would be unfair to homeowners, according to residents.
The changes alone we’re the only problem for some residents, but the process in which it’s going through.
“As I say, my concern is that the residents in this area have not had sufficient notification or the time or information needed to understand what is happening,” said Roma Prassel, another Canyon Trails resident.
Residents also said the zero lot line residential homes could decrease the current value of their homes. They said it could also create traffic safety concerns with just one entrance to the addition.
“The size of the lot, because it’s a narrower lot, smaller lot, there’s concerns that it won’t match up with what's already in the development,” said Loren Shapiro, Planning Division with the City of Wichita Falls. “I think that may be where they are coming from.”
Due to the opposition Tuesday and the fact that two city councilors were not at the meeting, councilors have tabled the item. They will make final decisions on the ordinance at the next city council meeting on Tuesday, January 19th, 2016.