City of Arlington and Kennedale ISD at odds over proposed development along US287

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Developers paint a picture of a 135-unit townhome community on nine acres for empty nesters and older millennials. The problem for KISD, it just sees more families with young kids and an overtaxed school system at the elementary level.

The issue arose late last year when Arlington’s Planning and Zoning recommended a change in the zoning for the nine-acre located behind Kroger and along US287 from commercial to residential.

“If those developments just come in and the city doesn’t work with the school district we’re not going to have room in the schools to deal with those students,” KISD Superintendent Chad Gee told the Kennedale Board at last Thursday evening meeting.

Arlington Staff report included the following information on the site in question.

History: Generally, the area around the subject property started developing in the late Seventies and early Eighties and continued to develop substantially with residential neighborhoods in the Nineties. The immediate adjacent areas to the site were developed with commercial projects more recently.

Existing Site Conditions: The site is currently undeveloped, commonly known as Kroger-Sublett Addition, Block 1, Lot 8. The site has street frontage on US 287 Highway.

Density Analysis: The rezoning application requests multi-family uses on approximately nine acres on US 287 Highway frontage. The proposed 135-unit multi-family project results in a density of approximately 15 dwelling units per acre, which complies with the proposed base zoning district of RMF-22 (max. density of 22 units per acre), for density purposes only. This development proposes an appearance of townhomes, instead of a traditional multifamily appearance. However, it is subject to all applicable multi-family regulations since it will not be platted as individual lots and will be owned and managed by one entity.

The proposal includes 108 two-bedroom units (1,200 – 1248 sq ft) and 27 three-bedroom units (1,347 sq ft).

School Response to the proposed development …

KISD protest …

Chad Gee, Superintendent reponded with a letter which outline concerns as follows.

First, our two elementary campuses are both at capacity. The attendance zoning places the development in Delaney Elementary’s attendance zone. We have conducted studies with both UTA and Owner Builder’s Resource to help us analyze our buildings capacities. While we are not currently over capacity, we are close to capacity at each of our two elementary campuses. The intermediate, junior high, and high school campuses are not at capacity.

Second, we already have several current developments that are taking off in our attendance boundaries and we are unsure of the effect this will have in addition to this new proposed development.

Third, we own the property beside and behind the proposed development and we have concerns with the watershed from the proposed development. We had water easement issues with the developers adjacent to the Kroger site previously. As that was a commercial property, its location was not as impactful as this property will be. See full letter here.

Developers response …

The developer responded with a letter dated December 10 addressing concerns about what kind of development this would be and the target group of renters.

In part the letter stated ..

Our luxury lease community is designed for two groups – older Millennials (ages 28 – 34) and younger Baby Boomers (ages 55 – 70). Our extensive research suggests that our renters will likely be evenly distributed between these two groups (i.e. 50% Millennials/50% Baby Boomers).

The older Millennials will primarily be made up of young upwardly mobile professionals without any children as this is the perfect housing product for them in this transition stage of their lives. That is, these renters-by-choice have reached the stage in life where living in a garden-style apartment is no longer appealing or acceptable to them. They are out of the “party stage” of their life and want and can afford more autonomy as they focus on their careers and future. Although it is plausible that some of them might have a young, non-school-aged child, these renters most likely will be single or perhaps newlyweds who will move on to purchase a residence when they decide to start their families.

The younger Baby Boomers will all be empty nesters. That is one of the appeals of our luxury product. These renters-by-choice no longer have children living with them and our perfectly sized product provides them with a single family living experience with the benefit of a lock-and-leave lifestyle. In the event one of their children does choose to live with them, that child, of course, will be an adult. Although it is plausible that their older child might have a young child (a grandchild), it is not likely that living with the Baby Boomer parent will be a long-term situation.

In any event, at the last two townhome communities we built in Arizona, both which were similarly positioned to attract the same demographics, only 10% of our buyers had children. Therefore, we believe 10% is a fair estimate. This belief is fully supported by our execution of this community as we are NOT planning to have any playgrounds or other “child-friendly” amenities offered. … Read the full letter here.

Nothing has been settled yet but traditionally cities followed the recommendations of their planning and zoning commissions. The Arlington City Council was set to approve the zoning request earlier this month but after Mr. Gee entered a protest, the issue was delayed until February.

The area of concern – This map shows Kroger development under construction

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