Council Report: Zoning change for 1,000 acre+ Chapel Hill project approved

The Fort Worth City Council, at its Feb. 12 meeting, approved a zoning change for Chapel Hill Venture LLP and Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD.

The proposed use is single-family/multi-family/commercial/community facilities.

The property, almost 1,150 acres, is located south of Bonds Ranch Road and west of Saginaw Main. The area is primarily comprised of vacant land and gas wells with the surrounding area consisting of existing industrial and developing single-family subdivisions.

The original plan in 2001 called for mixed-use residential and commercial tied to development standards for each district. Currently, only one phase on the north has been developed, a standard single-family residential subdivision with approximately 222 single-family lots, each about 40 feet wide.

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There is limited access through this area as development is just starting. With the master thoroughfare plan requirement to construct Fleming Ranch and Eagle Mountain Parkway, new arterial connectors will help to alleviate possible traffic concerns.

The development will occur in phases, with the first phases expected to the east on Saginaw Blvd. to connect to existing streets and infrastructure.

As the city continues to grow outward, developers are encouraged to construct new communities based on a form-based code (e.g. mixed-use building form), which provides for the creation of a central walkable core of commercial, institutional (library, schools) and higher density residential surrounded by lower density residential uses.

The intention is to provide the jobs, shopping, and schooling within the same area, reducing the need for extensive travel.

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The applicant explained that it is a large development with an approximately 15-year buildout. The total living units are estimated around 4,500.

“The project is large. It’s going to take a very long time to clear it out. That’s a lot of acreage,” District 7 Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Dennis Shingleton said, noting the project will begin with townhomes on the east side and as the work moves west the lots will get larger.

The development includes a property that was provided in the past to the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD for construction of a new high school, and includes an approximately 69-acre property on the west for public park land.

While the Zoning Commission’s recommendation was approval by an 8-0 vote, the project has received some opposition. Fourteen letters of opposition were received by the city, and three citizens spoke out verbally.

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“I’ve met with the developers and they’re willing to make some concessions, especially on that west side,” Shingleton said.

The applicant explained that topography and floodplain limitations would have caused larger lots in this area anyway.

The case was continued from the Jan. 15 council meeting to allow more time for the applicant to reach out to the neighborhood.