The Southlake City Council denied Cooper & Co.’s, formerly Cooper & Stebbins, request to zone the land for the development of no more than 270 apartment units with a minimum dwelling size of 1,000 square feet at 401 N. Carroll Ave., Southlake.
Southlake City Council as a whole expressed concern with the density of the project and said that apartments in that area did not fit into the city’s 2035 land-use plan.
“I have problems with the high density, and I have a problem with changing our zoning and land use plan to get there," Council Member Shawn McCaskill said.
There were a few community members who recorded their support for the development, but dozens of residents not only submitted their written opposition to the project but also came forward to make their concerns heard aloud. These concerns also centered on the density and the traffic problems that could be created from the apartment units.
Frank Bliss, president of Cooper & Co., had made efforts to address these concerns, revising the company’s original application from requesting up to 350 residential units with a minimum dwelling size of 850 square feet to requesting 270 units with a minimum dwelling size of 1,000 square feet. In addition, the application was also revised to request that the average dwelling size of the residences would have a minimum of 1,250 square feet.
The fewer, larger residences would increase the average projected rents, Bliss noted in a letter to the city. The rents are estimated at almost $3,750 a month, up from the original $3,000 per month.
Bliss also pointed out that the traffic impact from apartments would be significantly less than if his company built any other addition to Southlake Town Square, such as a new restaurant or store.
In spite of these changes, the proposal was denied by the council unanimously, and the apartment project will not be developed.
McCaskill and Council Member John Huffman both said this was the most controversial proposal they had ever worked with during their council tenure. They appreciated the resident feedback, they said, as it helped them view the project from both a city perspective and a resident perspective.
"We as City Council members have to balance all kinds of different interests, and our having an engaged citizenship is very helpful in formulating our opinions about this," Huffman said. "And ultimately, it's just helpful to the process."