Grapevine City Council denied a proposed 475-unit multifamily complex near Grapevine Mills mall at a joint meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission on May 18.
Despite a 4-3 approval from the commission, the council denied the conditional use permit requested by the applicant in a 6-1 vote. Council Member Duff O'Dell was the sole member to vote in favor of the development.
The majority of the council members said the city already had enough apartments. Council Member Sharron Rogers said the property should be kept for retail to bring in much-needed sales tax revenue instead.
"Because Grapevine is landlocked, the commercial properties that we have now are very precious to us," Rogers said. "And it's very difficult to think about allowing apartments, which frankly nobody in town wants more of, and to lose our commercial land."
But O'Dell said the project made sense in that northern area of town, which has had trouble bringing in a grocery store for many years. She also stated that the property hasn't had any commercial success and that it was time to look for another option as more young people are moving into town and are looking for affordable housing options.
"When you talk about the total number of apartments [in Grapevine], we have a lot of apartments. A lot of them are very old, very dilapidated. They wouldn't be choice living for anybody moving into Grapevine today, and that's counted in that number," she said. "It's very rare that we override the [Planning and Zoning]. And that's why we have those people and their expertise, and I'm very disappointed."
The proposed Stars and Stripes development would have been located on about 10.5 acres of land at 3200 Grapevine Mills Parkway. The development would have had two four-story structures. Proposed site plans showed two pools and two five-story garages as part of the project. The complex would also have had pedestrian walkways and open green space for future tenants.
In a letter to Ron Stombaugh, assistant director of planning and zoning, property owner Bill Poland described the project as “a pedestrian-oriented, urban environment” and wrote that this complex would help promote existing and future businesses in the immediate area.
The lot in question currently houses a vacant L.A. Fitness gym. The proposed multifamily complex has received several endorsements, including that of Herbert Simon, co-owner of the Simon Property Group, which owns Grapevine Mills.
Documents submitted to the city show Poland has owned the property since 2006, and the pad sites there have been available for sale, lease or build-to-suit since 2006 with no takers. It also states attempts have been made to reach out to other gyms to take over the vacant L.A. Fitness building with no success.
According to a city staff report, the property selected for the project was rezoned in 1996 to community commercial district in anticipation of a retail shopping center that never came.
The applicant will have to wait one year before bringing this permit request back to City Council if desired unless major changes are made to the plans beforehand.