A mixed-use development in Southlake cleared the first hurdle, but City Council will look at the project again at the April 16 meeting.

Curtis Young with Sage Group and Travis Franks from WillowTree Custom Homes presented two proposals. One was to change the future land plan for the property at 240 N. Carroll Ave. to allow for office commercial land use during the April 2 meeting.

That motion was passed 6-0. The second was to rezone that land that is set as an agriculture and single-family residential district to a transitional zoning district.

That was passed 5-1 with council member Randy Williamson voting against it.

What you need to know

The plan would be a mixed-use development that would be fronted by a two-story office building off Carroll Avenue. The second part would be a housing development with 26 houses, with an average price of $2 million. Franks said he expects first-time homebuyers and empty nesters looking to downsize to have interest in these properties.

"At $2 million, I don't see how that opens up anything for first-time buyers in Southlake," Williamson said. "No first-time homebuyers can afford $2 million. So where does that scratch the itch for the first-time buyer? I'm having a hard time buying into it."

Franks countered that a newly constructed house in Southlake for $2 million is about $1 million less than others in town.

The office property would be called The Overlook while the housing—which would be behind the office—is called WillowTree Gardens.

The Overlook would be a two-story, 23,000-square-foot project that sits on 1.98 acres of the 9.6-acre development.

Several residents opposed the project, either speaking at the meeting or leaving note cards to state their stance. This agenda item accounted for nearly two hours in the three-hour meeting.

A new driveway would be cut at the intersection of Carroll Avenue and Main Street in the proposed plan to help with traffic entering the development, a presentation stated.

The specifics

Franks said the office space would house his personal office, while others in the building industry have expressed interest in occupying the second story. He said the retail portion of the office would be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Franks said there are no plans to have any restaurants in the proposed office space.

After initially going to the planning and zoning commission on Feb. 22, the developers removed 3,000 square feet from the office space and cut the housing development from 28 lots to 26 lots.

There would be 6 feet between each housing unit, and all garage access would be through an alleyway behind the houses, Franks said. A proposed hybrid plan includes three half-acre lots and 19 two-story villa-style houses on smaller lots.

Dennis Killough, Southlake's director of planning and development services, said the proposed housing plan would have about 20% of open space with green space in the middle of the villas.

What else?

There were concerns about allowing access to the housing development to Cross Lane, which dead ends to where the proposed housing development would be. There were also questions raised by council about access to FM 1709/Southlake Boulevard from the development, but Franks said a doctor who owns two buildings near the development didn't want traffic going through his lot to get access to that street.

There were also questions about the walkability from the area to Southlake Town Square, which is across the road. Franks said a 5-foot sidewalk north to Ownby Lane could be constructed to connect the development to the shopping center.

The setup

While both motions were passed, the second one was passed with stipulations for Franks to look at before the next meeting. They were:
  • Present a revised plan with masonry fence on south property line
  • Present a plan to connect the housing development with Cross Lane
  • Look at reconfiguring the three half-acre lots and possibly move the location of one of the houses
What they're saying

"Our family is deeply, deeply rooted—probably the most rooted in Southlake still active today." Franks said. "We have been here since 1955. For us, it's just not a developer-builder coming to town to take over the land. It actually means a lot. We have 17 Southlake Carroll graduates in our family, and I have two children, one graduating this year, to add to it. We are very rooted and excited for the growth of Southlake, and we want to continue that going."