Development location and the prospect of new apartments were among the reasons some Keller City Council members voted down a specific-use permit request for a residential/commercial development.

At the Nov. 7 meeting, Keller City Council rejected in a 5-2 vote—with Mayor Armin Mizani and Sean Hicks opposed to the "no" vote—a specific-use permit for Magnolia on Main, a proposed mixed-use residential development that would include approximately 60 residential units, 2,190 square feet of retail space and 1,200 square feet of coworking and leasing office space, according to city information.

The applicant and developer—Randy Primrose, owner of Magnolia Property Company—recently completed a similar project in Roanoke, city officials said. This project would be built on 1.4 acres, according to city information. Council had a public hearing on the matter that included four speakers, with three rejecting or discussing reservations about the development.

The developer hasn’t submitted any other plans or indicated he intends to, said Rachel Reynolds, communication and public engagement manager for the city.

The details

The proposed property, at 346 S. Main St., was to be located within the Main Street Subdistrict of the Old Town Keller Zoning District. A specific-use permit is required for a mixed-use residential development in the Main Street Subdistrict, said Sarah Hensley, director of community development, during a presentation to the council.

In a council agenda memo, city officials noted the Unified Development Code defines mixed-use residential as “a development that contains both residential and nonresidential uses in which the ground floors of buildings that front public or private streets shall have a minimum of 60% nonresidential uses. Nonresidential uses may occupy upper floors. The ground floors of interior buildings not fronting public or private streets may have 100% residential uses.”

Zooming in

Hensley said the project would have 53,000 square feet and be three stories high, with a maximum height of 50 feet. The applicant proposed 28 studio units, 23 one-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom units.

If the applicant’s specific-use permit had been approved, he would have needed to submit a full site plan that detailed plans for building height, parking, landscaping, lighting and site details. Hensley said the current plan lacked sufficient parking for retail and office space—15 spots—but the applicant had a plan to remedy that situation with public parking. However, the applicant would have needed a variance if the site plan had come through.

What they’re saying

During the council comment period, council member Chris Whatley said that during the election season last spring, he met ”thousands” of residents who had a particular concern on their minds.

“Probably the most common question I heard from any citizens in the city was, ‘Would you support additional apartments in Keller?’” he said. “And I said, ‘Nope, I would not.’”

Whatley said he couldn’t support the development and said it was not “the right fit.”

For Old Town Keller, city leaders are trying to bring in “quality development” to the area, Mayor Armin Mizani said. He prefaced his comment by saying he has heard people in the city said they didn’t want these type of mixed-use developments in specific parts of the city but are willing to support them in certain areas, which he thinks can be Old Town Keller. One of the mayor’s other concerns centered on ensuring the parking situation gets settled.

Primrose told council he thought the site was a good fit and Keller was a “perfect town” for his development.

“I think it gives all the accommodations that residents would love to have being right here at the gateway of your city,” he said.