Celina City Council members denied a request to rezone 1 acre on the outskirts of downtown for a My Swim Buddy swim school during a May 14 meeting.

The school would be located on Malone Street, which is in a unique position due to its proximity to downtown, Director of Development Andy McAfee said. The land is also surrounded by both existing and planned development, including Celina ISD properties and an incoming mixed-use neighborhood.

Council ultimately denied the request 4-2 with members Wendie Wigginton and Philip Ferguson voting in favor.

Council member Andy Hopkins said the decision came down to its location and the precedents it would have with a proposed partnership to use Celina ISD lots as overflow parking.

“We are not zoning for a business; we are zoning dirt,” Hopkins said.

Traffic concerns as well as noise and light pollution were also issues brought up by Celina Planning and Zoning Commission members before they recommended approval, according to a meeting presentation.

Looking back

Council’s denial is the swim school project’s second in two years. Council members—including Hopkins, Ferguson, Wigginton and Mindy Koehne—denied the project unanimously during an October 2022 meeting.

A recording of the then-council’s decision was shown during the May 14 meeting.

What they’re saying

Multiple members of the community came to the meeting in support of the swim school project and its potential to partner with the school district, including Celina ISD Superintendent Tom Maglisceau and the Celina High School swim team’s coach.

“I have been the coach of the Celina High School swim team since 2013 and have yet to be able to work with my team in a pool,” Coach Ellyn Hewett said.

Hewett said her team joins club swim teams and practices separately at neighboring city’s pools. Despite not having their own pool, the swim team has excelled and represented Celina at state meets for the past two years, she said.

One of the swim team’s swimmers also spoke in favor of the project alongside multiple parents and younger children who said they also frequently travel out of the city to swim.

The other side

Celina residents Margaret and Dick Ivey, who live next to the proposed My Swim Buddy property, spoke against the project during both the October 2022 and May 2024 meetings.

My Swim Buddy owner Tiffany Hoggard met with the Iveys multiple times and adjusted the plans based on their feedback, council member Brandon Grumbles said.

“I'm not interested in saying no to My Swim Buddy,” Dick Ivey said. “I just want to say no to this proposal for this zoning in this location in a residential neighborhood.”

Editor's note: This story has been corrected. Council member Wendie Wigginton voted in favor of the project during the May 14 meeting.