Neighbors push back against proposed industrial development in Richardson

A rendering shows what the proposed development could look like upon completion, tentatively scheduled for 2024. (Courtesy Holdings Industrial)
A rendering shows what the proposed development could look like upon completion, tentatively scheduled for 2024. (Courtesy Holdings Industrial)

A rendering shows what the proposed development could look like upon completion, tentatively scheduled for 2024. (Courtesy Holdings Industrial)

A group of Richardson residents are speaking out against a proposed development that would bring office and warehouse buildings to the Owens Spring Creek Farm property at the northeast corner of Plano Road and Lookout Drive.

Part of the 27-acre property was home to the Owens Country Sausage plant for more than 50 years, but the land has been vacant since the facility’s demolition in 2013.

The current proposal, submitted by Crow Holdings Industrial, includes three spec warehouses totaling about 354,000 square feet. If approved, construction could be complete by 2024, according to City Planning Commission documents. The land is owned by Standridge Properties, a real estate investment company based in Addison.

The property has been zoned industrial since the 1960s, but the requested change would allow the developer to increase the maximum two-story building height from 40 feet to 45 feet, among other items. The planning commission unanimously approved the request at a Dec. 1 meeting.

Richardson City Council is scheduled to consider the request at its Jan. 25 meeting.

“The site is zoned for what we intend to do today; the essence of the request is to adjust the height restriction,” Will Mundinger, founding partner and senior managing director for Crow, told the commission at the Dec. 1 meeting. “The zoning already allows for a 40-foot-tall building on the site. It just has to be two stories. So in that regard, we sort of feel like we are reducing the development intensity of what's allowed on the site, which I would imagine as a stakeholder in the area would be a good thing.”

Gerald Long, whose home on Braeburn Drive backs up to the proposed development site, said he and his neighbors take issue with the size of the development and its potential to exacerbate flood risk. A portion of the site is located in a floodway and 100-year floodplain designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to planning commission documents.

“If you cover 22 acres with concrete, where is that water going to go? It’s going to go in the creek,” he said.

Mundinger told planning commissioners that the project will comply with the city’s drainage requirements and that its design will take into consideration flooding that occurs from the creek.

"We are required by law to ensure that our project will not increase flood risk in the area," Mundinger told Community Impact Newspaper. "We will commission a flood engineering study that will be reviewed and approved by the city of Richardson prior to the state of construction."

Long and his neighbors have also raised concerns about how the height of the buildings could affect property values. The proposed site is 15 feet higher than the adjacent residential area, Long said, which would make the buildings seem even taller.

Mundinger said his team is still working on finalizing building heights and is working to limit them "as much as possible."

"Heights of the buildings will be generally consistent with the commercial buildings in the immediate area," he said. "Crow Holdings Industrial makes being a good neighbor a priority, and we are excited to bring a best in class office and warehouse development to this site."

More than 3,000 signatures on a petition opposing the zoning change have been gathered, and Long estimates 700 of those signatures are from Richardson residents.

Last fall, a request for a residential development that would have brought 200 homes to the property was approved by the planning commission but later withdrawn, according to city documents.

Long and his neighbors were opposed to that project as well due to the proposed density; however, he said he is not completely against any development of the property.

“I have a preference, obviously—I’d love to see it become an extension of the park,” he said. “If someone were to come in and propose ... anything that is low-impact, low-profile, it would probably not get much resistance, to be honest.”
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.