Faced with a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 100 passionate residents, the Katy City Council voted unanimously to continue a public hearing on the re-zoning of more than 200 acres of land north of Morton Road on June 27.
The move would allow for the land to be re-zoned from a R-1 designation to a planned development district—a change that would open the door for a new residential and commercial development to be built called Ardenwood Park with 374 homes and a more than 47-acre strip center with mixed retail.
The council was tentatively scheduled to vote on the re-zoning of the 204-acre site located south of Clay Road and west of Katy Hockley Cut Off Road but after the public comments, decided to delay their decision. [totalpoll id=”165201″]
The proposed development—which is being constructed by the Houston-based developer Ardenwood Group—is situated near the Hunters Terrace neighborhood in Katy. Scores of residents from Hunters Terrace and surrounding streets filled the new council chambers to vent their frustrations with the proposal.
Bill Abbott, who said he was a civil engineer residing in the Hunters Terrace neighborhood, told the council that he believed the new development would make traffic problems worse and also create the potential for flooding.
“To me, this is getting us back to where we don’t want to be, looking like Houston,” Abbott said.
Betty Williams said most residents around the proposed development did not get any notice about the public hearing from city officials. She said her street has flooded regularly and the new development will negatively affect her property value.
“This can and should be stopped,” she said.
Another resident, Steve Williams, said many of the people in attendance shared the same views—that the proposed development would possibly create traffic problems, flooding and even attract criminals.
“I don’t think the council, our elected officials, have done their due diligence,” Steve Williams said. “It’s clear this council wasn’t prepared for any of us to be here tonight. There’s steps being missed here. Step back and see what the impacts are.”
After 14 different speakers addressed the council—including some who spoke twice—a representative, Berzin “Fred” Bhandara, for the developer took the podium to address the concerns.
“I’ve heard and listened to all the concerns. We will do our best to make sure the development is planned and engineered as best possible,” Bhandara said. “We don’t want to be bad neighbors.”
The council voted to continue the hearing until July 25, giving the developer time to alter conceptual designs and address citizen concerns.
During the period at the end of meetings used for comments from City Council members, several took the opportunity to address the situation.
“This council is available. We do hear people, we do make wise decisions for the city,” said City Council Member Steve Pierson. “The communication that was shared tonight was beneficial.”