With Friendswood City Council’s vote April 5, a planned unit development near FM 2351 and Beamer Road will not happen as originally intended. However, council members said they still want to see development happen in the area.
City Council voted to table developer Coastal Bend Property Development's proposal to rezone a 34-acre parcel near the intersection to make way for several retail, office, warehouse and storage buildings. Mayor Mike Foreman opposed tabling the item because he said unless the developer brings back a different proposal, the item would be tabled again or rejected.
Director of Community Development Aubrey Harbin said the developer's proposal was to take developed and undeveloped land zoned as a mix of community shopping center and industrial and rezone it to planned unit development.
According to the developer’s plan, the PUD would include a mix of offices and warehouses, vehicle storage buildings that are open on the fronts and backs, and enclosed storage buildings with roll-up doors. Retail buildings would be built along FM 2351, according to the plan.
Prior to City Council's meeting, the Friendswood Planning and Zoning Commission voted against the rezoning, noting the proposal requires several variances to established ordinances. Friendswood resident Philip Ratisseau, who chairs the city's Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals, said the board should be careful to not establish a precedent for variances.
“I’d hate to see a PUD be granted with all these exceptions, and then, the next guy comes along and wants the same thing, and then, you have to ask, 'Why do we have all these zoning ordinances and requirements in place?'” he said.
Council Member Steve Rockey said he was happy the property was going to be developed but asked for a guarantee the developer would not turn the area into a big-box retailer, such as The Home Depot.
Dan Rucker of Coastal Bend Property Development said his intention is not to develop such commercial properties in the area but that he does not determine what the market wants.
“I wouldn’t lie to you by issuing you a guarantee,” Rucker said.
Coastal Bend Property Development's original plan was a 159-acre development near the intersection. After feedback from the city, the developer came back with a 34-acre plan.
“The original application was too large—too broad,” Rucker said.
During a long discussion on the topic, council members and staff agreed the intended development could happen without rezoning the property and causing potential other issues. Council members expressed a desire to see something done with the property.
“I want to get this developed, ... but I think we can work within our guidelines and get it done,” Foreman said.
City staff will work with the developer to come up with a different recommendation for the properties, City Manager Morad Kabiri said.