In a 6-1 vote, the city of Friendswood approved an ordinance to reclassify two zones into a planned unit development during its city council meeting on July 12.

The reclassifications approved were at 1715 South Friendswood Drive, which is an empty lot, and 1771 South Friendswood Drive, which is a detention pond.

With City Council's approval, a four-story, 70-foot Class A office space building along with 296 parking spaces will be built on the plot of land at 1715 South Friendswood Drive while the detention pond on 1771 South Friendswood Drive will remain, but will be upgraded with a variety of different amenities.

"I like this development," Council Member Steve Rockey said. "I think it corrects a lot of things that didn't go well with the original development. It gives us the pond [to] get fixed up. [Louis Tannos, the developer] is limited on the traffic, and he builds beautiful buildings. I think this will be an enhancement for the city."

City Council members did not follow the recommendation of the planning and zoning commission, which met on June 10. The planning and zoning commission voted unanimously against the rezoning.

Despite the negative recommendation, however, commissioners from the planning and zoning committee were “extremely supportive” of the project, according to the committee’s memo sent to Mayor Mike Foreman and City Council.

The reason for the negative recommendation was because the proposed building exceeded a 40-foot height limit set by the city, according to the memo. In that same memo, the commissioners also listed the following positives for the rezoning.

  • The proposed PUD reduces the permitted uses allowed, not allowing spaces for retail or restaurants.

  • The proposed PUD better ensures additional amenities, such as trees, a walking path, park benches and other things are added to the retention pond.

  • The proposed office building would have a much lower traffic affect than many of the other potential uses of the property.

  • The PUD would be presented to Friendswood City Council one month earlier than the commercial building height ordinance changes being developed.

According to the description of the project submitted by Tannos Land Holding, the proposal for the detention pond enhancements will include planting 45 large trees and 11 small ones, around 1,434 linear feet of five- to seven-foot-wide crushed granite paths with steel edging, seven park benches, three dog stations, two water stations with lighting and a few other amenities.

“I look at it as getting a brand new park," Council Member Robert Griffon said. "This developer is giving us a brand-spanking new park."

The lone person to vote against the development was Council Member John Scott.