Pearland officials declined to rezone a portion of the Ivy District for multifamily units and opted to keep the zoning that calls for a senior living community.

What happened

On June 24, Pearland City Council voted 2-5 against granting Sueba Consulting’s request on behalf of developer American Modern Green Development to rezone 6 acres in Pearland’s Ivy District to develop an apartment building with nearly 400 units.

Council members Clint Byrom and Tony Carbone voted in favor of rezoning the land.

The land was originally designated for continuing-care retirement communities with 366 units, but the developer could not acquire a partner to operate the senior living community, according to agenda documents.

In the original proposal for the assisted living facility, residents would own their units and have access to senior living services, Sueba USA Vice President D.J. Blanchard said.

The proposed multifamily development would have included 359 units in a four-story building with amenities and a parking garage, according to agenda documents.

Those opposed

During the June 3 planning and zoning commission meeting, Byrom said officials were concerned that rezoning the land would lead to other nearby land, classified as commercial, being rezoned for multifamily units.

Planning and zoning commission officials voted 5-1 to recommend rezoning the land, agenda documents show.

“That’s not even on the radar for us right now,” Sueba Consulting owner Stephen Richey said in regard to rezoning other land in the area.

Byrom said he asked about the future use for that land because he’s recently seen companies purchase property zoned for one purpose and then request it be rezoned for another purpose. Other council members echoed those comments.

“I’m not going to be in favor of this switch,” council member Rushi Patel said. “I like the idea of the senior center being there. In my mind, you guys never intended to build that senior center. ... I think you guys just want to flip it to more apartments.”

Carbone said he was open to discussing the rezoning but shared the concerns of other council members that the applicant would eventually want to develop multifamily housing on land zoned for commercial development.

“I struggle with this one, especially with that frontage still there. I know it’s maybe not in the plans today, but you break ground on the next round of multifamily and all of a sudden, it’s, ‘Well, the office market’s just not where we want it, ... but residential multifamily is doing good.’” Carbone said.

What else?

Mayor Kevin Cole said American Modern Green, a subsidiary of Modern Land China, one of China’s largest green real estate companies, intended to build a hybrid condominium/assisted living facility that is common in China but not in the United States.

“This is something that’s very prevalent back in China,” Cole said. “People come into a facility like this, they buy their space, they live there and ultimately pass it or sell it, ... and I questioned at the time, and I question now the viability of that in this marketplace, ... which is why I think the folks at Modern Green didn’t find anyone locally in that space.”