The city of Magnolia’s Unified Development Code could cause a problem for the proposed H-E-B at Spur 149, FM 1488 and FM 149—or the Golden Triangle area—in Magnolia following a discussion over the grocery store’s signage package at a Magnolia City Council meeting Aug. 13.
H-E-B is part of a larger mixed-use development by development company Stratus Properties Inc., Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.
The development agreement—signed in 2014—between the city and Stratus called for exceptions to the city’s regulations for freestanding ground signs so long as the developer was responsible for sign maintenance and repair, said Tana Ross, economic development coordinator and planning technician for the city of Magnolia, during the meeting.
The city’s regulations in the UDC at the time of the agreement only allowed for ground signs up to 30 feet tall, but H-E-B officials are requesting three signs for the grocery store, one of which is 60 feet tall, Ross said.
“We came back with an elevation of 60 feet mainly because it allows customers time to see and make a decision [on coming to the store],” said John Rose, senior due diligence manager for H-E-B, during the meeting.
Rose said the taller sign is vital to H-E-B’s ability to come to the city of Magnolia.
“That’s a huge concern for us,” Rose said during the meeting. “It’s pivotal to our ability to develop this land.”
Several council members expressed concern with the height of the sign, comparing it to the appearance of FM 1960.
“We have spent many, many years [and]many, many hours, trying to make sure we don’t create another [FM] 1960,” City Council Member Johnny Williams said during the meeting. “Personally, I’m not in favor, but I’m not opposed … I think this has come back as something different than what we had agreed to prior.”
Magnolia Mayor Todd Kana also said he advised council to stick with the 30-foot sign standards set in place at the time of the agreement in 2014.
Rose, Stratus Properties Inc. representative Chessie Zimmerman and council members agreed to refuse action on the signage package and put the item on the agenda for the following city council meeting Sept. 10. Rose said he would provide visual representations of the 60-foot sign proposed for the northeast corner of FM 1488 at Spur 149.
“We understand that we’re asking something from you and we’re happy to provide any information that you need. We can table this for another night and we can try to get you some photographs and supporting information to give you some perspective,” Rose said to council members.
Along with an H-E-B, phase one of Stratus Properties’ development will also include 50,000 square feet of retail space, about six pad sites and roughly 300 units of multifamily space, Zimmerman said during the meeting.
She said land clearing will begin in late August and construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-September or early October, depending upon contractor availability.
Magnolia City Council meets again Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at Magnolia City Hall, 18111 Buddy Riley Blvd., Magnolia.