Michele Rogerson Lynch, director of land use and entitlements at Metcalfe Wolff Stuart & Williams
by Ann Fowler
OAK HILL – Representatives of the 4.5-acre commercial property that currently houses the Goodwill at the ‘Y’ said owners would like to rezone the property from GR-CO-NP to GR-MU-CO-NP. In addition, they seek to change the floor-to-area ratio (FAR) from 0.21-to-1 to the more typical 1-to-1. They spoke at the June OHAN meeting (Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods).
Michele Rogerson Lynch, director of land use and entitlements at Metcalfe Wolff Stuart & Williams, said the property owner, Cielo Paso Oak Hill LP, is seeking some changes for both short-term and long-term plans at 7100 U.S 290 West.
Gabe Bruehl, founding partner of KBGE Engineering, also attended the meeting to answer questions.
Lynch said they were surprised when Planet Fitness suddenly gave notice recently, closing the Oak Hill facility and moving clients to a new one at 6800 Westgate Boulevard. Planet Fitness members were also surprised by the closing. An email announced to members the “Exciting News” that their local club was closing. Several Oak Hill Planet Fitness regulars contacted reported the Westgate location is too far, too small and cramped with equipment placed too close together. Some complained the new location has taken a more partisan political approach—it has on its TVs four Fox channels (including Fox news) and no MSNBC.
Lynch added that Goodwill has a lease that runs for another eight years, so no long-term changes are planned. However, in planning for a restaurant pad for fast-food restaurant Raising Canes, they found that in 1994, conditional overlay language in Ordinance No. 94117-E limited the FAR. The owners believe it should apply to the property as it existed on the date the ordinance was adopted. But city staffers are applying the restriction to current and future development without taking into account property being lost to right-of-way—the Texas Department of Transportation is taking about a half-acre for the right-of-way for the Oak Hill Parkway.
In an appeal, representatives said, “By excluding the portion of the property that had been condemned, staff reduced the maximum FAR from 45,555 square feet to 41,713 square feet.”
They added, “If part of the allowed 45,555 square feet (the calculated FAR for the property at time of adoption of the Ordinance) were included in the right of way which was condemned by TxDOT, then Section 25-8-23 would allow the total square feet of floor area taken to be rebuilt on the remainder property.”
No one could identify the reason for the restriction. Thus far the reduced FAR stands.
Lynch said in redeveloping the property, impervious recover would be reduced from 98 percent to no more than 85 percent.
The proposed restaurant would take up nearly an acre in the parking area of the property. A sedimentation/filtration pond is planned to capture runoff from the entire 4.5-acre lot.
For long-range planning, the owner proposes rezoning from GR-CO-NP to GR-MU-CO-NP (Community Commercial-Conditional Overlay Combining District-Neighborhood Planning Combining District to Community Commercial-Mixed Use Combining District- Conditional Overlay Combining District-Neighborhood Planning Combining District).
The representatives could not be specific about the future use of the property because Goodwill will likely remain for the length of its lease. They suggested the possibility of a residential component in vertical mixed use. Lynch said the owners live locally and want to see the property enhance the community.