Don Huffines at Fate Council Meeting

Don Huffines, co-owner of Huffines Communities, a real estate firm based in Dallas, speaks to the Fate City Council on Monday.

The Fate City Council on Monday heard plans for a residential neighborhood along Ben Payne Road and gave suggestions for improvements to the design plans.

The development was formerly named the Montarra neighborhood. Representatives from the real estate company leading the project, Huffines Communities, told council members at their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday that the neighborhood will now be called Bridgewater.

The project is being planned on the west side of the Woodcreek Fate subdivision along Ben Payne Road.

In addition to traditional single-family homes, developers told the City Council that they are planning on also building high-quality townhomes in the neighborhood.

Elvio Bruni, the president of the Dallas-based real estate firm, said current plans include more than 1,200 lots for detached single-family homes and more than 290 townhomes.

Bruni presented plans for the development, which included fancy neighborhood front entryways as well as a community farm, along with other amenities like hammock parks with Wi-Fi access.

He said developers are also interested in looking to implement other features as well, including a dog park as well as a sand volleyball court.

Developers would also put up a buffer and a wall along side of the neighborhood facing Ben Payne Road.

Additionally, Bruni said the firm is working with the Rockwall Independent School District for a school site in the neighborhood.

He told council members that he would like to iron out the details regarding the designs and plans for the neighborhood before negotiating with the school district.

“We want to put one in, we just don’t know when or where the school would want to go in,” he said.

He said designating a space for a potential school campus prematurely could leave the neighborhood with little options for other developments if the district decided to not build a school on the property.

None of the council members expressed an outright disapproval of the plans that were presented on Monday night. Some of the concerns dealt with property values of adjacent neighborhoods, as well as the costs behind managing the open space included in the plan.

City officials also discussed potential entry ways for emergency personnel with DPS Chief Lyle Lombard.  

Councilman Steve Hermann asked how the firm plans on advertising the subdivision.

“What makes this proposal unique so that somebody comes there versus next door to Woodcreek?“ he asked. “When you advertise the community, what are you going to be advertising?”

Don Huffines, co-owner of the real estate firm, also spoke at the council meeting. Huffines has also served at the Texas Legislature as the state senator for Texas Senate District 16.

Huffines answered Hermann’s question, adding that the different lot sizes, as well as the variety of living options and house designs would help build a sense of community.

“We want to create a real sense of community that you don’t have in most suburban areas,” Huffines told the council.

In an interview with the Herald-Banner, Huffines said the Bridgewater development is one of the smaller projects that his firm has taken on, but said he does not foresee any problems stemming from the size of the neighborhood.

“This will be one of the smaller ones, but we’ve done neighborhoods of this size. We’ve done projects with 1,200 lots, we’ve also done 5,000 or 6,000 lots,” he said.

Huffines said that he felt optimistic about the project after hearing comments from council members.

“I think the city is going to feel the same sense of excitement that we have for the community.  We’re here to build what the city wants us to build, a real sense of community that the city is going to be proud of,” he said.