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The Royse City Council has changed the zoning of a property located on S. Erby Campbell Boulevard, making possible a development that would bring duplexes and triplexes into the area.

Duplexes and triplexes, though different from apartment complexes, are required to be built in areas that are designated as “multifamily” in the city’s ordinance. Before the Council voted to amend its zoning laws on Dec. 11, the property for the development had been zoned for stand-alone houses.

If completed, the residential development would be called “Capstone Court,” and would be located at 1900 S. Erby Campbell Blvd.

According to city documents, the Capstone Court subdivision would have 132 residential units and also some space for office and retail. Office and retail space will be limited to one-story structures.

The developer has agreed to place a concrete wall to separate the residential and commercial areas, and will also put wooden fencing along its eastern property line. Both the concrete wall as well as the wooden fencing will be eight feet tall.

Spencer Pattison, a member of the Planning and Zoning commission, told council members that residents from neighborhoods surrounding the planned project attended the meeting at which the commission approved its recommendations for the zoning change.

Tom Crowley, Place 6 council member, asked Pattison whether residents were informed of what type of housing the development would bring near their homes.

“They were informed that (the subdivision) was non ownership but strictly rental properties,” Pattison said.

Mayor Janet Nichol, who also attended the planning and zoning meeting, said she thinks residents left feeling satisfied with the plans that the planning and zoning commission presented. No residents approached the City Council at the Dec. 11 meeting to speak about the project.

“They did seem satisfied. There were probably about 15 people here and I had the same concerns that they did,” Nichol said. “We know that their homes are valued and we don’t want anything over there that’s going to hurt their property, but they seemed to have gone away happy and I think the fact that they’re not (at the Council meeting) is proof of that.”

Documents provided in the Dec. 11 meeting agenda packet showed two different designs for one-story duplex structures. They also showed a design for a one-story triplex structure, as well as one for a two-story triplex.

There will be no gates for the subdivision, and trash will be picked up in individual containers.

The subdivision will have two entrances and will also have walls along the eastern border of the complex.

James Branch, Place 5 council member, asked Cooper whether he felt confident that the developer can keep the complexes “upscale.”

“Do we have measures to protect the city to make sure that (the subdivision) will be maintained to the highest quality?” Branch asked city staff.

Robert Cooper, director of development, said the planned development proposal has rules to ensure that the developer, which will also be the management company for the almost 11-acre property, maintains a high standard.

Cooper also told council members that the party responsible for managing the property will have to follow the city’s property maintenance code.

He also told the Council that the maintenance standards listed in the development plans would have to be followed, even it the property changes ownership.

After city staff had answered questions from the Council, Branch said that he still had some reservations about the development.

“If we build to a high quality, will it stay that way? That’s what concerns me more than anything, especially because it’s being built between two neighborhoods that I consider to be good neighborhoods,” Branch said. “I’m not saying that I’m opposed, but I am a little squeamish about it.”

Larry Lott, the executive director of the community development corporation, told the Royse City Herald-Banner that the value of the proposed subdivision, as building material – among other things – had not yet been agreed on between the city and the developer.

He also said the property that is being sought for the development is too small for any other type of project.

The development plan as well as the designs included in the agenda packet showed that the exteriors of the complexes will be made of brick or stone.

“If this development is what we think it’s going to be and what we demand that it’s going to be, I can’t see that the property values around it will go down,” Lott said. “You can’t guarantee anything, but I can’t see values dropping if everything is done correctly.”

Though a different developer had proposed a more traditional apartment complex on the property, Lott said residents in the area had protested against the project out of fear that it would downgrade the value of their homes.

Lott said adding variety to the way that people can live in Royse City would ultimately benefit the growth of the town.

“For a community to grow and provide something for everybody. it has to have a variety of options for housing and a city needs to take that into consideration,” Lott said.

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