The voices of the people were heard last Thursday night as the Fairview City Commission opted to delay their vote on a hotly-contested rezoning request. The agenda item was related to The Groves development, a proposed 168-lot subdivision previously known as The Neighborhood at Bowie Park.
The request called for 124.43 acres just north of Bowie Park and south of Cox Run Subdivision between Wayne’s Lane and Mangrum Lane to be rezoned from RS-40, Single Family Low-Density, to an R-20, Single Family Medium-Density with Planned Overlay Development. It also included approving the revised Master Development Plan for the subdivision.
Following a lengthy public hearing, no member of the city commission moved to approve. The lack of a motion pushed the item to the board’s May 20 agenda.
During the public hearing, several citizens detailed their concerns about the proposed rezoning and impact of the development on adjacent properties.
Among those speaking, Frank Dial, of Waynes Lane, expressed concerns about the proposed buffer and traffic generated at the intersection of Waynes Lane and Cox Pike.
Dr. Mark Schenkel served as a spokesperson and initiated a slide show highlighting citizen concerns and potential risks. “We have to think about these issues and what are they going to create down the road,” said Schenkel. He added, “It is above grade and is going to create water issues.” He also suggested a 125-foot buffer.
One by one another citizen stepped to the podium to emphasize their concerns as demonstrated on the overhead slile show.
Tim Rocco, of Cox Run Court, stated, “We understand the need for Fairview to grow. We understand the estimated $200,000 in potential annual tax revenue that such a development, The Groves property, would generate. We understand the desire of property owners to sell acreage during a time when it commands a premium price. We also understand the advantages that thoughtful planned growth could bring to our community.”
In contrast, Rocco said, “What we don’t understand is how consideration to approve a plan overlay district development that would potentially damage Bowie Nature Park and the surrounding neighborhood is being entertained. We don’t understand how a total of 168 homes, 85 percent of them on lots less than 20,000 square foot, is being considered as compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. We don’t understand a traffic study that estimates an additional 180 trips per peak hour as based on a simple reference chart.”
Rocco also noted based on the city zoning ordinance, a POD must be consistent with current comprehensive plan and cannot significantly interfere with the use and enjoyment of other land.
Diane Miller, of Master Shane Road, spoke on existing storm water drainage issues in Cox Run, stating, “We cannot sustain any more water…The concern is the elevation of this property.”
Schenkel agreed, “It is an elevation problem.” He noted that stormwater erosion, pollution, the impact on wildlife were all major concerns.
Cox Run resident Richard Branch spoke to city leaders, “At the end of the day…there is really one question — what is the right thing to do?”
Meredith Kiser, of Cox Run Court, shared that she strongly believes the development would interfere with Cox Run.
Candy Groves, representing the current owners of the property, said she believes the development will offer nice homes, sidewalks, playgrounds, and increase the value of the homes in the area.
Dave McGown, president of Regent Homes and the project developer, proposed revising the plan to reflect a 100-foot buffer.
After listening to citizen comments, Commissioner Brandon Butler said, “I do think there is a great opportunity here for one of the most desirable communities that Fairview has ever seen.”
Commissioner Rod Dawson agreed, “There is potential for this property and there is a commonground we can get to eventually. I don’t think we’re there yet.”