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Grayson City Council votes to give developer rezoning to build smaller homes

GRAYSON -- It's now up to developer Rialto Capital to answer last month's construction question, "If you build it, will they come?"

Despite vehement opposition from city homeowners, the Grayson City Council voted 2-1 Monday night to give this developer, along with Veritas Construction, the rezoning they needed to build smaller homes in what had been called the Georgetown Commons Phase 3 section.

The vote had been tabled from the June meeting to allow representatives from the developer to meet with City Planner Steve Sappington, to discuss conditions and housing plans for the project.

Several conditional changes were attached to the rezoning request, including that the builder would need to have its homes fronting Moon Road and adjacent to the original Georgetown Commons be 2,400 to 2,600 square feet; and reduce the lots per acre from 2.3 to 1.78, making a maximum of 116 lots in the new subdivision. The previous rezoning had allowed a minimum of 3,000 square feet on the Moon Road property.

At the June meeting, developer spokesman Mitch Peavy said the new stand-alone subdivision will have a new name, but it's still undecided.He added the new houses will be priced in the $220,000 to $250,000 range. "We need to change the size of the home to give the flexibility we need," he said.

Other conditions for building include:Double rows of five-feet tall Leyland Cypress on the boundary, constructing a pedestrian bridge, mandatory establishment of a Homeowners Association, preparation of a traffic study, underground utilities, two-car attached garages, sidewalks across the front of all properties and exterior to include brick and stucco, but no vinyl. Also, a city official must approve the building elevations and floor plans.

Peavy said Rialto had agreed to the 10 conditions set forth by the city.

"We have a responsibility to not make a decision that would further slash our property values," said Gloria Bailey, a resident of Heritage Grayson Subdivision, and an active real estate broker speaking in opposition to the proposal. "Complicating an already bad situation is not the answer. This change would not improve our market ... it would bury it."

She added, "You're saying Grayson is not desirable because people won't move here because we don't have new homes."

Another homeowner, Mike Williams, asked the question: Why are we changing rezoning for square footage? "You're lowering values at some time in the future," he said. "As a buyer, would I want to live in a graveyard of small homes?"

In other business, the Council:

• Elected Laurie Anderson to fill out the vacant council seat left by David Schroder who recently resigned because of his move outside the city. Anderson, the council's representative on the Downtown Development Authority and former city administrator, was sworn in Monday night by Mayor Jim Hinkle.Anderson will serve Schroder's term until the end of the year.

• Set the budget public hearing dates for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 13 and Aug. 20 at the regular council meeting at 7 p.m.

• Set budget work sessions at 6:30 p.m. July 30 and Aug. 6.