By Wyndi Veigel
In yet another go around, the Planning and Zoning Commission have unanimously disapproved the preliminary plat for Camden Park.
Camden Park, a proposed subdivision off of County Road 611 near the Collin College property, has been through many phases in the past nine years.
In 2006, the subdivision was presented to the city as a generic project having large lots for homes. In 2008, the property was presented with having Single Family 3 zoning, or basic single-family homes.
In 2012, it was presented as having Single Family 3 zoning but adopting zero lot lines to adapt the property into a 55 and older community, including having housing, apartments, doctors and nursing facilities.
Most recently, it is being presented with 2/3 of the project remaining single-family 3 housing, about 243 homes, with 1/3 being zero lot lines for 55 plus homes as well as an area in Phase 2 to be multi-family, or apartments.
Camden Park approached city council June 9 at their regular meeting. Though Planning and Zoning had recommended approval of the plat to council, contingent upon six items being approved, city council denied the plat and sent it back to the board because of so many changes between the 2008 project and the 2012 project.
During the July 6 P&Z meeting, more questions were asked with additional input from the public since the meeting was heavily attended.
Commission member Craig Overstreet expressed concerns about there not being fencing around the detention ponds found within Camden Park.
“Do our statutes require that these ponds are enclosed with something to prevent children from entering?” Overstreet asked. It is not in the city’s ordinances, City Manager Ben White said, to require this. “It’s possible that it could be developed into something attractive but in a lot of cases it’s left up to the home owners organizations to do that.”
Usually, White said, they are only holding water for a brief time before the water disperses.
City engineers recommended that the preliminary plat be approved, according to White, pending franchise agreement letters with utilities.
“They have taken care of several of the prior issues that were brought up … most notably the one dealing with park dedication, which we believe they fixed that to be in alignment with our ordinances,” he said. “You will see a much larger dedication for parks. Five percent of the gross area and the numbers do match up.”
The city, White said, was also very concerned with street connections. Subdivisions are required to have two points of access. In the case of Camden Park, they had decided to connect another street to provide additional access. The second point of access is off of CR 611. Overstreet did emphasize that a signal did need to be put at the junction of CR 611 to help with traffic.
“The city does recommend approval of this and moving forward with the next step which is forwarding this to city council,” he said.
After being recognized onto the floor, Farmersville citizen Gwen Reynolds spoke to commission members.
“Let me tell you, like I said I’ve done a lot of research and I’ve contacted a lot of people and one of the things that was asked of me by two separate people that have dealt with this situation that we are dealing with the Islamic cemetery, both asked me are there any new developments coming in to your city or your area. I said yeah there is one, Camden Homes, but that has been planned for over 10 years,” Reynolds said. “Well have there been any changes to their plats or to their development. Well, as a matter of fact it has changed from a senior citizens area to now what is going to be a lot of single-family homes. Both of them were like you really need to ask your P&Z to watch this because the reassignment/relocation of refugee relocation centers are Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston. And what they are using are developments to come into towns that have no Muslim populations and they literally buy the properties for their people.”
Reynolds also asked the commission if they wanted to start new housing on the lower end of the price scale since the land was the gateway into the community.
“Please do not allow substandard $100,000 to $120,000 homes to go there,” she said. “It just doesn’t look good for our city. I would rather start high and then come low, than go low and then go lower, and then have rent houses. I mean it could be an absolute disaster.”
Richard Smith, who owns property that conjoins the Camden Park 100-acre site, spoke about his concerns of water run off impacting his land along with his neighbors land. Smith is concerned about both detention ponds and how they will impact the surrounding land.
After further discussion between the commission members and the citizens, Overstreet stated he was very concerned about approving something where 30 percent of Phase 1 had variances.
“I also have a problem with the proposed park and the detention pond. It doesn’t make sense at all,” he said.
At the end of it all, Camden Park has gone back to redo the plat so there are no waivers and the plat will be compliant with all city ordinances, without variances. At that point, the new preliminary plat will be brought back to the Planning and Zoning Commission.