Residents speak out against rezoning, proposed development of 378 acres on Copperas Cove west side
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove Planning & Zoning Commission held two public hearings last Monday on requests to rezone and amend the Future Land Use Plan map for The Valley at Great Hills by Quintero Engineering, LCC.
The property being rezoned and amended on the FLUP consists of 378.83 acres, located west of Suja Lane and south of U.S. Hwy 190, within the city limits of Copperas Cove and in Lampasas County.
The Planning & Zoning Commission ultimately recommended approval of both the requests to amend the FLUP map and to rezone the property.
The property owner, 4JC Partners, LP, along with applicant Quintero Engineering, is proposing a master development plan with a mix of single-family homes, attached single-family homes, duplex homes, townhomes, retail/commercial and parks and open space future land uses with two main entrance points along the southern border of U.S. Highway 190 between Suja Lane and the future southern extension of Big Divide Road.
The request was to change the property’s future land use from SA to LD (Low Density Residential), MD (Medium Density Residential), HD (High Density Residential), Retail/ Commercial and Parks and Open Space.
The property closest to Highway 190 would be retail/commercial, with a pocket area for multi-family residentials before spreading to low-density residential single-family lots throughout. The east side of the development has areas for parks or open spaces, with, 251.95 acres for single-family use, and 10.77 acres would be for green space. For retail/commercial, the plan shows 49.04 acres. For multi-family use, the plan shows 3.68 acres; however, the plan also shows 57.55 acres for flex lots, to be medium density and zoned as R-1, R-2 or Townhome.
During the public hearing, Jimmy Clark, with 4JC Partners and Jimmy Clark Homes, said he was the submitter of the application and spoke in favor of the request.
When asked by Vice Chairman Robert Endter about which businesses might be going into the retail space, Clark said that as developer, he does not get to choose.
“I’d like for GM to come in and put in a plant and hire 500 high-paid employees, but the market is who determines what kind of businesses come to your development,” Clark said.
Endter also asked about the parks and who would be putting those in and maintaining those.
Clark said that the plan is to put in open spaces with some playgrounds and pavilions and possibly a swimming pool. The decision prior to development will be made by those who will be living in the development, Clark added. This development will have a Homeowners Association which homeowners will pay into.
Several residents who live in the area neighboring the proposed development spoke against the request.
Austin Carnell, who lives on C.R. 4807, said he was speaking against the development because the change in population density would result in several issues, including a “law enforcement strain” on people living in the western part of the map. He also brought up drainage issues associated with the hill that the western portion of the development is expected to be built on.
The properties below the hill on the western side currently face drainage issues already, Carnell said. This development will increase the amount of drainage running off the top of the mountain.
Carnell is also concerned with the effect the new development’s retail section would have on people’s homes and their taxes.
“This is concerns that we have out there,” Carnell said. “I know that we are quite angry, and I can’t speak for others, but I know that they’re kind of concerned about this also.”
Carnell added that the letter sent out by the city arrived the previous Friday and did not give adequate time for residents to submit a written response since the response was expected five days prior to the public hearing.
Clark later clarified that the type of businesses that would be going in the retail/commercial space would be whatever businesses are defined in the B4 zoning ordinance.
Michael Bailey spoke next against the development. He lives on C.R. 4813, but his home is identified on the FLUP map as Lot 13, adjoining the left side of development.
Bailey said he has a pond in the corner to stop the run off from the hill.
“This gentleman [Clark] says we’re outside of city limits, but what they’re going to do affects that pond,” Bailey said.
When it rains hard, Bailey said his driveway washes out, and if it rains a lot, the runoff from his yard floods his neighbor’s pasture.
“By adding all of these hard surfaces, the non-porous surfaces, they don’t have any plan to help the people who are outside of the city limits or out in the country or the county or whatever,” Bailey said. “That’s absolutely going to affect us.”
Bailey also brought up the effect the development will have on traffic, especially considering it is located less than half a mile from Taylor Creek Elementary School on Big Divide Road, which already sees a lot of traffic accidents near that intersection.
Bailey added that this development would likely quadruple the amount of traffic.
Sharon Carnell, who lives on C.R. 4807, spoke next.
“I’ve been a resident there for 40-plus years, and now all of a sudden Jimmy Clark and his group are going to come in and build out a city of Copperas Cove back behind me. I’m upset,” Carnell said. “This should have been something the people of Lampasas County voted on. I moved out of Copperas Cove because I didn’t like their laws and I didn’t like their schools, and I moved to Lampasas County to stay there for the rest of my life, and I am fed up with people coming in like this and just thinking they’re going to do whatever.”
Carnell added that she had no idea about this development until she received the letter in the mail about the public hearing.
Ali Bailey spoke next and asked about whether the developer had a policy or plan in place to help out residents like her and her husband when drainage does run off the homes in the development and down to their property.
Clark said that due to development regulations and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), “if there’s going to be drainage design, it’s going to be required for any developments done in Copperas Cove that would not allow any water that comes off of this property to enter your property.”
“The city of Copperas Cove has stringent subdivision regulations that prevent that from happening,” Clark added.
When Ali Bailey pressed him for clarification on whether his business had a policy for if the drainage runoff to their property does happen, Clark did not have a definitive answer.
Commissioner Kenneth Thomas made the motion to recommend amending the FLUP which was seconded by Commissioner Dustin Dewald.
The commissioners also held a public hearing before approving a motion to rezone the same property from AG-1 (Agriculture) and R-1 (Single Family Residential District), R-3 (Multifamily Residential District), B-5 (Commercial Services District) to PDD (Planned Development District), PF (Public Facilities) and B-4 (General Retail District).
Clark again spoke in favor of the rezoning.
Austin Carnell spoke against rezoning for retail.
“We’ve got enough gas stations, nail salons and whatever else is going to be going, and fast food restaurants in the city of Copperas Cove,” Carnell said. “We don’t need anymore out there in that area. It’s going to cause traffic congestion, especially around the Big Divide area, going down to the Taylor Creek Elementary School.”
No one else spoke during this public hearing.
Commissioner Dustin Dewald made the motion to approve the recommendation, with Vice Chairman Robert Endter seconding.
Both recommendations by P&Z will have to go before the Copperas Cove city council for final approval.