Chelsea denies rezoning for planned mixed use district on Highway 280

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

CHELSEA – The Chelsea City Council denied a rezoning request for a proposed planned mixed use district on Highway 280 during a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 16.

During the meeting, the Chelsea City Council held a public hearing for an ordinance to approve a rezoning request by Wes Davis, Polo Crossings LLC, for property located at 15205 Highway 280 in Chelsea—consisting of plus or minus 33 acres—from general business district to planned mixed use district.

Property owner Connor Farmer spoke in favor of the PMD rezoning and explained the reasoning behind the new layout of the development.

The proposed development featured six lots of commercial adjacent to Highway 280 in addition to 34 lots of residential with green space connected to County Road 440.

“My proposal is to have the back part of the residential that’s not visible from 280—the homes will be quality homes and we can start doing the development today,” Farmer said. “We got four new lots on 280 that are creating jobs in Chelsea, that are keeping people here in Chelsea and then up to two more bigger commercial lots behind those that would be doing the same thing.”

Two businesses have already signed letters of intent to come to the commercial part of the development, including a daycare center and a body shop.

Glenn Siddle, owner of Newcastle Homes, also spoke in favor of the development and on the quality of the homes on the residential side of the project.

“My commitment on this is I want to bring houses, I want to bring rooftops to Chelsea,” he said. “You guys want commercial and I get that, but rooftops drive commercial.”

Siddle said that Newcastle Homes is not an entry level builder and that the residential side of the development would bring “move up” houses.

“That’s what I want to bring here,” he said. “ I would love to see this work. I drive by the site all the time.”

Chelsea resident Jake Ganus also spoke in favor of the development on behalf of his wife and her business, These Three Boutique, which would benefit infrastructurally from the proposed development.

“We recently purchased the land across the street from the new development and in our buying it, we didn’t realize how much the water would be an issue with the two inch main. It would postpone us moving the business to that land if we couldn’t get the water hopefully worked out.”

After receiving no further comment on the ordinance, the mayor closed the hearing and, after handling a number of items on the agenda, a motion to suspend the rules was passed to immediately consider the ordinance which was denied unanimously by the Chelsea City Council with the exception of Mayor Tony Picklesimer who voted in favor and Councilmember Arthur Fisher who was absent.

“The property in question sits inside of our overlay district and residential is not allowed in the overlay district,” Councilmember Chris Grace said in explanation of the council’s decision.

The city of Chelsea adopted the Highway 280 plus Old Highway 280 Overlay District on Feb. 19, 2019. The district is used as a tool to govern the appearance and quality of development alongside Highway 280 from Dunnavant Valley Road to County Road 51 and along Old Highway 280 from its intersection at Highway 280 to County Road 51.

“In order for us to change that ordinance, we can’t do that tonight, we would have to through public hearings,” Grace said. “There’s a process for that, it’s not as sample as a vote for the council. It involves public involvement. So, that’s why the Council took the position that they did.”

The proposed development is currently zone as B-2, general business district, so while the residential development is denied, the commercial component could still happen depending on the developer’s vision.

“We have to smart about development and putting residential in the middle of a commercial district is not good planning,” Grace said. “I applaud the fact that he wants to do something and bring business. It sounds like he’s already got two good ones that may be interested in coming, and we would support that wholeheartedly.”

In other news, the Chelsea City Council:

  • Accepted a proclamation from the mayor declaring April 2024 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • Accepted a proclamation from the mayor declaring May 5-11, 2024 as Professional Municipal Clerks Week
  • Approved a resolution appointing Mary Ann Moore to the library board