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Developer refuses to negotiate Ferris planned development

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The Ellis County Press

FERRIS - A homebuilder, represented by Terry Weaver, refused to negotiate with Ferris City Council members during a city council meeting Monday March 17 concerning a new housing development proposed for development near South Meadows subdivision between 8th Street and Wolf Springs Road.

The developer had originally proposed to build 1200 square feet homes with a zoning change from R1 to R2 with a request to annex the new subdivision into Ferris city limits.

Property owners in the South Meadows subdivision feared small new homes would be built thus bringing in undesirable neighbors.

Homeowners requested city council members leave the zone rated as recommended by the planning and zoning board.

R1 zoning requires property have a minimum of 1600 sqaure feet, whereas R2 homes have 1200 square feet minimums.

Homeowners feel families who invest more money into a larger home will take more pride in their home and become responsible citizens in the community.

'We put our lives into our houses and we expect it to stay there and have like houses around it everywhere, not 1300 square feet houses . What you do now will set the pace for everything that goes into that end of town' said Homeowner Joe Murdock.

We want citizens that will improve the area by taking pride in their homes and neighborhood, said local homeowner Polly Padilla.

'I don't mind the growth of cities,' she said. 'We don't need any more problems.'

At a January 23 Ferris Planning and Zoning Commission meeting recommended meeting all new homes being built in that section of town be a minimum of 1600 sq ft. or R1 zoning standards.

Weaver and the developer compromised to allow for a row of homes on Wolf Springs Road and South Meadows with at least 1600 square feet to serve as a buffer next to the South Meadows subdivision.

The 1600 square feet buffer homes would be built first.

Weaver said the property owner would agree to a 50/50 margin. He said that was the final offer.

Fifty percent of the houses would be a minimum of 1300 square feet and the other 50 percent at 1600 square feet minimums.

He stated typically homes are 200-300 square feet larger than the minimums.

City council members attempted to work with the developer to reach a compromise.

Council Member Victor Burnett made it clear he was not attempting to run the developer off.

'But we want to shape our city' he said.

Burnett commented this is our Highland Park of Ferris.

'We have an opportunity to design our community.'

Burnett asked Weaver if the developer would consider a 75/25 agreement.

Seventy-five precent of the housing being 1600 square feet or larger and 25 percent of the homes with at least 1300 square feet to blend into the Bear Creek edition of smaller homes and apartments in the region.

Mayor Pro-Tem Scott Born did not have a problem with Weaver's request for a 50/50 plan. Born stated smaller homes did not necessarily mean bad folks. He felt the developer had offered a fair compromise.

Born felt the developer had shown good faith and good workmanship in the homes had been constructed in the South Meadow division.

Weaver made it clear the owner could not compromise.

'The owner of the property has informed me that if we can not accept P&Z's recommendation and if that's your vote tonight we would withdraw our request for annexation….We just can't viable develop that project today with 1600 square feet homes.' Weaver said.

Murdock said 'If they can't make it on 1600 square feet house well I say they made a bad investment'

Retail value of the homes would be low-mid $90s up to $140s.

Ferris City Council voted 4-1 to deny ordinance 460. Mayor Pro-Tem Born was the lone opposition to deny changing the zoning.

After the ordinance's defeat Weaver removed the request for annexation and exited city hall meeting chambers.

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