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Two Ferris developments get go ahead for next step

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SHERRY LONG
The Ellis County Press

FERRIS - City council members gave the go-ahead to two housing developers, looking to bring new home subdivisions to the area during Tuesday's meeting.

KD Financial presented their final plat for phase one of Shaw Creek Ranch subdivision to council members for approval.

Halff Associates Engineer Matt Craig, contracted as the City of Ferris' engineer, informed the city council members of certain conditions still needing to be meet by KD Financial.

Representatives from KD Financial requested the plat be approved with conditions for construction plans, so financing can be arranged.

'What we're asking for tonight is approval of the plat with conditions that we provide your staff with construction plans. Once the construction plans are approved, once the subdivision is built, then we would record that plat, not until then,' KD Financial Head Engineer Tommy Cansler said.

'We're just asking for approval of the final plat, primarily for financing of our project. We need that approval so our bank will fund those engineering plans and the construction of that subdivision.

'We have no problem with the majority of those comments. We are working on the water, offsite water and the offsite sewer issues. We're just simply asking for approval of the plat with conditions.'

Richard Wilson, City of Ferris attorney, suggested council members approve the plat with built in deadlines for the conditions to be meet.

Wilson asked KD Financial Head Engineer, Tommy Cansler how long under the worst-case scenario KD Financial would need to complete all conditions.

Wilson asked Cansler if 90 days would be a reasonable time frame to have all permits and conditions meet.

'We normally would get a one-year period approval that have the plans approved is a normal request,' Cansler said.

The final plat was approved with the understanding of certain conditions to be met by within six months. Water and sewer conditions would need to be met within a year.

In a 4-2 vote council members approved another developer's (Terry Weaver, president of Sterling Development) request for a zoning change of R1 to R2 for a new subdivision to be built surrounding the existing South Meadows area near the high school.

Weaver's client, Ray Wallace, wanted to build 135 homes with 50 percent of the housing with a minimum of 1300 square feet near the apartments and smaller homes near FM 660, with the remaining 50 per-

cent of homes being built with a minimum of 1600 square feet along Wolf Springs Road and near South Meadow.

They are planning to build the subdivision in three phases.

Ferris Mayor Jimmie Birdwell said Wallace didn't just have plans for the property near South Meadows, but also has plans to develop land near the Methodist church, a retail section on FM 660 and the service road.

Birdwell said he felt Wallace was trying to help the city by bringing in various projects.

Birdwell said the minimum 1600 square foot houses would be built against the homes on Wolf Springs Road, but about 200 feet or 2/3 of a football field distance away.

City Secretary Alice Holloway the planning and zoning commission recommended 1600 square foot homes for the entire area near South Meadows.

Sterling sent a letter saying they could not work with the P/Z's request and wanted to negotiate a 50/50 deal.

Burnett asked Weaver if he came back to the council to negotiate on the home sizes, or still just demanded 50/50.

Weaver previously approached the city council March 17th asking for a zoning change and annexation for the new subdivision to be built along Wolf Springs Roads and near FM 660.

He was unwilling to negotiate with council members concerning the minimum size needed for future homes on the property.

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

Burnett attempted to negotiate with Weaver offering a compromise of 75/25.

During the March 17th meeting, council members voted 4-1 to deny Weaver's proposal

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

Mayor Jimmie Birdwell, who was unable to attend the March 17 council meeting, later vetoed the council's decision, so the city could meet with Sterling again in the near future concerning the development.

Birdwell said if he had not vetoed the decision under state law the city would not have been able to negotiate with Sterling again for a year concerning the new housing development.

At Monday's meeting, Burnett agained tried to negotiate with Weaver, asking if he would consider a 75/25, with 75 percent being 1,600 square feet and the remainder a minimum of 1,300 square feet.

'We need the 50/50,' Weaver said. 'We have compromised when we came off zoning (accepting 1,300 sq. ft minimum instead of 1,200).'

Mayor Pro-Tem Scott Born supported the zoning change and said Wallace had already gone out on a limb for Ferris by developing the South Meadow subdivision when no other developers were interested in Ferris.

Born noted that not every small town has a person like Wallace to help develop the city.

'We have someone here that wants do something nice for Ferris and I don't think we need to poke him in the eye,' said Born.

'To me he's (Wallace) in the best interest of Ferris. To me he's done some really nice things for Ferris already. If I thought they (Sterling Development) did something to take advantage of Ferris, I'd vote against it.'

Ferris resident, Tony Padilla, was concerned the homes would not be of equal value or quality of the existing homes in the area.

'Build something that would blend. Keep our neighborhoods the same,' Padilla said.

Council members Victor Burnett and Jessie Hernandez sustained from voting in the decision.

'It's a sad day in the city of Ferris when the council listens to a developer versus its citizens,' Padilla said.

After the zoning change was approved the city unanimously approved Sterling's request to annex the area into Ferris city limits.

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