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700 brick homes planned for Wilmer

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The Ellis County Press

WILMER - A new housing development will bring approximately 700 brick homes in three phases to the 155 acres located on the southeast side of Pleasant Run Road after a final plat was approved by the city council on Nov. 6.

The developer, Devon Land LLC owned by Thomas F. Herr, said the project is valued at $100 million dollars and he is 'hoping to have the plat approved and annexed into the city, so the city can get tax dollars.'

Mayor Linda Root said while she is happy to see new homes being built, the final plat submitted by Devon Land LLC was approved illegally because the plat had not been submitted through the planning and zoning board for their authorization.

Root asked why Devon Land did not go through the planning and zoning board, when previous developers (KB Homes) seeking to build homes on the same site were required to present their plats to the planning and zoning board.

Afterward, council members can then consider the plat, she said.

'We need to promote positive growth in Wilmer. Not back room tactics,' Root stated.

'Why do some of the city council members always do deals behind closed doors? I thought they were supposed to represent the citizens of Wilmer, not some members' self-interest.'

City Councilman Don Hudson said Devon Land does not have to go before the planning and zoning board for his plat to be approved because the land is in Wilmer's extra territorial jurisdiction.

'KB Homes wanted all the land brought into the city first before the plat was approved,' he said.

Birdwell said, 'it's a learning experience for all of us. All we are trying to do is make this little idea into a reality.'

Hudson said the information Dillard gave Birdwell was 'just his opinion' stressing the city does not have an ordinance requiring developers outside the city limits to present their proposals to the planning and zoning board.

'The consensus of the council is we want this $100 million project and we want it in our city,' Councilman Don Hudson said.

'We do not want this sitting out in our ETJ, not generating revenue for the City of Wilmer. We will embrace it and welcome it with open arms.'

Herr said the plan would represent a win-win situation for the city and his company.

'Taxes would be valued at 2 to 3 million dollars,' Herr said, which would not include permits or inspection fees.

The mayor said the tax value quoted by Herr must include the city, county and school taxes generated by the homes not just the city's property tax.

Councilman Billy Wickliffe asked the developer if any of the property would be provided for the development of commercial or retail structures in his plan.

'There's a lot of things in the wings,' Herr said.

'Once rooftops are here, commercial business will come.'

A former architect from Northern Virginia, Herr said, he builds only homes and designs landscaping around the property.

'We not only save the tree line and perimeter, but we enhance it,' Herr said.

He said the property would include two ponds, three parks and a fountain at the front entrance to invite homeowners.

Ranging from a minimum of 1,200 square feet to 1,600 square feet the new homes would be priced in the low to mid $100's, the developer said.

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