In a rare moment for Rowlett, dozens of residents showed up during the Jan. 7 City Council meeting to voice their support for a proposed multifamily development.
A public hearing was held to consider a request by Mike Martinie, on behalf of DHI Communities and Walter Guillaume, First Baptist Church (FBC) of Rowlett, to rezone the property from general office district and commercial/retail highway district to planned development district for commercial/retail highway district uses and form-based urban village district uses. The 28.93-acre site is located at the northeast corner of Main Street and President George Bush Turnpike.
According to a presentation by Munal Mauladad, director of Community Development, the surrounding land use pattern includes the DART rail line to the north, as well as Beverage Depot, mini warehouse/self storage and single family. To the east is the DART rail line and single family, to the south is Rowlett High School, major utilities facility, the Rowlett Community Centre and Pecan Grove Park, and to the west is a religious assembly and undeveloped land.
“We have two tracts that are being proposed. The purpose of the rezoning is to establish two specific zoning districts for the 29-acre parcel,” Mauladad said.
Tract 1 is about 18 acres and will be developed with the First Baptist Church of Rowlett campus. Tract 2 is about 11 acres and proposed for a form-based urban village district for a multifamily complex.
Mauladad said the proposed multifamily development will have live-work units. This proposed development will have six three-story buildings, a maximum of 275 units; 133 one-bedroom, 101 two-bedrooms, 16 three bedrooms, and the live-work unit will occupy half of the first floor.
Live-work is defined as fee-simple dwelling units that contain, to a limited extent, a commercial component. It requires separate entries to the commercial and residential component and may have internal and external connection between uses, according to the presentation.
FBC Rowlett senior pastor Cole Hedgecock said multifamily was not the only option they considered for Tract 2.
“For us, what we felt like is the best thing to move the church forward and making the relocation happen and to be the blessing to the city that we think they want. … We believe this is something that is most favorable and advantageous not just for the First Baptist Church but also for the city of Rowlett,” he said.
Hedgecock said they looked at retail options, but there was a lack of interest. He also looked at office possibilities but was told by those who saw the site that the property was “too hidden.”
He added that the proposal that was brought before council was at the recommendation of city staff after he sought city input on what to do with the property.
“We’re not going our own direction. As a church, we’re trying to fall in line and be a blessing and an asset to the community, not something that would hamper or hurt the community in any way,” Hedgecock said. “Our land is so unique where it’s positioned. What we believe this will attract is young professionals who want to be close to a rec center, close to an urban development, who can walk and ride their bike downtown, young professions who may not have the money or the desire or the attitude to go buy a single-family residence.”
The residential development will provide residents with the ability to walk to the Rowlett Community Centre, Rowlett High School, Pecan Grove Park and Lake Ray Hubbard. There’s also easy accessibility to downtown.
Council had concerns regarding traffic in that area given how busy the area already is.
The request was denied 6-0 with one abstaining.