The Mesquite City Council unanimously approved the proposed a zoning change for the Solterra development on Monday.

The city must still approve a development agreement. 

Huffines Land Holding Partners proposed a rezoning of the 1,424-acre plot from agricultural development to mixed use residential and commercial uses. The land to be developed is located southwest of East Cartwright Road and both northwest and southeast of Lucas Boulevard. 

“What we’re considering today is the overall plan of development – all phases,” City Manager Cliff Kehleay said. “What it does is it assesses minimum and maximum requirements for all phases of development. Unless Huffines changes the plan agreed upon tonight, there will not be a revisit to council.”

The item was recommended by the Planning and Zoning commission to be approved by the council but was postponed during the Sept. 21 council meeting.

“There was a change to the proposed layout regarding the McKenzie Road connector,” Garret Lanford, manager of planning and zoning, said. “More traffic impact analysis may be required. Cottonwood and water oaks trees were removed from the list of permitted trees. Garage door setback for front entry was moved back from 20 to 22 feet. Rear remains at 20 (feet). The minimum dwelling size was increased.”

The Solterra Development will hold up to 3,900 lots, with 755 of residential use and 603 acres of open space. Street Row will take up 56 acres, and 9.4 acres will be devoted to the center.

“There were some discussion on the comprehensive plan and whether or not this development meets the intent of the comprehensive plan,” Lanford said. “The future land use will be low density residential, as what is called for in the comprehensive plan. The current comprehensive plan allows for three to five units per acre. As you may recall, this development calls for four to five units, so it’s in line with that.”

The developer also agreed to include redevelopment of Cartwright from Lucas to McKenzie and development of a connection for McKenzie. The developer also agreed to put funds toward wildlife management to mitigate any impacts to either wildlife or new residents.

Mesquite resident Linda Blair addressed her concern with tree preservation to the council and the percentage of trees that will be cut down. Blair also requested that the square footage be revisited and increased to fit other Mesquite neighborhoods.

Kehealy said there is an ordinance in place to replace any trees cut down during the development of the plot. Most of the canopy will be preserved in the acreage dedicated to open space.

Early phases will focus on road improvements and creating multiple entry points into the neighborhood, and phase two will focus on drainage of the wetland in the open space to prevent flooding in the neighborhood.

“We expect to break ground in spring (of) 2021,” Phillip Huffines, founder and co-owner of Huffines Communities said. “It will take about 18 months to get all of the roads and the fixtures in place. The builders should then be able to start getting the materials they need to build the houses. That’ll hopefully be in spring of 2022. We’ll then begin construction on amenities and the pool and all that around late 2021 or early 2022.”

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