An apartment complex proposed to be located on Highway 80 sparked controversy at a Monday Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission meeting.

The complex, a 96-unit building proposed to be located at 901 East Highway 80, aims to provide low-income housing for Mesquite residents. Residents from Mesquite’s Hillcrest Apartments spoke at the meeting saying a new building would be a good alternative to the current conditions of their housing. Members of a local United Methodist church also spoke in favor of the complex because of the need for low-income housing in the city.

“The argument can be made that there's a need for working class-type housing, especially with the all the jobs we're bringing into Mesquite,” Planning Director Jeff Armstrong said. “That's where people who supported the applicants showed the need. Part of the issue is whether or not this a right place for it.”

Armstrong said residents also spoke against the development because of its location.

“That area is a poor traffic area, and the only access would be from the frontage road of Highway 80 at Galloway,” Armstrong said, adding that there were also concerns from residents regarding the large number of apartment complexes already in Mesquite.

After hearing both sides, the four commissioners present at the meeting decided to table the item until more members were present to weigh in.

The item is slated for a June 27 P&Z meeting.

Another development plotted for construction on Highway 80 is a restaurant and entertainment space. The parcel of land, located at 3220 East US Highway 80, currently sits vacant. Armstrong said the applicant’s plan is to develop a restaurant, then keep a natural pond area to the west, where the restaurant could host live music, outdoor markets, car shows, outdoor games and more.

“I think the restaurant will bring a business that would be unique in Mesquite in terms of the variety of things they're doing in association with the restaurant,” Armstrong said. “They felt it would be a draw for people. Certainly, it would be another dining option and another entertainment option for Mesquite residents.”

The restaurant will appear before the City Council on July 5 If recommended by P&Z. The complex could appear before council on July 5 or 18.

Winston Henvey is the reporter for the Mesquite News, Coppell Gazette and The Leader serving Carrollton, Flower Mound and Lewisville. Email him with story suggestions at whenvey@starlocalmedia.com.

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