The Rowlett City Council recently amended its comprehensive plan to allow for a multi-family tax-credit development located on the northeast corner of Old Rowlett Road and Big A Road.
In March, the council issued a resolution of no objection back for the tax credit development. Then in July, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend denial of the rezoning of the development. The main concern presented by staff and the commission was not wanting to lose access to office space. Recently, the developer has reassured those opposing views and has included office facilities into the new design.
According to Executive Director of Rowlett Housing Finance Corporation Rick Sheffield, the new plan has lowered the space down to 234 units and has 30,000 square feet reserved for neighborhood office space. The target audience for the development is for residents who make between $35,000-$60,000 a year.
“We wanted to keep the office space in there to satisfy the city and provide housing for working tax payers who are living paycheck to paycheck because they’re being priced out of the housing market,” Sheffield said.
According to Sheffield, the big benefit is it increases the critical mass in that area and will hopefully kick start some of the office coming back. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the landscape of office has changed with more people working at home.
“We think this would be a good catalyst for beginning to bring some (housing) into the area.
We are getting housing for folks who cut your hair, cook your food, teach your children,” Sheffield said. “This is for lower level government employees and first responders that start out below $60,000 and provide housing for them. It provides workers for businesses coming in that need that kind of labor.”
The developer has actively participated with the city of Rowlett during its infrastructure planning and has budgeted over $520,000 for improvements to Big A Road and Old Rowlett. It is planned that improvements to Big A Road would consist of 1,100 feet roadway that would be demolished and replaced and a 12-inch water main along West Old Rowlett Road. This would connect the 12-inch stub located in Old Rowlett Road with the 80-inch main that runs along Big A Road. Along with improvements to the water main connection, 550 feet of new water will be installed in Old Rowlett Road. The units and office space is used to allow affordable housing and to bring in business to the Rowlett area.
“People that now have housing they can afford, they have more disposable income, they can eat in the Rowlett restaurants and buy things in the Rowlett stores, and contribute to sales tax and the economy locally,” Sheffield said.
Housing prices have increased 40% versus income increasing close to 12-13% since 2008 according to the National Association of Realtors.
“In 2019 citizens, when we updated the comprehensive plan, which was something noted in there in the public form, they wanted more diverse and affordable housing options, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Sheffield said.