Sapphire Bay
Rowlett P&Z makes recommendation on major warrants

A public hearing was conducted during Tuesday night’s Rowlett City Council meeting to take action on a request made by Marc English of Sapphire Bay Land Holdings for approval of a regulating plan and associated major warrants from the form-based code urban village standards, as they relate to connectivity, parking allocation, continuous building frontage, and right-of-way frontage for the Bayside district.

The 116.93-acre site is located south of Interstate 30 in the City of Rowlett.

Munal Mauladad, director of Community Development, provided the council with an overview of the four requested major warrants.  

According to the presentation, on Aug. 5, the subject property was purchased by Sapphire Bay. At the time of the purchase, the developer entered into a development agreement which established a set of deliverables and approved the overall design and configuration of the project.

The development agreement states that the project must receive approval of all regulating plans to establish the overall site design, phasing, fire circulation and tree mitigation.

As part of the regulating plan approval, major warrants are being requested in order to develop the property.

The first major warrant request pertains to parking lots dominating the streetscape. It would allow parking lots to dominate the streetscape and public realm along the northeast parking block and northern theater parking block.

Mauladad said the proposed lots either back up to the frontage road and, in some cases, to internal roads. Because there is an anticipated grade differential and limited access, the site along the frontage road presents a challenge to frontage requirements.

The second major warrant request relates to parking adjacent to sidewalks.  This would allow parking along streets where parking behind buildings is not possible because of the conceptual design of the road and block network.

According to the presentation, in several locations throughout the site, the road network and block structure contain several half blocks that will make it impossible to park behind buildings. The applicant has indicated that these lots will be utilized as shared lots for the public for access to the trail system and open space.

The third major warrant is in regards to garage access for townhomes. This would allow townhomes to have front-entry garage access from the internal roadway.

Townhomes are situated with double frontage, facing the internal street and the trail. Although the garages are facing the street, the internal roadway will still contain an amenity zone (sidewalks and street trees), according to the presentation.

The fourth major warrant request relates to backing buildings onto trails, parks and natural areas. This would allow the northern theater building to back up to trails, parks and natural areas.

Mauladad said the applicant has agreed to prohibit service-related functions along this façade to prevent unwanted or unwarranted elements along trails and open spaces such as dumpsters, parking, blank facades, utility boxes, loading zones and fences.

Staff recommended approval the four major warrants, and at the Dec. 18 regular meeting the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted in favor of the requested major warrants.

Council unanimously approved the four major warrants.

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