Rowlett Council discusses public improvement district for development

During the July 7 Rowlett City Council meeting the council considered taking action on a resolution approving a development agreement for the 765-unit residential development known as Trails at Cottonwood Creek. The 226.58-acre site is located at the northeast corner of Vinson Road and Stonewall Road.

At the June 16 council work session, city staff and the applicant presented the proposed agreement for informational purposes. Council requested details on the future EMS/fire facility and the funding mechanisms of the proposed physical property enhancements.

According to the presentation, the proposed agreement is instrumental in determining if the public improvement district (PID) is a viable option for the city in supporting the public improvements.

Director of Community Development Munal Mauladad said this process goes back as far as Oct. 18, 2019.

“This program has been building up with its programming, from amending a planning development district to amending some of the development criteria as it relates to dwelling unit sizes, glare and illumination requirements. Council approved an agreement, over $1 million for off-site infrastructure for wastewater facilities, and in March we talked about the PID,” Mauladad reported.

According to the presentation, the estimated total project improvement cost is $36,500,000. The proposed PID qualified costs is $32,358,000; and the estimated PID bond issuance is $8,850,000, of which $1,969,750 of the bond proceeds would be dedicated for bond reserves and financing costs. The maximum tax equivalent assessment rate for the PID is $0.324.

“The applicant, as they’ve been moving forward with their development program in terms of fine tuning the site plan, realized it made better sense to them and as staff would concur, to relocate the amenity center from the primary neighborhood entry to a more central location, which could potentially reduce conflicts created by access points in the amenity center and the parking area,” said Mauladad. “It also moves closer to better landscaped area and proximity to pedestrian corridors as well.”

The new location would have frontage on two neighborhood streets and is adjacent to several proposed hike and bike trails making it generally more accessible to the entire community.

Mauladad said the agreement originally reflected a 1.5-acre site to be dedicated to the city for the future construction of an EMS/fire facility and $500,000 to be placed in escrow for the design and construction of the facility.

The location of the facility has been revised reflecting two options adjacent to Vinson Road. One of the two locations will be selected at the time of the sub agreement.

The applicant proposed a minimum three-mile trail in greenbelts connecting sectors of the neighborhoods to the pocket parks, natural elements, and recreational amenities of the community; and a minimum of 8-foot green hike and bike trails.

Mauladad said this is an enhancement because it is not required per the form base city code; it’s not part of the city’s trail network; the proposed material is permeable, reducing stormwater runoff; and the trail location preserves existing tree stands, mitigating the urban heat island effect.

Pedestrian corridors will provide connections between the green hike and bike trails, neighborhood sidewalks, and pocket parks.

According to the presentation, the pocket parks may consist of street islands, pedestrian boulevard and public areas. The minimum size of a pocket park is .2 acres, and each park will include at least one enhancement option. These options include nesting boxes, seedling and cutting gardens, firepits, swings, shade structures, little free library, dog parks, and a storytelling tree.

“The parks are intended to be spread out or dispersed throughout the development that allow and encourage community activity and participation,” said Mauladad.

“Staff recommendation at this point is to approve a resolution accepting and approving the development agreement for the Trails at Cottonwood Creek,” she said. “The series of enhancements for public improvements that are proposed for the development do go beyond city code and the form base code requirements, and can be viewed as special benefits conferred on the property.”

The council unanimously approved the development agreement with the amendments that were discussed in this meeting (regarding the fire facility) with authorization for the mayor to sign with city attorney approval.  

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