BY JUDY SHERIDAN
The new 127-lot Brookhollow subdivision proposed in the southeast part of Aledo won approval on two counts at Thursday night’s Aledo City Council meeting, but came up short on a request for a planned development concept plan, which the council chose to table until developer Kenny Ozee makes some improvements.
Changing the future land use plan and rezoning the 43-acre site for the new subdivision — bounded by North Front Street and the FM 1187 curve — got green flags, but council members pointed out some changes they’d like to see: an 8-foot masonry wall along the railroad tracks — instead of 6 feet — and a screening wall to the south.
Councilman Kerby Smith didn’t like the fact that residential sidewalks bordered the street without the usual grass buffer zone, calling it “an industrial look,” and he expressed safety concerns about kids riding their tricycles so close to the street.
Council member Kim Hiebert questioned the smaller lot sizes, which Bearcat Development representative Chuck Stark said could not be increased without compromising a centrally located green space, to be owned by the development’s future Homeowners Association.
“I’d need to remove trees and limit it to 50-60 feet on each side of the creek,” he said. “There would be no hiking trails, no character or vegetation.”
Council member Jean Bailey said the smaller lot sizes would be fine “if the neighborhood meandered.”
“It’s very hard-edged,” she said, noting the linear streets and advocating curved sidewalks.
Council members also pointed out “sparse” streetlights.
“A planned development is a special zoning that we dictate and we’ve got to be very conscientous,” Smith explained. “We’re creating something unique and special.”
“I think this design is all about profit,” Hiebert countered. “There’s nothing special about it that adds anything to the City of Aledo. It’s cookie-cutter lots, straight lines.”
Stark asked the council for several items that differed from residential zoning ordinances: a minimum driveway length of 20 feet versus 25 feet, 5-foot side yard setbacks instead of 7.5-foot side yard setbacks, 7,000-square-foot lots versus 8,000-square-foot lots, a 60-foot minimum lot width versus a 75-foot minimum lot width, trails located only in the central green space and antique-look mailboxes and streetlights.
He also said developers planned to drain the subdivision’s existing pond.
Parker County resident Karen Zambrano, who raises llamas on 26 acres south of the proposed development, expressed concerns about future flooding, raised questions about area roads and asked whether her driveway in the 300 block of FM Road 1187 would be used in the construction.
Zambrano said her acreage had been tiered by the Army Corps of Engineers during the depression to control water flow and wondered if any of the Corp’s work was included in the Brookhollow development.
Mayor Kit Marshall assured her that drainage studies had been completed and Public Works Director Gordon Smith offered to help with road issues and clarifying the development’s southern boundary.
Zambrano also asked that streetlights shed as little light as possible in her direction.
“We like seeing the stars,” she said. “That would take away from our quality of life.”