Weatherford Democrat

Local News

July 26, 2012

Willow Park considers subdivision annexation

WILLOW PARK — Whether an 88-home development in the works east of the City of Willow Park off Bankhead Highway will be annexed into the city will likely be up to the city council next month.

Though the developers of Hunters Glen subdivision initially withdrew their request for annexation and rezoning after they could not reach a consensus with city leaders regarding the developers agreement, the request has been resubmitted and passed the first hurdle Tuesday night.

During a joint meeting of the Willow Park City Council and Planning and Zoning commission Tuesday, the commission voted to recommend the 23-acre tract be rezoned from single family residential to high density single family residential contingent on the council annexing the property.

With about 16 houses per year, the project is expected to be built out over a five-year period, engineer Ed Childress, who was representing the applicant, told the city.

A developers agreement has been agreed to in principle by both parties but has yet to be signed, according to Mayor Richard Neverdousky.

The agreement includes up to $130,000 to be paid by the developer for their share of an additional water well, water storage capacity,

“In the agreement, the proportionate share for water is addressing the well, additional well capacity, additional storage capacity and upgrading of equipment necessary for those improvements,” Childress said. “Then from the sanitary sewer side the proportionate [share] is for the upgrade of three lift stations in the proportionate amount for these 88 lots with respect to what those lift stations service. So that is how that is addressed.”

The city’s share in infrastructure improvements was more complicated, according to city council member Gene Martin, and Neverdousky said the city’s portion would be substantially more than the developer’s part.

Jerry Stockon, one of the project developers, told the Democrat that disagreements over the developers agreement was delaying the project earlier in the year, leading them to pull their annexation request. “We don’t have a choice,” Stockon said of their decision to reapply for annexation and rezoning. “We have to have sewer.”

They believed, and still do, that the city was legally required to provide water and sewer services to the property because it was in the city’s CCN, regardless of whether the property was annexed.

However, the city disputed whether they were required to provide sewer services, and rather than take the city to court or go another costly route, they decided to try again, according to Stockon.

No member of the public spoke during the public hearing on the annexation and rezoning requests, though four residents of Willow Park Village asked questions during the meeting.

The move to stage 4 water restrictions Tuesday was also a factor in the discussions by planning and zoning members.

“If that had happened because of watering and now you’re having 88 new sprinkler systems put in, conceivably, is there any idea of doing something about sprinklers, about this problem in the future,” planning and zoning commissioner James Mullins said. “I mean you are about to add a large volume of water usage.”

“That’s a valid question,” Neverdousky said. “There was some conversation about it today. However, nothing has been resolved.”

Planning and zoning members Mullins, Kierin Johnson, Brian Thornburg and David Fritz voted in favor of the recommending approval of the rezoning request contingent on annexation. Joann Cassidy abstained, saying she was concerned because no one said how much it was going to cost the city.

Stockon said he understands the 30-day time period in which the city could take action on the final plat for the development is up Thursday, allowing it to be approved by default.

The dirt work at the site should be complete in about another week and, if all goes his way with the city council in August, they hope to be starting on the houses around the end of the year or the first of next year, according to Stockon.

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