Lewisville moves ahead with developments ordinance

Published 12:10 am Thursday, November 24, 2022

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It took months to figure out lots of technicalities, but the Lewisville Town Council finally moved forward with a text amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance to define the Lewisville Rural Overlay and revive the regulations for Planned Residential Developments.
After gaining approval for Ordinance 2022-029 – UDO L-167 Lewisville Rural Overlay and Planned Residential Developments in the council’s regular meeting in November, Mayor Mike Horn said it all came down to a simple truth from planner Stacy Tolbert’s presentation.
“You’ve heard a lot of what we’ll call technical language and lots of concepts that we put out, but when you boil it down, what everything that Stacy just talked about is our effort to try to preserve the small town character and rural charm of Lewisville,” Horn said.
It was an item that has lingered on agendas going back to May when the Planning Board held a public hearing on the draft to amend the UDO section related to the Lewisville Rural Overlay (LRO) and Planned Residential Developments (PRD). The Planning Board recommended approval to the council, which held a public hearing during the June meeting where several people spoke, but the council decided to continue the public hearing 60 days until the August meeting, after a motion by Horn, “because we want to do a little more work on the changes to some of the language.”
That included conversations on requiring open space and deliberations that Tolbert said provided better recommendations for the council to consider while allowing time to make sure residents were notified of what was coming up.
However, when it was originally scheduled to be on the agenda in August, Tolbert said that after it was sent back to the planning board again, the board was unable to hold a public hearing in its August meeting, forcing another continuance until September — meaning another 60 days, this time to the November meeting, where it passed unanimously after a public hearing where no one spoke.
In regard to the LRO, Tolbert said that the new boundary is reflected by the rural residential area of the future land use map adopted in early 2022 in the town’s Lewisville Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan.
“We felt the area tied greatly to the areas of town that were ‘rural’ in nature, she said.
As for the PDR standards, Tolbert said that the purpose is to cluster development in order to provide open space and protect sensitive areas of properties.
“Our ordinance wasn’t quite meeting that expectation,” she said. “When we first took a look at the standards, we wanted a good balance of not hindering the residential growth of Lewisville while protecting the rural character of our town that is cherished so much. The new PRD standards protect environmentally sensitive areas and require usable open space rather than open space requirements being met with property that is all unbuildable such as flood plains, steep slopes, etc.
“We added text and tables to help make the ordinance more user-friendly and easier to understand. For example, the density bonus incentives are found in a table where the more open space you provide, the maximum density of the development increases. We also added a corridor bufferyard requirement where 100 feet of property had to be protected along roads classified as Heritage Corridors in our Comprehensive Plan.”
Tolbert added that the town took into consideration that not all developers develop in the same manner.
“We met with stakeholders in the community and an engineer to help us through the process to make sure we were putting forth the best amendment that would continue to keep Lewisville’s best interest in mind,” she said. “The Lewisville Planning Board did great work in assisting with these changes.”
November’s meeting was also the first for James Ayers as the new town manager, and he announced that Tolbert, the town’s planner who added the position of interim town manager after the departure of Hank Perkins in May, has been promoted to assistant town manager and planning director.
Ayers said that Tolbert “demonstrated her outstanding leadership skills as interim town manager” and that he looked forward to her “taking on additional strategic priorities” in her new position.
Highlighting the December schedule in the town is the annual Tree Lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. in Shallowford Square and the 2022 Lewisville Christmas Parade on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m.