Two rezoning requests receive approval in Lewisville

Published 12:10 am Thursday, February 16, 2023

Town announces hiring of Jon Hanna as new public works director

A couple of conditional district rezoning requests with specific uses along two main arteries in Lewisville both received unanimous approval in last Thursday night’s town council meeting.
Arden Townhomes, Docket L-103, which is located off the future extension of Great Wagon Road, requested a change of zoning by petitioner Luke Dickey, Stimmel Associates PA, from RS-20 (Residential Single Family, minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet) to RS-M-8-C (Residential Multi Family, maximum 8 units per acre) for 44 units spanning 10 two-story buildings on 7.45 acres just west of Shallowford Square. (The ownership of this project is listed as James, Russel, Keith & Joseph Wilson.)
Longwood Village, Docket L-105, which is located off Lewisville-Clemmons Road next to Kaplan Partners, asked for a change of zoning by petitioner Ron Davis with Allegro Investment Properties LLC, from RS-9-C (Residential Single Family, minimum lot size of 9,000 square feet) to RM-5-C (Residential Multi Family, maximum 5 units per acre) for 60 units — 29 twin homes and and two single-family homes — on 13.57 acres. (The ownership of this project is listed as Kaplan Partners.)
Arden Townhomes is located in the Downtown Overlay District, which includes residential, commercial and recreational uses. The town’s updated 2022 Comprehensive Plan designates this area as “Downtown” with the staff report stating that part of the intent of this area is to support multifamily and mixed-use development at appropriate scales.
In addition, the town staff offered the opinion that the request is consistent with not only the Comprehensive Plan but also the Forsyth County Legacy Plan and the downtown overlay standards for the area — complementing the uses in the downtown.
A presentation from Town Planner Stacy Tolbert was given on the project, followed by a public hearing where residents paraded to the podium expressing their opposition.
Dickey, representing the petitioner, was the lone proponent.
Robert Faxon said he and his wife Sherry just moved to Lewisville six months ago because “it was exactly what we were looking for. It’s what I consider to be a small town. Everybody is saying the same thing. We don’t want the town to change what it is. Growth is good, but not all change is for the better.”
Maria Stimson commented that this was not the small little town her husband Daren grew up in. “It’s not going to be Lewisville anymore,” she said. “It’s going to be something else, and that’s not what Lewisville is.”
Bob West said that driving into Lewisville will shift from seeing “tall trees to just tall crowded townhomes,” while Susan Frye pointed out that recent surveys and the Comprehensive Plan gave clear indicators that the residents want more local retail and service businesses.
Others mentioned not “wanting to be another Clemmons” and “the people who have been here for a long time don’t want this here.”
Mayor Pro Tem Jeanne Foster talked about this being difficult, especially with all these people expressing their concerns as this not being a fit, and she asked Tolbert her thoughts and if she and the Planning Board felt like it was a fit. She said “yes” on both counts.
“A lot of what the surveys say is for that small-town character to be preserved, but then at the same token, it promotes higher density development in the downtown area and then have the more rural areas on the outskirts of town,” Tolbert said, adding that the downtown area is how the transition is made from residential to commercial. “The Comprehensive Plan is built on the people in that process. We had multiple meetings, surveys and an in-person meeting in August 2021 at our square with residents invited to come and give us their feedback on what they wanted to see in the downtown area.”
Tolbert reiterated that the staff recommended the rezoning to the Planning Board, which gave unanimous approval before the council did as well.
Most of the large crowd gathered at town hall departed after the Arden Townhomes item on the agenda, but following a short break, Longwood Village was the second public hearing on the night.
Ron Davis, the petitioner, said that this project ran into “a series of issues that caused this to be modified” but was pleased to offer “a quiet community targeting local downsizing home buyers.”
According to the staff report, the town’s 2022 Comprehensive Plan designates this area, which is close to the U.S. 421 interchange, as “Neighborhood Center” — with part of the intent being to incorporate different types of housing that can support the commercial area and reinforce nearby established neighborhoods.
Town staff offered the opinion that the request is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and Legacy for the area and complements the uses in the activity center.
Dan Frye spoke in opposition to the project, stating safety concerns over the left turn into the community and the increased number of vehicles and traffic in a busy area.
Like the earlier rezoning project, the staff recommended the rezoning to the Planning Board, which also gave unanimous approval, followed by the council.
Also in last Thursday night’s meeting, the town announced the hiring of Jon Hanna as the new public works director.
Town Manager James Ayers said that Hanna, who was the owner of a commercial landscaping firm based in Forsyth County and previously served in the public area as a horticulturist and arborist for the City of Clemmons, was selected after a rigorous and wide-ranging search.
“He has received various awards and certifications over the years ranging from certified arborist to master gardener to certified environmental landscaper,” Ayers said. “He is professional and has a strong work ethic, and has already hit the ground running in his new role.”
Hanna earned his bachelor’s degree from Clemson University in 1997 where the topics in his major and minor ranged from wildlife biology to environmental science and forestry.
In other comments after the meeting, Ayers offered an update on the recent retreat held Jan. 27-28 at the Mary Alice Warren Community Center.
“The session on Friday evening focused on policy matters ranging from the use of public property to municipal services to good governance,” Ayers said. “On Saturday, the conversation shifted to the projects, programs, and people required to fulfill the council’s vision and policies. They provided excellent feedback to staff regarding their strategic priorities, and this guidance will be critical as we build the upcoming budget and implement council policies intended to serve the greater Lewisville community.”