Driving range decision continues to August: Lewisville to consider rezoning, annexation for rural golf facility

Published 12:10 am Thursday, April 4, 2024

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LEWISVILLE — So far, the developers for the proposed Shallowford Road Golf Driving Range have requested continuing public hearings involving rezoning and annexation before the Lewisville Town Council multiple times, but that didn’t stop a couple of residents from voicing their concerns about the project in a public forum.

That came early in the latest council meeting on March 14 before the petitioners made a request “for a particular environmental permit” from a federal agency, according to Stacy Tolbert, the town’s planner and now interim manager. 

That prompted asking for continuing public hearings from March to August to provide to the necessary time needed in a long process after the original request in the Jan. 11 meeting was for Feb. 15, followed by the applicant asking for a postponement of that date to March.

However, with the items still on the agenda, including the public hearings for rezoning and annexation, two residents signed up to speak during the meeting’s public forum.

And both covered a lot of ground about the project saying it was too close for comfort in a rural area, seemed to be a perfect example of spot zoning and didn’t fit the “careful planning” Lewisville has been known for over the years.

Karen Wilson, who resides at 151 Strupe Road in Lewisville, discussed a number of things being “problematic,” including finding out about the golf driving range and proposed rezoning or rural residential to highway business from posts on a random Facebook page.

She added having difficulty in getting information from the town regarding any specifics and making it hard for the public to form an educated opinion, and the approach “seemed to me to be putting the proverbial cart before the horse.”

Wilson said, “We inquired about lighting but were told it won’t be lighted, but it is on the plan. This will be lit up like any sports field, and you will have forever changed the night sky. Parking shown in the plans for at least 48 spaces. That’s a lot of folks for rural residential.”  

Lang Wilcox, who lives at 1210 Forest Wood Drive and is the developer of the nearby Lissara residential community, said, “I don’t know how in the world this has got this far.”

He used an example of the recent effort in the area to develop Conrad Road “where the community completely came together and the town of Lewisville, and we all fought an imposition on our rural character out here.”

“Like you will hear throughout this, and there’s more people that will be coming if this thing continues forward, this runs so contrary to everything that we have done out there and what everybody expects of Lewisville in this area.”

Following the words spoken by Wilson and Wilcox, Mayor Mike Horn said, “Let me preface these comments by saying we anticipate the petitioner will ask for a continuance on this tonight, and that’s council’s decision, and that ordinarily comments made would have been put in the context of our public hearing. We allow them tonight because the public hearing will be postponed.”

Tolbert, speaking on behalf of the petitioners, said that the request for the continuation was based on not having a status back from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the permit needed to build the driving range.

“That’s what’s putting them in limbo as far as proceeding with the rezoning and annexation requests,” said Tolbert, who was told by the petitioners that it could be as late as August before getting the documentation back.

Council members expressed concern for having to wait so long and making sure residents in that area and the general public received notice before this came back before the council.

Council member Ivan Huffman made a motion to continue the public hearing for the rezoning to the August meeting, and it was seconded by Ken Sadler. The motion passed by a 4-3 vote with Horn, Melissa Hunt and Jane Welch opposed.

Then another vote was held to continue the public hearing for the annexation to the August meeting, and it was approved 4-3 with the same three voting in opposition.

Back in January, the council approved resolutions of setting a rezoning request and an annexation request for the Shallowford Road Golf Driving Range after receiving a certificate of sufficiency regarding the request from Ricky Lyons to rezone annexed property from RS-40 Forsyth County Jurisdiction (Residential Single Family, minimum lot size of 40,000 square feet) to HB-C Lewisville Jurisdiction (Highway Business – Conditional).

According to the staff report at the time, the acreage is 16.76 acres on Shallowford Road, and the site is currently vacant aside from an existing cell tower. The homes in the area are mainly single-family medium to large lots.

Town staff is of the opinion that the request is in general conformance with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and Legacy for the area with the developer meeting the golf driving range requirements and the HB requirements for setbacks and buffering.

The recommendation from the staff is that the project meets the overall requirements of the HB zoning district as well as the golf driving range requirements as stated, and the staff recommends the project be approved as long as any conditions placed are met along with staff placed conditions.

However, for the time being, it’s all just a waiting game.