What to Know About the Texas Raceway Property

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Here are some of the Facts you should Know about the project

 

Texas Raceway Development

 

July 20, 2021 City Council Meeting Work Session

This item was placed on the agenda because this city council IS trying to be more transparent. It was a work session item so the public could get some idea what is being proposed rather than just hearing rumors from a select few people.

The project consists of 266 homes in four phases. Only 58 acres are being developed, leaving 50 acres of green space. The lots would be 5700-6000 sq. ft. with 1800-3000 sq. ft. homes.

 

Situation-Past

The Texas Raceway was operating. The owner made a deal with the city (which the city council approved on June 3, 2014) to end operations after October 2016 with a land development agreement. That agreement states that at least 200 single family homes would be built. That agreement does have an exhibit map attachment with 251 lots, which we guess is nonbinding and meant as a suggestion. Of those 251 lots, 241 were listed as .15 acre lots. The city is also to get a 100-foot wide right-of-way area through the green space.

 

Situation-Current

Currently, based on the map hanging in city hall, the land is zoned commercial “C2”. This would seem to make sense, as it operated as commercial through October 2016, and there has not been a zoning case to change it.

It is NOT currently operating, nor has it been for almost the last five years.

In order to proceed with the planned development agreement, this large piece of land would seem to need to be changed to some type of residential zoning. Therefore, the plan is for a zoning change.

 

August 2021

The developer is requesting “R4” zoning which is single family homes on minimum lot sizes of 5,000 sq. ft. (50' X 100'). The plan is to have this brought to P&Z for a public hearing and the city council for another public hearing. “R4” zoning, as with any straight zone, does NOT allow the council to put restrictions/stipulations on the zoning.

At the July 20 work session, two of the city council members mentioned how they would prefer some “R3” zoning. R3 zoning is 75% larger than R4, at 8,750 sq. ft. minimum per lot. R3 is also 40-50% greater than the typical lots the current developer is proposing.

 

May 2014 – May 2017 City Council

This council had Brian Johnson as Mayor, and council members Charles Overstreet, Kelly Turner, Mike Walker (to be appointed shortly after the June 3, 2014 meeting already referenced), Liz Carrington, and Frank Fernandez. The city manager was Bob Hart.

In June of 2014 why would they agree to a very large tract of land having homes built on .15 acre lots? At the time lots that small simply did NOT exist in Kennedale. Why would they not want normal lots instead of these lots for a huge development that would be important to the city (large areas of land are always important)? It appears that they did not try very hard to solicit public input about this agreement because the public would not agree with them. [I do not have the answer. However, this action and other actions by this same city council leads me to believe this was a VERY LIBERAL-HOUSING and LIBERAL-SPENDING city council. This was a very bad deal, much like buying the now EDC land at Gail Drive and Linda Road with water fund money in December 2014, only to drastically raise water rates in February 2016 (because they were running the water fund dry). A further example of this same city council’s bad deals is the fact that in April 2017 they gave the lopsided contract to George Campbell paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars when it was time for him to leave regardless of the circumstances. They failed to hold the city manager accountable. They certainly did a lot of damage to the city of Kennedale.]

 

What if “R4” zoning is approved?

  • There will be at least 200 homes (per the development agreement) on lots 50' X 100' or greater (as is determined by the R4 zoning). 266 homes are on the current proposed development plan; however, more is definitely a possibility.

  • The city council will not be able to put any restrictions/stipulations on the zoning.

  • The development plan may or may not be built as presented. There is nothing forcing that document as a restriction/stipulation. If the developer has health issues the day after buying the property, and the property sells to another developer, that map is NOT required.

  • The developer controls the situation including when and if construction begins and what actually gets built (as long as it meets the development codes).

 

What if “R4” zoning is NOT approved?

  • Best guess, the developer leaves.

  • Other possibilities, the developer sues for not getting the residential zoning he wants; however, the lots on the current developer's plans are mostly smaller than the .15 acre lots listed on the attachment in the development agreement, so we would think the city is within its rights to deny the zoning.

  • The developer could further negotiate with the city. Again, two council members at the July 20 meeting expressed an interest in some R3 zoning. One good aspect of the developer's plan is that it has a lot of green space.

  • R3 could be a compromise. Larger lots will reduce the number of lots and also the green space.

 

Other Questions:

  • Will the city and the developer negotiate a different development agreement? They can, but will they?

  • Who will own what green space? That should be in a new development agreement.

  • Will all the green space remain green space, or can there be additional phases/building that would reduce the green space in the future?

  • What additional infrastructure costs will the city incur as a result of this development?

  • What additional costs are associated with additional green space the city might be receiving?

 

Social Media:

  • Mr. ff is pushing hard for the development. Check the names on the 2014 city council. This was his baby.

  • Ms. sh is constantly liking all the comments about old/small Kennedale being good, yet it is the very people she continues to support who made the unwise growth decisions.

  • Mr. bs has a problem with facts. We suspect he is allergic to them. For example, he claimed the council turned down a $2 million grant because the mayor and city manager were for it. False and False. There was no $2 million grant turned down. If he is talking about issuing more debt, it was probably turned down for lack of a specific plan. For example, bs' friends on the 2019 Council issued a $2 million tax note in August 2019. Now, 23 months later, $1.642 million of the $1.957 million is still unencumbered. The taxpayers had to pay a fee of $43,000 plus interest to have over 80% of the funds sit on a balance sheet. The 2019 Council, much like the 2014 Council, had many liberal spenders on it. Both of those councils refused to hold the city manager accountable.

 

 

The Developer's Map/Layout of the Project