Bryant Lake residents return to oppose rezoning

Published 11:17 am Saturday, March 16, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

For the second time in as many years, residents of the Bryant Lake community have come out in force to oppose a potential rezoning of property next to their neighborhood.

On Tuesday, the council held a public hearing on a request to rezone approximately 39 acres located adjacent to Bryant Lake Boulevard from Corridor Medium Density Residential (CR-MR) to Corridor Medium Density Residential (CR-MR).

Keystone Custom Homes requested the change so that the property would be regulated by the current Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), rather than the more stringent requirements placed on the property in 2019 when it was rezoned to remove it from the development’s original master plan dating back to 2007.

During the hearing, Kendall Butler, owner and broker of F.L.I. Properties, and several residents opposed the change saying that it would negatively impact the current Bryant Lake community, cause traffic issues and crowd nearby schools.

The primary complaint about the rezoning is that it would potentially allow for significantly more apartment units.

The portion of the properties in question is currently zoned to allow 250 apartment units with a minimum apartment size of 600 square feet. If the rezoned to remove restrictions and be governed by the UDO, the minimum ranges would be from 450 square feet for studio apartments to 1000 square feet depending on whether or it’s a one-bedroom, two-bedroom or three-bedroom.

Butler said the area is too small for the number of apartment homes that would be added if the rezoning is approved.

“There’s a little over 200 homes in Bryant Lake right now. We just added 50 lots. We have a new builder that’s coming in and getting ready to start on those 50 lots. So we’re going to have 250 homes in the residential section. We do have two more phases in the residential section to add more. There are 288 townhomes that are being built right now. So we’re going to have nearly 600 families,” Butler said.

“Now they’re asking for [their section of the property] to follow the new UDO, which has no density limit, which means they can build any number of apartment units there as long as it meets all the other criteria, which is 60% of land coverage,” Butler said.

Keith Newberry of Keystone Custom Homes was later asked by Councilman Mark Mitchell how many apartments the company plans to build on the property if the rezoning is approved. Newberry said they don’t know how many units they plan to build.

“We haven’t actually run a calculation to see how many we can because our interest today is not to figure out how to maximize because we don’t know what kind of housing units we want to put there. We don’t know what can be absorbed. We just want to have a zoning that allows us to build to the UDO,” Newberry said.

City Planner Mark Kostial estimated that UDO regulations would allow for about 200 additional apartments beyond the approved 250.

Kostial noted that the notion that the UDO does not have density limits for multi-family is completely incorrect.

“Doing some very rudimentary math and not factoring in sidewalks, parking lots, pads for the apartments or townhomes themselves, the maximum that they would appear to be able to build is between 400 and 450 units using the 60% lot coverage number that was mentioned,” Kostial said.

Kostial said the city has increased the density levels for multi-family units and townhomes over the years in the interest of bringing more building types within the community, saying LaGrange has been underbuilding since the housing market crashed.

“We’ve had rather lengthy discussions about affordability,” Kostial said. “The only way that we can get these rental or purchase prices to decrease is to increase the amount of products that are made available. It’s just supply and demand.”

The council is expected to vote on the potential rezoning during their meeting on March 26.