CHPNA negotiating protections as developer seeks city approval of apartment complex.

A proposal to re-zone a 15-acre vacant lot along Jones-Maltsberger to allow a 351-unit apartment complex was approved by the Zoning Commission on May 17. The site sits in District 9 and its Councilman, John Courage, who was expected to formally endorse the plan regardless of the Commission's stance or CHP opposition. If so, re-zoning is likely to be approved by City Council in June and construction could begin by end of year. CHPNA has anticipated this outcome and has been actively negotiating traffic and noise protections for Crownhill Park residents.

The completed complex would add nearly 500 vehicles to community roadways shortly before Tx-Dot's nearby highway improvements divert even more traffic into our neighborhood. CHPNA has been negotiating with the developer and the city officials to put mitigation efforts in place before the complex opens for business. Both short- and long-term solutions are being pursued simultaneously.

Both Jones-Maltsberger congestion and CHP cross-traffic are top concerns.

Expanding increasingly busy Jones-Maltsberger to four lanes would require nearly $9 million and years of Public Works planning, so CHPNA has proposed a stop-gap solution of re-striping the existing asphalt to create a center turn lane providing safer access to all four adjoining CHP streets. CHPNA is also insisting that the complex install stop lights at any entrances which adjoin the roadway and this upgrade would also enable neighborhood access during peak traffic periods.

 

To alleviate tenant impact on Jones-Maltsberger, CHPNA has strongly encouraged the developer to install at least one entrance along the 281 access road. The property deeds provide legal access road egress, but it would be a costly endeavor. Reducing traffic flow on Jones-Maltsberger is critical because daily congestion at the Ramsey intersection isn't likely to be remedied by the City in the near term. Nonetheless, CHPNA is pressing Public Works to identify potential solutions before the complex breaks ground since acquisition of currently undeveloped land may be necessary.

Because tenants from the complex are also likely to use CHP streets as a shortcut to westbound 410 via the McCullough entrance to our community, CHPNA wants mitigation efforts in place. McCullough's long term utility to the neighborhood will be severely hampered by Tx-Dot's restriction of its bridge, therefore CHPNA is petitioning city officials to consider how to deter cross-traffic this roadway enables. Public Works will need months to analyze the problem before CHPNA shares any potential solutions with residents.

Developer now says complex will not intentionally attract rent-subsidized tenants.

CHPNA has already secured some protections. The developer agreed last month to abandon its plan to offer some apartments at below-market rates which could attract tenants receiving government rent subsidies. Research studies confirm that large complexes with a high rate of rent-subsidized tenants have statistically higher crime rates. CHPNA is relieved this will not be a factor with the complex and seeks to secure this and other compromises in a legally binding agreement with the developer.

Homeless encampment likely to be displaced.

Many residents are relieved that the complex will displace the existing homeless encampment on the site. Its growth has coincided with a notable increase in area thefts, car break-ins, and home burglaries. Over the past year, CHPNA engaged SAPD and homeless charities to assist the inhabitants, but several steadfastly refused available services. They are likely to relocate to other wooded areas in the city.

Green improvements will provide visiual and sound barrier for CHP. 

CHPNA has also secured a commitment from the developer to add shrubs and trees along the Jones-Maltsberger median islands to create a green barrier between the neighborhood and the complex. CHPNA maintains the islands and the upgrades will reduce landscaping upkeep expenses. 

Strong resident participation at Zoning Commission hearing. 

Over two dozen CHP households attended, spoke or left voicemails played at the May 17 hearing. Most expressed concerns surrounding the Public Work's lack of a traffic plan to accomodate growth and urged the Commission to make approval of the project contingent upon installasion of an entrance adjoining the 281 Access Road. 

 

Some speakers wanted the site to retain its commercial status, but Zoning officials noted that traffic from the apartment complex would be less than some commercial enterprises. CHPNA acknowledged that a suitably sized hotel, a likely commercial alternative, would generate nearly identical traffic as the proposed complex. 

Residents are encourgaed to participate in the upcoming City Council debate and vote. Watch this website for additional updates from CHPNA.

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