Homeowners in Allen are trying to put the brakes on a possible school-bus barn, maintenance and food services center in their neighborhood.
The Allen Independent School District purchased 55 acres of land near the intersection of Malone Road and Shelley Drive a few years ago from a developer.
The deal was too good to pass up -- the cost was reportedly .85 cents per square foot because the developer was unable to get financing to build on the land in the recession. A similar size property in Allen right now could cost as much as $12 per acre.
The district has no plans for the property on paper. Board members will not discuss the property publicly until July.
If the board decides to build a service center there, the earliest that ground could be broken would be 2014.
As the school district’s population has grown significantly, the district has outgrown its current service center. The Allen ISD currently has to park dozens of buses behind its ninth-grade education center.
Allen resident Hank Mastellar said he understands the district’s growth but fears that traffic, noise and pollution from a bus barn will impact property values.
“I'm not very happy with it," he said. "We just decided to invest our time and our family in this area."
An Allen ISD spokesperson said such fears are premature. The district said a sign marking it as the future site of the service center was put up for transparency and to alert residents to the land's potential.
Ultimately, nothing could prevent the school district from building there because it owns the property and is exempt from zoning restrictions.
Mastellar said that just about anything -- a school, more homes, retail -- is better than a bus barn. He is vowing to keep the pressure on the Allen ISD but is resigned to knowing that there's little he could do to stop it.
“If this does happen and there's no way around it, we're just going to have to do the best that we can to make sure that it's built so it won't affect us,” he said.