Update: The Westlake Zoning Board voted Monday night to approve a zoning change that would allow a large plot of homes to be built in Westlake, on what’s currently wooded land.
The proposal was changed to include 56 homes instead of 66, along with other staff recommendations. The full Town Council will vote on the plans later this month.
One of the most secluded and affluent communities in North Texas is being invaded by booming growth and it has some residents upset.
A developer wants to build 66 new homes in Westlake but neighbors say dropping that many homes on small lots just doesn't fit.
The town zoning board weighed in Monday night and roughly 25 homeowners signed up to speak against the proposed zoning change.
Housing growth is nothing new in Tarrant County but Westlake homeowners pay a premium for privacy. Most in the affected area live on acre lots and they argue any new development should fit the same mold.
The phrase "not in my back yard" has never held so true as it does for Neil McNabnay on his acre lot in Westlake’s Glenwyk Farms subdivision. It's a gated community with manicured lawns and million dollar homes.
"But what really drew me here are the open spaces," McNabnay said.
But the walls could soon start closing in, if the city agrees to a zoning change to replace 62 acres of wooded land behind McNabnay’s home with 66 new houses, on quarter-acre lots.
"You will be looking at two-story residences literally overlooking my back yard," McNabnay said.
The city's planning director told NBC 5 the proposed housing development fits with the comprehensive plan for Westlake growth.
But McNabnay, a patent attorney who's used to digging through the fine print, isn't buying it.
He points to city guidelines that require a 500-foot buffer of green space between any new development on the site and neighboring homes. The proposed rezoning drops that to 150 feet.
The mayor even sent letters out last year promising the city would push to keep the wooded land open.
"I feel like the town has deceived us," Melanie Stevenson said as she was out taking her puppy for a walk Monday afternoon.
She owns another of the acre plots in Glenwyk Farms. She says she expects growth of high density homes in her town but not on her street.
"We got out of Southlake and we moved here because that's what they were promoting, the wide open space and the rural environment and it's getting attacked now because someone wants to develop that land," Stevenson said.
Along with chopping down trees to clear way for the cluster of new houses, the proposal also includes grading down part of a 40-foot hill that serves as a noise barrier. Neighbors say that could have effects far beyond their subdivision.
The developer did not return NBC 5’s call for comment Monday. The zoning commission will make its recommendation Monday night. Then the full council has to approve it in two weeks.