A controversy is brewing in the town of Flower Mound over proposed zoning changes for the Lakeside Village project.
The Flower Mound town council and the town's planning and zoning commission held a work session on the issue Wednesday, one week after the latter commission tabled a vote on a zoning change request, submitted by realty Capital, the Irving-based developer of Lakeside DFW.
A vocal group of residents have come out against the proposed zoning changes, which, if approved, would allow the building of several high rise towers on the property near Lake Grapevine.
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"They acted like it was no big deal," exclaimed Lakeside resident Jeffrey Blasko, while discussing the issue at his home with a group of neighbors. Their opposition to the project has to do with change.
"I would tell you it's the change of Flower Mound's identity," said Blasko.
Realty Capital recently released an animated fly-over video, which shows what Lakeside Village would look like, if the zoning changes are approved. The developer wants to move previously-approved residential space to several proposed high-rise buildings.
Opponents, however, believe the towers do not represent what Flower Mound town council approved in 2012, when they first approved Lakeside DFW.
"They're completely changing it over," said Blasko. "And the high rises don't represent the identity of this town."
Bryan Webb, a Flower Mound town council member who was elected in 2012, and helped approve Lakeside DFW, said he's heard from concerned residents. Webb contends developers aren't asking for anything which hasn't already been approved, with a few changes, like moving their location.
"What folks may not realize is that forty years ago, back in the 80's, towers were visioned for this area," said Webb. "Up to 40 stories tall." Webb said zoning for this project already allows for towers up to 25 stories high.
Jimmy Archie, managing director of Lakeside Village, called critics "a vocal minority." He said the majority of residents he's spoken with support the changes. If the town approves, previously approved residential spaces would be moved to towers. Instead of apartments, they would be high-end condos, new residents, he said, which are needed to sustain shops and businesses at Lakeside Village.
Opponents to the project also question why the town is taking up the issue so close to the May 5 election.
"I think it undermines our system," said Blasko.
Webb, whose term is up in May, said he thinks it's right that he and outgoing Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden see through a project which was created during their respective time in office.
"It makes sense for us to hear this before we exit in May," said Webb. "And it's not being pushed through. It's been worked on for the last six or seven months."
Skeptical homeowners say high rises along the lake go against what drew them to Flower Mound in the first place.
"This is a town with a tree," said Blasko, referring the the town logo. "Not a city with a skyline."