A ban on multifamily developments in certain areas of the Stockyards is closer to becoming a reality after the Fort Worth zoning commission voted 5-3 to recommend the city’s request.
Fort Worth City Council will make the final decision at its Dec. 13 meeting.
City staff hopes the change will encourage more commercial development and thus boost tourism, job creation and entertainment options. Ultimately, this will bring a greater balance between commercial and residential uses in the Stockyards, staff previously told the Fort Worth Report.
Councilmember Carlos Flores oversees the Stockyards as the District 2 representative, which includes Fort Worth’s Northside neighborhoods. The change will encourage a better mix of development projects in the Stockyards and could help curb additional congestion issues, he said, as redevelopment boomed there.
“The redevelopment is exceeding expectations and going in directions that we certainly did not perceive. All positives,” Flores said. “But with those positive trends come challenges, like (entering and exiting) the Stockyards, parking, traffic congestion.”
Some business owners and developers echoed concerns about the proposal’s impact on the historic district at a Nov. 9 meeting.
Developers like San Antonio-based Kairoi Residential expressed disappointment with the recommendation by the zoning commission. The company has a 825-unit, multi-building, multi-family project planned on Exchange Avenue, estimated at $35 million.
Tyler Sibley, vice-president of development with Kairoi, said residential developments are key ingredients in ensuring the growth and success of entertainment districts like the Stockyards.
“To completely eliminate residential as a permitted use for all the different land areas around us, is a shock and disappointing when we think about land planning, master planning over a long period of time, which is why we build the projects that we build,” Sibley told the Report. “It is to enhance the sense of community, a sense of place for the lands that we’re developing on but also the community around us.”
Opposition said residential development would provide support to the small businesses in the Stockyards year-round and provide more housing options as Fort Worth continues to deal with the impacts of a housing crisis.
Kairoi said the proposed zoning change will not affect the timeline of the project, which remains on track.
Kairoi and Exhibits Building Partnership representatives said the city did not contact them about its proposal until Nov. 2, when they were invited to a meeting with city staff, council member Flores and some business associations.
David Konen, lawyer for Exhibits Building Partnership, which owns the undeveloped land adjacent to Kairoi, told the Report that multifamily projects are consistent with the goals the city has laid out for the Stockyards and will help bring regular patrons to the businesses there.
“We’re not necessarily opposed to looking at some of the areas that would be prudent to say, ‘all right, multifamily shouldn’t be part of that,’” he said. “But as it is, I think they’re casting their net a little too far. And I think the next project that’s going to be our neighbor is going to be very beneficial to these neighborhood businesses.”
Zoning chairman Willie Rankin said the city had done the necessary outreach to the community about this proposal and believes this change will not upset the balanced ratio of residential and commercial developments.
According to the city, office and retail projects will still be allowed.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on Nov. 10 to include a statement from Councilmember Carlos Flores.
Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ssadek19.
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