COLLEYVILLE – Nearly three hours into a June 6 city council meeting, Colleyville Mayor Bobby Lindamood hinted at the elephant in the room: Why have city leaders changed their tune on a proposed housing development on the border of Colleyville and Grapevine?

Amid opposition from hundreds of residents concerned about the environmental impact of tree removal and increased traffic, the developers’ original plan earned a unanimous denial from city council members in February. Now, the council is considering its options amid concern that the Texas legislature will eventually force local governments to approve higher-density development within city limits. 

During the 2023 legislative session that wrapped in May, Republican representatives nearly passed bills limiting how cities can regulate residential density, including the number of homes allowed per acre, Lindamood said. That’s why council members are being cautious about the proposal, he added. 

“We want something that’s quality and we’re worried about what the state will pass,” Lindamood told residents. “This takes the local control out of our hands, every bit of it. If we deny (developers), they can sue us to pieces. They won’t just have themselves, they’ll have the state legislature behind them.” 

Colleyville City Council members didn’t cast an official vote on the zoning change Tuesday night. The council will vote during the second ordinance reading, currently expected on June 20. 

WillowTree Custom Homes and their representative, Curtis Young of Sage Group Inc., have already cleared a key hurdle. 

Residents say the hundreds of trees at 2417 Wilkes Drive make up some of the last remaining Cross Timbers forest in Colleyville, which has rapidly developed over the past 20 years. (Haley Samsel | Fort Worth Report)

Their revised proposal, which will build 14 home lots starting with a $3 million price point rather than 19 starting at $2 million, earned approval from zoning commissioners in April. The Bluffs at Colleyville will also preserve 72% of the 14-acre site’s tree canopy – higher than the 50% required by the city’s tree ordinance, according to Young’s presentation. 

The 14-acre site, near Big Bear Creek and currently zoned as agricultural and single family estate residential, would also include an entrance and exit on Pool Road to reduce expected increases in car traffic, per Young’s presentation.

“Believe it or not, we’re taking what the neighbors are saying to heart,” Young said. “Regardless of what we do here, (they) will be the largest lots in this section of Colleyville. We’re certainly raising the bar and being as consistent as possible to what the land use plan says.” 

But District 5 council member Chuck Kelley appeared unmoved by the adjustments. He said Young’s plan would “decimate” what the property represents: open space and preservation of Colleyville’s Cross Timbers forest. 

“Some pieces of property shouldn’t be developed, and this is one of them,” Kelley said. 

Close to 300 residents register opposition, urge ‘courage’

Members of Save Colleyville Trees agree with Kelley’s assessment. Their opposition campaign resulted in more than 550 residents submitting letters to the city during the February zoning fight, according to previous Fort Worth Report coverage

Almost 300 have opposed the zoning change this time around, and more than a dozen residents stayed past 11 p.m. to speak against the proposal. 

Nearly 1,000 large trees on the property offer residents a “singularly exceptional glimpse” into what Colleyville’s earliest settlers experienced when they pulled their wagons into the area and made it their home, resident Vicki Heminger said. 

She understands that Colleyville council members don’t own the property, but they do own the decision that will determine its fate, Heminger said. 

“You do have the power to protect these trees from destruction,” she said. “Wiping out this forest would be ignorantly callous. Let’s be honest: We are all better than this.”

Colleyville resident Vicki Heminger urges council members to vote down a 19-home luxury housing development and preserve trees during a Feb. 21, 2023 meeting. The council voted unanimously to deny the proposal. (Haley Samsel | Fort Worth Report)

Several residents have asked city officials to consider purchasing the property to preserve for parkland or open space. Developers are open to the possibility, Young said, but city staff have indicated they are not interested. The prospect was raised again June 6, but city legal staff advised against discussing a purchase because it was not on the council’s agenda. 

Tim Waterworth, a Colleyville resident who has spearheaded the opposition campaign, said the developers have not properly addressed concerns about increased traffic on neighborhood roads or drainage into Big Bear Creek. 

He sympathizes with the political dynamics the city of Colleyville is facing, including the prospect of legislation limiting local control or legal action from developers. But city leaders should vote based on what’s on the books right now, Waterworth said. 

“Those are future uncertainties, but we’ve got to be courageous and make decisions based on the reality that we’re dealing with today,” Waterworth said. “This issue of conservation, of the eastern Cross Timbers, it spans from young to old, left to right. Our city has evolved to where we are now the new low-density people – people who want green space.” 

As the clock ticked closer to midnight, Lindamood responded to Waterworth’s appeal to act courageously and deny the permit. 

“I think it’s courageous to tell the truth, also, to tell everyone about what’s happening out there. It’s courageous to go down to Austin and fight for our city, and we did that, and we’ll continue to do that,” Lindamood said. “It wasn’t that I’m fearful of what’s happening. It’s just given the reality that it could.”

Haley Samsel is the environmental reporter for the Fort Worth Report. You can reach them at

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Haley Samsel is the environmental reporter for the Fort Worth Report. You can reach them at Her coverage is made possible by a grant from the Marilyn Brachman Hoffman...