Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mabank OKs luxury home development proposal
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Mabank City Council members accepted a development agreement covering a proposed 505-acre luxury housing subdivision west of town along Harbor Point Road.
Wednesday’s action followed a week’s delay. In a special meeting Aug. 9, the council and Dallas-based Eastern Partners hammered out most of the decisions involving the proposed development, The 505 Ranch at Cedar Creek.
“We see this as an anchor project for us,” Chris Cooper, one of four Eastern Partners present at the meeting, told the council.
Water for the development would come off an existing 14-inch line, and council members agreed the city will pay the extra cost to use a 12-inch line to “loop” the development back into the system, even though an eight-inch line would be big enough to service the proposed 56 homes in the subdivision.
Each of the 56 home sites may require some sewer improvements, as the slope down to the Cedar Creek Lake shoreline might involve up to 19 feet of “fall,” compared to the existing sewer line depth, councilmembers pointed out.
During the discussion, road size and paving were also discussed.
City administrator Louann Confer pointed out each home site – most in heavy woods – would need at least 20 feet of clearance (not paved area, but clear space) to enable the city’s firetrucks to get to the home, which may be several hundred feet away from the main street.
As proposed, the 56 property owners would have some communally owned areas, such as an equestrian center and a skeet range along the property’s northern edge.
Councilmembers unanimously accepted the group’s preliminary plat, and set a special meeting for noon Wednesday to enable the city and the Partners to work out a development agreement, setting down in writing the terms discussed.
Wednesday, the Partners submitted the agreement, and also submitted a $25,000 check, to be held in escrow, pending the posting of a development bond, as called for in the city’s subdivision ordinance.
If the bond isn’t ready by Aug. 31 (as appears likely), the Partners will submit an additional $25,000, Confer said Thursday.
“Once their bond is posted, we’ll refund their money,” she said.
In other business, the council:
• continued a discussion with property owner Brady Williams concerning his request to extend sewer service to a proposed development off State Highway 198 and Kaufman County Road 4004, north of the city.
Williams, accompanied by builder Susan Winklevoss, met with the council at its Aug. 9 session to request the extension to the development, tentatively known as the Circle M Ranch Estates.
As proposed, Williams would develop approximately 10 lots along a rectangular area bounded on the south by KCR 4004 and along the north by his private road, which intersects SH 198 just south of Circle M Trailers.
Following more than an hour of discussion, councilmembers instructed Williams to meet with city staff to get an estimate of the cost to extend sewer service.
At Wednesday’s follow-up meeting, Williams put the project on hold after hearing an initial estimate of $19,500 to provide a single sewer main (approximately 1,400 feet) down through the center of the proposed development, as originally proposed.
During the Aug. 9 discussions, it was proposed to have two sewer lines, one along each road, rather than a single line down the center, but the cost of two lines would have been twice the $19,500 estimate for the single line.

CCCC residents fight to close street
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN–A little road in Cedar Creek Country Club is causing big problems.
Country Club resident Dempsey Johnson told Kaufman County Commissioners Monday Briarwood Drive was never meant to be a through street.
But with the new Ranch at Cedar Creek addition by developer G. Richard Goins going in next door to the CCCC, plans for extending the road were soon underway.
“This road was built with the intention it would be a dead-end street,” Johnson said, adding when the Country Club development was forming, he and his wife purchased land up to the dead-end.
“And no one contacted any of the residents of Briarwood (about the extension),” he said.
Johnson said the new extension has created a no-man’s land, with cars running 50-60 mph.
“We are asking the commissioners to put up barricades on the road,” he said.
The people who live in the area have no objection to a resident bringing a golf cart through, Johnson said.
“And there is no objection to anyone building homes back there, but we do not want the road,” he explained.
The average age of the residents on Briarwood is between 65-70 years, and they are afraid of the high traffic, including four-wheelers that also speed on the road.
“And 90 percent of those who ride the ATVs are adults,” Johnson said.
Another problem discussed concerned just who had jurisdiction over the road.
“I don’t see what authority we have to close the street,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Jerry Rowden said.
Commissioners agreed the street was on private property, belonging to the Country Club.
In addition, it was acknowledged the area was in the city of Mabank’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).
“Mr. Johnson wants us to stop the traffic that comes on to Briarwood,” County Judge Wayne Gent said.
But, commissioners all agreed the road was in Mabank’s ETJ, and it was up to Mabank to regulate the subdivisions in its ETJ.
Because the Ranch at Cedar Creek Lake development is supposed to be gated, Johnson asked for Goins to be told to put the gates in as soon as possible.
Mabank City Administrator Louann Confer agreed the city did annex the Ranch up to County Road 4022.
“They will have gates on CR 4022,” she said.
But Confer added Lighthouse Landing, also a gated community, has been there for two years.
“They are just now getting their gate up,” she said.
“If he (Goins) puts the gate up in the next 90 days, we would be protected,” Johnson said.
“I will be more than happy to talk to Mr. Goins and see if he will put the gates up sooner,” Confer agreed.

Expert economic developer woos GBC
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–Certified economic developer Jack Thompson outlined what he and his team of experts did to promote Burleson and Forest Hill, a regional location similar to Gun Barrel City.
“You’ll have a good story to tell, and we’re in the position to share that story to developers statewide,” Thompson told EDC directors Tuesday.
The Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation has been readying itself to hire an executive director.
Thompson offered them a slightly different option.
With an annual contract specifying the services the EDC needs most from an executive, and a flat rate, the corporation could dispense with health plans, vacation and IRA benefits, and still accomplish its goals, he said.
In other business, the directors:
• reviewed the performance agreement with Landers Development.
• hired Witherspoon, Yeldell & Wilson to perform its fiscal year 2006-07 audit.
• heard legal advice concerning inaccurate information recorded by the title company on the Heritage Cove property.
“It’s difficult to hold the title company liable, as East Cedar Creek (Fresh Water Supply District) has the responsibility to file current information at the Henderson County courthouse,” board president Dennis Wood said.