Developers wanted apartments along SH 360. Arlington officials want this instead.

·2 min read

Arlington leaders are not ready to open a 10-acre plot along State Highway 360 and Eden Road to apartment home development.

Jacob Sumpter with the firm MMA asked city council for a public hearing to discuss plans by developer StoneHawk Capital Partners for 275 apartment homes at 7500 New York Ave. Arlington’s comprehensive development plan, which lays out broad visions for city growth, recommends more business and retail space near the highway, and calls for new houses and apartments to replace older buildings.

Councilmembers Tuesday evening told Sumpter they were not ready to stray from the plan, including District 3 Councilmember Nikkie Hunter, whose district includes the property.

“We need service,” Hunter said. “We need other things over there.”

The council declined Sumpter’s request 7-2. Councilmembers Rebecca Boxall, District 5, and Barbara Odom-Wesley, District 8, voted for a hearing.

Councilmembers have weighed methods to attract redevelopment of old apartments over building on vacant land. Helen Moise, District 1 councilmember, said council has received plans for around 8,000 apartments.

“At some point, I’ve made a personal decision that I’m going to say ‘no’ to a lot of multifamily just because we need to see some of this multifamily approved and built out to see where it goes,” she said.

However, Johnny Campbell, the property owner, said in a letter to council that the lot has not received any commercial interest since he began holding the property in 1992. Developers told Campbell the low traffic on new York Avenue, limited space for growth to the east because of Joe Pool Lake and poor access to the state highway posed red flags.

“I ask that you recognize the negative feedback received directly from commercial users who have declined any interest in this land,” Campbell wrote.

The city’s planning and zoning commission denied the developer’s request 5-2 during an Oct. 6 meeting. Commissioners complimented the quality of the plan, but raised concerns of emergency response time in south Arlington and the type of development intended around State Highway 360.

Commissioner Cameron Atkins asked whether Arlington’s fire department and other EMS responders could reach the complex in time.

“As we start on-boarding multifamily development, that’s always a huge concern for existing residents and future residents. That would be an ongoing concern there,” Atkins said Oct. 6.

Galen Gatten, an assistant city attorney, said the group’s job is to enforce development standards, and agencies including the fire department would make adjustments as needed.

City government officials are drafting a study and plan for the land surrounding South State Highway 360 between Interstate 20 and south city limits. People interested in weighing in on the plan, including residents, can tune into virtual meetings at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1, Nov. 8 and Nov. 10. The city will also open public input surveys between Nov. 1 and Nov. 10 in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

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