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P&Z recommends denial of day care center request
The Flower Mound Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday recommended denying a request for a specific use permit (SUP) for a day care center that was proposed to be located at the northeast intersection of FM 3040 and Morriss Road.
Developers were proposing to build Children's Learning Adventure, a 26,056-square-foot facility, on the undeveloped land that is zoned Planned Development-51 (PD-51), which allows for Retail-2 (R-2) uses. A day care center is an allowed R-2 use, though an SUP is required. A 30,000-square-foot playground was being proposed behind the building.
The property is also located within Specific Planned Area 9 (SPA 9). One of the requirements for developments within SPAs is the consideration of nearby neighborhoods.
For the commissioners and the residents from the adjacent Tealwood Oaks neighborhood that packed the room to oppose the project, not enough consideration was given to many things.
Perfecto Solis, who spoke on behalf of many of the Tealwood Oaks residents, said the piece of land is too small for a facility this size. The number of children expected to attend the center -- 527, based on Children's Learning Adventure's numbers -- is more than several elementary schools in town, Solis said.
"Why would you put a 500-child daycare at this corner? You wouldn't put an elementary school there," Solis said. "This is not a normal daycare facility. This is an elementary school."
Other residents said the large number of children would create traffic congestion in an area that already has problems. While there are two proposed entrance/exits on the plan -- one off Morriss and one off FM 3040 -- both presented challenges for motorists coming from certain directions. They said exiting the property from Morriss and trying to turn south would be very difficult.
Residents were also concerned about the 272 trees that were proposed to be removed for the project, including six specimen trees. The town's environmental conservation commission recommended denial of the request to remove the specimen trees.
Being part of the SPA also required an amenity area, and residents said the amenity area proposed for the project, which was set to be located at the front of the building facing Morriss, wasn't large enough or accessible enough to be considered an amenity area.
And while the project plans included a small retail building on the site, residents said the daycare center would not provide the tax revenue that a larger retail center would.
One resident spoke in favor of the center. Jim Lang, the former director of economic development for the town, said having the daycare center in that spot could have its benefits.
"If you have straight-up retail there, you could have traffic going in and out 24 hours a day, including weekends," Lang said.
Lang said the center could also bring customers to the other retail locations in that quadrant.
But commissioners couldn't get past the potential traffic issues the project could bring to the busy intersection.
"Traffic generated from a site like this will be a mess," said Commissioner Claudio Forest. "We already have a traffic problem with a school just right up the road. This is not the right corner."
Forest said he was also concerned about the proposed elevation of the building, which at its tallest point would be 40 feet high, saying it didn't fit in with that area. The median height is expected to be 31.5 feet high.
He was also concerned about the proposed amenity area, saying it doesn't match the amenities at the other developments at the intersection.
Carl Frontera, vice president of development services for Children's Learning Adventure, said his team will decide later this week if they will pursue approval from the town council at Monday's meeting. If they take it to the council, it will require a super-majority vote to overturn the commission's recommendation. The council would also have to overturn the ECC's tree removal denial.