The developers who had their 300-unit apartment plans denied by Sherman Planning and Zoning Commission last month will be taking their plan to City Council later this month. The developers will be appealing action by the Sherman Planning and Zoning Commission and are still hoping to build a complex along Lamar Street.
The project would see the construction of the complex on nearly 13 acres of land near the current Sherman High School and Goodwill Industries. The complex would utilize low income tax credits and include units with up to four bedrooms for larger families.
City officials confirmed that the developer expressed an intent to appeal the denial on Dec. 27, 10 days after the commission made its decision. The appeal is expected to be presented to the council during its regular Jan. 20 meeting.
On Dec. 17, P&Z denied the request following concerns from neighboring property owners and a 200-name petition against the project. Common complaints included the additional traffic along Lamar that would be generated by the complex and a lack of infrastructure planning.
Commissioners also raised concern about the 627 parking spots, in lieu of the 784 required, that were included in the plans. The limited number of access gates and its impact on traffic was also a concern for members of the commission.
The complex would feature a mixture of one, two, three and four-bedroom units, with a total of 720 bedrooms for the entire complex. During the December meeting, developers said reducing the size of the complex by one building would reduce it to 276 units, but the project would not be viable.
“That may not seem like a big drop, but that is make-or-break for us,” LDG representative Jake Brown said in December.
Regarding the parking concerns, developers said additional space could be used for parking at the expense of green space. Chris Biggers, of Dunaway Associates, said the green space was important for an apartment aimed at families as it gave children a safe place to play.
Developers argued that the number of parking spaces shown in the plans was realistic for what would likely be needed for the development. As the complex would be aimed at low-income households and very few would own two vehicles.
Calls to Biggers and Dunaway Associates for comment were not returned.
Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said P&Z appeals are fairly rare, but it is significantly rarer that the council will overturn P&Z action. The last time Strauch could remember this occurring was in 2017 when the City Council overturned two decisions regarding an apartment complex on FM 1417 and a daycare business operating in a residential neighborhood.
In order to have the decision overturned, the appeal will require a super majority with five of seven members voting in favor.
Strauch noted that the commission effectively denied two requests, but only one is being appealed. The commission denied a zoning change for the apartment complex while a second request for an exception to the parking requirements was effectively denied by the Zoning Board of Adjustments.
The ZBA did not directly vote on the exception request as the commission had already formally denied the zoning change, rendering the matter moot.
If the council were to approve the appeal, Strauch said the project would need to follow the requirements for parking. A separate appeals process for ZBA decisions would need to go through P&Z for a second review, he said.
If the appeal is denied by the council, Strauch said it will be a full year before the project can be brought back to the commission.