A proposed 400-lot manufactured home community hit a hurdle Tuesday night when plans were denied by the Sherman Planning and Zoning Commission in a six-to-one vote.
Developers for the project touted the community as a quality development aimed at bringing affordable homes along U.S. Highway 82. However, neighboring property owners, including 94 homeowners who signed a petition, voiced their opposition to the project, comparing it to a trailer park.
“A lot of people in this room are here tonight because they are in opposition to a trailer park and we stand with them in that — we are not proposing a trailer park,” said developer James Bertakis.
The proposed development would be located in the 2400 through 2800 blocks of U.S. 82 between Frisco Road and Baker Road on more than 90 acres of land. The development would feature about 400 lots with amenities including a clubhouse and swimming pool, community office, exercise room and other amenities.
Bertakis disputed the comparison to a trailer park, noting that the manufactured homes would be modern and new construction that was a far cry from the trailers of 30 to 40 years ago that have become the stereotype.
Bertakis argued that the development would bring in a different type and price range of housing that was under represented in the community. It is becoming difficult for builders to construct homes at a price range under $160,000, with existing homes in that price range far and few between.
For the model, Bertakis said residents would own the manufactured homes but lease the lot that they live on. This would allow the developer to keep control of the property while also allowing for home ownership of a segment of the population that otherwise may be priced out of housing.
By comparison, Bertakis said a modern manufactured home could cost between $65,000 and $140,000, with monthly fees between averaging below $1,200.
Realtor Janet Karam spoke in support of the project, adding that she regularly has people contact her that are priced out of the current housing market. Currently, there are only nine homes on the market in Sherman that are between $65,000 and $130,000.
“They are not ones I would recommend families move into,” she said.
More than a dozen residents spoke in opposition to the project, with concerns raised about the impact to traffic to home values.
Larry Solma asked the commission to table the request untilt he city has completed its upcoming impact fee study, which could be the precursor to Sherman charging new development for its impact on city resources and infrastructure.
Another resident argued that the project, which will be using two plots, should be phased to prove that it is a working concept.
Bertakis said that it would not be logistically possible for the development to be broke up into parts and still be able to offer the level of amenities that developers want. He added that concerns about crime rising have been proven to be unfounded in other similar developments, noting that the proposed community would be gated.
When the request was put to a vote, six members of the commission voted to deny, with P&Z Chair Clay Mahone serving as the lone dissenting vote. Following the meeting Mahone said he felt that the development would be a higher use than several other uses for the property. Under the current zoning many other types of development that may not be best suited near a residential neighborhood would be allowed.
Bertakis said he felt that some of the opposition was still rooted in the thoughts that this would be a trailer park and the stigma that surround them.
“I think this opposition is coming from people who don’t want any development at all,” he said.
Bertakis will have one more opportunity to speak before the city on the project when it goes before the city council for a final decision some time in the coming weeks.