Following a thorough presentation by a resident of a nearby subdivision, Weatherford city council members Tuesday voted to hold off on approving the final plat for the Waterford Park Subdivision.
The 44.2-acre property was zoned in September of 2003 as a planned development. In 2004, the property was sold to a different developer. A master preliminary plat was filed and approved in March of 2020, and the property was sold again in October.
Director of Development and Neighborhood Services Kaleb Kentner said the city is limited by the Texas local government code in what it can and can't do regarding vesting rights of developers. Though the property has seen three different owners in a 19-year span, it's vested rights remain from 2003.
The council Tuesday was presented with the option to approve the plat, with five conditions that would need to be met prior to certification and filing.
Mark Ward Sr., who represented a group of residents in Bedinger Place, a neighboring subdivision of Waterford Park, presented several concerns he and others had about the development, including flooding and drainage issues, traffic impact and the construction of a retaining wall.
"I'm not saying the [planning and zoning] commission or the developer did anything wrong, but there are just too many unknowns and too many questions to push this through," Ward said. "We're pro-growth. What we're asking is for you to send this back to planning and zoning, give it a month and give us the opportunity to talk to the developer."
Remington Wheat, of Bannister Engineering in Mansfield, addressed some of the concerns, including the masonry design of the retaining wall, and said a flood study and traffic impact analysis were being reviewed, but had not yet been approved.
By law, the council has 30 days to approve or deny a final plat. Failure to take one of those two steps would result in automatic approval.
"I don't want council to be rushed because of a 30-day shot clock," Mayor Paul Paschall said. "We have to put our customers first and if that requires us to have these things be completed and that application go back through the process, I'm not opposed to that."
Mayor Pro Tem Heidi Wilder recommended they deny the approval, saying there were still too many unknowns, with a second by Paschall, followed by a 5-0 vote.
The developer will now have to go through P&Z and start the application process, and 30-day clock, again.
Place 4 Councilman Kevin Cleveland asked if the new timeframe would derail the project.
"The biggest impact is the developer would have to pay another application fee, but it probably won't affect the timeline over all," Wheat said.
Cleveland requested that the new application fee be waived, with council voting unanimously.
Council also reviewed a bid, submitted by MHD Construction, for renovations of the Weatherford Public Library restrooms.
Director of Municipal and Community Services Dustin Deel said the renovation is much needed, and would include a complete demolition down to the studs — redoing plumbing, new fixtures, new wall bakers, ceilings and walls, tiles, lighting, partitions, handrails, countertops and automatic wire sensors, among other things.
MHD's bid came in at $136,712, with a not-to-exceed amount of $158,587.
"Accessibility is the big cost of this," Deel said. "They must relocate walls to add handicapped drinking fountains and handicapped stalls and toilets."
Deel said staff believed they had identified plumbing issues from old clay pipes that had bellied under, and they do not foresee replacing interior plumbing.
MHD was the only one to submit a bid, and has worked on other projects with the city in the past.
"This is a much needed project and we're committed to the fact that we're going to get this project done," Cleveland said. "The price of [construction] equipment is skyrocketing right now. It seems high, but you don't usually question prices unless you've done [construction] yourself.
"Nothing against the company, but I feel we would be doing a disservice to ourselves to not clarify that number is where it needs to be."
Place 2 Councilman Jeff Robinson agreed, saying that while it was time to move on, council should seek out a couple more bids.
Deel said they had touched base with several companies, who decided not to put a bid in.
MHD was also the lone bidder for renovating Weatherford City Hall's east bathroom, coming in at $99,169.
Council unanimously voted to go back out for more bids on both projects.