More than 260 new homes will be added to the city landscape now that the Harker Heights City Council approved the preliminary plat for The Grove at Whitten Place, a 100-acre development on the east side of Verna Lee Boulevard.

The council approved the plat Tuesday after RSBP Developers spent months negotiating with the city over changes and recommendations.

The final plat revision was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission in December, although it still lacked one request.

“The only staff comment that has not been addressed is the request to provide an eastern connection with Tejas Trail to provide connectivity and circulation alternatives to Verna Lee,” said Fred Morris, planning and development director.

The subdivision’s connection to Tejas Trail would provide a way to distribute traffic away from Verna Lee and improve redevelopment options in that part of the city, Morris said. “This is a long-term decision that makes sense.”

However, the developer said it did not want to connect to Tejas Trail because of concerns over unimproved conditions of the street and the “sellability” of “high-end” subdivision lots that are directly tied to an area with older trailers.

“It’s hard to tie on to an unimproved street,” said Gary W. Purser Jr. of RSBP Developers. “It’s very dated — 40 or 50 years old. If we try to sell houses against that it will be hard.”

Morris proposed that the developers add a right of way in place of the connection. Purser told the council he thought the proposal was fair, although it meant the loss of a $30,000 lot.

“If we need to make a right of way there and the city is willing to meet us halfway, then OK,” he said.

Contact Kristi Johnson at or (254) 501-7548

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