BELTON — The developer of a proposed 216-unit apartment complex in the Belton Business Park said Thursday he plans to submit a site redesign after the anticipated $20 million project failed to secure zoning approval.
In October, the Belton Planning and Zoning Commission voted 3-3 in response to a request by developer Ray Severn to rezone about 12 acres of business park land from light industrial to multifamily housing.
The split vote was the result of concerns the apartment complex would spill pedestrians too close to existing businesses.
The tie forced Severn to either appeal the decision to the Belton City Council or submit a modified site plan.
The original plans failed to secure a recommendation despite having the support of the Belton Economic Development Corp., which would sell the property to Severn, and the city’s planning department, which recommended the rezoning. Representatives of Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District and Harvest Technologies — both located in the business park — were among those who opposed the plans.
On Thursday, Severn said he plans to submit a modified plan early next year that will address the back entrance to the complex that some park tenants opposed.
The business park’s back entrance opening to Powell Street could potentially be gated for access only in emergencies, Severn said, with the main entrance along Loop 121 serving residents.
“I don’t need that back entrance operationally. We would be fine without it,” he said. “It’s just nice to have it, just in case.”
Concerns that the apartment complex would create safety issues for neighboring businesses are unfounded, Severn said.
His other two Belton apartment complexes — Turtle Creek Village and Legacy Landing — located on the edge of the city’s old business park in the Commerce Drive-Industrial Park area, have existed in harmony with neighboring lots, he said.
“Turtle Creek and Legacy Landing are at opposite ends (of the old business park) and there’s not been a safety issue or compatibility issue in 14 years,” he said. “I didn’t understand all the concerns about safety that popped up.”
Belton Planning Director Erin Newcomer, who supported the rezoning in October, said two access points to an apartment complex are preferable; the city’s fire code also requires it.
A gated back entrance would satisfy the city’s fire code requirement, but the planning department would have to review whether the main entrance would be sufficient to handle the size of the complex, Newcomer said.
Severn said he would like to build the apartment complex on the edge of Belton Business Park, but has been considering other locations in Bell County in case the zoning is denied again.
“We’re still alive,” Severn said of the business park location. “Delayed a little bit with the zoning issue, but we’re going to take another shot at it.”