“An ugly win”

The Denton City Council reversed itself last night on a zoning case for 75 acres of land near W.S. Ryan Elementary School. Previously a 3-3 tie vote had denied the zoning change, but last night Council member Dalton Gregory changed his vote, and Mayor Mark Burroughs, who was absent from that November meeting, was there as well, to tilt the scales 5-2.

Two gas wells currently sit on the land, which is otherwise vacant, and three other pad sites have long been planned by energy companies there. After losing the previous vote, the developer, Bob Shelton, pledged to work with the city to improve disclosure to future home buyers.

Either way, the new neighborhood along Ryan Road will come in much like neighborhoods along Vintage Boulevard and Bonnie Brae Street. There, EagleRidge Energy is re-working old wells and drilling new wells very close to homes, some of which were built after the first wells were drilled, angering residents.

Council member Jim Engelbrecht didn’t budge in the second round of deliberations over the request, saying that the compromise addressed issues presented by the developer and mineral owner, but did nothing of substance to protect future home buyers. He, along with Kevin Roden, repeated their vote to deny the zoning change that would essentially allow the developer to build 263 homes close to existing wells rather than 150 homes.

But Council member Dalton Gregory said the chance to eliminate the other three pad sites close to the school — where he was formerly the principal — and improve disclosure to future home buyers was a win.

“An ugly win,” he said.

The deliberations and vote can be viewed here:

City Council Regular Meeting – Dec 17th, 2013.

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