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Council approves economic development agreement
Plans to bring at least 1,000 new jobs to the area will move forward following Monday night's city council vote.
Lewisville City Council members unanimously approved an economic development agreement between the city and Vista 121 Business Center L.P. The agreement includes an incentive to the developer for a 75-percent reduction of tree mitigation fees to construct the new parking lot at the center. The original tree mitigation fee was calculated to be $36,000. Under the agreement, the developer will instead pay a $9,000 fee.
The agreement originated in 2007 between the city and Vista 121 Business Center L.P. for Vista 121 to build a 240,000-square-foot office building. The building was completed in 2008 but was not occupied. Now the entire building is being occupied by JP Morgan Chase for a new business center and additional parking is needed for the 1,200-2,000 new employees.
Council members originally tabled the item at the Oct. 17 meeting due to a deadlock vote. Councilmen Leroy Vaughn and John Gorena were not in favor of approving the agreement while councilmen TJ Gilmore and Rudy Durham were in favor. Mayor Dean Uecket abstained from the item because his wife works for the company.
"I would like to withdraw my objection to this agreement based on information I have received," Vaughn said. "I will vote for this because it is an item from a previous council."
Gorena also changed his vote during Monday's meeting.
"The last time I had problem with giving a variance to one item and not another. I think we either charge for trees or we don't," Gorena said. "I think if its part of the city ordinance, we need to enforce it. So I am asking the city staff to put the tree ordinance on the next agenda. I will vote in favor of this because it is an agreement from a previous council."
Council members also unanimously approved a variance for the Mira Vista additions, located near the intersection of FM 3040 and Uecker Lane, to allow an alternate paving
section on Uecker Lane instead of the standard perimeter paving along the frontage of the parcel or paying an escrow fee. The owner's plan for Mira Vista is to divide the property into seven lots for individual small office buildings.
The owner also requested a second variance for the property, which would allow for tree removal for the entire three-acre site and allow tree mitigation on a per lot basis as building permits are issued. The owner also offered to pay for the tree mitigation fees over a five-year period.
Claude King, city manager, said the city staff recommended denying the variance because of the payment, the staff would prefer that the owner pay the fee up front. The vote ended in a tie with Durham and Gorena voting in favor of granting the variance. Ueckert broke the tie and voted to deny the variance.
Council members also approved an amendment to an ordinance relating to political signs. The ordinance prohibits political signs greater than eight feet in height, prohibits the illumination of political signs, prohibits moving elements on political signs and limits the length of time a sign may be displayed. The amended ordinance deleted the 90-day time limit for political signs located on private property prior to an election being decided and providing a 30-day time limit for removal of political signs after an election is decided.
Council members also appointed Richard Oropeza to Place No. 3 on the Lewisville Park Board following the resignation or Margie Rochelle.