Plans for Kroger Town & Country No Longer an Issue, Proposal Withdrawn
Feb 12, 2015 03:38PM
● By Kevin
After Southlake residents Doug Harsy and Sue Johnson filed an appeal on Jan. 30 to the Southlake zoning board, Southlake City Council decided to table discussions of the proposed Kroger Town & Country development, according to a Feb. 10 article by Dustin Dangli of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
With a Jan. 14 opening of Fresh Market, and the upcoming opening of Trader Joe's on Feb. 20, Kroger looks to add a brand new, upscale store. The new development is proposed for the southeast quadrant of Dove Road and Hwy 114. According to Gary Huddleston, director of public affairs for Kroger, the proposed store is a completely different floor plan than the current Kroger at 2110 E. Southlake Blvd., as well as the Kroger Marketplace opening in North Richland Hills on March 13.
"Kroger and the developer Cencor, who developed the Shops of Southlake, have been working on this store site for quite some time and we have worked with the residents as well as the city," Huddleston said. "The site is zoned for both retail and commercial use and complies with the high standards of the city of Southlake. The store's development is based on the input from the residents. Kroger Town & Country would be a different store than any other store we have in the area."
Harsy, who is a part of the group against the development, The Kroger Opposition, said on the contrary, Kroger has not worked with the community.
"This project has been around for over a year and we’ve repeatedly tried to provide our input to the developer with what our vision was and particularly the zoning of this particular property," Harsy said. "They consistently denied our request and stuck to their position that they could do what they want regardless of what the community wants. We were supportive to bring members of the community to bring them that information. This location is not the right fit for a big box Kroger superstore."
Harsy continued, saying the proposed location is not zoned for a big box regional superstore mall development.
"This superstore is out of scale with sensibility to the area," Harsy said. "It will exacerbate an already highly congested area. Currently, traffic is at a standstill during the evening rush hour."
Harsy referenced the Institute of Transportation Engingeers (ITE) Trip Generation Manual 9th Edition - traffic studies for developments - the proposed Kroger Town & Country would add more than 10,000 vehicle trips per day to the area, including more than 980 vehicle trips during the evening rush hour.
Huddleston said the existing Southlake store has been a key part of the community, and was remodeled once in its history. A survey was conducted on Oct. 3 and 10, 2014 at the existing store in which more than 200 signatures were collected from residents who said they would support plans for the Town & Country concept. The letter of support was submitted to city council.
"It's an indication of other residents of Southlake who do support our plans," Huddleston said.
"The signatures they’re discussing, a substantial number were obtained through a less than honest condition," Harsy said. "It didn’t describe the size, they called it a boutique-type store and were less than honest. It also included people outside of the city of Southlake, as well as duplicate signatures. This wasn’t a true perspective information from the community."
The Planning and Zoning Commission denied Kroger 5-2 at its Nov. 20 meeting (video here). Harsy referenced items 9 and 10 in the videos for residents to get an idea of the implications the development would have on the community. Huddleston, who said he is a Southlake resident, said he has attended every meeting and will be at the upcoming March 26 hearing.
"I have a high degree of interest in the store and I’m very active in the community," he said.
There was a Facebook page created to stop the development, which can be found here. To date, it has 582 likes.
According to a recent post by the Facebook page:
On Tuesday, February 3rd, we were granted a hearing with the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA), currently scheduled to occur on March 26, 2015. Our appeal contends that 1) the City of Southlake’s Administrative Staff has not applied the proper version of the City’s tree preservation ordinance; 2) the City Staff has not applied the correct district uses (C-3) regarding the proposed Kroger Big Box Development; and 3) that the City Staff is incorrect in determining that the currently submitted site plan conforms with the concept plan submitted for Zoning. We need your support at the March 26th hearing in front of the ZBA! Please plan on attending, We must pack the house!
If we prevail with our case in front of the ZBA, our already strong position against this Kroger Big Box Development will only be reinforced and made stronger as it moves back to City Council. After this ZBA hearing, the Kroger Big Box Development case will proceed back to City Council and will likely be heard at the April 7, 2015 City Council meeting. We understand that the tedious nature of this process is exhausting; however, we must continue the fight. Once back at City Council, the decision whether to approve or to deny the Kroger Big Box Development plan will be key in defining not only the future development of the Highway 114 corridor in Southlake, but will also directly affect how our few remaining parcels of land throughout this city will be developed. It will have huge ramifications on traffic and the required quality - or lack thereof - of developments in Southlake, and will directly affect the public’s welfare.
Please make sure that you continue to voice your concerns to the Mayor and City Council members. We will continually update this page, and please feel free to ask us any questions that you may have. We will do our best to answer them all so that you will be informed on the facts. Your support against the Kroger Big Box Development has been overwhelming! Please continue to inform your friends and neighbors about this issue and refer them to this page. Thank you all!
There is also a petition on Change.org in opposition of the development with more than 690 signatures.
"It’s unfortunate there’s a small group that has
concerns about the store, but we believe that once it’s built, the vast majority
of Southlake is going to embrace our store," Huddleston said.
The Town & Country store, according to Huddleston would feature a strong emphasis on food both locally sourced and international products, such as perishables, produce, organics, service meats (organic and Nolan Ryan) and all-natural foods including bulk food items in Nature's Market. The site would also have larger floral areas, as Kroger is the largest florist in the nation, Huddleston said. There will also be a large selection of upscale wines and wine by the glass in store, along with chef-prepared meals, including sushi and a Starbucks kiosk.
"It will be a very upscale product we want to bring to the Southlake customer," Huddleston said.
"Bottom line is this isn’t the right fit here," Harsy said. "We think they should update current Kroger and make it a beautiful development."
The city of Southlake could not be reached for comment.
Tell us your thoughts about the new development proposition in the comments below.