ARGYLE — Dozens of Argyle residents stormed out of Tuesday night’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting angry and noticeably disappointed after commission members voted 6-1 in favor of a zoning change that would support a new grocery store and other commercial development.
The residents made it clear the town could benefit from a new grocery store, but said they’re concerned about the store’s proposed location at Country Club Drive and U.S. Highway 377, effects on traffic flow and how the zoning change deviates from a previous development plan they said residents were “promised.”
The proposed zoning change will now go before Town Council members, who will consider approval of the commission’s recommendation on Jan. 28.
Paul Walker, Planning and Zoning Commission chairman, said he believed the zoning change falls in line with what town leaders envision for the community.
“The time is right to select a development that will benefit the community in this way,” he said.
However, during the public hearing, audience members were in support of a new grocery store but at least half spoke in opposition to its location.
Residents’ concerns centered on the proposed development being located across the street from Hilltop Elementary School, thereby adding to what is already a “traffic nightmare,” they said.
Brookshire Grocery Co. is proposing a 42,000-square-foot grocery store in the commercial center of Argyle Town Village. The property is being developed by real estate developer DEMA Management Partners and is located behind the existing retail center, The Shops of Argyle.
Brookshire’s officials estimate the store will create about 60 to 80 jobs.
Argyle resident Margaret Harrison spoke Tuesday against the development.
Her concerns echoed most residents who attended the meeting — that traffic will clog the roadways and create a safety concern.
“I’m glad we have a [Planning and Zoning Commission] and Town Council that listens, and I hope they have their listening ears on tonight,” she said during the public hearing.
Resident Emily Valentino said she’s concerned about how increased traffic could pose a threat to her children who attend the elementary school.
She said the town did a poor job of informing parents about the proposed zoning change, and she said that once more parents learn of the change, the town is “going to have a fight on its hands.”
“This is disappointing,” she said.
Planning and zoning officials said that a traffic issue exists in Argyle and that residents raised valid concerns.
However, they said, it is all part of the pains that come with a growing town.
Though many spoke out Tuesday against the location of the development, it has garnered much support on the website, www.myargylegrocer.com, which was started by the real estate developer.
More than 1,100 users voted to support the development. Many online users expressed joy and an eagerness to welcome a new grocery store and several users wrote that Argyle had been without a grocery store for too long.
On the website, however, there isn’t an option to vote no in opposition to the project. Users must vote yes before they can comment on the development.
Residents from Robson Ranch, an active senior community, also attended the meeting to voice their opinions.
Many said they were in support of the development because it saves them from the trouble of driving to either Roanoke or Denton to shop for groceries.
“Argyle will reap the benefits,” Robson Ranch resident Elma Walker said.
A few council members attended the meeting and got an idea of what’s to come in their upcoming meeting.
Mayor Peggy Krueger stood quietly outside the council chambers double doors, listening in on the discussions taking place and making note of the attendance.
“It’s a sign of a growing town and a sign that people care about what we’re doing,” she said. “It looks like we’re going to have some interesting discussions on this.”
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.