Facing several issues

On Tuesday night alone, the Greenville City Council wrestled with Greenville’s growing influx of liquor stores, gave a green light to a 270-home development along Monty Stratton Parkway and wrestled with what to do about fishing on reservoir four and five.

Tuesday night’s Greenville City Council meeting marked the change ahead for the city as it is poised to welcome a new mayor and three new councilmembers after Saturday’s municipal election, but what’s facing the new members is significant.

On Tuesday night alone, the City Council wrestled with Greenville’s growing influx of liquor stores, gave a green light to a 270-home development along Monty Stratton Parkway and wrestled with what to do about fishing on reservoir four and five.

The meeting was the last for Mayor David Dreiling and councilmen Brent Money, Cedric Dean and Jerry Ransom. Dean and Ransom are competing to replace Dreiling as mayor.

The City Council unanimously approved a zoning change to a 70-acre parcel along Monty Stratton Parkway that could lead to the development of about 270 single-family homes. It’s the third zoning change request to come before the City Council in the last month — and it’s also one of the biggest. While the city’s long-term zoning plan calls for the parcel to be zoned residential it currently holds an agricultural designation.

In the last month, the City Council has given the go-ahead for at least three major housing developments that will bring more than 400 homes — mostly single-family — to the city in the coming years, and more are on the way.

The project that was initially approved will be called Straton Place and is being developed by a Dallas firm called Trophy Signature Homes, which has three projects under construction or in planning for Royse City. The trick may be in the pricing because the one-story and two-story homes are tentatively set to be priced starting in the mid $200,000 range and up to more than $300,000.

However, the project would not call for any improvements in the bumpy and narrow ride that is Monty Stratton Parkway, including not widening it. The developers said they would provide a left-turn lane in the center median to access the homes, and provide turn lanes going into it — but that was it.

When it came to liquor stores, the City Council voted to table a discussion about granting conditional use permits for two stores that would be right next to each other in the 8000 block of Wesley Street. The owners of Liquor Depot, which have already been granted a conditional use permit to open up shop in the former Collins Street Bakery, argued Tuesday night that their neighboring competitor’s permit should be denied, because of Liquor Depot’s experience in the business. Liquor Depot owns numerous stores across the Dallas-Fort Worth area and plans at least three stores in Greenville.

That suggestion led Councilman Money to say that since Liquor Depot already had a permit for one store that maybe they should give up their second permit.

The explosion of liquor store sales is driven by a voter-approved measure to roll back decades of liquor sales restrictions in Hunt County. The issue of neighboring liquor stores, which split the planning and zoning commission 4-3 when it came up, also figures to make the City Council ask some tough questions about what it can do about the proliferation of liquor stores — if anything at all.

In the end, the council voted 6-1 — on a motion by Ransom — to table the issue until the new City Council meets next month.

During Tuesday’s City Council work study session, Public Works Director Press Tompkins made a presentation that calls for restricting access to reservoirs four and five — the city’s main source of drinking water. Under the guise of Homeland Security directives, Tompkins argued that protecting the city’s water supply is the No. 1 priority, but the reservoirs are also popular fishing destinations.

“Our reservoirs were put in there for drinking water,” said Tompkins, who was contrasting the argument that Lake Tawakoni and Lake Ray Hubbard are also drinking water reservoirs but with a design that also favors recreation. “That’s the difference.”

Tompkins said a proposal would not eliminate fishing at the reservoirs but would make it harder for vehicles to access the water.

The proposal, however, angered several fishermen who spoke at the meeting.

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