Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Crucis Creek will offer home ownership for middleclass families

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For those who want a house on the lake or on a golf course, Hood County has plenty of them.

But houses that are affordable for younger, middle-income families? Not so much.

Several people noted that gap when speaking to the Hood County News in recent months about the local real estate market and housing shortage.

Housing that is more affordable will be offered through the coming Crucis Creek Addition, a community of more than 300 homes.

The Granbury City Council approved rezoning and an amended preliminary plat for that development at its regular meeting on March 1. Crucis Creek will be located on the north side of West Loop 567, southwest of Camp Crucis Court.

The project was in the works before the City Council imposed a city-wide development moratorium last year. The ban is due to opposition that has delayed construction of a second wastewater treatment plant.

During the discussion at the council meeting, Mayor Jim Jarratt asked project representative Bill Baird, Jr. whether the development is “affordable housing.”

Baird is chairman emeritus and senior civil engineer for Baird, Hampton & Brown, Inc. and was there on behalf of the developer, AMA Cattle and Ranch, LLC.

“Mayor, I don’t think there is such a thing as affordable housing anymore,” Baird replied.

However, he added that the project does not involve “estate homes” or “estate lots,” and said that the developer “is doing everything that they can to make these affordable.”

City Manager Chris Coffman noted that the proposed development, which must go through the final plat process, is “across the street” from The Commerce Centre of Granbury, where economic development opportunities could create “lots and lots of jobs.”

Crucis Creek’s location is also near Granbury Regional Airport, where a years’ long expansion project is nearing completion and where the city plans to build a new terminal. City officials have predicted that aviation-related industries will likely locate around the airport’s perimeter.

The two issues related to Crucis Creek that were on the March 1 City Council agenda received unanimous votes, but the project has been opposed by some nearby property owners, including The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, which owns Camp Crucis, a 74-year-old, 163-acre retreat.

Discussions took place between opponents and the developer in hopes that concerns might be alleviated. Changes to the project included the developer reducing the number of houses from 325 to 308.

Nevertheless, one opponent still spoke out against the project at the recent council meeting. Gary Farina again expressed concerns about such things as drainage, traffic and small lot sizes.

Baird said that the lots are between 7,000 and 7,200 square feet, and a few are “a bit larger.” He indicated that the lots meet the city’s requirements.

Coffman said that he and city staff have discussed possibly changing the minimum lot size. However, doing so carries both “pros and cons,” he said, and is something to be taken up “at a later date.”

He stated, “There’s certainly some concerns about pricing houses out of the reach of a lot of people and we’ve got to be careful with that. It’s really a fine line to walk — property rights versus regulation, again.”

The city is currently dealing with property rights versus regulation where short-term rentals are concerned as more Granbury property owners turn homes into vacation rentals.

The amended plat for the Crucis Creek development includes a park with play equipment and a pond with a fountain. There will be a homeowner’s association.

When councilman Eddie Rodriguez asked Baird whether the HOA would impose standards where homebuilding is concerned, Coffman said that the builder “would ultimately have that control.” He told Baird that he would like to visit with the builder once the builder has been selected “so that we can lay out some expectations for the final plat hearing.”

Baird later told the HCN that he does not yet know what the price range for Crucis Creek homes will be, but he said that the houses are slated to be between 1,200-2,500 square feet.

He said that bidding will probably be done in the fall and construction will begin “sometime in 2023.”

Baird said that Granbury is a “very attractive place to live” and that developers are eager for the moratorium to be lifted.

“Granbury has a lot going for it,” he said. “It is growing, and it is going to continue to grow.”