By Betsy Dolan
Coming four months after Sugar Land’s City Council approved the controversial Imperial Apartments, the city’s Planning and Zoning(P&Z) Commission is taking up another multi-family housing issue– this time 330 luxury apartments in the Telfair subdivision east of University and north of U.S. 59. The commissioners discussed an overview of the project’s final development plan with developers SUEBA, TBG Partners, Inc., and Newland Communities at a workshop during their regular meeting on June 28.
The three-building, four-story Telfair Exchange Lofts complex would sit on 11 acres across from the main lake in Telfair near Branford Place and Wescott Avenue. Stan Winter with TBG Partners, told the commissioners that the demographic projections indicate renters will be “young professionals who work in Sugar Land, recently married couples who may not be ready to commit to a single family home and empty nesters looking to downsize.” He also specified a monthly rent of $1,588.
P&Z Commissioner Nancy Porter reiterated that multi-family housing, specifically 400 units on 20 acres–more than what has been proposed–has been part of Telfair’s General Development Plan since 2003 and the proposed apartment location near Branford Place and Wescott Avenue has been in place since 2006.
But Telfair resident, Theresa Holloway, who says her home would face the apartment complex, expressed concerns.
“I am not pleased with a four-story wall of units that I will have to face daily as I get my mail or walk down my sidewalk,” Holloway told the (P&Z)commissioners. “While I recognize that this is a high end development, at the end of the day these are rental units.”
Winter told the commissioners that the SUEBA architects took special care to block the view of the apartments from the nearby single family homes by facing the apartments toward the street.
“I think you can easily imagine what this might look like if Branford Place didn’t come through as a parkway and if Tract C wasn’t established as a buffer area,” Winter said. “These units would then back up to the main lake and that would not be as significant a buffer as orienting the units facing the street and that common area.”
The commissioners are scrutinizing the final development plan, in part to make sure it complies with Resolution 10-21 which the City Council passed in October. It requires an annual inspection of all multi-family complexes as well 12 requirements that developers must meet before being approved to build multi-family housing in Sugar Land. Those guidelines range from “green building” incentives, mass transit connectivity and upgraded building materials to integrated parking and enhanced landscaping.
The developers were asked by the commissioners to investigate whether additional landscape buffering between the buildings and the single-family homes would be feasible as well as getting additional details about how the property management company would monitor and enforce what renters kept on their balconies. In addition, the developers are working on relocating a pedestrian walkway that would provide access to near-by commercial centers. The city has also asked the developers to meet with Telfair’s HOA prior to the public hearing on the final development plan.