Members of the Atascocita Residents Care Committee, better known as ARCC, were left with more questions than answers after their last meeting when they discussed the new development on FM 1960. The group has been closely following the second phase of the Trammell Crow project going in between Oak Forest Elementary and Palais Royal. Trees were recently cleared from the site, believed to be the future home of Target and several other retail stores. “I feel they cut everything down so the issue would be dead,” said Vicky Eynon, ARCC president. “I agree,” said Lee Merrick. “I think they said, 'Clear cut and do it as fast as possible.'” Eynon said that she and several other ARCC members had recently held a conference call with Ralph Tullier, of Trammell Crow, and that an on-site meeting was planned for this week. The group is concerned about the landscaping plans, particularly, the size of parking lot islands and the type and number of trees to be planted in those areas. Members Rex and Lee Merrick live in Parkside at Kingwood Glen, located off of Kings Parkway. The subdivision, consisting mostly of retired couples and small families, backs up to the development. The Merricks have been in contact with Trammell Crow to try and learn more about the effects of lighting, trucks and noise on their neighborhood. Rex Merrick said that he had been told that lighting would be minimal, but the loss of trees was still a big concern. Members discussed their dissatisfaction with the “flimsy orange fences” being used to protect the trees at the perimeter of the development. Rex Merrick said that the fence was 42 feet from the side of his driveway. The couple is worried that the small number of trees remaining will not provide much of a barrier between their neighborhood and the large retail site. They are also concerned that trucks that enter the docks could enter on the driveway nearer the west end of the development, nearer their neighborhood, causing added noise and light during the evening and early-morning hours. Trammell Crow will be erecting a fence to function as an added barrier between their site and the neighborhood. The Merricks said that they were told the fence would be up in four to six weeks. Tullier, upon contact the day after the April 24 meeting, said that they “tried to put all truck aprons at the eastern side of the parking lot.” He added that it would be “hard to control all trucks coming in on one side of a development this size.” When asked if he could confirm that Target was to come, Tullier said that he could not confirm it, but that they would have a press release with more information at the beginning of May. Raymond Anderson, permit manager for Harris County Public Infrastructure, confirmed that Harris County had received fire code permit information for a Target store on FM 1960 and West Lake Houston Parkway. When asked when the development was expected to be completed Tullier said, “I would say that that's generally going to be in the late spring or early summer of 08.” Members also discussed the future site of the Wells Fargo Bank going up in front of H-E-B on FM 1960. Eynon reported that after an initial delay, the construction appears to be back on schedule and that the construction supervisor provided promising information about landscaping, which is expected to include 12 live oak trees. The group also discussed the new strip center going up on Atascocita Road behind Wal-Mart and between the car wash and the storage center. Eynon said that she had been told that tree planting would be done after the businesses had moved in, which Eynon said she felt was discouraging. Rex Merrick mentioned that he had heard from someone, but he could not remember whom, that the future expansion of FM 1960 might now include a barrier between the east and westbound lanes, instead of the raised median with green space in the center. Upon contact the next day, Patrick Henry of TxDOT said that the plans had not changed. TxDOT's Doug Stephens, area engineer, confirmed that he had heard of no changes, adding that such a change would first have to be addressed in a public meeting. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Photo: Vicki Eynon

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