More than a century later, Mayfield Farms to become residential development
Concerns of citizen safety due to a nearby gas well were refuted by the developer
With the first reading approval of the Arlington City Council and the consent of the family whose name has graced the city for more than a century, a tract of farm land is scheduled to be rezoned to pave the way for a new residential addition in southeast Arlington.
Mayfield Farms, located at 7301 Silo Road, asked the city to rezone their land to residential single-family, clearing the way for Skorburg Company of Dallas to develop the 62-acre property into a 214-house residential development.
The property was previously zoned Residential Estate when it was owned by the Mayfield family, for which Mayfield Road and several businesses around the city were named.
In a letter to the Planning and Zoning Commission dated Dec. 6, 2017, members of the Mayfield family gave their blessing to the Skorburg Company, which had purchased the property in 2016, to proceed with the rezoning process.
They did admit in the letter, however, that the decision to sell the land that had been in the family for more than 100 years was not an easy one to make.
“This farm has been our homestead where we live and have raised multiple generations, many of which still live here to this day,” the letter stated. “This property and the City of Arlington are home to us. So, understandably, it took a considerable amount of discussion and reflection as a family to finally agree to put our property under contract with the Skorburg Company to purchase.”
The family added in the letter that they had accompanied Skorburg to every public hearing with the Planning and Zoning Commission and had attempted to cooperate in every way possible with the commission’s requirements.
However, they grew concerned with the number of last-minute changes and additional requests that were added after the family and Skorburg had fulfilled all previous requests.
Mayfield Farms had been denied rezoning approval prior to the most recent request. But at its Dec. 6 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the zoning change with some stipulations. Among those was that the entire perimeter landscaping, screening wall, and a first-phase playground would have to be constructed before any residential building permits would be issued.
When presented to the City Council Tuesday night for the first time, the vote was 7-1 for approval, with District 1 Councilman Charlie Parker casting the lone dissenting vote. Parker said he has safety concerns about an existing gas well on the property.
Natural gas drilling companies are not allowed to drill a well within 600 feet of any homestead for safety reasons. Furthermore, developers are forbidden from building homes within 300 feet of existing wells without proper safety parameters.
“If a well company could not put in a well within 600 feet of a housing development, why on earth would we allow a developer to put in a residential addition that close to a well that is already there?” Parker said. “It makes absolutely no sense.
“If you’re a potential homeowner wanting to build, why would you build a home there in the first place inside the safety parameters?”
In the staff report presented to the City Council, the design of the development provides all residences to exceed the minimum 100-foot setback from the gas well head and tank battery as outlined by the city's Gas Drilling and Production Ordinance.
To accommodate the required screening wall and 30-foot wide landscape buffer brought up as a concern by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Oct. 18, the applicant included 30 feet which was previously outside of their site into the development boundary.
The newly added 30-foot buffer area, located behind the proposed residential lots, will be an open space lot to be maintained by the Homeowner’s Association.
John Arnold, development director for Skorburg Company, said the city spent nearly a year deliberating, consulting and working with professionals, gas well experts and attorneys to come up with the current ordinance.
“We have no doubt that the work of those professionals and experts adequately took into account the health, safety and welfare of its residents in creating the ordinance, and Mayfield Farms fully complies with the ordinance,” Arnold said.
“Councilman Parker’s comments are duly noted, but are more pertinent to requests for new drilling applications, which would remain totally within the control of the city, should a request to drill ever be submitted.”
Ron Fink, a member of the Mayfield family, expressed confidence in the work that Arnold and the Skorburg Company have done to adhere to the requirements set forth by the city and the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“As far as I’m concerned, with the guidelines in place, anyone wanting to move into the addition will know about the drilling site,” Fink said. “It’s not going to be a surprise to anyone. They will know it exists, so I’m not concerned with that at all.”
Fink said that he currently lives close to a well that is adjacent to Lake Arlington Baptist Church, but the proximity has not been an issue.
“As long as we’re obeying all the codes that we’ve been presented, I have to believe everything will be OK,” he said. “I can’t wait for the building to begin. I have no doubts that it will be safe.”
The only other opposition to the rezoning came from a letter submitted by Roger Boardman, a property owner in a neighboring development.
In his letter, Boardman expressed concern that Mayfield Farms was asking for preferential treatment in its request to zone plots of land as RS 7.2, when other property owners were not allowed the same zoning consideration and were expected to zone their property RS15.
The allegation of preferential treatment has been strongly denied by the Skorburg Company.
The second reading and final approval for the rezoning is scheduled for the next City Council meeting, Jan. 30.