Upper Valley smart-planned community proposal clears hurdle with plan commission

Local

Courtesy of the city of El Paso

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The city of El Paso’s Plan Commission unanimously approved a zoning change for a parcel with 120 acres of undeveloped farmland in the Upper Valley.

The plan commission approved changing a sliver of the land from ranch/farm to general mixed-use, which means a developer would then be free to build at the intersection of Artcraft Road and Westside Drive.

Jose A. Gonzalez, who has had several proposals for developments in El Paso over the last five years, is behind the push to construct space for 437 residential lots. The land has changed hands twice over the last three years after local developers had unveiled plans to build an “agricultural mixed-use community.”

The plan commission received five letters opposing the zoning change for the development proposal from residents living in the area. Some mentioned they were concerned about the traffic issues that another development may pose for that intersection.

Plan commission members recognized the residents’ concerns about traffic and the development of farmland but ultimately decided to approve the zoning change. Former mayoral candidate Carlos Gallinar added that much of the farmland was already being developed and that it would eventually be developed.

He said the proposal would provide market-rate living areas with amenities for residents.

While there has been much pushback to the development of farmland, city records show more than 75 percent of the 2,100 acres of farmland in the Northwest Upper Valley Development Plan have already been developed.

Gonzalez’s plan will have to meet certain guidelines passed down by the El Paso City Council in 2017, where at least 30 percent of the development will require open space. His proposal shows park/pond areas will be built on 13.54 acres and open space areas will total 13.4 acres.

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