Lot resizing concerns some Colonial Park residents

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer

A local land developer has submitted a proposal to the city that would replat several lots in the Colonial Estates area and Colonial Park unit 33. The move has some residents in the area worried.

Colonial Estates residents say smaller lots will lead to smaller homes in the area and reduce the value of their homes.

Developers deny homes in Colonial Estates will decrease in size, but admit smaller homes will be built in the new Colonial Park development, a few hundred yards from the Estates.

“It was general understanding that all the lot sizes would remain large,” said Amy Wilson, who has lived in the Colonial Estates area for three years. “And those (lots) over there are a lot larger than the ones over here (in my area), so I can understand cutting them up to some degree, but not to the degree that (has been proposed).”

Wilson also worries that a road may be cut through the new plots, leading to more traffic on her block.

“It’s just a concern,” Wilson said. “There’s been talk of them cutting through a road straight to Prince (Street) and I don’t know if I want that kind of traffic going through here.”

The plan would replat five large lots into 18 lots, said Louis Gordon, planning and zoning administrator for the city. It would also add a new stretch of Lew Wallace Drive that would cut through to North Prince Street. Along that stretch would be 21 smaller lots for spec housing (houses built before they are purchased), said Trey Sprinkle, partner in Corner Stone Builders, the company taking over the development of the Colonial Estates area.

The replotting plan was set to go before the city commission in August but was tabled because commissioners wanted more information on land drainage issues.

“The request came before the planning and zoning commission. Their recommendation was to approve the replat,” Gordon said. “Before it was able to come before the city commission, it was pulled because of the storm water management.”

Clovis car dealer Gary Hamilton said he purchased his lot from Colonial Estates developer Bill Giese under the auspices that all the lots in the area would remain the same size and no land covenants would be changed.

“When you think you’ve bought ‘A,’ and they deliver you ‘B,’ in my business, the attorney general would do me in for stuff like that,” Hamilton said. “I have a problem when the merchandise changes and the price stays the same.”

Hamilton said he may have built his house elsewhere if he had known the land would be replatted.

“Mr. Giese led me to believe that was the way the plat would be, and that’s why I bought my plot there,” Hamilton said. “He didn’t say that he might change the plat if they didn’t sell them by a certain time. For some reason I don’t think that is fair.”

Giese said no changes are being made in the covenants in the area, and residents of the area are blowing the replat far out of proportion. He also said it should have been clear to anyone purchasing lots in the area that those five lots were much too large to sell and would have to be reduced at some point.

“Even the plots that have been reduced are equivalent to those in Colonial Estates area already,” Giese said. “Those people are psyching themselves out because nothing is really being changed.”

Responding to the charge that extending Lew Wallace Drive will increase traffic in the area, Giese said the road will actually benefit the area by increasing accessibility to North Prince Street, and give fire and police personnel better access to the area.

“It’s not a through-way street,” Giese said. “I don’t think it will have any effect on the traffic.”

If the deal goes through, on Jan. 1 the deed to the land will be in Sprinkle’s hands, at which point he could begin building houses. Before that happens, though, he has to resolve a storm-water drainage issue that stopped his plan from getting to the city commission.

Giese said he had a formal agreement with the former owner of the Chaparral Country Club to allow drainage from that part of the subdivision into a pond on the golf course.
The golf course’s current owner, Norman Kelley, said that plan doesn’t make sense. Kelley said much work is needed to give the pond enough capacity to hold the drain-off.

“That is not a solution to the drainage of that subdivision,” Kelley said. “You’d have to leave the pond empty to do any good in a storm.”

So far, neither Kelley nor City Commissioner Randy Crowder, who wanted to table the replat in August, has heard from Sprinkle. Sprinkle will have to resolve the drainage issue before the item goes before the city commission again, Crowder said.

Sprinkle said there are no plans to build sub-standard housing in the area, and residents in the area need not be worried about the replat. In the Colonial Estates replat, his company would not build any houses under 2,500 square feet, and would probably not sell any houses below $250,000.

“There really is no need to be concerned,” Sprinkle said. “The people around there are not going to lose the value of their homes because of the homes we build. We’re out to build quality homes. The style is very modern, and I think Clovis will love the houses.”