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Done deal: City OKs pact for large development

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, November 3, 2018
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Moments after Boyd City Council gave its consent Monday for Mayor Rodney Holmes to sign the development agreement for Spring Hill South, its developer Bob Shelton made a few remarks followed by a simple request.

“Tell me where to sign Greg!” Shelton said to City Administrator Greg Arrington.

Shelton first approached Boyd in January about the proposed development on 153 acres on Cemetery Road. Nine months later, he and the city have signed an agreement.

Arrington told the council the city’s team of advisers – attorneys, bond counsel, public improvement district (PID) consultant, engineer and financial adviser – all gave their approval.

“We worked on this a little longer than Mr. Shelton would have liked,” Arrington said. “But I do appreciate Mr. Shelton through this process and his staff’s understanding that this has been a learning experience for us. It’s hard to know how to do this when it’s never happened before in the history of our city. We’ve never had a developer come into our city and want to build 600 homes and invest into our town.

“We assembled a team based on [council’s direction] … Our team has all given a green light to this and said this is more than acceptable to the city, and it’ll be extremely beneficial to both parties.”

Shelton said after the meeting he will close on the property next week and then file for annexation into the city along with paperwork for the city to create the PID and tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ).

The PID would apply fixed assessments on properties in the development to pay back the bonds for infrastructure – water, sewer, drainage and roads. The TIRZ would allow a portion of the taxes assessed in the area to be used to pay down the PID.

The city agreed to a 50-50 split on the TIRZ up to a valuation of $210,000. That means half of the city’s tax rate levy on properties in the development would go toward paying off the bonds. Tax revenue on properties with a value above $210,000 garnered by the city would have to be spent on projects within the development and could be used to pay down bonds. There will be a 75-cent levy to pay the PID assessment to cover the bond payments for the initial infrastructure.

Based on current Wise County, Boyd ISD, Boyd, Wise County Emergency Service District No. 1, Weatherford College Wise County and WCID No. 1 tax rates, the residents in the development will be paying a total tax rate of $2.74 per $100 of valuation with the PID assessment. On a $210,000 home, the taxes would be $5,754.

The development is projected to have between 595 and 650 homes.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to be working with a council of your nature,” Shelton said. “We understand all the work you’ve done in putting this together. It definitely has been a joint effort, and I’m glad you’ve brought in the professionals that you did.

“We appreciate all that you’ve done, and we look forward to having a good project in a good town.”

Shelton’s engineer Thomas Fletcher of Kimley-Horn said surveying and the work on the preliminary plat for the development will begin soon with the latter likely completed in February. He expects groundbreaking on infrastructure in the summer of 2019 with construction on the first phase of homes in last quarter of 2020.

“Generally, on a development, that’s probably 170 lots in the first phase; it’s probably going to be a 14- to 16-month duration. If we’re breaking ground in the summer of ’19, we’re hoping to build homes toward the end of 2020,” Fletcher said.

With approximately 600 homes, the development has the potential to essentially double the population of Boyd’s current population of 1,411, based on the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau estimate.

Mayor Pro Tem Mark Culpepper said the development is “history changing for the community,” along with three other recent events – approval of alcohol sales, the creation of the municipal development district and receiving the water grant to replace and build new infrastructure in the city.

Holmes agreed that it is was a historic night for Boyd and thanked Shelton for his patience in the process.

“This is a learning curve for us,” Holmes said. “There’s certain decisions a council can make, and there’s certain decisions a council needs guidance on. This was definitely one that we needed guidance on.

“This is an agreement that is beneficial to the developer and the citizens of Boyd. That was our job to make sure it was going to be beneficial to the citizens of Boyd.”

Holmes added this will likely be the first of multiple developments in the city with so many jobs in the region.

“We knew South Wise was going to be explode,” Holmes said. “We knew when they fixed the 114 corridor near the Northwest [ISD] Stadium that would open the floodgates.”

He also said the growth would help pay for the water improvements in Old Boyd and reiterated that the council is committed to living up to the city’s motto of keeping its small-town roots.

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