Fort Worth’s zoning commission approved a development project that would add nearly 600 new apartments to an area that neighbors already consider heavily congested with traffic.
After a unanimous vote by the commission, the proposed project will move forward to the city council for final approval.
The project calls for developers to build two separate apartment buildings with a combined 595 units. The apartment buildings will be located at Montgomery Plaza on West 7th Street in Fort Worth.
“I don’t know how it could be any worse than it already is with all the construction and everything,” said Jane Routen, a retired teacher concerned about the extra traffic the two apartment buildings will add to the area.
Prior to approval by the commission, a study commissioned by property owner KIMCO Realty determined the project would reduce traffic by 38%. Originally, the commission’s vote was scheduled for September but was pushed back a month because of inconsistent traffic data.
The developer-provided traffic data was discovered to conflict with data from a study done by residents at One Montgomery Plaza, a 240-unit condominium on West 7th Street. Their study found the apartments would increase traffic by 83% during morning rush hour.
However, many citizens were not satisfied with the conclusion of what they called a “developer-paid-for study.” The Montgomery Plaza Residential Condo Association (MPRCA) has been critical of the proposed project and says it underestimates the amount of future traffic.
“You can see the numbers can be manipulated to show whatever you want to show,” MPRCA member Ray Ojeski told the planning and zoning commission.
In the end, both studies – developer and resident – showed negligible differences in the amount of traffic coming in and out of the Montgomery Plaza complex, said Tony Simerly, a traffic engineer for Fort Worth.
Other critics raised concerns about the area’s flash flooding problem, which is amplified by the lack of natural green grass near the site. Fort Worth’s department of development services found no fault in the study’s conclusion.
“Their study met our criteria,” said Ty Thompson, assistant director of development services, referring to the developer-provided study. “We felt comfortable with their analysis. And it showed a reduction in traffic.”