On Tuesday night the Forney City Council voted 5-1 in favor of an ordinance that allows Petro-Hunt land developers to build thousands of apartments as part of the Gateway project.
Council Member’s Cory McGee, Shaun Myers, Robbie Powers, Kevin Moon, Mary Penn and David Johnson supported the rezoning of the property without regard to the magnitude of citizens who have publicly expressed their concern for the impact the development will have on the Forney ISD.
Mayor Rick Wilson is the only council member opposed to the building of apartments in lieu of the commercial retail that is promised within the Meadow Ridge development agreement entered into with Petro-Hunt.
Mayor Wilson requested to speak to the developer and very reluctantly Hunt representative John Blackburn stepped forward.
John Blackburn stated “We’re working on retail but I just can’t emphasis enough that in our minds we stand no chance of doing an 80 acre big box build in the City of Forney, period. We’d love to and if you guys can convince any of them to come to Forney, we’d be happy to meet with them.”
Responding Mayor Rick Wilson said “Well that’s our concern because we’re trying to plan out for the growth of the community, and the community wants retail. We can see that retail is thriving around the Metroplex and we don’t want to miss our opportunity.”
A very intense conversation transpired between Mayor Wilson and Hunt representative John Blackburn in which Blackburn seemed to be under the delusion that just because his employer has been unable to obtain any commercial retail interest in his property, that the taxpayers of Forney should simply roll over and allow thousands of apartments to be built instead.
Clearly angry that the Gateway apartment plans were again being questioned by Mayor Wilson, Blackburn said “I’m saying to you there is not going to be any big box retail.”
*Correction - the council vote to approve the referenced ordinance was 5-1. Council Member Robbie Powers was absent from this meeting and therefore did not vote.
Written by: Denise Bell