The highly controversial rezoning request from the Koury Corporation for 23.3 acres on Cone Boulevard and Cleburne Street will be the topic of a virtual town hall meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling, who represents the area, is hosting the meeting to give opponents an opportunity to express their views. People who want to participate in the meeting may email to request a link.

The request to rezone 23.3 acres from Residential Single-Family-3 (R-3 and Residential Single-Family-5 (R-5) to Conditional District Residential Multi-Family-26 (CD-RM- 26) has sparked opposition in the surrounding area. Both Browntown and Kirkwood, two old established neighborhoods, are adjacent to the land and Irving Park is only a few blocks away.

At the virtual Zoning Commission meeting on Oct. 19, Mike Fox of Tuggle Duggins, representing Koury, presented a long list of conditions, including increasing buffers, setting aside about six acres to be left undisturbed, and restricting the height of the buildings based on the distance from existing single-family homes. According to Fox, the only area where these conditions would allow five story buildings to be built is five or six acres close to Cone. The conditions also require that the development will only have access to Cone except for a mandated emergency entrance on Cleburne, with access restricted to emergency vehicles.

The Zoning Commission approved the heavily conditioned rezoning request by a 6-3 vote and it was appealed to the City Council.

The City Council has repeatedly expressed support for the idea of higher density residential infill development.

Fox said that although the request is for CD-RM-26 zoning with a maximum of 480 residential units, that with the increased buffers and height restrictions, the actual number of apartments that could be built would be lower.

The main objections expressed by the opposition at the Zoning Commission meeting were the incompatibility of placing a multi-family development in a single-family neighborhood, the density, the height of the buildings and the increased traffic.

Outling said that he is holding the town hall to have a community discussion of the proposed development before it comes to the City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

The virtual City Council meetings definitely place opponents of rezoning requests at a disadvantage. A total of 20 minutes is allowed for opponents to speak, which limits the number of individual speakers, but at an in person meeting those opposed can fill the council chamber and express their opposition by being there, a tactic that is often successful.