Midlothian Council Approves a Planned Development to Include a Tom Thumb Grocery

four men holding a certificate
Representatives from the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office presented a Certificate of Recognition to Midlothian Fire Chief Dale McCaskill and Assistant Chief Phillip Brancato for receiving an Insurance Services Office rating of 1 for Fire Preparedness.

Midlothian Mayor Justin Coffman and Place 1 Allen Moorman were absent from this week’s council meeting, leaving Mayor Pro Tem Clark Wickliffe to conduct the meeting.

The City of Midlothian received certificates of achievement and recognition from the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Insurance Services Office for achieving a 1 classification for fire preparedness from the Public Protection Classification program. This is the highest rating given by the PPC, which measures a community’s fire suppression and control resources. Midlothian is the only city in Ellis County to receive this rating, is one of 100 in the state, and one of 500 in the nation. Most US insurers use the information to make decisions about prices charged for personal and commercial property insurance.

The council approved an ordinance concerning a 20-plus acre parcel of land situated on the northeast corner of South Walnut Grove Road and FM 1387, albeit with several stipulations. Before its approval, council members had a failed motion and extensive deliberation regarding the applicant’s request for additional uses, such as a grocery store, a convenience store with fuel pumps, a mini-warehouse, restaurants over 1,000 square feet, and other services with drive-thru facilities. The applicant also sought changes in sign elevations, outdoor displays, and landscape plans.

Although the council ultimately passed the ordinance 5-0, Councilmember Ed Gardner initially proposed to table the item until all decisions had been incorporated into the ordinance for a clear vote. However, this motion did not receive a second and thus failed.

The council’s stipulations for changes included the landscaping, parking permitted in front of the development, driveway space along Walnut Grove, turn lanes as discussed, and the two 15-foot signs. These were approved, as were several Special Use Permits.

Planning and Zoning had recommended not to approve due to one issue relating to the applicant’s asking for two 15-foot signs—P & Z had recommended only one sign five feet taller than the normal ordinance.

There were 64 property owners in the vicinity of the development who were notified for comment. Of that 64, there were 15 who responded in favor, and 26 opposed. The opposition voiced concerns ranging from traffic impact to wildlife concerns, noise, and safety for children in nearby schools. At the council meeting, four spoke in favor and one against. There was one non-speaker against it and 29 for passing the ordinance. It was not noted if those who voiced their preference for the council were actually homeowners who will be affected by the new development.

Conceptual rendering Tom Thumb grocery store

The council spent time discussing parking, the placement of the front of the development’s retail shops, turning lanes in consideration of traffic, and the trees being planted, including their height at maturity.

Councilman Gardner asked about the grocery store delivery trucks’ schedule. A Tom Thumb representative said there would be one larger truck every other day and a daily small truck delivery but no refrigerator trucks.

Two additional public hearings were on the agenda, with one passing and one moved to the March 26 city council meeting.

The hearing that did pass was an ordinance for a Specific Use Permit (SUP) to authorize an exception to Planned Development allowing for a building wall sign on the front façade of the Midlothian Business Park at 3201 Challenger Drive.

A zoning change ordinance will be heard on March 26 for a zoning change on 19-plus acres from Planned Development District for mixed-use retail and commercial uses to Planned Development District for Commercial use on the north side of U.S. Highway 67, roughly 370 feet north of Church Street.

The consent agenda items which passed 5 – 0 included the minutes from the City Council meeting of February 27, 2024, an amendment to an agreement for professional services with Whitman Land Group, an LLC for additional easement acquisitions and related services associated with the Mockingbird Lane roadway capital improvement project for $8,920, an Interlocal Cooperative Purchasing Agreement with the Town of Westlake, approving the authorizing of the City Manager to execute an Interlocal Cooperation Contract (ICC) for the Failure to Appear (FTA) Program with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), another to authorize the City Manager to enter into a Joint General and Special Elections Contract for Election Services with the Ellis County Elections Administrator, and a resolution authorizing the Midlothian Classic Car Show a Special Event Permit for an event in May.

Council also passed regular agenda items authorizing the Midlothian Community Development Corporation (MCDC) to enter into an agreement with GrantMatch, Inc. for grant identification, strategy, writing, and reporting services, as well as another two items authorizing the City Manager to implement a revised lateral entry policy for the Firefighter and Police Officer positions as well as adjusting the pay of current Police Officer and Firefighter employees in alignment with the revised lateral entry policy for these positions.
An item to review, discuss, and provide direction to staff on a request from the City of Grand Prairie regarding Midlothian providing water service to properties currently located within Grand Prairie’s extra-territorial jurisdiction but within Midlothian’s existing dually certificated water service area was tabled until the council meeting later in the month.

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