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Pilot Knob Hill, the highest point in the city, is part of Hunter Ranch. Developers of both Hunter and Cole Ranch, which is immediately to the north, are scheduled to go before the Denton City Council on Tuesday to ask for the city’s support in creating a special taxing district for the area. The master-planned communities would cover 6,000 acres on the city’s west side.

The Denton City Council’s second meeting this week begins with a beefy discussion about new subdivisions proposed for the southwest side.

The owners and developers of Cole Ranch and Hunter Ranch have proposed a special taxing district in order to recover some of the estimated $485 million in public infrastructure costs, such as roads and water and sewer lines, from the homes and businesses that will be built there.

The council has been split on support for the project’s financing so far. Tuesday’s meeting could determine whether enough support remains for the property tax arrangement that could turbocharge Denton’s growth.

The two massive projects cover about 6,000 acres along Interstate 35W between FM2449 and the Robson Ranch retirement community in far southwest Denton. Proposed as master-planned communities, Cole Ranch and Hunter Ranch could bring more than 15,000 new homes to Denton.

According to the latest tax rolls, Denton currently has about 30,000 single-family homes. The developers also plan new apartments, shops and businesses, including a corporate campus for the base of Pilot Knob Hill.

Hunter Ranch is a Hillwood Communities project. Cole Ranch is a Stratford Land project. The two developers told city officials they have decided to work together to save costs. They also got legislative approval to publicly finance those costs, pending the city’s final approval.

Property owners in the district could pay as much as an extra 55 cents per $100 valuation to the district — above and beyond city, school and county taxes — to repay the financing. For example, the owner of a $200,000 home in central Denton would pay about $4,400 in property taxes each year, but a Cole or Hunter Ranch homeowner would pay about $5,500 in property taxes each year.

If development goes as planned, Denton ISD could add six elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school to serve the area.

The council work session begins at noon. The agenda also includes continuing talks on the city’s gas well ordinance and proposed traffic safety initiatives.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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