Keller school district to consider land grab to kill motel project near elementary school

The Keller school school board on Thursday will consider a proposal to use eminent domain to kill a motel project opposed by parents.

The district has been in negotiations with developer Dev Surati to buy the 2.2 acre parcel at 3044 Clay Mountain Trail where Surati planned to build a Studio 6 extended stay motel across from Basswood Elementary School.

The property, which would cater to business travelers working in nearby Alliance, would be four stories, have 99 rooms and be on the eastern boundary of the property line closest to Basswood Elementary.

This proximity worried parents who raised concerns at a February town hall meeting about the motel being a magnet for human trafficking, drug dealing and prostitution.

A parent led-petition on has gathered 1,533 signatures opposing the project.

The district is considering using eminent domain if it can’t reach a deal with the developer, a school district spokesperson said in an email to the Star-Telegram.

“Keller ISD is committed to fighting for the safety of its students and staff, but we are optimistic that we will be able to come to an agreement soon,” the spokesperson said.

Surati declined to comment while the negotiations are ongoing.

The district also justified the use of eminent domain by citing the potential for residential development on a plot of land northeast of the intersection of Interstate 35W and Basswood Boulevard.

The city of Fort Worth rezoned the 297.2 acre site in August 2022 to allow for residential development after previous plans to build a 10,000 seat soccer stadium and youth sports complex fell through.

There have been no firm development plans since.

Any potential development on that parcel will increase the enrollment of Basswood Elementary and require expansion, according to a school board meeting agenda item giving background on the decision to use eminent domain.

The city of Fort Worth is standing by to help the Keller school district in any way when it comes to redeveloping the land next to Basswood Elementary, said city council member Charles Lauersdorf.

“We want to find a solution that’s good for parents, students and residents,” Lauersdorf said.

The board will vote on whether to buy the land and whether to use eminent domain at its 5 p.m. meeting on April 25.