Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct number for the full mitigation amount of $975,000.

The 65-acre Pearl River development has been cleared for commercial use at Hwy. 71 and FM 969. The project will involve the construction of a rental community with over 650 units by Blakely Owner Apartments as well as office and retail space.

City Manager Sylvia Carrillo said the Pearl River project is the first under the Bastrop Building Block Code associated with tree mitigation. The city of Bastrop issued Blakey a land disturbance permit in May, allowing “certain grading and clearing work” on the property.

“While Pearl River turned in a tree mitigation sheet, our site development process issued a site, what we call a land disturbance permit,” Carrillo said. “However, in the preconstruction meeting, it was understood by all that this was going to be a clearing of the property as needed for the development itself. As a result, there are tree mitigation dollars that are owed.”

The details

The developer agreed to obligations outlined in the Agreement for Tree Mitigation.

“We worked out an agreement with Pearl River allowing them to put up a bond considering the trees a public improvement,” Carrillo said.

According to the Aug. 22 meeting’s staff report, this payment may be made to the bond, through the planting of 1,232 trees around the city or the payment of $975,000 to Bastrop’s Tree Mitigation Bond for the city to do so.

“Essentially, they put up the money for the trees and a bond; they have to do it within two years,” Carrillo said. “After that point, the city will begin to plant trees and other areas of the city to replace ... the trees that were taken down at Pearl River.”

Six heritage trees were knocked down in the clearing of the Pearl River project. Originally estimated at around $1 million, mitigation costs were valued at $235,800 for the development's 14 acre lot and $739,200 for the 50 acre lot in the city’s agreement for tree mitigation in July after further review.

“[If there was a default on the agreement,] we would act on the bond and get the security to either plant the trees themselves or provide us the cast to do it,” City Attorney Alan Bojorquez said.