Lyle Nelson took office as mayor of Bastrop in June earlier this year. Since that time, the city has overseen a number of large development projects coming to Bastrop. Community Impact sat down with Nelson to discuss how the city is handling these projects for its residents new and old. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

It sounds like a lot of people are either concerned or excited about development. How is the city adapting to this growth?

We want to be able to manage the growth. The growth is coming; the growth is here. We want to be able to make sure that it's positive for the entire community, or make sure that what development comes in it doesn’t overburden our existing citizens. There are impact fees that go along with that, and a lot of people are resistant to the impact fees, and there has to be an explanation, some negotiation involved there and see what the overall benefit is. But we believe it can be a win-win situation for both the development community as well as our existing community.

I've heard a lot about the Planned Development Districts. Can you tell me a little bit more about how that process works?

From my understanding, it places development into a box to say that we are dealing with this box right here to figure out what might be the best for the developer to bring his creativity, he or she’s resources into play on that—to have a discussion on how best to develop that property and how it ties in to interfaces with the existing community. So rather than putting everything into a large box, character districts and all this kind of planning language, this is actually implementing something that has long-term payouts and benefits, as well as we were able to look at whatever detriments might come along with that development and mitigate those. So it's taking everything down from a big picture down to a microcosm specific just to that development.

I've also heard a lot about the B3 code. It sounds like we’re coming up on a rewrite for that?

A rewrite is probably a good way to describe it. The B3 codes were adopted with all good intentions. Unfortunately, we did not look into some of the long-term repercussions that relative to density, relative to traffic, relative to a variety of things, but all city councils and all cities have the ability—the opportunity to learn, and so we're learning from our mistakes, and we're trying to remedy those mistakes. Thankfully, we have a city manager that's well-versed on the development, and we're fast-fixing those things when they come up to rectify, remedy and mitigate whatever harm can be done to our community or to development—what the developer is trying to do.

A Development Code Rodeo will be held at the Bastrop Hampton Inn on Nov. 14-15 to discuss code and zoning issues. For people who are moving to Bastrop, what kind of advice do you have for them as the city grows?

The charm of our community is its people. We can say it's the old town, we can say it's the river, but it's the people. That's what it boils down to, and I think that the influx of people in the past several years is indicative of how the next wave of new citizens are going to be welcomed. One of our main issues is housing, but that's regionwide, statewide and in some cases nationwide. And so we have a lot of projects coming on board that are bringing more housing into our community. Bastrop is going to grow, there's no doubt about it.