As Cedar Park's population nears build-out—or the number of people expected to fill all of the housing approved for future development—city leaders are considering new housing regulations with a focus on diversifying options throughout the city.

The approach

During a June 13 City Council meeting, city staff proposed several changes to the future land use chapter of the city’s comprehensive plan.

Director of Development Services Amy Link said the changes include:
  • Increasing the allowable development density in low-density residential areas from a maximum of four dwelling units per acre to five dwelling units per acre
  • Increasing the allowable development density in medium-density residential areas from a maximum of eight dwelling units per acre to 10 dwelling units per acre
  • Revising the type of housing proposed in Action Item 2 outlined in the city’s comprehensive plan, which mentions redevelopment of infill lots
  • Updating population build-out capacity
  • Focusing on future mixed-use apartment development within planning areas
  • Establishing a 50-acre minimum for new proposed planning areas
Link said staff also proposed the following changes to subdivision regulations outlined in the city’s zoning ordinance:
  • Removing the estate residential zoning district
  • Reducing the lot, setbacks and other standards of the suburban residential and semi-urban residential zoning districts
  • Reducing the interior side and living area standards of the urban residential zoning district
  • Increasing the maximum density allowed in the semi-urban and urban residential zoning districts
Those opposed

The proposed changes led to pushback from not only Cedar Park homeowners but also the city’s planning and zoning commission.

The commission voted against the proposed changes during its May 21 meeting, citing concerns about how the proposed amendments would apply to infill lots; their impacts to traffic and other resources, such as water and fire; and that “they would not reduce housing prices or promote housing diversity,” according to a meeting document.

Several residents from the Cedar Park Ranchettes, a more established subdivision in the city with larger lots, felt targeted by the proposed changes and spoke out against them in multiple emails, and at both the June 13 and June 27 City Council meetings.

“We want [this area] to stay half-acre lots. We have a little slice of country life in the middle of this wild, vastly growing city. We do not want it in this neighborhood,” Raylene Torres said in an email to the city. “Cedar Park is becoming too crowded. Please do not add to this. Do not override the planning and zoning department’s vote.”

Council came to the conclusion that one of the main factors causing problems within the community is a newly added paragraph outlined in the city’s comprehensive plan under Action Item 2. The paragraph reads:
  • “With limited residentially designated acreage remaining, the city should promote housing diversity through use of variable densities, lot sizes and living areas. In addition to development of remaining vacant residential land, infill redevelopment of larger, existing residential lots will promote development of varying housing options.”
The action taken

During its June 27 meeting, council approved the proposed amendments to the future land use chapter in the comprehensive plan, excluding the changes that would have increased density in low- and medium-density residential areas. Link said because council did not approve those two changes, city staff will have to update the proposed build-out capacity, which was also excluded from the approval.

Additionally, the approved amendments exclude the paragraph outlined above from Action Item 2.

As for the zoning amendments, council voted to table all of them related to housing standards.

Council agreed to take a closer look at all of the other recommended changes that were not approved at a future meeting.