Survey says Leander residents’ top concerns are finances, taxes, growth in 2020 comprehensive plan

May 7 Leander City Council Meeting
Halff Associates, the consulting firm that Leander hired to develop the plan, presented its summary of citizen input to Leander City Council on May 7. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Halff Associates, the consulting firm that Leander hired to develop the plan, presented its summary of citizen input to Leander City Council on May 7. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)

In the city’s 2020 comprehensive plan, Leander residents' key concerns include the city’s finances and taxes, unmanaged growth, traffic congestion, city programs, and open spaces and trails.

Halff Associates, the consulting firm that Leander hired to develop the plan, presented its summary of citizen input to Leander City Council on May 7. The presentation was during a joint workshop among City Council, the Leander Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Leander Comprehensive Plan Advisory Commission.

Matt Bucchin, the firm’s director of planning, said the firm is about one-third of the way through the public engagement process.

“The whole first part of the process is about really listening to your community,” Bucchin said. “It truly does allow us to capture what we’ve heard and start to pull that into the plan vision and the themes and goals.”

Leander residents' top concern is financial burden and taxes, which is followed by concerns over unmanaged growth, traffic, loss of open spaces and natural resources, increased housing costs, changing community identity and other concerns.


Leander residents shared opinions on the city plan at a Feb. 19 open house and in an online survey that lasted Feb. 1 through March 10. The open house gathered about 119 attendees, and the survey received 1,363 responses, according to Halff Associates. Meetings with community stakeholders and the advisory committee also gathered feedback for the comprehensive plan.

These are some key findings from the survey and open house, according to the responses collected by Halff Associates:

  • Residents’ vision for Leander, in order of importance, included a strong economy, parks and trails, traffic congestion, old town as a destination, jobs, community character, housing affordability, community gardening spaces and public safety.

  • Open house attendees highly supported nightlife and weekend activities in the community development section.

  • Open house attendees highly supported a focus on restaurants and retail to promote the community.

  • Survey respondents were most satisfied with city services including police, fire and emergency medical services.

  • Survey respondents were most dissatisfied with senior services and programs, city trails, and recreation services and programs.

  • Survey respondents’ top transportation issue was traffic congestion; 30.2% of respondents said better signal timing would be a congestion relief solution, and 23.5% suggested additional turn lanes as a solution.

  • A majority of respondents wanted single-family detached housing development. This housing type includes estate lots, cottage garden homes, townhomes and traditional lots.

  • At the open house, safety for pedestrians was a top priority; 56% of respondents wanted improved sidewalk conditions and adequate sidewalks in high-pedestrian areas.


Jordan Maddox, the planning team leader, said the citizen input came from a broad range of community areas and across different age demographics.

Council Member Jason Shaw and one meeting attendee called for a broader reach to gather more citizen input. An estimated 1,500 responses were gathered from the survey, open house and meetings with stakeholders and advisory committee.

Mayor Troy Hill said the city should redouble its efforts to get people to attend the next open house. The most recent comprehensive plan gathered about 40 people—a record at the time, Hill said.

"I went home and said 'Oh my gosh, 40 people are going to decide the future direction for our city,'" Hill said. "I think it's always been a challenge."

A second open house is scheduled for August or September, Maddox said, but no official date has been set.
By Taylor Girtman
After interning with Community Impact Newspaper in 2019, Taylor Girtman became a reporter for the Cedar Park and Leander edition in February 2020.


MOST RECENT

bagdad road leander
New Leander transportation plan outlines $320 million in road projects over 10 years

The plan lays out a few projects for the city to consider each year.

Road closure stock image
TxDOT to demolish I-35 ramp in North Austin early Saturday morning

State crews will perform controlled implosions of the northbound I-35 to northbound US 183 flyover between 6-8 a.m. in the morning on May 8 and May 15.

Leander ISD admin building
Leander ISD board approves 2% raise for district staff in 2021-22 school year

If financial parameters are met, the increase could be raised to 3% or additional one-time stipends could be approved in the future.

ashely homestore
Ashley HomeStore opens in Cedar Park plus 3 more new local businesses

The mattress and furniture store is located on East Whitestone Boulevard.

city hall
Leander requests facilities plan for growing city staff, building needs

City hall, the police department building, the parks and recreation building and the public works facility are either at capacity or undersized for staff volumes, according to the city.

Here are the most recent coronavirus updates from Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Here is what you need to know about COVID-19 in Williamson County

Here are the most recent coronavirus updates from Williamson County.

Residential appraisal valuations have been sent to Travis County property owners. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis Central Appraisal Districts says hot housing market is reflected in 2021 appraisals

Property owners have until May 17 to file a protest of their home's appraisal.

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, child abuse advocates feared they would see a drop in reported cases of suspected abuse and/or neglect. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
As pandemic restrictions ease, reports of child abuse increase

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, child abuse advocates feared they would see a drop in reported cases of suspected abuse and/or neglect.

The Central Texas housing market has seen a record-breaking year despite the coronavirus pandemic. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
Leander-Cedar Park housing market sees record-low inventory, spiked prices

The Central Texas housing market has seen a record-breaking year despite the coronavirus pandemic. Most notably is the lack of inventory, which has in turn inflated prices as homes sell faster than ever.

See Leander-Cedar Park tutoring options. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
18 Leander-Cedar Park tutors to help prevent the 'summer slide'

After an unusual year and with summer approaching, these tutoring businesses can help students stay on top of their learning.

A number of legislative bills are underway in the Texas House and Senate in response to the February winter storm that swept the state. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
State leaders push for post-storm reform bills

A number of legislative bills are underway in the Texas House and Senate in response to the February winter storm that swept the state.