Lakeway discusses land-use map at joint council/zoning and planning meeting

Claire Hempel, a representative of Design Workshop, presented officials with an initial draft of the future land-use map, which contained different colors representing various designations within the city. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Claire Hempel, a representative of Design Workshop, presented officials with an initial draft of the future land-use map, which contained different colors representing various designations within the city. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Claire Hempel, a representative of Design Workshop, presented officials with an initial draft of the future land-use map, which contained different colors representing various designations within the city. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Lakeway's City Council and zoning and planning commission got an initial glimpse at its future land-use map during a Nov. 12 special meeting. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Officials in Lakeway came away from a first glimpse at the city's future land-use map knowing they want more specificity when they see a subsequent draft, possibly next month.

Mayor Sandy Cox and other members of City Council and staff emphasized the preliminary nature of the Nov. 12 joint special meeting between the zoning and planning commission and council, but there were many key takeaways from the discussion.

The meeting featured presentations and analysis from firms with which Lakeway has contracted to work with the city's comprehensive plan steering committee on locking down a workable future land-use map, or FLUM.

During the meeting, representing planning and development company Pegasus, Sean Garretson introduced three options for Lakeway's FLUM, but focused only on one.

Option 2 creates some moderate-density housing, with the bulk of the residential buildings, 89%, given to low-density residential housing. The remaining 11% would be split between medium-density and mixed-use residential.


Within Option 2, according to Garretson's presentation, were options 2A and 2B. Option 2A assumes a lower housing density and imposes a two-story limit on development of land designated mixed use along RM 620, Lakeway's busiest thoroughfare. Option 2B assumes moderate density and imposes a four-story limit on the same mixed-use development along RM 620.

No decisions were made regarding either option, but Garretson did give Lakeway officials and staff plenty to mull. Option 2A, for example, opens the door for a sales tax revenue boost of up to $7.5 million total per year sometime in the next 20 years, up from almost $4 million today. Property tax revenue could go up to more than $7.5 million total, up from a little over $5 million today.

Option 2B could bring those revenues even higher, to almost $9 million in property tax revenue and $10 million in sales tax revenue per year.

Option 2A could bring employment up from a little over 5,000 jobs today to more than 7,000, and 2B could raise jobs to about 8,000, but Garretson said his data did not break down what type of jobs the scenarios would attract.

"I think you guys can really help encourage one type of growth or another," Garretson said. "There are all types of things you can do in your land-development code."

Another major difference between 2A and 2B involves population growth. Lakeway today is at a population of 15,184. Population growth with 2A brings the city population to 23,629, and 2B nearly doubles it at 28,591 over the next 20 years, according to Garretson's numbers.

Zoning and Planning Commissioner Carolyn Nichols hammered home a point that would be revisited several times by multiple parties within the discussion over the course of the meeting.

"If you put mixed-use [development] along RM 620, the council has to maintain the political will to explain it is needed to provide the revenue the city needs moving forward," Nichols said. "Redevelopment of [RM] 620 is going to be the main challenge of the next 20 years."

If Lakeway officials allow the widening of RM 620, a multimillion-dollar project headed by the Texas Department of Transportation slated to begin in the next two to three years, to carry forward without first having in place its own plans for development along that thoroughfare, it will constitute a major missed opportunity for more revenues, Nichols said.

Regarding further discussion of the FLUM, Claire Hempel, a representative of Design Workshop, presented officials with an initial draft of the map that contained different colors representing various designations within the city, from residential to mixed use to recreational land.

Council and commission members discussed what they would like to adjust moving forward, including adding more specificity to a number of aspects of the FLUM.

Cox said another joint meeting with council and the commission should be planned in the near future, possibly as soon as mid-December, but no date has yet been scheduled and could come as late as January.

"[We want] to designate: Where are our commercial districts? Where are we looking for density? Where are we looking for walkability and things like that?" Cox said. "That will help guide us on our future plans, like where do we need bigger arteries for transportation because of zoning designations we're making? This plan was extremely flexible. We're asking them to be more specific."
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


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