The proposed townhouses are designed to be three stories tall with stucco or limestone veneers and wood toned sidings.[/caption]
The council did not take action at the meeting and the developer was not requesting any permits or action be taken. The informational item was included on the agenda because the developer “wanted to test the water” and see if the council would be in support of a townhouse development at the location, Mayor Linda Anthony said.
The development would offer a community with a simple, low-maintenance lifestyle and architecture that is consistent with the city's master plan, said Brad Walters, a development manager with Aspen Heights Partners.
Previous attempts to develop the land include proposals for banks, storage facilities, office building complexes, medical buildings and most recently an assisted living center, she said.
“Townhomes would cater to a wide variety of needs that are currently not met by housing in West Lake Hills,” Anthony said. “There are a lot of single-parent families that would like their kids to stay in Eanes ISD but don’t want the expense or maintenance of a large home. There are also older families who like the lifestyle [in West Lake Hills] but are wanting to scale down to something they can better afford.”
As presented June 14, the townhouse development along Bee Caves Road would include 42 units.[/caption]
When property owner Benny Daneshjou and Aspen Heights Partners first approached the city, the townhouse proposal included 100 units, but the size has been scaled back to the current proposal for 42 units, she said.
Daneshjou said based on a traffic analysis, the townhouse project would add minimal congestion to the area compared to the traffic impact of previous proposals on the tract.
The proposal as currently presented only supplies 10 guest parking spots, and City Council expressed an interest in increasing that number in future plans. Daneshjou said he believe an additional 10 spots or more can be added to the property.
"It is a difficult tract because the property is at a curve, is along Bee Caves Road and is on a slope," Anthony said. "Most retail would prefer a move visible street presence than the property affords. It is also a narrow tract that isn’t wide."
In response to a resident’s concern about diminishing green spaces in the city, Council Member Brian Plunkett said that his belief is that the tract will inevitably be developed and is comparing the proposal to others that have come up in the past.
“One of the things that appealed to me was, while I would much rather prefer a retail property to increase the city sales tax base, this offers the ability to increase property tax revenue and it also offers the benefit of 42 families who are going to shop, eat and live in West Lake Hills and support the businesses that are here,” Anthony said.
Hike and bike trail
Property owner Benny Daneshjou said he would like to revive an idea started by former West Lake Hills Mayor Mark Urdahl to create a continuous hike and bike trail from the H-E-B at 701 Capitol of Texas Hwy., West Lake Hills, to Camp Craft Road. The trail would give a safe path to area children who walk to and from Eanes Elementary School and provide easier access for those who attend Westlake High School.
Mayor Linda Anthony urged council to lock in the hike and bike trail as part of the townhouse project if it were to move forward.
“Even with the sidewalks on Bee Caves Road, I would not want my child going down that road to school,” she said. “I think the idea of having a place they can walk away from traffic is great. It’s also an amenity and an area for recreation that I’m sure the residents of West Lake Hills would be greatly appreciative of."
Aspen Heights Partner development manager Brad Walters said that creating a hike and bike trail would take a coordinated effort between the property owners on the lots adjacent to his.