City of Lakeway’s Zoning and Planning Commission votes against revised City Center project

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Lakeway’s Zoning and Planning Commission at its April 4 meeting voted to recommend the City Council should deny the planned 62-acre City Center mixed-use project on Lohmans Crossing Road.

“I hope this starts a whole new process,” Chairman David Taylor told attendees after the 4-2 vote, which followed 3 1/2 hours of public comment.

The majority of attendees at the meeting spoke against the project, citing concerns about increased traffic, higher housing density and too much new, competing retail and office space.

“It’s a matter of good growth over bad growth,” resident Bob Schooler said.

After the conclusion of comment from about 50 people, Legend CEO Haythem Dawlett stood before the ZAPCO Commission dais and offered to pull the agenda item so it could be tabled until after the upcoming May 5 election in order to “get more input.” ZAPCO members chose to follow through on the planned agenda.

The latest version of Legend Communities’ City Center planned unit development is the result of feedback after several city-held meetings, according to city staff, and it is to now include a minimum of 20 percent green space, such as parks or greenbelts and an allowance for an inch-for-inch credit for protected trees that the developer saves.

The development now features a reduced total of 297 dwelling units that include: 127 single-family homes; 120 condos; and 50 live-work condos. Also planned: 704,000 square feet of office/retail space, entertainment areas that include a smaller civic center concept, a hotel of up to 220 rooms and a 2.5-acre community gathering area lined with restaurants and cafes with outdoor sidewalk space.

A public dog park, playground and community garden would be added on about 5 acres that would include 1.7 acres of connected land the developer is negotiating to buy from Lake Travis ISD, Legend Communities’ Chief Operations Officer Bill Hayes told meeting attendees.

If the site is ultimately approved by the council, the developer would, in the future, have to go before ZAPCO to ensure the 20 percent green space commitment included features like detention ponds only if they are deemed usable, such as in a parkland setting. In addition, no certificates of occupancy would be given until the Main Street pass-through from Lohmans Crossing to the Oaks shopping center as well as the Lohmans Spur Road extension are complete and useable, agenda records showed.

City staff concluded the planned unit development is in compliance with the city’s future land-use map and comprehensive plan. Staffers wrote the development is in the public interest in that it meets needs for improved traffic circulation and connectivity. It is also considered a transitional area between commercial and residential neighborhoods, staffers added.

Resident Jerry Cooper attempted to put concerns over the City Center plan in context, quoting 5-year-old literature and news articles promoting the now-complete Oaks at Lakeway shopping center. Cooper said the Oaks promised golf cart parking, open spaces, ponds and pedestrian trials. “I haven’t seen those yet,” Cooper told attendees.

Hayes said the project would still be subject to “little tweaks” in the first few years, but “the essence of the project is [already]set in stone. Main Street has to follow [a planned route to connect with the Oaks shopping center].”

Hayes also said the planned residential density of City Center is comparable to that of nearby Tuscan Village, including a new residential building now under construction.

The council is expected to take up the City Center plan and ZAPCO’s recommendation at a future meeting.

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Rob Maxwell
Rob Maxwell joined the world of print journalism and Community Impact in Sept. 2017 as editor of the Lake Travis - Westlake edition. He previously enjoyed a successful and rewarding career in radio and television news. In his spare time, Rob can be found scoping out area climbing walls and hiking trails. He lives in Cedar Park with his wife and daughters and looks forward to receiving his LCP edition of Community Impact Newspaper every month.
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