The request was made by the Morgan Group, a luxury multifamily housing developer from Houston that wants to develop The Pearl, a development made up of 10 buildings that would include 340 multifamily luxury apartment units, 59 townhomes, a parking structure and a restaurant.
The project summary submitted to the city also calls for an amenity building, a pool, public and private trails, and two public scenic overlooks.
Council heard from several residents as well as members of the Morgan Group before they went into executive session.
“It sounds like a lovely project, but it contributes to the single most pressing issue that the city of Bee Cave deals with, and that is traffic,” resident Paula Boyd said during public comment on the issue.
“This does not meet current code with regard to density,” Boyd said. “The fact that this is a good design should not give it a through-vote. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. I encourage you to vote no.”
Steve Albert, president of the city’s Economic Development Board, also expressed concerns about revising the planned development district, or PDD.
“I am disappointed to be standing here today, five years after the original PDD was passed in the dead of night,” he said. “The revised PDD is incomplete and continues to memorialize concerns. Important elements, like [traffic impact analysis] and building height restrictions are missing—the most important element in terms of a PDD as far as I’m concerned.”
Steve Braasch, the planning and zoning commission chair, advised council to take its time before making any decisions related to the PDD.
“The devil is always in the details,” he said. “Really look deeply before you pass this PDD; it has so many exceptions.”
He echoed Boyd and Albert’s concerns about traffic and density.
“[Bee Cave] has always been a place where we’ve had marginal controls of what happens to this city [in terms of roads],” Braasch said. “[Bee Cave Parkway] is one road we have a say on, a main artery. We got that roadway built because of the Galleria.”
The council expressed its concerns briefly before breaking into executive session, with Council Member Andrea Willett torn.
“My problem is I think we need this project, but I don't like certain parts of the PDD,” she said.
Mayor Kara King said she did not have enough information to proceed with making any decisions.
“There is no way to do a trip generation if we don’t know how many offices, how big [the buildings] will be, how many housing units,” she said. “It combines elements from the old code and new one depending on how it benefits them. I wish the concept plan would have been given to council, and we could have given feedback. I don’t feel it’s anywhere near ready. ... These are very significant changes to the PDD that happened five years ago. Big changes have been made behind closed doors. It’s disingenuous to say this is better than what was proposed five years ago. It was not viable and that is why it was not built. ... What if it’s still not right for Bee Cave? Then it’s not better.