Bee Cave officials approve changes to large development known as The Backyard

On May 26, Bee Cave City Council approved changes to the development agreement for the 35-acre development known as The Backyard. (Rendering courtesy city of Bee Cave)
On May 26, Bee Cave City Council approved changes to the development agreement for the 35-acre development known as The Backyard. (Rendering courtesy city of Bee Cave)

On May 26, Bee Cave City Council approved changes to the development agreement for the 35-acre development known as The Backyard. (Rendering courtesy city of Bee Cave)

Image description
On May 26, Bee Cave City Council approved changes to the development agreement for the 35-acre development known as The Backyard. (Rendering courtesy city of Bee Cave)
After a nearly three-hour discussion from residents, staff and officials, Bee Cave City Council approved amendments on zoning and development standards for a roughly 35-acre planned development district called The Backyard. The development in west Bee Cave will contain, among several other features, a high-capacity entertainment venue.

Approval of the amendments came during council’s May 26 meeting and follows an April 7 recommendation to adopt the changes from the Bee Cave Planning & Zoning Commission.

The Backyard will be located between Bee Cave Parkway and Hwy. 71, just west of RM 620 and Bee Cave Central Park.

Council’s last amendment to the PDD came in March 2019 and included the removal of three planned data centers and a distributed energy center, which were planned to be replaced with office, restaurant, brewery and distillery uses.

That amendment came more than a year after the former developer of The Backyard filed a lawsuit against the city of Bee Cave and three of its officials. City leaders and the developer took steps in January to end the litigation process through approval of an infrastructure-centered site plan.


Information from the city states the most recent version of the approved project included an outdoor event venue, a 125‐room hotel with an exhibit hall and meeting space, offices, parking garages and a hilltop garden.

The changes council for the development during the May 26 meeting include renaming the project’s music venue to an event venue, increasing that venue’s maximum capacity to 3,700 from 3,410 and allowing a maximum noise level of 75 decibels within a 5,000-foot radius of the venue.

The new PDD agreement states Willie Way, a planned road connecting to Bee Cave Parkway that will run through The Backyard, will become a public road. Excluding the event venue, the development will also be compliant with 2015 International Dark Sky Community Guidelines through the new agreement.

With regard to parking, the new agreement allows for satellite services to be connected to the development via a shuttle service, which city staff stated “mitigates potential increased traffic” during peak attendance times.

Changes also include replacing what was going to be a single large restaurant space with a food, beverage and retail village integrated into the design of the event venue that will provide a more continuous array of options for the community at large, according to city information.

The approved amendment broadens the timeline for completion of the development to three to seven years.

During public comment on the agenda item, complaints were levied against the development about parking, lighting, noise and access to The Backyard.

Bee Cave resident Carrell Killebrew said problems he has with the development involve parking issues, lighting and noise levels described within the new proposed agreement. In one example, he said the allowance for 75 decibels within a 5,000-foot radius of the venue in actuality amounts to greater noise than is presented by city staff.

But later in the meetings, project leaders brought in an expert sound technician who made a case to council that due to a reduced crowd capacity of under 4,000 people in the event venue coupled with better sound technology, noise pollution should not be a difficult issue for operators of The Backyard to contain.

Adrian Overstreet, the owner of Bee Cave Sonesta Austin Hotel who also owns what is called the Target tract of land north of the proposed development, said parking will likely bleed into his properties and wants those issues addressed before the amendment is agreed to by city officials.

"My main and only concern with this development is parking," Overstreet said. "Right now, they've got a system where they say 'trust us, we're going to get some more off-site parking."

Two other property owners who own land bordering the proposed development, Jeff Kent and the Skaggs Family Partnership, also protested the latest amendment request, with Kent stating he wanted council to vote "no" on the amendments until a more solid agreement is reached with regard to more parking and connectivity to the project.

Former Bee Cave Mayor Monty Parker, who throughout 2018 and into 2019 was instrumental in helping broker one of the most recent development agreements between the city of Bee Cave and The Backyard, offered an endorsement of the proposed amendment.

"This is a project that other cities would enthusiastically pursue if given the chance," Parker said during the May 26 meeting. "I strongly encourage you to vote 'yes,' and let's get this show on the road."

Developers for the project said that due to concerns raised by Bee Cave residents, both at the council meeting and numerous town hall events, they wanted to request expediting construction of a parking structure labeled Garage P2, initially not required to be built until the third phase of construction, to be constructed at the same time the event venue will be built.

During extended discussion of the proposed amendments, city Planning and Development Director Lindsey Oskoui emphasized the new agreement also requires The Backyard operators to routinely update emergency management plans, labeled as Standard Operating Procedures, with the city and fire department.

Some conditions were attached to council's final vote to approve the proposed amendments, including updating timing of Garage P2 to phase two of construction.
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.


MOST RECENT

A graphic that reads "today's coronavirus updates"
Travis County coronavirus indicators still hovering at upper end of Stage 4 risk

Travis County saw 657 new cases and 68 new hospitalizions July 13.

The city said residents should make sure they are only watering on their scheduled days based on address. (Courtesy city of Georgetown)
Georgetown faces watering restrictions, SW Austin private school closes: News from Central Texas

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas here.

In Rollingwood, officials are pursuing the creation of the city's first-ever comprehensive plan. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rollingwood pursuing city's first-ever comprehensive plan

Citing sustained growth and a need to manage development, the city of Rollingwood is pursuing the creation of its first comprehensive plan.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown here in March, announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide additional resource to help Texas combat COVID-19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Department of Defense task forces deployed to help Texas combat COVID-19

Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide more resources to Texas to combat the rise of COVID-19.

The proposed fiscal year 2020-21 budget includes an $11.3 million reduction in police spending, achieved largely by eliminating 100 vacant positions within the Austin Police Department. (Design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's $4.2 billion proposed budget includes 2.5% reduction to police department funding

Community groups and some Austin City Council members have called for a police department budget reduction of at least $100 million.

Of the 14,788 COVID-19 cases, 754 originate from the Lake Travis-Westlake area, which encompasses nine ZIP codes in western Travis County. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
See how COVID-19 cases have grown in the Lake Travis-Westlake area since last week

Of the 14,788 COVID-19 cases, 754 originate from the Lake Travis-Westlake area, which encompasses nine ZIP codes in western Travis County.

Thousands marched from Huston-Tillotson University to the Texas Capitol on June 7 to protest police brutality and systemic racism. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Where Austin's mayor, 9 City Council members stand on police reform, funding, leadership

With decisions coming soon on the city's fiscal year 2020-21 budget, all but one City Council member sat down for interviews on where they stand on various policing issues in Austin.

Travis County has added 3,069 new confirmed cases over the past week from July 6-12. (Community Impact Staff)
Travis County adds 3,069 new coronavirus cases over past week

Travis County has added 3,069 new confirmed cases over the past week from July 6-12.

A sign directs voters inside Ridgetop Elementary School in North Central Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
11.8% of voters in Travis County have voted early since June 29, exceeding 2018 primary numbers

More than 97,000 Travis County residents have voted in person or by mail. The turnout far surpassed the combined early and Election Day totals in the 2018 primary run-off election.

A photo of the potential Tesla property
Travis County updates Tesla incentive package, pushing for $1 billion-plus investment from the company

Poised for a possible July 13 vote, Travis County has released a refined incentives structure proposal with electric carmaker Tesla.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.