West Lake Hills City Council met virtually Oct. 28 to review multiple variance requests as well as a proposal to rezone the building from a transitional residential district to a planned development district, which would, in part, allow the architectural firm, Shiflet Group Architects, to move forward with the project.
Council first evaluated preliminary designs for the proposed project in February when the building’s co-owner Greg Vandermark presented his plans for the new 2.3-acre site. At that time, the height of the building was council’s largest concern, and, as of the Oct. 28 meeting, city officials have not changed their opinion.
The current proposal includes two condominium buildings containing a total of 20 units. Building one, which would sit closest to the roadway, is proposed to be three stories high and 35 feet tall, while the second building would be four stories and 45 feet tall.
The proposed height is taller than the existing apartment complex, which Mayor Linda Anthony said is 18 feet. If council approved the plans as presented, the new structure could be the tallest building within city limits.
The city’s code allows for a maximum building height of 30 feet. For the city to accommodate the variance request, the developers would need to illustrate a hardship. Council Member Vonda Ragsdale said she saw no demonstrated hardship other than the developer’s desire to construct a more profitable complex.
“What we’re replacing, granted, are two very well-worn, outdated apartment buildings with something that is possibly nicer, but do we really need a four [story] condo on Westlake Drive?” Anthony said.
The proposal also features deviations from the city’s impervious cover, tree removal, minimum lot size and building setback requirements.
While no residents spoke during the meeting’s open forum session, the city did receive a letter from a nearby resident Josephine Whitely, who expressed concerns regarding the site.
Following the discussion spanning about an hour, council took no action on the property and agreed to revisit the proposal with any adjustments at its Dec. 9 meeting.