Following the approval of several variance requests from West Lake Hills City Council, the proposal for new Westlake Drive condominium buildings has advanced further down the road to completion.
The owners of the Boca Chica Apartments at 1801 Westlake Drive are proposing to demolish the existing complex, which was built in the 1960s, to construct two condominium buildings in its place. To move forward with the project, developers required six variance approvals and a site rezoning.
The approvals occurred during a Dec. 9 West Lake Hills City Council meeting, during which council members reviewed the preliminary site plans for the third time.
City officials first viewed the proposed project for the 2.3-acre site in February and evaluated a subsequent presentation during an Oct. 28 meeting. During both discussions, the proposed height of the buildings emerged as council’s largest gripe.
The architectural firm, Shiflet Group Architects, has since revised its proposal to accommodate the council’s recommendations.
Per the updated site plans, both buildings are slated to be 35 feet tall—a decrease from the second building's previously proposed height of 46 feet yet still higher than the city’s maximum building height code of 30 feet.
Other changes to the proposal include a reduction of parking spaces from 46 spaces to 41 as well as a reduction of the building’s total units from 20 to 18. Updated plans also call for two fewer tree-removal variances.
The new proposal also entails a reduction of impervious cover from 34.01% to 29.55%, which represents the site’s human-made surfaces impenetrable by rainfall.
Despite the reduction in variance requests, resident Oliver Hoagland expressed concern during the meeting’s public comment session. He said even with the updates, the approval of these variances could set a precedent for future developments.
“Looking back on the recent history of variances, it seems that in any other case and any other resident homeowner that this would be denied, and to me that kind of just doesn’t sit right, especially since this is a nonresident developer,” Hoagland said.
Mayor Linda Anthony said while she appreciates Hoagland’s hesitations, she thinks if the city were to accommodate more than just single-family housing, this proposed site would be conducive to the city's makeup. Anthony also thanked the developers for updating their plans amid council's and residents’ concerns.
Council unanimously approved the variance requests along with a rezoning request that will change the property from a transitional residential district to a planned development district. According to Anjali Naini, the city’s director of building and development, the designation provides zoning flexibility when a proposed property does not fit within existing zoning regulations.