A proposal for an eight-home subdivision on Westlake Drive received a unanimous denial from the West Lake Hills City Council during an April 14 meeting due to noncompliance to the city’s code.
The potential development known as Moore Estates, named after the landowners, was slated for an 8.42-acre tract of land at 803 Westlake Drive. The owners submitted a zoning request to subdivide the property into eight lots for the construction of eight single-family residential units.
The Moore Estates proposal first came before City Council in March, where it was met with strong opposition from nearby residents and a local environmental group.
Many residents drew attention to the plan’s deviation from the city’s code regarding minimum lot size requirements. As a result, the zoning request would require a variance approval by council.
However, this zoning request is unusual in that a prior agreement was executed by the council in 1972, which allowed the land to be subdivided into eight lots at any time in the future, according to the city’s report.
During the March council meeting, Mayor Linda Anthony said an agreement was made between the original landowners and the council at the time in exchange for a donation of land on the site, which allowed for the widening of Westlake Drive.
While this right of way donation was recorded on file in a contract with Travis County, the entity that funded the road widening project, an exact variance approval could not be located, according to Anjali Naini, the city’s director of building and development services.
Terry Irion, an attorney representing the landowners, told council that 1972 agreement still stands despite the project not adhering to current city code.
“It is an eight-tract approval. That’s what was agreed to, and a written variance was given; at least that’s what the contract says,” Irion said.
While the exact wording of the variance cannot be confirmed, Irion said the contract with Travis County allows the landowners to subdivide their property into eight lots without restrictions on when that project would occur.
Several residents spoke out against this statement and expressed concerns related to traffic, possible environmental degradation and a threat to surrounding property values.
Bobby Levinski, an attorney with the nearby environmental group Save Our Springs Alliance, told the council that an agreement under these terms would violate Texas law.
“In Texas law, you are not allowed to do contract zoning. You are not allowed to exchange things in value for future promises to do a legislative act such as a subdivision,” he said.
Randy Lee, a 30-year resident of nearby Rocky River Road, said he and his wife thoroughly object to the Moore Estates plan.
“Westlake Drive is the busiest throughway in the city of [West Lake Hills], and you’re going to add eight more houses with 16 or 20 more cars going in and out of there during rush hour,” Lee said.
Following the public hearing, council entered into a closed session to discuss the proposal with the city attorney.
Upon arrival, council members unanimously denied the zoning request, citing a deviation from the city code as the reasoning behind the decision.