Vista Bank denied request for zoning change needed to operate in Rollingwood

Brian May, president of Vista Bank's Austin branch, addressed Rollingwood City Council on Feb. 19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Brian May, president of Vista Bank's Austin branch, addressed Rollingwood City Council on Feb. 19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Brian May, president of Vista Bank's Austin branch, addressed Rollingwood City Council on Feb. 19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Vista Bank will not be adding a location in Rollingwood at this time, as action from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and lack of action from City Council sealed its fate—at least for now.

Rollingwood’s zoning ordinance does not allow for a financial institution at that location at 2802 Bee Caves Drive where Mr. Gatti's Pizza used to be. As a workaround, representatives of Vista Bank requested a change of the city's zoning ordinance that would allow a financial business to operate in any commercial property in the city.

After the Planning and Zoning Commission did not make a recommendation on that amendment during its Jan. 14 meeting, City Council discussed the amendment but did not take action during its Jan. 15 meeting, instead kicking the matter back to Planning and Zoning.

William Milligan of the High-Line Group, which represents Vista Bank, modified the request to the city Jan. 24 to amend its code of ordinances to allow financial institutions to request a special-use permit to operate in Rollingwood.

During its Feb. 5 meeting, Planning and Zoning voted not to recommend the code of ordinances amendment, and City Council decided not to take action during its Feb. 19 meeting, among other reasons citing the fact officials are still amid a large scale re-examination of the city via an ongoing comprehensive plan. The inaction effectively served to prevent Vista Bank from moving to the Rollingwood location.


Brian May, president of Vista Bank's Austin branch, addressed council prior to the decision and said he hoped the body would agree to the zoning amendment request.

"I understand some of the challenges you guys have with what you're looking at," May said, adding he is aware the city might have different plans for that side of Bee Caves Road, but the challenges will still remain regardless of whether or not council declines the request from Vista Bank. "Allowing us to put a nice looking building could really spur other people to make new uses."

During discussion of the zoning request, Mayor Michael Dyson said he wanted to add context regarding the fact that 20% of Rollingwood's revenue comes from sales tax, underscoring what officials see as the city's need for more retail businesses.

Council Member Wendi Hundley said she appreciates the interest Vista Bank has shown and does not want to turn away business, but other considerations warrant action against the request.

"In my mind this is a tricky time to ask for a zoning change when we are going through the process of examining our zoning," Hundley said. "It's just not the right time to do that."
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.


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