Editor's note: This story was updated to correctly name the property development company identified with Paul Shepherd.
Lakeway City Council unanimously approved a zoning ordinance April 19 for a housing and commercial development at Flint Rock Road and Wild Cherry Drive.
The owners of the property at 15617 Flint Rock Road, Cherry Knoll LLC, intend to build 126 single-family residential homes on about 22.86 acres, and on the northeast side of Flint Rock, a commercial center and public recreational space of about 3 acres. Although council approved zoning, developer proposals need to go through the city’s platting and permitting process before construction can begin.
Before unanimously approving the measure, council members discussed how to assure the city is not left with an eyesore if the project does not complete its proposed 3,000-square-foot commercial phase and how area traffic is impacted by the development.
Council Member Sanjeev Kumar said he was concerned that the zoning agreement with the developers, known as a planned unit development agreement, or PUD, did not specify when the commercial buildings of the Cherry Knoll project would be completed.
“I’m not saying I am against the project,” Kumar said. “I am just trying to make sure we settle this now.”
Council and staff discussed options of setting a time limit or requiring a monetary penalty for not completing the commercial buildings.
Developer Paul Shepherd of Cherry Knoll told council that the developer intends to build the park and open space as part of the first phase of the project, and that it would agree to grade and landscape the area intended for the commercial buildings as part of that initial phase. Building the homes also would take place before the commercial development, according to the development proposal with the city.
“The important thing, I think what we discussed as a team, is creating this placemaking, and once that’s established, what follows there [in the commercial space] will fall in place,” Shepherd told the council.
Having the property graded and landscaped as developers plan future development of the commercial center was agreeable to Kumar, and council, before voting, asked staff to add language to its PUD agreement that clarifies that the work would be done as part of the development’s initial phase.
Also, before approving the ordinance, council asked staff to add language to the PUD to clarify that any driveway built off Flint Rock be designed for only right turns in and out of the proposed housing development. Council Member Louis Mastrangelo said that requirement will ease traffic flow and increase safety.
“My biggest concern was the safety issue and the traffic issue, and it looks like both of those have been resolved,” he said.
A Lakeway-sponsored traffic study of the area proposes future traffic signals for the intersection of Flint Rock and Wild Cherry, according to city documents. The Cherry Knoll developers would have responsibility for a portion of the cost to construct signals at that location, Lakeway Assistant City Manager Joseph Molis told the council.
“Yes, they are going to be responsible for their proportionate share of the impact to that intersection,” Molis said.
Before voting to adopt the PUD, Council Member Gretchen Vance said she recognized that some residents of Flint Rock Falls are against the proposed development, but that she supported the PUD zoning ordinance because it gives the city greater aesthetic control. She also said it provides a better transition from the nearby Lakeway Medical Center than a more traditional neighborhood allowed under the city’s R-1 zoning standards, which are currently in place for much of the property.
“I understand the push back out of Flint Rock Falls,” she said, “The question becomes then what defines transnational. I just don’t think R-1 is transitional ... you are asking for the exact same thing that is in Flint Rock Falls to sit 50 feet,100 feet from a hospital, and I don’t know how reasonable that is.”