Dallas-based health care provider Cantex Continuing Care Network asked the council to approve the initial process to pursue a zone change for the site. The property is located on about 7.8 acres southwest of the intersection of Whitestone Boulevard and Arrow Point Drive.
Cantex's petition asked for a change in the site’s zoning from local office and commercial to high-density residential, which would have permitted development of a nursing home.
Brian Bendert—vice president of finance at LB Belon, the agency representing the developer—proposed a 54,000-square-foot facility that could employ nurses and other personnel totaling 120 new jobs.
The four council members who voted against the petition said they wanted to keep the existing local office and commercial zoning shown on the city’s land-use plan, a document meant to guide city leaders’ zoning decisions. Before the vote, Place 3 Council Member Lyle Grimes said he believes the site should stay available for office development alongside Whitestone.
“I’m not currently on board [with the petition] because of the location,” Grimes said.
Grimes voted against the petition, joined by council members Lowell Moore, Jon Lux and Kristyne Bollier. Mayor Matt Powell, as well as council members Stephen Thomas and Corbin Van Arsdale, voted yes.
Before the vote, Powell said he would not have supported the change if the land-use map showed the property was designated for general retail. He said the current use of local office is meant to bring jobs.
“There’s going to be a lot of what we would consider primary jobs in here,” Powell said. “To me, that’s fulfilling the ultimate design of [the local office zoning use]. So that’s where I am currently, but I’m hearing both sides very clearly here.”
Bendert said Cantex owns or operates 30 nursing facilities throughout Texas, including Bel Air at Teravista in Round Rock and The Broadmoor at Creekside Park in The Woodlands.
“All of our facilities are high-end medical facilities with many amenities,” Bendert said.
He said the facility would have had little negative effect on traffic because of flexible work hours for staff and because nursing home residents would not drive.
Bendert said the nursing home would be located near existing medical facilities.
Powell said he agreed the location would be a good one. The nursing home would be close to Cedar Park Regional Medical Center as well as located near the city’s planned fifth fire station, which would be located on Cottonwood Creek Trail, Powell said.
The petition process allows a property’s owner or developer to request council approve a petition to amend the future land-use map and rezone a property for a use that differs from the map’s designation. To date the council has approved 11 petitions and denied two petitions.
Grimes said the city has previously asked developers who request changes to the land-use map to propose a planned development or a project with mixed zoning uses.
“I don’t want to send one message to you and send another message to another developer,” Grimes said to Bendert. “I’d like everyone to get the same message.”