Posted Feb. 23 at 11:36 a.m.
A proposal for a development called Chapman Parks on land in west Leander sparked concerns from residents from the city and the surrounding area at the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting Thursday night.
Members of the commission voted not to recommend approval of the rezoning for the planned unit development, or PUD, which could contain up to 1,500 housing units on approximately 317 acres northeast of the intersection of Mesa Vista Drive and CR 280.
The request for Chapman Parks included zoning for neighborhood residential, cottage housing, local commercial, local office, single-family urban, single-family compact, single-family limited and single-family townhouse use components. The land is currently zoned single-family rural and borders the Greatwood Estates community and undeveloped land, according the meeting agenda packet.
The commission’s decision came after 15 people voiced concerns about the development, particularly about how traffic and access for emergency services in the area would be affected. One element of the PUD, illustrated in preliminary designs from consulting firm Santec, is the extension of Lakeline Boulevard through the development.
During the public hearing, several individuals asked for a traffic study to be completed prior to the rezoning. Some also raised concerns about the character of the area, describing it as quiet with open space.
“When I go out at night I can still see the stars,” said Tye Prange, who lives near the proposed development. “With the PUD, you’re going to have some of the lighting and all that that’s going to come in.”
Prange, as well as other speakers at the meeting, said the project would be better suited for Leander’s downtown area.
“We’re talking about a really big zoning change in an area that has nothing that looks like this now,” Commissioner John Cosgrove said. “I’m not sure I’m comfortable, without at least having some sort of traffic analysis, that I could support a change in zoning at this time, although I think in a vacuum, it’s a fantastic project.”
Champman Parks’ design would exceed the city’s parkland dedication ordinance requirements for parkland acreage and parkland improvement fees, according to Jim Knight, a regional business leader for Santec, and meeting documents.
“What our goal was through this project was to create not just a residential subdivision,” Knight said. “We wanted to create something that was unique, something that would raise the bar for the city of Leander.”
The commission voted 5-2 against recommending the rezoning, with Commissioner Laura Lantrip and Vice Chair Jason Anderson in favor of it. The request will go to Leander City Council for final consideration.