UPDATE: Leander City Council denies BAD Company request for heavy commercial, industrial zoning near Savanna Ranch

Leander's zoning commission considered a request for heavy industrial and heavy commercial zoning June 28.

Leander's zoning commission considered a request for heavy industrial and heavy commercial zoning June 28.

Updated July 5 at 10:55 p.m.

A rezoning request by the Building Abatement Demolition Co., Inc., or BAD Company, was denied by Leander City Council on July 5.

The BAD Company was looking to rezone its property at 550 Heritage Grove Road, next to the Savanna Ranch neighborhood.

The property’s current zoning is interim single-family rural, but the city’s Future Land Use Plan marks the area as an industrial district. The BAD Company’s request was for heavy industrial and heavy commercial zoning.

Before the public hearing on the request was conducted, BAD Company Director Jud Stringer said that he wanted to withdraw the request after hearing the concerns of nearby residents.

At the recommendation of City Attorney Paige Saenz, council proceeded with the public hearing and vote. Over 20 people spoke in opposition of the rezoning, and several mentioned concerns that even with the application withdrawn, the Future Land Use Plan would still call for an industrial district.

Assistant City Manager Tom Yantis said the city received a valid petition against it as well. Because of the petition, if City Council were to approve the case, 3/4 of council members would need to vote in favor of it, according to city documents.

However, council voted unanimously against the rezoning request. Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Seiler requested staff bring back to council a comprehensive plan amendment designating that lot as a less intensive district.

Stringer said afterward that he is going to search for another location for the BAD Company, but perhaps the city of Leander is not the right place for his business.

Posted June 29 at 2:59 p.m.

Several people attended the Leander Planning & Zoning Commission meeting Thursday to protest a request for heavy commercial and heavy industrial zoning on land east of the Savanna Ranch neighborhood.

After twenty-one people said they were opposed to the zoning change, commissioners voted against recommending it.

The property—approximately 31.55 acres at 550 Heritage Grove Road—is currently zoned interim single-family rural. However, the city’s Future Land Use Map identifies that area as an industrial district.

Jud Stringer, director of Building Abatement Demolition Co., Inc., said in a letter requesting the zoning change that the property presently contains a home that will serve as the BAD Company’s office. Behind the building, the owner plans to build a 3,800-square foot warehouse for equipment storage.

Around 30 acres will remain open for future development, including options “such as self-storage units, uncovered parking, covered parking and industrial warehouse for small businesses,” Stringer wrote.

Several residents from Savanna Ranch, the neighborhood next to the proposed zoning, spoke at the zoning meeting.

“I did ask members of my community if there was anyone in favor of the rezoning, and I received no replies,” said Sean Moran, president of Savanna Ranch’s homeowners association. “I did receive, however, multiple emails opposing the rezoning.”

He said that one of the emails he received was from a Savanna Ranch resident deployed in Iraq, who “thought it was important enough to find the time to write an email opposing the rezoning.” Moran said his community is against the rezoning with concerns of safety and home values.

Some individuals expressed concerns about the types of materials that would be stored on the property.

Stringer told commissioners that the BAD Company offers services such as demolition, asbestos abatement and lead-based paint removal. He said when they do not have the opportunity to go to the landfill, they may need to temporarily store waste material in 40-yard lockable containers.

“I’m very concerned about our livestock and what happens with the materials that we’re talking about,” said Monta Akin, whose land is the adjoining property to the east, outside city limits. “I’m concerned about children playing […] in a playground right around the corner.”

City staff recommended the property to have no driveway access to the abutting Oak Grove Road, and for a 6-foot tall masonry wall be built along Oak Grove as the property is developed along the road.

Leander Senior Planner Martin Siwek said the layout of the zoning, with heavy commercial facing Savanna Ranch and heavy industrial on the east side of the property, was intended to create a buffer between the neighborhood and site in question.

“I think that there’s been a mistake—it either happened when we zoned residential or when we zoned the Future Land Use Plan with the intent of having heavy industrial […] they’re just not compatible in my opinion,” Commission Chair Sid Sokol said. “I can’t in good conscience feel good about approving this, even if the city planners have advised in favor of this.”