Cedar Park considers two land use petitions for developments near Little Elm Trail

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Cedar Park City Council considered two developments June 28 for medium- and high-density projects along and near Little Elm Trail. Both projects had submitted future land use petitions to City Council, which outlines the first step in the process of requesting a change to the property’s future land use plan designation.

1199 Fire Lane

City Council heard a proposal for a high-density residential development along Toll 183A and a proposed future extension of Little Elm Trail.

Pohl Partners Real Estate Group requested to change 21 acres out of an approximately 26-acre tract from regional office, retail and commercial to high-density residential. The project would offer 550 apartment units along with 12,000 square feet or retail and 32,000 square feet of office space.

Pohl Partners Vice President Jennifer Gallagher said the general business designation would remain along the proposed future extension of Little Elm, but the site would need more visibility and access from the toll road.

Bill Pohl, the company’s president, said they would request a TIRZ, or a tax increment reinvestment zone, to help with the extension of Little Elm to Toll 183A and flood plain issues on the property. A TIRZ agreement is an economic development tool in which an entity invests in public infrastructure in an area, and the future property tax revenue derived from the TIRZ district helps repay the debt.

“We want to build something that works, and [to make it work]at that particular location, we have to change our access to [Toll] 183A,” he said.

City Council Member Heather Jefts said she did not feel that the project would be in a good location for more residences due to its proximity to the city’s public works facility and Toll 183A.

“It would potentially be a good place for office space and what it’s zoned for, the regional office commercial,” she said. “I think that would be a better and higher use of that space than trying to find people who would want to be right next to the toll road and a wastewater treatment plant.”

Pohl said the company would have to build one million square feet of office space on the property’s current zoning of general business, to which he said the current market would not respond positively.

Several council members requested that the city’s economic development department review the TIRZ agreement before making a decision on the future land use petition. Pohl agreed to table the application until a future meeting so more research could be done on the TIRZ.

Little Elm Trail and S. Bell Blvd.

City Council considered another future land use petition Thursday for an approximately 12.6-acre tract at the southwest corner of S. Bell Blvd. and Little Elm Trail.

Cedar Park’s existing future land use plan recommends the land become local office, retail and commercial for 5.5 acres out of the tract along Bell, and medium density residential for the rest of the tract, about 7.1 acres along Little Elm. Amy Link, the assistant director of development services for the city, said the applicant had instead requested the commercial portion fall along Little Elm and the residential portion along Bell.

“The proposal is to massage the lines of where the medium density and local office retail designations lie,” she said.

Shea Kirkman with Kirkman Engineering, who represent the ownership group for the property, said a retention pond on the property would restrict the development of local office commercial along Bell. He recommended moving the commercial portion along Little Elm Trail and working the residential around the pond.

“So really what we’re trying to do is make a small adjustment to your future land use plan that more fits this specific property,” he said.

City Council unanimously approved the petition, which starts the process for the city to consider the future land use map change.

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Caitlin covers Cedar Park and Leander city councils and reports on education, transportation, government and business news. She is an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin. Most recently, Caitlin produced a large-scale investigative project with The Dallas Morning News and led education coverage in the Brazos Valley at The Bryan-College Station Eagle. After interning with Community Impact Newspaper for two summers, she joined the staff as a reporter in 2015.
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