Development proposals, rules of decorum: Leander policies considered by City Council

A new option procedure was put in place for developers to present proposals to Leander City Council for feedback prior to submitting formal applications to the city.

A new option procedure was put in place for developers to present proposals to Leander City Council for feedback prior to submitting formal applications to the city.

Mayor Troy Hill and Council Member Marci Cannon brought forth three discussions on Leander policies at the City Council meeting Oct. 4.

Additionally, the mayor sponsored an item at the meeting to establish rules of decorum for council meetings.

Development proposal review

Council unanimously approved an ordinance establishing an optional procedure for developers to request a council review of their proposed developments before submitting applications to the city.

“The general concept and idea is to allow a prospect, a client, to come before council with an idea of a business venture that might be slightly different than what the future land use [plan] allows or even the current zoning,” Cannon said.

She said the ordinance provides developers with a free tool. Otherwise, developers might spend tens of thousands of dollars working with engineers and other professionals on a project, and sometimes close on a property they intended to develop, only to have their proposals rejected by the city's zoning commission or council, Cannon said.

Four people spoke in favor of the procedure, which allows developers the option to submit a request form and give a 10-minute presentation on their proposals to council.

Council members can provide feedback, although the feedback will not be considered approval of an application.

“After I left [City Council], Cedar Park implemented something similar to this,” said Mitch Fuller, a Cedar Park resident and former Cedar Park City Council member. “It gives a temperature check; if you guys think that something is proposed that just absolutely deviates from your comprehensive plan, from your future land use plan, and it doesn’t make any sense, it can be shut down immediately or there is some feedback.”

The ordinance was approved with the addition that developers must attend a development meeting with city staff to receive feedback before presenting to City Council.

Other items

  1. Council directed city staff to create an ordinance changing the riparian corridor setbacks to 25 feet in width for all residential drainage areas over 5 acres and eliminating the setback for commercial developments. Council Member Andrea Navarrette voted against the action. Existing setbacks range from 25-100 feet, and Hill said developers lose buildable land due to the requirements. Council will consider the ordinance at a later date.

  2. Council members voted unanimously to take no action after discussing rules of decorum for City Council meetings. Two citizens and four council members—Mayor Pro Tem Michelle Stephenson, Shanan Shepherd, Jeff Seiler and Navarrette—shared concerns with the proposed ordinance, which would allow the mayor to enforce rules of conduct at meetings. Council members discussed holding a work session or meeting in a small group with residents to work on the ordinance.

  3. Council members unanimously voted to direct staff to create a temporary rewrite of the city’s access management policy, which determines how traffic can access lots from streets. Council will consider the rewrite Nov. 1. Cannon requested policies be amended to allow all properties to have driveways regardless of the size of a property's street frontage.

By Abby Bora
Abby Bora started at Community Impact Newspaper in May 2017. After working as a reporter, she became editor of the Cedar Park-Leander edition in October 2018. She covers Leander ISD and city government. Bora graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. with a bachelor’s degree in media and communications studies.


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