1. Residents speak out against assisted living facility
More than 20 community members, primarily residents of Leander’s Timberline West subdivision, spoke in opposition to the operation of a group home with up to 16 occupants in their neighborhood during a Leander City Council meeting Feb. 21.
With Pat Bryson Municipal Hall filled to capacity, council voted unanimously to deny a special use permit for the home’s operation. The room burst into applause.
Per city ordinance, group homes in single-family districts are allowed but only for six or fewer residents.
Jared Addis, owner of Serenity Senior Living in Pflugerville, was the applicant for the special use permit. He said a higher occupancy level was needed for his assisted living facility in order to make the facility economically viable.
“Without economic viability, the home could not be established and the disabled residents would be denied its use and enjoyment,” Addis said during a presentation at the meeting.
During the public hearing, residents cited concerns about the property owner’s business tactics, increased traffic for deliveries and medical calls in the neighborhood, and a decline in property values.
Esra Eltilib said she has lived in the neighborhood for more than a decade.
“I have concerns about traffic and safety,” she said. “This neighborhood is a dream come true to a lot of us, and I think it’s not fair to take it.”
2. Council makes decision on riparian corridors
In an effort to be less restrictive to incoming development, Leander City Council voted unanimously to amend riparian corridor provisions in the city’s subdivision ordinance.
A riparian corridor is an area set aside in an effort to protect wildlife, according to Leander’s code of ordinances. These corridors function to enhance water quality, reduce erosion and provide habitat to wildlife, according to city documents.
The amendment replaces the term “riparian corridor” with the phrase “buffer zone” and removes and reduces certain setback requirements. Requirements vary based on whether the location in Leander is in Williamson County or Travis County.
3. Public improvement districts get new regulations
The council voted unanimously to adopt a disclosure policy for public improvement districts, which are areas where property owners finance or reimburse the costs of certain public improvements for the benefit of properties within the PID.
The disclosure policy comes after months of council discussion on the topic, during which council members expressed concern that people may purchase homes within PIDs without realizing the added costs they would be required to pay.
The new policy requires city-approved signage at the entrances and exits of PID subdivisions and informational packets at sales offices, among other requirements. Those who fail to comply will face a penalty. The maximum penalty for violation is $500. The city may also withhold building permits after someone receives three notices of violation.
4. Council mulls increased water and wastewater rates for out-of-city customers
City Council discussed raising the water and wastewater rates for customers who live outside the city limits. Council members considered an ordinance raising these rates by 10 percent at a meeting in November but took no action.
At the Feb. 21 meeting, council voted 6-1, with Council Member Christine Sederquist opposed, to bring the ordinance raising the rates by 10 percent for customers outside city limits back for consideration at a future meeting. Council asked that affected customers be notified of the potential change in advance of the discussion.