Cedar Park Town Center residents granted town hall meeting

The Cedar Park City Council opted to put a hold on rezoning 42.861 acres at Town Center, and instead agreed to schedule a town hall meeting and zoning reconsideration. The land sits on the southwest corner of Toll 183A and E. New Hope Drive, north of the 49.114 acres rezoned from downtown district to general retail in December.

Ten Town Center residents at the Jan. 12 council meeting spoke against rezoning the area, master planned in 1998 as a downtown "shop-and-stroll" destination. They cited safety hazards, property devaluation and traffic congestion as cause for concern.

"We feel like it could potentially affect our quality of life and street safety," Jean Dase told the council. "Cedar Park Town Center was built with narrow streets and it's difficult for emergency vehicles to get up and down our streets. We feel like we don't have room for intercity traffic."

The applicant filing the rezone request asked to postpone the measure to allow more time for negotiations, said Rawls Howard, Cedar Park director of planning and development services. Mayor Bob Lemon asked Howard to proceed with a presentation about the rezoning and allow residents to address the board.

"I also would have supported a postponement," said Town Center resident Evelyn Athas. "I know myself and many of my neighbors don't feel we have enough information to speak intelligently on the subject. This is a very intense change for our area."

In his presentation, Howard said a 20-foot landscaping buffer, a six-foot masonry fence, and at least a 20-foot setback would separate the retail space and residential property. The city would limit vehicle traffic at the end of Big Beng and Big Spring roads, and use Alamo Plaza as a thru street.

The rezoning request detailed plans to change the property from downtown district to planned mixed-use development. Richard Maiers, who represented developer D.R. Horton at the meeting, said the primary difference would be a vertical development, potentially with two- and three- story buildings, rather than the planned single-story retail market. He said the tract's current zoning would allow 300,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, 230,000 sq. ft of apartments or condominiums and space for 1,700 cars.

"What we are asking for is considerably less commercial than that," Maiers said. "It's just in a different configuration. It's vertical instead of horizontal."

Council members agreed to remand the request back to the Planning and Zoning Commission and initiate the process for a town hall meeting. The lot remains zoned downtown district.

"Obviously, we want to get things as soon as possible," Maiers said. "But we want buy-in from as many people as possible so we are willing to do whatever the council wants us to do."

By Emilie Lutostanski
Emilie reported on education, business, city and county news starting in 2009. After a stint as a radio reporter and writing for the Temple Daily Telegram, she joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2011. In 2013 she was promoted to editor of the Cedar Park | Leander edition, covering transportation, development, city and education news. In February 2015 she advanced her passion for online media and was promoted to manage digital content, metrics analytics, and quality assurance as well as branding and social networks in various inaugural roles at the company, including community manager and digital managing editor. Most recently in 2017, Emilie expanded her responsibilities to include sales support as Community Impact's first digital product manager. She oversees digital product development, enhancement, and monetization strategies; online content innovation, processes and efficiencies; and company-wide training for Community Impact's digital offerings.


Edward Logan is the new CEO of Sport Clips Inc. (Courtesy Sport Clips Inc.)
New Sport Clips Haircuts CEO to succeed founder

In his early work with Sport Clips, Edward oversaw the company-owned stores, taking many of them to top performers within the system.

In-person appointments for driver license renewal and replacement are now being offered at driver license offices across the state. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas driver license offices reopen for in-person renewal, replacement services

The second phase of reopening announced July 7 expanded services offered at driver license offices.

New guidelines released by ICE require foreign students to take mostly in-person classes to stay in the U.S. on education visas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
New U.S. guidelines require exchange students to take in-person classes this fall

The guidelines released by ICE require foreign students to take mostly in-person classes to stay in the U.S. on education visas.

The Texas Education Agency and Renaissance have partnered to give students unlimited access to enhanced digital books in English and Spanish. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas students given access to thousands of books, news articles for summer reading through TEA partnership

The Texas Education Agency and Renaissance have partnered to give students unlimited access to enhanced digital books in English and Spanish.

Leander ISD is no longer looking into a 50/50 blended learning model. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Leander ISD parents may choose between 100% in-person or 100% remote learning

Leander ISD will be offering students the option between 100% in-person learning and 100% remote instruction to start the 2020-21 school year.

The State Fair of Texas is expected to return in 2021. (Courtesy Kevin Brown/State Fair of Texas)
State Fair of Texas cancels 2020 season

This is the eighth time in the fair’s 134-year history that the event has been called off.

Interim President Jay Hartzell said in a letter to the UT campus July 7 that a staff member has died from COVID-19. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of Texas custodial services staff member dies from COVID-19

This is the university's first death related to COVID-19, according to a message from interim President Jay Hartzell.

Neil Vickers, ACC executive vice president
Austin Community College approves $416.11 million budget for FY 2020-21, defers salary increases

The budget does not include staff raises, but raises will be re-evaluated in the fall.

New Leander general dentistry office to open in August

The general dentistry office will have modern amenities such as heat and massage chairs, TVs and music in every room.

Travis County is approaching Stage 5 risk with 69 new hospitalizations July 6. (Community Impact staff)
Travis County reports 7 new coronavirus deaths July 6

Travis County is appoaching Stage 5 risk with 69 new hospitalizations July 6 and 64.6 per day this past week.

A photo of two women walking on a trail
Travis County reopens some parks after holiday weekend, warns more closures could come

Seventeen Travis County parks will reopen following Fourth of July weekend closures.