On March 15, the Leander City Council rezoned 55 acres at the southwest intersection of Lakeline Boulevard and Crystal Falls Parkway, paving the way for grocery store chain Randalls to move forward with developing at the planned Town Center.
Following a week of negotiations between the developer, The Lookout Group, and residents, council made minor changes to the zoning request approved by the planning and zoning commission on March 8. Plans for the property include a grocery store, town homes and local office space.
Many residents who previously opposed the development spoke again at the council meeting, noting cooperation from The Lookout Group president Bill Hinckley, who added a park and a pond to the area after discussions with John Ford and other residents.
"My hope was to create an alternate use in area behind our houses, like make it a park, and I was happy to find Mr. Hinckley was willing to consider it," Ford said. "I don't know if everyone will be happy with the proposed zoning change, but I think it should be recognized as a good compromise between the developer and the residents in the area."
Many residents said they had no idea a grocery store could potentially abut their neighborhood, which was formerly zoned for single family dwellings. Hinckley said as he developed the land, a sign marked the property mixed use for at least eight years.
"We promised a planed master community and we took a patient money approach. We even wrote a check to the city for the Lakeline extension which is why Randalls tried to go ahead and pull the trigger and join our community," Hinckley said. "I consider this a watershed event for myself and the community."
While some residents expressed angst about traffic patterns and light pollution, most who spoke opposition at planning and zoning commended The Lookout Group and asked council to approve the plans.
Resident Jennifer Baade said she was thankful residents and the developer reached a compromise.
"I am passionate about this neighborhood. It's obvious Mr. Hinckley developed the best master planned community because all of us love it so much that we would come to you to talk about it," Baade said.
At the meeting, city council also approved three agenda items pertaining to the Leander "T" road construction project, including materials testing and $400,000 additional funds for Hero Way development agreement construction match project.
Update: 12:01 p.m.: A current rendering of The Lookout Group's plans for Crystal Falls Town Center replaced the first design drawing originally posted with this story.