Proposed storage facility, gas station draw protests

Development would be located between Bella Vista and Twin Creeks subdivsions

Nearby residents are petitioning against two proposed developments tucked between the Bella Vista and Twin Creeks subdivisions near Cedar Park.

The long-vacant property near Dies Ranch Road could be the future site of a large self-storage facility and gas station, which would face Anderson Mill Road. Both projects are under review by Cedar Park development officials, although they can only review building standards because the property falls within the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction—meaning Cedar Park cannot dictate zoning at the site.

The petition is being spearheaded by the Cedar Park Neighborhood Action Network, which comprises residents from various subdivisions throughout the city with the goal of protecting the community's quality of life, among other initiatives. The petition, which already has 601 signatures as of May 10, calls the developments "inconsistent with the character" of the surrounding communities and suggests a gas station would be dangerous near residential neighborhoods.

"If something like that were to happen, it'd literally be right on top of several houses," said Caleb Magee, CPNAN founder and Twin Creeks resident. "The development is just completely incompatible with the entire Anderson Mill corridor."

The 10-acre site on which both the proposed gas station and storage facility lie has long been owned by Austin businessman Beau Theriot, who originally envisioned keeping the land intact as park space. He also attempted to develop the site for residential use, but he said he was unable to gain access to utilities.

Theriot called the far east side of the site a "perfect corner" for a gas station but denied having any involvement in such a development. He instead expressed interest in selling the remaining parcel. However, a predevelopment meeting request submitted to Cedar Park officials in late March indicates plans for an "Anderson Mill Gas Station," with Theriot cited as the property's owner.

Theriot sold the other 7.5 acres of the property late last year to Brian Birdwell, who intends on building Dies Ranch Storage. The 90,000-square-foot self-storage site would contain approximately 700 units, Birdwell said, and would be surrounded by masonry walls and a significant amount of landscaping.

The storage facility would help fill a void for the area, he said, which is made up of master-planned developments.

"Those types of communities generally have a need for storage because residents aren't able to store as many things on their property to comply with covenants of the community," Birdwell said. "Beyond that, I looked around and saw what the market demand was and thought there was a good opportunity."

So far, only one nearby homeowner has approached Birdwell with concerns, he said, although Magee expressed interest in setting up a meeting with all concerned parties in the near future.

"We are going to ask them to do everything they possibly can to prevent these developments from moving forward," Magee said. "We've tried to come up with reasonable compromises on the types of development we think would be acceptable to us, and we will continue to do that."

Birdwell said he is willing to work with nearby residents to ensure some sort of compromise.

"I really do think, or at least I hope, that long-term we can put together a project that is consistent with the landscaping and topography that we can really blend in or disappear in the community rather than stand out," he said.

By Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.


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