City OKs rezoning for 220-home project on Bagdad Road

The project is known as Trails at Leander and could include up to 220 luxury rental homes.

The project is known as Trails at Leander and could include up to 220 luxury rental homes.

A 52-acre site southeast of Bagdad Road and the Leander Public Library was rezoned for a planned unit development by Leander City Council on Dec. 3.

The developer, Mosaic Development Group, has planned 220 or fewer single-family luxury rental homes. The homes would have at least 1,300 square feet and could be rented for a monthly rate of $1,400 to $2,000, Mosaic Development Group President Blake Yantis told the council.

The project is known as Trails at Leander and was originally zoned for commercial and multi-family uses. Plans call for Cotton Patch Trail in the Mason Creek subdivision to be the entrance to the new neighborhood. Two residents of Cotton Patch, brothers Deron Whitecotton and David Whitecotton, spoke to council and said they and other neighbors support the project.

“Having a community that more closely resembles a single-family type environment is a much more attractive proposal for the Mason Creek area,” David Whitecotton said.

Deron Whitecotton said the development would keep traffic low in the Mason Creek area. The new homes’ architectural designs—classified as Type A by city standards—would also be better for existing single-family residents than multi-family development, Deron Whitecotton said.

“The Type A [standards] will help our home values stay where they’re currently at, whereas if apartment complexes were to come in, our home values would go down,” he said.

Yantis said the developer wants to market to older tenants whose children have moved out, and who leave their homes for most of the day.

“Our intention is to do a rental product that is targeted to empty-nester, lock-and-leave [tenant],” Yantis said. “But we’re not ruling out that this could be a for-sale community as well. It could be a hybrid. The market will dictate. … We are seeing these communities all over the country. There are a lot of advantages to doing it in this setting.”

Mosaic will own the homes and manage the home owners association, Yantis said.

The council’s vote was 6-1, with Place 4 Council Member Ron Abruzzese voting no.

On Nov. 24, members of the Leander Planning and Zoning Commission also recommended the rezoning by a 6-1 vote. However, P&Z included several conditions for the project. City Council’s vote struck four of those conditions after members said the conditions seemed unnecessary.

Some of the conditions would not work with the project plans, said Anthony Goode, Vice President of Lockwood Engineers, who represents the developer.

The council voted to remove P&Z’s conditions that would have required the developer to install a crosswalk and signs for a trail crossing on Bagdad Road, move a parking lot behind a leasing building and include a definition of the term “soil.” Council members also rejected P&Z’s condition that the council delay a final decision until P&Z members review final project plans.