A public notice sent to roughly 2,000 Pflugerville residents announcing City Council's intent to modify development standards prompted concerns about property rights. The proposed changes aim to encourage mixed-use and high-density developments along the SH 130 corridor.

The gist

A public hearing will be conducted during a March 26 City Council meeting, where council members may opt to approve amendments to the city’s unified development code.

However, the notice sent to residents included language stating, “The city of Pflugerville is holding a hearing that will determine whether you may lose the right to continue using your property for its current use,” raising concerns from both homeowners and business owners alike.

Addressing these concerns, Jeremy Frazzell, director of planning and development services, said single-family homeowners and business owners will not be affected. He emphasized that these adjustments target future development and the language included in the notice is a new state requirement.

The new language requirement from the state went into effect last May. Notices were sent out for a similar matter in the fall.

“The difference is, in 2023, when we sent the notification, we sent out two notices. This time I was concerned about sending two notices because I didn’t want somebody to not receive a notice,” Frazzell explained. “I didn't want the wrong letter to go to the wrong place. So what I chose to do was give everybody the same notice. And the lesson learned is that I will be adding more language into those notifications. I will spell out a little bit more information.”

The details

The updates to the city’s unification code are ultimately targeted at obtaining and regulating more mixed-use and high-density developments along SH 130 and SH 45.

“One of the big changes, and something I've heard from my colleagues on council, is related to multifamily. Right now in multifamily, just regular old apartments are allowed without any restrictions in the [corridor district] zoning, and I think that's something that a lot of folks have wanted to change,” Place 1 council member Doug Weiss said. “Multifamily is still allowed as long as they do certain things that I would say make it more palatable.”

Weiss clarified that neighboring communities, some residential, within 200 feet of the proposed property rezoning were notified, as required by law. Additionally, the city went beyond this state requirement by extending notifications to properties within 500 feet.

The proposed amendments are as follows:
  • Multifamily housing will be allowed only under specific conditions or through a specific use permit, which requires approval by City Council. Examples of these conditions include mixed-use concepts, with commercial on the ground floor and multifamily residential above.
  • Updates to design requirements are proposed for multifamily and mixed-use buildings, which include considerations for different building types, heights and parking arrangements.
  • An introduction of Cottage Homes is being introduced to offer residents a new housing option.
  • Condos are no longer classified as a separate land use category but are now considered real estate transitions, per state law.
  • Changes are being made to integrate electric vehicle charging stations at gas stations.
  • Drive-thru building development changes are aimed at promoting pedestrian access and dining options, a shift away from auto-centric services.
  • Adjustments are being made to building placement and orientation on lots to encourage more urban-style projects.
  • Modifications to landscaping requirements are proposed to better fit with urban-style developments.
  • New definitions have been added to clarify changes in land use regulations.
These amendments are intended to align more closely with the goals outlined in the Aspire 2040 Comprehensive Plan, according to city officials.

Some context

The proposed changes date back to 2023.

Weiss explained that throughout the process last year, many landowners and developers expressed displeasure with the restrictions the city sought to impose on development. However, Weiss pointed out that often these developments were being undertaken with minimal regulation or adherence to standard requirements.

Local landowners organized a petition that demanded a supermajority vote from council, in which approval from six of the seven members was needed. The petition failed to pass, as only five council members voted in favor of approval.

Terms to know

A unified development code is a comprehensive set of regulations that governs land use, development and construction within a municipality. It typically includes zoning regulations, subdivision standards, site design criteria, landscaping requirements, signage regulations and other development standards.

Corridor district zoning should provide an adequate mix of residential, commercial and industrial land uses that encourage a mix of employment, shopping and services opportunities, according to city zoning districts code.

Next steps

Find more information on the proposed code amendments here.

Though the city will conduct a public hearing, citizens may also sign up for public comment through the city’s website to voice any concerns on the subject during the March 26 City Council meeting.