The Hays City Council voted down the municipal utility district, or MUD, and the preliminary plat back in November.
Hays Commons is a proposed subdivision by Milestone Community Builders, an Austin-based homebuilding company. The subdivision would be located at FM 1626 and Carpenter Lane in Manchaca and Hays County Commissioners Court Precinct 4. The housing development would consist of approximately 20 single-family residential lots, two multifamily/condominium lots consisting of 258 units, three parkland/open space lots, three utility lots and one commercial lot.
Marcus Pacheco, Hays County’s development services director, said that the county was “not privy” to the development agreement to his knowledge. As a result, the county’s responsibility is to enforce all of their regulations as they see fit and as they are presented to them.
According to Local Government Code, Chapter 232, if no action is taken within 30 calendar days, it could be deemed administratively complete.
Brett Mundy, owner and and general manager of Jumping Jack Dog Ranch, a dog boarding facility located on Manchaca Road, voiced her concern for how the development plan may impact her business.
The backyards of four homes in the proposed subdivision are located near Mundy’s dog playground, where dogs spend the day barking and playing.
“My concern is that these people are going to place noise complaints and try to shut my business down and I was there first,” Mundy said.
Hays city resident Darlene Starr noted that some residents, including herself, attempted to reach out to their commissioner, Walt Smith, but did not receive a response.
“Several members of our neighborhood have reported reaching out to our commissioner and either not receiving a reply or being told he was not aware of the details of the proposal, and I myself scheduled and attended two meetings where he had to cancel last minute so we were not able to voice our concerns to him,” Starr said. “I’m requesting a postponement of this agenda item for these reasons and all those already expressed or a clear no-vote until all of the commissioners on this court can avail themselves to meet with concerned citizens and water experts about our concerns.”
Commissioner Lon Shell said he’s “never seen anything like this before” and wondered how the court was supposed to apply county rules to a piece of property with no water or wastewater service.
“If someone’s going to develop a piece of property and there is no water or wastewater service, how do we apply our rules if we don’t know what it’s going to be served by for instance, lot size, if it’s on-site treatment or if it’s individual wells,” Shell said. “What’s the purpose of us approving a preliminary plan that seems to be, again, a cart before the horse to this extent. I’ve never seen this many conditions on something, like you don’t meet our lot size requirement, then why am I asked to approve it? You haven’t met the rule,” he added.
According to Mark Kennedy, Hays County’s general counsel, a preliminary plan does not give the developer approval to convey lots or start development; rather, it is a step in the process.
“It’s meant to be an opportunity for feedback, but when the final plat application is filed, that will begin a timeline for us that is very restrictive, especially with the legislation that we had last cycle, and that’s the point where I think we’ll have to either deny, grant conditional approval or approve,” Kennedy said.
The court will reconvene May 2 to review the preliminary plan further.