Buda City Council is set to deliberate on and establish terms for consideration of a development agreement with MileStone Community Builders for the proposed 775-acre Persimmon development Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. at 405 E. Loop St., Buda. The council has received multiple presentations from the developer over the past six months with updates following feedback.

The development consists of two tracts, Bailey and Armbruster, which will have 15 acres for a school within Hays CISD, 3.5 acres for an emergency services department site, up to 30 acres for commercial spaces and more.

In July, the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted to recommend denial of the development agreement to council, which was met by applause from residents as it has been highly contentious.

However, with the proposed development nestled in the extraterritorial jurisdictions of Buda and Austin, MileStone does not need approval from the council to proceed.

“The thing that hasn’t been talked about much and it’s a super dicey topic because it can come off the wrong way is the alternative to this development agreement that’s sitting before council,” MileStone CEO Garrett Martin told Community Impact Newspaper.

According to the Persimmon website, property owners in Texas can still develop their property without consent from the city; however, the county will still need to approve the project “under very broad standards.”

Garrett said they have worked on this project in some capacity for about five years. Prior to the various updates over the months, there was one glaring issue: there was one way into the proposed development and one way out.

“We proposed a bridge to the east of the [Bailey] tract, and we got some good traction off of that, but there were some concerns over how that was coming together,” Martin said. “Eventually, with the acquisition of the Armbruster tract, we identified a pathway that will get all the way out to FM 1626.”

The FM 1626 and RM 967 connector was a monumental solution for the development, Martin said, as it gave full-range connectivity and will aid in the already congested roadway. The connector, estimated at around $60 million, will be fully built and funded by the project via the establishment of a public improvement district.

He added that the goal is to have the road built as soon as possible.

“Once we get the green light on the development agreement, the city has set up an expedited review process for us to submit our plans to. Our folks are already working on the details of the alignment, survey work and everything that goes into being able to start the construction plans for that roadway. ... Our goal, and I think it’s an achievable goal, is to have that open by the end of 2024,” Martin said.

If, in due time, the council does not approve the project, MileStone can still develop Persimmon. The development, however, will not have to comply with the city’s standards and ordinances.

Among the changes if the development is not approved by council and only complies with Hays County standards, MileStone will not build the FM 1626 and RM 967 connector, commercial developments will proceed without Buda architectural design standards, parks and green spaces may not be as extensive, and there may not be acreage earmarked for a school or EMS station.

Ultimately, the council will vote on the development agreement Oct. 11, according to the Persimmon website.