Buda City Council is set to vote on releasing MileStone Community Builders' land for the Persimmon development from the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction, giving the developer options to move the project forward, at an upcoming meeting Oct. 11.

Current situation

The ETJ is an area of land located outside and adjacent of the city's limits wherein cities have limited authority.

Following Senate Bill 2038's passage out of the 88th legislative session, property owners in an ETJ are able to file a petition to be released from the city. Buda City Manager Micah Grau told Community Impact that MileStone Community Builders is pursuing multiple pathways to get the project moving without the city's input or restrictions.

If approved by council, the Persimmon land will become unincorporated Hays County territory, and the developers will be able to build following the county's regulations, which are not as stringent as the city's, Grau said.

If denied, the land will be released 45 days after the petition to pull out of the ETJ was submitted to the city under the new law.

The context

The city and the developer have worked toward a development agreement for years with no deal in sight. In September 2022, the council adopted a terms sheet, which is not legally binding but is a culmination of all the issues or requirements for the development.

The city and the developer are unable to come to terms over the following issues:
  • The number of homes and lot sizes
  • Timeline for transportation infrastructure
  • Tree mitigation
The project has also continuously been met with opposition from residents, community members and the council.

Major takeaways

Both Grau and MileStone Community Builders CEO Garrett Martin said they are still working to bring a development agreement to City Council; however, a timeline for that remains unclear. The developer submitted a request to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to establish a municipal utility district, a special taxing district, to finance the project.

If a development agreement is not reached, MileStone Community Builders will need to spend money that would have gone toward transportation projects on connecting to water, electricity and all the other utilities needed instead.

However, the TCEQ has received about 45 requests from the community for a public hearing on the MUD application before its approval or denial, said Laura Lopez, media and community relations manager for the TCEQ.

What happens next?

The TCEQ will consider the requests for a hearing at a commission meeting in the future.

As of Oct. 2, a public hearing has not yet been scheduled for residents to speak for or against the MUD.