Buda's City Council tabled a proposed development agreement for a 98.96-acre residential development—The Reserve—on April 16 to continue negotiating with developers regarding right-of-way acquisition for the project.

A municipal utility district, or MUD, and annexation request are also being considered concurrently with the development agreement.

What you need to know

The $34 million proposed project would be located along Cole Springs Road—primarily within the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction. The MUD will be used as a "financing vehicle" for infrastructure improvements associated with the project, according to project manager Elliot Jones, which includes extending and realigning Cole Springs Road to FM 1626.

However, there would be a gap of about 1,800 linear feet between where the project ends out to FM 1626.

"We want to try to see that piece rebuilt as part of the project as well," City Manager Micah Grau told Community Impact.

However, to close the gap, either the city or the developer will have to negotiate with property owners in that gap to acquire the additional right of way—which would be a majority of the properties from FM 1626 along Cole Springs Road back to that first bend on Cole Springs Road.

According to city staff, the projected right-of-way acquisition costs would be between $500,000-$700,000, which include appraisal costs and attorney fees as well as right-of-way agents and payment to the affected property owners.

Offering input

Council member Matt Smith thought the developer should pay for the projected right-of-way acquisition costs associated with the project.

"I know why you want to avoid it, same reason why we want to avoid it. I just think that at minimum you guys could at least pay for it. I mean it's part of the project," Smith said.

Jones said he could not fund it.

"We are putting as much cost on a project with 233 lots as we can. It would require increasing a tax rate or being part of the TIRZ, and I don't want to increase the tax rate, and I don't think the city wants to include us in the TIRZ," Jones said.

Project details

The Reserve would consist of single-family homes and a neighborhood park featuring a playground, pavilion and trails. The proposed MUD would also have a $0.75 tax rate.

"We're using it [the MUD] to absorb as much of the cost burden as we can to construct this infrastructure, however, being mindful of the tax rate our consumer will pay since buyers tend to purchase based on payment, and taxes are a component of the payment. We're cautious not to set that tax rate too high either," Jones said.

One more thing

Grau said that the property is privately owned, and under state law people have a right to develop their property. He also emphasized that understanding the overall project and the other roadway improvements happening in the area are important.

"We know the development that's slated for the area, which is why we are working on improvements and a full rebuild to Old Black Colony Road," he said,

Grau said rebuilding Cole Springs Road with a new bridge will also help alleviate traffic in that area.

What's next?

The development agreement, MUD and annexation request will come back to City Council on May 7.