During public comment of a Sept. 21 Dripping Springs City Council meeting, residents living near the proposed Double L Ranch cited concerns about road safety, home values and environmental impacts.
The council approved the development agreement for Double L Ranch after months of meetings and amendments to the plan.
Homeowners living in the nearby Legacy Trails neighborhood told council they worry about increased traffic on Pecos River Crossing, a road with no sidewalks. The site plan for Double L includes a four-lane arterial road to divert traffic from RR 12. Fran Nations, a Legacy Trails resident, suggested closing off Pecos altogether, as she worries for kids on bikes, joggers and moms with their baby buggies who use the road.
Though many other commenters also said they have misgivings about a potential for increased traffic in their neighborhoods, officials did not decide on a plan to diminish increased traffic in Founders Ridge and Legacy Trails neighborhoods during the meeting.
Concerns from residents also included smaller Double L lots backing up against larger lots in existing neighborhoods and potentially reducing existing homes’ values, while others pointed to problems with increased impervious cover preventing water from filtering through the ground and feeding Barton Springs.
Legacy Trails resident Angie Cullens echoed other speakers and asked officials to prioritize maintaining a neighborhood feel for Dripping Springs residents who pay taxes over making transportation easier for future residents of the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction where the Double L Ranch will be built. Residents of the ETJ do not pay taxes to the city.
While residents' comments focused on potential problems that come with new development, officials cited a need to get ahead of area's inevitable growth.
Council Member Taline Manassian said her home is only two blocks from Hwy. 290, and people often cut through her neighborhood to avoid traffic.
“I can’t say, 'Stop people from going through our neighborhood,'” Manassian said. “We have to look at the bigger picture.”
Mayor Bill Foulds said he is considering local businesses when he thinks about new roads being built.
Congestion at the intersection of Hwy. 290 and RR 12 has become so bad that some businesses in the city are not making appointments until 10 a.m. and losing out on several hours of business every day, he said.
“I know that’s not y’all’s problems as homeowners,” Foulds said. “But if our businesses can’t survive, our city can’t survive.”
The original development plan would have introduced a higher density neighborhood with more than 2,800 homes and 435 multi-family units. The approved plan allows for 2,231 houses and 250 senior living units in retirement home. Developers also agreed to comply with lighting, landscaping and building code requirements despite being outside of city limits.