Travis County OKs Bella Fortuna as public improvement district

Bella Fortuna was approved as a development district east of I-35 in Travis County at a Travis County Commissioners Court meeting Oct. 31, 2017.

Bella Fortuna was approved as a development district east of I-35 in Travis County at a Travis County Commissioners Court meeting Oct. 31, 2017.

Travis County added a new public improvement district, or PID, Tuesday with the approval of the Bella Fortuna development.

A PID is a tool the county uses to create affordable housing through private development.

Diana Ramirez, director of economic development and strategic investments in the planning and budget office for Travis County, said affordable housing means no more than 30 percent of a household’s income is spent on housing costs, such as utilities or mortgage insurance.

The homes in the Bella Fortuna development will range from $225,000-$320,000.

“If you look at a home priced at $225,000 for a four-person family that makes 100 percent of the median income of $70,000, with two income earners they would be able to make the payments,” Ramirez said. “That’s what we mean by affordable. A working family could afford it.”

Bob Ruggio, developer for the property, said the development will hopefully address the housing need in southeast Travis County.

The 157-acre development will be situated about a mile southeast of I-35 and Onion Creek Parkway along Bradshaw Road in the city of Austin extraterritorial jurisdiction.

The development will involve the construction of 476 single-family home sites, a 3-acre commercial site and 46-acres of parkland with a 1.5-mile trail network that is connected to the Onion Creek regional trail plan.

At a Commissioners Court meeting in January, a few Onion Creek residents expressed concern with flooding and traffic safety issues with the new development.

Ruggio said the updated site plan does include increased water quality and detention ponds to address the flooding issues. He said he is also working with the  Texas Department of Transportation and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, or CAMPO, to improve the roadway in the area. The site plan does advance the CAMPO plan to extend Pleasant Valley Road through the area.

“We are so excited to get this PID approved today,” Ruggio said. “It’s a win for the county and the developer and, ultimately, the consumer benefits the most.”

Ruggio said they are expected to break ground in late 2018, and construction will likely last about four years.


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