Updated: City of Cedar Park postpones amendment to private street regulations

Updated 4 p.m. CST Dec. 20, 2013

During Cedar Park City Council's Dec. 19 meeting, the council voted to postpone final approval of the ordinance amending private street regulations.

Planning Manager Amy Link said she preferred the city have more discussions with concerned residents before the final vote.

City Council plans to review the ordinance during its Jan. 9 meeting.

Original story

On Dec. 19, Cedar Park City Council is set to review an amended ordinance that could widen the city's path to more gated and private communities within the city limits.

During its Dec. 12 meeting, council heard the ordinance's first reading. If approved, the changes would allow private streets in single-family subdivisions and specifically permit the city to provide street-sweeping on private streets. In addition, the ordinance requires property owners' associations, or POAs, to provide projected annual cost estimates for street maintenance in their documentation.

Under the amended ordinance, a landowner with property zoned for single-families residences could provide a gated community with private streets, Planning Manager Amy Link said.

"That's the biggest change," Link said to council members.

City leaders said the change affects only new subdivisions, not existing ones. The amended ordinance would have no financial impact on existing private streets, Link said.

"We've had several requests from developers that would like to provide a more-executive level of housing with a gated community that they currently can't achieve under our existing zoning," she said.

Previously the city's ordinance did not allow private streets within single-family subdivisions unless they are part of a planned development or a master planned community, Link said.

Private streets must be built to public road standards. They are maintained by a POA, she said.

The city does maintain drainage and utilities on private streets within required road easements, Mayor Matt Powell said. Moreover, Cedar Park street sweepers had already been cleaning in private subdivisions; the amended ordinance would only reflect that officially, he said.

Powell said he hoped the city could reach out to existing neighborhoods such as his own to reassure residents the ordinance would not affect existing private streets.

"They're talking about raising the homeowners' dues, having to do a significant increase because of this," Powell said. "Looking at it, I don't see it. But I would suggest before this comes back for a vote that maybe we do some further communication and talk about implications."

Representatives from large companies praise Cedar Park for its diverse housing options, Powell said, but they want more executive-level housing. Developers can benefit from the changed ordinance, he said.

Cedar Park Planning & Zoning commissioners unanimously recommended the change at their Nov. 17 meeting.