The Backyard, Terrace revised to meet city standards

Bee Cave project scaled down

Almost a year after presenting the idea of a movie studio, entertainment venue and residences coexisting on the same tract, The Backyard and Terrace projects are once again under the microscope. Bee Cave City Council voted Oct. 28 to send new plans for the projects—located at 13801 and 13500 Bee Cave Parkway, respectively—back to the city's Planning and Zoning Commission for a recommendation. The previous plans were denied a recommendation for approval Sept. 2 by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The Backyard revised

Originally, The Backyard's Live Oak Theater was slated to hold about 7,500 patrons. However, the new plan reduces the music venue to a 3,410-person capacity.

The 35-acre site will still include a movie studio, office space, retail and a hotel in a scaled-down version, with a reduction of 230,400 square feet of building space, said Chris Milam, the projects developer.

The Backyard's footprint was decreased, the music venue height was lowered and the hotel was removed from its projected hilltop site to ground level at a height of 47 feet. Similarly, office and movie studio building heights were reduced from four stories to three stories and capped at 47 feet.

The new proposal limits the hotel to 125 rooms, Milam said. The previous plan was uncapped. The hotel will be locally owned and house one restaurant, he said.

The moontower architectural feature in the original plans was also removed, he said.

The Terrace revised

In Milam's prior proposal for The Terrace, all uses were permitted in the plan. However, the new proposal limits construction on the tract to office space, retail and condominiums.

The proposed studios were removed, and the revised plan was reduced from 35,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet, Milam said. Open space was increased from 20 percent of the tract to almost 25 percent, with a drop in impervious cover.

Public amenities

Plans for the projects also include public amenities ranging from park and trail space to a splash pad and tennis courts.

"All of the amenities have to be built up front as part of Phase 1 of the project," said Steve Metcalfe, attorney for The Backyard and The Terrace proposals.

Milam said he also offered about 2.5 acres of open space from The Backyard project to the Bee Cave Arts Foundation.

Sentiment mixed

Although nearby Ladera neighborhood residents said they found the new plans more appealing than the previous project, many cited concerns over the potential of increased traffic, building height and noise during an Oct. 6 meeting in the Hill Country Galleria.

"My concern is for the actual amphitheater," said Catherine Thomas, who said she moved into Ladera at the beginning of September. "I heard every word of last night's concert in my bedroom until midnight. I don't think anything [held] outside can be kept quiet enough for residents."

Milam said the project will have a sound-attenuation system to restrict the noise level escaping the area to a maximum of 85 decibels. He said he turned the amphitheater around so the stage faces southeast to accommodate the concerns of Ladera residents. Sound leaving the venue will head to Hwy. 71 and RR 620.

Resident John Wooding said he didn't mind the project as long as the roads are in place first to support the added traffic.

"This zoning won't allow the venue to open until there is direct access to Hwy. 71," Milam said.

The new roadways will need to be completed before the facilities are underway, he said. The new access onto Hwy. 71 is planned to take traffic off Bee Cave Parkway and onto the highway, he said.

"What really generates an awful amount of traffic is retail," Metcalfe said. "We're not doing retail."