Commissioners green light new housing development near Toro Canyon Road

Commissioners unanimously approved the construction of the Christopher Homes Condominiums at a meeting Oct. 24.

Commissioners unanimously approved the construction of the Christopher Homes Condominiums at a meeting Oct. 24.

A new housing development in the Westlake Highlands neighborhood was approved for construction by Travis County commissioners Tuesday despite residents' concerns and suggestions to postpone the decision by one week.

Christopher Homes Condominiums, located at 4720 Christopher Drive, includes four new residential units, a parking area, two driveways and drainage and utility infrastructure.

Richard Jennings, a resident of the area, suggested postponement of the decision by one week in order to give county staff enough time to conduct a traffic analysis study and provide residents with notice to speak out about the project.

Bill Johnson, an attorney representing homeowners in the area, said some residents expressed concerns about traffic and safety due to speeding along Toro Canyon Road, which abuts the property.

“We didn’t get notice until yesterday [that this meeting was happening] and many would like to be here,” Johnson said. “The [county] traffic engineer has not had a chance to review the new information. A traffic impact analysis needs to be provided to address these safety concerns and show the improvements they [the developers] are proposing are safe for the residents.”

Toro Canyon Road is a busy road and has a steep incline that contributes to speeding issues, Johnson said.

Commissioner Gerald Daugherty also felt the road is unsafe and that even with adjustments to the speed limit placing homes in the area could be dangerous.

“It’s pretty progressive to [build] four homes on this site,” Daugherty said. “I can see where neighbors are concerned. It is not a safe thing to put four homes on that tract [of land].”

Taylor Wilson, general partner on the project, said postponing the decision could jeopardize his bank loan. He said he received multiple extensions and delaying approval of the development one more week could allow the bank to rescind the loan.

However, Wilson said the project had met all of the county's land use and permitting requirements. The Travis County Fire Marshal’s office also reviewed and approved the development.

Commissioner Brigid Shea, whose precinct covers the area, said postponing the decision would place undue hardship on Wilson and felt moving forward with the project was best.

“I have not heard anything today that said [postponing the decision] would change the plan dramatically even with the [traffic impact analysis],” Shea said.


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