Zoning Change Request Near Whispering Hollow Subdivision

The City of Buda’s Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing at its October 9, 2018 meeting regarding a zoning change request for approximately 17.39 acres located north of Old Black Colony Road and south and east of the Whispering Hollow Subdivision. The City has received several questions regarding the requested zoning change, so we have included a summary of the proposed project.

The property currently carries a zoning of Agricultural (AG). This is the default zoning district following annexation, and was not proposed for change in order to avoid adversely impacting any potential agricultural use the property owner had at the time. The proposed zoning change to R-3 (one & two family residential) is to facilitate the development of a residential subdivision using the City’s Innovative Residential Development standards.

In R-3 zoning with standard development, minimum lot size would be 6,000 square feet, with a minimum lot width of 55 feet for interior lots and 60 feet for corner lots. Front and rear yard setbacks are 20 feet, while side yard setbacks are 7.5 feet for interior side yards and 10 feet for corner side yards. The R-3 zoning district has an overall density limit of 8 dwelling units per acre, designed to accommodate a mixture of unit types.

The applicant intends to pursue an innovative residential development of the Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) type, as outlined in Section 2.09.07.H of the Buda Unified Development Code. When developing within the TND option, the hard lot size limits are removed, while the overall density limits remain.  The TND development guidelines are included in the graphic below.

TND

The Innovative Residential Development process, of which Traditional Neighborhood Design is a part, requires a discretionary site plan review by the Planning & Zoning Commission.

The project will result in homes individually for sale, comprised of a mix of single-family detached and single-family attached market rate dwelling structures. The anticipated price points are a similar cost per square foot to the nearby Whispering Hollow homes. There is no multi-family residential (apartment) proposed.

State law requires that for a zoning change request, the City notify, by 1st class mail, property owners (based on tax roll data) in the city limits within 200 feet of the subject property requesting the zoning change at least 10 days prior to the Planning & Zoning Commission public hearing.  The City of Buda, in its locally adopted Unified Development Code, sends this notice to property owners within 400 feet, which is double the requirement of state law and is the widest notification distance found to be used by other cities in Texas.

In addition, the City of Buda sends this notice 15 days in advance of the public hearing rather than 10 days. Both of those enhancements to public notification were made in 2017 due to an identified need to broaden outreach. Furthermore, the City posts a sign on the subject property, which is not a requirement of state law, but instead a locally adopted requirement.

The City has received a number of questions regarding the proposed zoning change. We have included answers to those questions in the link below. There are additional questions and answers below the link.  

Response to Neighborhood Questions Regarding Zoning Case 

How does the proposed neighborhood and zoning compare to nearby neighborhoods that are zoned R-2?

The nearby Stonewood Commons development is zoned R-3. The R-3 district is the next step more dense than the R-2 zoning found in adjacent Whispering Hollow, so R-3 is not drastically out-of-place in that context. In addition, Whispering Hollow, as built, is actually more similar to R-3 than R-2 in terms of lot standards.

Why is the proposed neighborhood connecting to Enchanted Woods Trail and Treehaven Court? Does it have to connect?

The City’s Unified Development Code requires developments to provide street stub-outs to adjacent undeveloped land to facilitate future development and interconnection. This is why the two streets terminate with a barrier instead of a cul-de-sac, as they were always intended to connect. This requirement exists to facilitate connectivity between neighborhoods, providing multiple alternative routes for access, and applies regardless of the type of development being connected to.

What will this project look like?

As part of the review of an innovative residential development, a sketch plan has been provided for review. The sketch plan is included on page 14 of the agenda packet from the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on October 9, 2018.

We’ve included a link here:  Planning and Zoning Agenda Packet - Oct. 9, 2018 Meeting

The general configuration of the proposed development is townhouses located closer to Old Black Colony Road, while the single-family detached units are located in the parts adjacent to the Whispering Hollow subdivision. The subdivision connects to an existing pair of streets that loop into the property at the site’s northern extreme. The two streets are proposed to merge within the development, leading to a single access point on Old Black Colony Road. A stub-out street is provided to the east to accommodate future development of adjacent property. This sketch plan shows the use of alley-loaded garages, the open space areas and indicates an overall density just slightly under 8 units per acre. It is noteworthy that the use of the TND design allows the applicant to better accommodate natural features of the land, including the preservation of several signature and heritage trees on the property.

How will this impact traffic on Old Black Colony Road?

This project is currently at the zoning stage of the entitlement process. If approved, the applicant will ultimately submit a Preliminary Plat, which requires a Traffic Impact Analysis Threshold Worksheet with information about the trips generated by the project. If the trip generation exceeds certain thresholds established in the Unified Development Code, then the applicant will be required to prepare a Traffic Impact Analysis.

Incidentally, Whispering Hollow, Elm Grove and Garlic Creek, collectively referred to as Garlic Creek West and totaling over 1,900 lots, was developed without a Traffic Impact Analysis, leading to changes to the Unified Development Code several years ago.

How can I provide input on this proposed zoning change?

The action by the Planning and Zoning Commission on October 9, 2018 was to table consideration in order to allow an opportunity for the Developer to meet with a working group from the adjacent neighborhood of Whispering Hollow. The goal of this group is to identify methods to resolve concerns raised by neighborhood residents. Staff is working with both the Developer and Whispering Hollow to facilitate this.

This will be updated as the group is formed and a schedule emerges. People can continue to provide input via email to Assistant City Manager Chance Sparks at csparks@ci.buda.tx.us.

Future meetings with the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council will include public hearing elements pertaining to this case, and are also opportunities to provide input.

What will be the process for consideration of this project moving forward?

This process for consideration going forward will likely be defined by the results of the input process described above, as potential agreements between the neighborhood and Developer may require different procedures based on the Unified Development Code and State Law.