Zoning, PUDs and Development Agreements

My role in the development of Lakeway has been greatly exaggerated by some in our community.  They would have you believe that I am responsible for Planned Unit Development (PUD) Agreements, the administration of those agreements, and that I am also pro ”big development.”  None of this could be further from the truth. So I think it is time to shed some light on development in Lakeway.

There are 2 active PUDs, a Development Agreement and a Zoning classification Major Medical Center (MMC).  They are the Rough Hollow Development Agreement, Tuscan Village PUD, Oaks of Lakeway PUD, and Lakeway Medical Village Zoning.  Click this link to view a table of the dates these agreements were signed and when modifications were made to the agreement.

My term on City Council was from May 2014 – April 2016.  As you can see from the table, NO PUD agreements or MMC zoning agreements were negotiated or signed during my tenure as a council member or as the Mayor of Lakeway.  As a matter of fact, I spoke out against many facets of the Legend Communities Proposed City Center PUD in April 2018 (including density, structure of the agreement, and the administration of the agreement) as a Mayoral candidate.  Please see my blog post from April 2nd of last year entitled: Lakeway Town Center: How did we get here? In it I chronicle the project’s various aspects as well as provide a list of things that I felt (at that time) needed to be negotiated. I close the blog post with this: “To be clear, I don't think we should "Reject" or "Approve" the City Center Plan.  I think we negotiate.” I still feel that same way today. The building and development process can be confusing.  Most zoning, development agreements or PUDs are signed years ahead of the project’s start.  I was surprised by a new development breaking ground on Lohman’s Spur last year, only to find out that it was approved ~10 years ago. 

Only one PUD amendment was made while I was on council.  In 2015, the City Council allowed La Quinta to increase height from 50’ to 60’ to improve the overall aesthetics of the building.  This hotel is part of the Oaks PUD agreement that was finalized in April 2014.  Please be aware, Stratus has the ability to build another hotel behind HEB and R2 housing.  There are no plans in review to build them as of right now, but they can per their 2014 agreement with the City.

Since becoming Mayor, one MMC zoning amendment has been approved by City Council.  We allowed one of the medical buildings to increase from 3 stories to 4 to provide for larger medical groups.  I believe the hospital facilities are an asset to our community, so it behooves us to attract the best physicians and ancillary businesses.  Plus, an increase in height in this area of Lakeway has minimal impact as it is situated right across the street from one of the tallest building in Lakeway.

You might have heard people reference Parks that are owed to the city.  This is true and of no surprise.  I cannot tell you why the Rough Hollow waterfront park wasn’t finished 10 years ago, but I can tell you why we haven’t pushed to execute it now  We are in the midst of a negotiation with the same developer about other land development.  I do not believe that it is the time to start another negotiation. This does not mean that it will not be addressed. By the way, if you want to see the discussions that the City Council has had with this developer about the Lakeway MUD property, you can watch the special work sessions in November 7, December 17 and February 4 on the City Website. (https://www.lakeway-tx.gov/1062/Videos---Meetings-Events).

As for roads, we have a number that are owed to us per the PUD agreements, but at different timings.  Stratus owes the city a portion of Main Street behind HEB, but that will not happen until they build the back half of their development.  Legend will connect Main Street from Stratus’ property line to the entrance of the Hills once an agreement is reached on the Lakeway MUD property.  Legend will also connect Lohman’s Spur from the police station to Main Street.  This commitment was already secured through the Tuscan Village PUD amendment #5 (Lohman’s Spur was not dead-ended as has been referenced).  I do not believe that the City should pay for a road that is already owed to us by the developer.  I don’t have a problem building it up front and assessing the cost back to the developer, but I think it is fiscally irresponsible as your Mayor to have the citizens foot the bill for ½ mile of road and not hold the developer financially responsible. Again, negotiations are ongoing and have to operate within the previously agreed upon terms.

There are very few areas left to develop in Lakeway. This means that it is very critical for the City to identify what we want and need in these areas.  This is why I have said the Comprehensive Plan is my number one priority.  This process will re-envision our Lakeway 20 years from now, taking into consideration the feedback from our current residents (the last Comprehensive plan was done in 2003 when the average age was 67, it is now 43).  One output of this process is the Future Land Use Map which is the document that helps guide staff, ZAPCO, and the City Council as we decide what types of development are best for our community. Another output of this process is the infrastructure plan that will identify roads needed and/or improved, necessary drainage, utilities and much more.  We are 9 months into the process and expect that we will finish it around the end of this year.  We are currently seeking your input through a survey. Please go to this link to help us re-envision your future Lakeway:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Lakeway-2040-Vision

In summary, the major Lakeway developments under construction were negotiated years ago and there are very few parcels of land left without a specific plan.  Your City Council has been working to put plans in place to preserve the community that we all know and love.  The growth and development is inevitable, but we will actively manage it to our shared vision.  Please do not be fooled into believing stories on social media. Many times they do not include of all of the facts or illustrate the accurate process.  You can see from my actions over the last 10 months that the City Council is listening and taking action when the time is appropriate.