By Moses Leos III
A variety of concerns over a planned apartment development near Center Street and Interstate-35 led the Kyle City Council to give a rezoning application for the complex the cold shoulder.
By a unanimous vote on May 7, the Kyle Council denied an application for Center Street Village, LP to rezone six acres of land from retail services to apartment residential.
According to Kyle Mayor Todd Webster, the city could “do better” than to allow for an apartment complex to set up near the Center Street bridge.
“It’s important for our city and our corridor to not be turned into a multifamily residential corridor, at least in a non-mixed use sense,” Webster said.
City Council took up the rezoning application after it passed through Planning and Zoning by a 4-1 vote on April 30.
But the application wasn’t without dissention. Commissioner Timothy Kay expressed concerns on the increase in traffic the development could bring. In addition, the development’s location wouldn’t allow for residents to travel south.
The proposed development was to be located behind the 7-Eleven at the intersection of IH-35 and Center Street.
Mayor Pro-Tem Diane Hervol seconded those concerns, saying she envisions the access road leading to FM 150 “backing up, especially in the morning.”
But one of council’s primary issues was with the rezoning of the land.
The applicants chose the location as it was on the northern part of the Plum Creek flood plane. They also chose apartment residential as it allowed them to place the most units per buildable acre.
Apartment residential allows for 28 units per buildable acre; Multifamily, or R-3-2, allows only 21 units.
In addition, Tres Howland, civil engineer of the project, said the location was “ideal for the community,” where it was behind the retail pads and it “lends itself to walkability and a mixed use development concept.”
However, the developers ultimately conceded there are no plans to create a mixed-use development, instead relying on the walkability to retail surrounding the complex.
But Webster and council didn’t agree. Webster was opposed to the idea of multifamily residential complex developing in that area. He also had concerns of the developer possibly rushing to meet a financial deadline.
“I can trace every bad decision the city has made to being in some sort of a hurry, or someone being in a hurry,” Webster said. “That was the first red flag for me.”
Council member David Wilson’s primary concern was the quality of the apartment complex. He said he didn’t want Kyle to be “known as the cheap rent place for folks in Austin that can’t afford to live in Austin.”
But Joe Mooney, business partner for the project, refuted the claims. He said the developer is “trying to think of the bigger picture, and not just development.”
Steve Durso, property owner of the proposed project, said the development is “going to be an at-market or above market complex.” Mooney said rushing wasn’t their goal.
But Durso questioned the city’s recommended use of apartment and multifamily residential use in the comprehensive plan.
“If that wasn’t recommended, why is it in there,” one official said. “That was one of the reasons that pushed us in that direction.”
Out-going council member Samantha Bellows believed an apartment complex at the location was “bare basement.”
She envisions the area becoming what she called a South Congress style area, with restaurants, an entertainment district and things “you can lure in that are easy to do as far as development of property is concerned.”
“I know you are frustrated and I know you’ve held on for some time. But I know this property could be so much more,” she said. “That’s why some council members are hesitating, because we know what kind of jewel you have.”