Council green lights apartment complex
By LPR Staff
Addressing the growing need for affordable housing in Lockhart, the City Council on Tuesday night allowed a zoning change that clears the way for the development of a proposed 300-unit apartment complex on State Park Road, in what is now a hay field.
The property, currently owned by Bill Schroeder, is a prime location for such a development, according to City Planner Dan Gibson, because it is an “infill” property with proximity not only to a major thoroughfare, but also to the schools. However, the property’s location does bring forth challenges, many of which the neighbors addressed last week to the Planning and Zoning Commission, who unanimously recommended the Council approve the change.
Traffic is the chief concern, said the residents who came forward to speak about the project on Tuesday evening. The area already sees a spike in traffic during peak times in the school year, and adding hundreds of additional residents will make that problem worse, they said. Also, they worried about the type of development that might be built, and the sorts of residents to which the development might cater.
In an effort to quell their concerns, Schroeder addressed the Council in support to ease their minds.
“My family has been a part of this community for generations,” he said. “I love Lockhart, and if I thought a project was going to bring something negative to this community, I wouldn’t be involved with it.”
Developer Eric Scott Ross, who is working with the Schroeder family on the project, assured the Council that the concerns of the neighborhood were heard, and many would be addressed during the platting process, as the project moves forward.
“We will do everything we can to work with the City and the neighborhood to make sure that this is a good project,” he said. “If we can help you work with TxDOT to get a stop light and cross walk at Lion Country Drive, we will.”
He said the project would be comprise of two phases, the first introducing around 100 units, in a three-story “Class A” type apartment. Class A, he said, is the highest grade of apartments.
Additionally, while the City cannot require it, nor consider it as a factor in a zoning discussion, the project partners noted that background checks will be done on all residents before rental agreements are signed.
Because more than 20 percent of the neighboring residents went on record with Planning and Zoning in opposition to the project, a super-majority of the council was required to vote in favor of the zoning change for it to take effect.
“I’ve seen the trials and tribulations of a small town that was once kind of sleepy,” said Councilmember Brad Westmoreland, who expressed support for the project. “But we’re growing, and we’re out of places to live for people that want to come here. This is something that we have to address.”
With only Councilmember John Castillo standing against the change, the Council voted 6-1 to approve the zoning change.
In other business, as part of the development of the new Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan for the community, a steering committee was appointed by the Lockhart City Council to assist in guiding plan development. The committee will hold its first meeting on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, at 6 p.m., in the Glosserman Room, located at the Lockhart City Hall, at 308 W. San Antonio St.
Additionally, a public Workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. in the Glosserman Room.
Citizens are invited to attend and share their thoughts and ideas about the future of the community and future parks and recreation opportunities. The meeting is designed as an open house with a come and go, or come and stay format. Residents, business owners, and anyone interested in the future of Lockhart is invited to stop by to see maps and images depicting options for the future of the community.
The City of Lockhart began the development of a new Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan in Summer 2017, by meeting with City Staff and cataloguing community information by an on-site assessment. The new plan will provide recommendations for existing park improvements, enhancement of recreational opportunities, improving connectivity and walkability within the community and provide recommendations on future parkland acquisition and development. The Plan shall provide a guide for decision-making by City Council, City staff, developers, residents, and anyone with a stake in the future of our community.
The City invites and encourages all citizens to get involved with the planning process. People are encouraged to participate in the Town Hall meeting and the online Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan Survey at http://www.lockhart-tx.org/page/homepage If you have any questions please contact Vance Rodgers or Connie Constancio at (512) 398-3416.
The Lockhart City Council will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., in the Third Floor Council Chambers at the Dr. Eugene Clark Library Complex. During that meeting they are expected to pass the budget and tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year. All Lockhart City Council meetings are open to the public and available for viewing at www.lockhart-tx.org.