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Dripping Springs P&Z greenlights 189-acre Heritage development

An ordinance and several agreements allowing for a development to begin in the 189-acre Heritage subdivision passed a substantial hurdle Monday.

The Dripping Springs Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of a Planned Development District (PDD) ordinance, as well as an annexation and development agreement for the Heritage subdivision by a 5-0 vote.

The items are subject to finalizing and completing a “mutually acceptable” wastewater agreement, as well as an offsite road and trail agreement, and a financing plan.

All items will now go before the city council, which could take action on them later this month.

Ocie Vest, senior vice president for Stratford Land, said the idea for the property, which is located in the heart of Dripping Springs west of Mercer Street, is to annex the land into the city limits. The property is currently in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Heritage is a 189-acre development that will have up to 700 residential units. The development will have single-family units, village condominiums, courtyard housing and some multi-family residential components. The development is projected for completion in four phases.

Vest said condos and courtyard homes would have a price point that begins at the mid-$200,000 range, while single-family residences would begin at $300,000. Vest added the price point of homes in the Heritage Subdivision would be more affordable than other areas in Dripping Springs.

The development is projected to have three acres of commercial space in the center of the subdivision. Vest said the space, which would be near the property’s amenity center, would cater to restaurants.

“The idea there is to get retail establishments that can do well in the area,” Vest said. “Coffee shops, sandwhich or ice cream shops, so we can really play to neighborhood services rather than pull people off of U.S. 290.”

Heritage would also become the city’s second public improvement district (PID), but would be a reimbursement PID. Stratford would pay the cost for infrastructure up front, and would then be reimbursed via assessments from homeowners.

Mim James, Dripping Springs P&Z chairperson, said while bonds would be sold to investors to help pay for infrastructure and development, it would only affect homeowners in the subdivision, and not the public.

Stratford Land is also working with the city for several key agreements for the development. One is an offsite road and trails agreement, which would require Stratford Land to construct, or pay toward the construction, of the city’s portion of the Roger Hanks Parkway extension, provided the city obtains necessary Right of Way for the project. A second would be for Stratford to help construct an offsite trail to Mercer Street.

See the full plans for the Heritage development here.

Stratford must also conduct a traffic study to assess what other areas of improvement are necessary as a result of the subdivision.

James said that item was something he didn’t feel comfortable forgoing for Stratford.

“It’s not appropriate for us to recommend backing off requirements we have requested of other developers in the past,” James said.

The city and Stratford must also secure a wastewater agreement prior to the start of development.

Ginger Faught, Dripping Springs deputy city administrator, said the current capacity at the wastewater treatment plant can accommodate for the development’s first phase, which has approximately 150 sewer hook ups.

Dripping Springs’ WWTP operates at a capacity of 350,000 gallons per day (GPD) and can go up to 550,000 GPD.

The second and third phase, however, would require a land application amendment to the existing plant. That would call for Stratford Land to pay for extension of an effluent treatment line, which currently terminates in the Caliterra subdivision. That effluent line would allow for the irrigation of treated effluent on medians and landscapes near downtown, as well as in Founders Park.

Faught said the effluent line would be a “huge benefit for the city.”

The fourth phase could be dependent on the outcome of the city’s current application to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to expand its plant to 995,000 GPD. Stratford could also be allowed to apply for a permit for a temporary wastewater plant on-site.

Deadline for annexation of the Heritage subdivision is July 11.

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