Green future for 680 annexed acres

For the first time in Dripping Springs’ history, a housing development will focus on building to fit the land and not the other way around.

Earlier this month, the Dripping Springs City Council entered into a development agreement with California-based SunCal for the Westwood subdivision, said Michelle Fisher, Dripping Springs city administrator. The city then approved annexation of the 680-acre tract of land along U.S. 290 that will house the subdivision, which was rezoned from agriculture (AG) to a Planned Development District (PDD).

Fischer said the development, which is the city’s first “conservation subdivision,” plans to conserve open space and preserve existing heavily treed areas when developing the residential neighborhood, instead of leveling the land and paving over it. The development is following the guidelines of the city’s Conservation Design Ordinance.

It’s not yet known how many acres will be open space in the Westwood subdivision until a final plat is submitted, Fischer said.

She added PDDs are created specifically for property because of a unique quality, or if it’s a mixed-use development.

Fischer said the reason behind the PDD zoning designation was to remain “consistent with the regulations in the development agreement for this particular property.”

“For Westwood, it’s not a mixed-use development, but it’s unique because it’s the very first subdivision to be a conservation subdivision design,” Fischer said.

However, Fischer said the zoning change to PDD for Westwood doesn’t necessarily mean Dripping Springs’ residents can expect to see more subdivisions.

“We’re real excited to have a true conservation design subdivision come through,” Fisher said, “It’s got a ton of open space in it and a community parkland and a civic site so this is going to be a huge benefit to the city and the community,” Fischer said.

According to the company’s website, SunCal is a family owned developer that specializes in mixed-use and master planned communities with an emphasis on “building sustainable projects that are environmentally sound.”

Fischer said council members were on board to rezone the land to make way for the new conservation subdivision that will “build the development to fit the land and respect the lay of the land and the natural features of it.”

Dripping Springs has an in-place ordinance for a conservation subdivision design, but SunCal is the first developer to comply with the ordinance and enter into a development agreement, Fischer said.

A price point for homes in the Westwood subdivision is not yet known.

SunCal has submitted a preliminary plat and will soon submit its site plan and final plat for review prior to the start of construction, which could be as soon as October 2017.

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