For 85 years, longtime Kyle resident Franklin Herzog has watched his hometown go from a sleepy community to a bustling suburb.
But as new development has started to spring up near his residence on Sledge Street, Herzog’s concern over the rapid growth in downtown is also rising.
Herzog is one of many who fall on either side of a debate over growth in Kyle and how future density could impact the downtown corridor.
“If it’s up to me I don’t like it,” Herzog said. “It’s making too much traffic. You can’t get into Kyle, you can’t get out of Kyle,” Herzog said.
Earlier this month, several residents contested a zoning application that would allow for 66 family lots off of Sledge Street. After an unprecedented tied vote and three meetings, the zoning change was approved by the Kyle City Council March 6.
Stagecoach Forest, a development located behind the Kyle Public Library on Scott Street, will bring 270 single family houses. A little further down off Old Stagecoach Road, a development called Cypress Forest will hold 73 single-family lots.
It’s not only residents who hold concerns about the pace and density of growth in downtown. Division has also made its way to the Kyle City Council dais.
During a Feb. 20 council meeting Council Member Daphne Tenorio said Kyle is not urban and never will be urban and wants to be considerate to people who have been in the city for many generations.
“We are a rural community, we are a place where we come to raise our families. Yes, we want to move toward the future, but we also have to be cognitive of those who have been here and who continue to stay here,” Tenorio said Feb. 20.
But City Council Member Damon Fogley says the city is planning for responsible growth, which is carved out in the city’s comprehensive plan.
Fogley says the city is trying to prevent sprawl where people have to commute everywhere. Fogley added the city is trying to create an urban core in the downtown area.
Fogley wants to see a dense core area and believes that will help promote business downtown. He cited a vision similar to the Domain in Austin, which has lots of businesses and restaurants and is where people also work and live.
“I’d like to see more business come into the downtown area. I like what Wimberley has and I like what Buda has with their downtown districts,” Fogley said. “There’s very little foot traffic downtown, and that’s why a lot of businesses are struggling.”
As for the increased traffic, Fogley noted that there are several transportation projects that will help with traffic in the future.
“With the (FM) 150 realignment that’s going to diminish a lot of traffic downtown, so that’s already being addressed by the county,” Fogley said.
The Burleson Street project, which will connect Marketplace Avenue with the southbound Interstate 35 access road, will also help divert traffic out of the downtown area.
The city is also planning on expanding wastewater treatment for all of the new projects and there is a long term plan already in place for potable water.