Townhomes and patio homes are coming to Buda after city leaders approved to rezone 17.38 acres for a new 150-plus unit development along Old Black Colony Road.
For city officials, passage of the rezoning by a 6-0 Jan. 15 Buda City Council vote was the result of numerous meetings with nearby neighbors in order to craft a mutually beneficial project plan.
Chance Sparks, current Freese and Nichols consultant and former Buda Director of Planning, said the item called for the property to be rezoned from Agriculture (AG) to Planned Development (PD).
Structures that are to be built on the property are single family detached (townhomes) and attached homes (patio homes). Sizes are expected to range from 1,500 square feet to 3,000 square feet with prices from $240,000 to $270,000 for patio homes and $270,000 to $400,000 for townhomes.
Originally, Momark, which is planning to develop the land, requested the 17-plus acres to be rezoned to One and Two-Family residential (R-3). That changed, however, when a handful of Whispering Hollow residents expressed worries about the project, including possible traffic impact and a lack of a natural buffer in the area.
Starting in November 2018, Buda city staff and Momark developers worked with numerous nearby residents to fine-tune the plan, Sparks said. That included engaging with 134 property owners, 90 of whom attended various meetings, according to city documents.
The end result was to rezone for PD, which is used by cities to “negotiate a better project or resolve issues of conflict with nearby neighborhoods,” per city documents. Key changes included not connecting two Whispering Hollow roads to the development for regular vehicle traffic, as well as including landscape buffers on the western and northern boundaries of the project.
Steven Spears, a representative with MoMark, said they are committed to preserving the majority of hardwood trees in the area, as well as to respect the character of Old Black Colony Road and the adjacent cemetery.
“We hope this will turn into a win-win situation for all,” Spears said. He added that working with residents had helped to build a “better plan with every iteration.”
Matt DeBow, a Whispering Hollow resident, said MoMark “bent over backwards” to accommodate neighbor concerns. Resident Sabrina Jordan said Whispering Hollow neighbors were happy to collaborate with city officials and developers.
But James Fort, who lives along Old Black Colony Road, was concerned with the property and its location over the Eagle Ford Shale formation. Fort worried the development could lead to runoff, flooding and pollution issues.
Fort was also concerned about traffic on Old Black Colony Road, which is still a two-way, two-lane roadway.
Single Member District C. Wiley Hopkins said there had been concerns regarding water flow and flood drainage, but he felt those issued had been addressed. Hopkins was encouraged by the developer’s willingness to listen to residents’ concerns.
“There is still a patch of citizens who feel this is going to impact them,” Hopkins said. “You’re not going to please everyone with this type of development.”
Paul Daugereau, Buda City Council Place 4, said the project is a model of how cities can collaborate with devleopers. However, Daugereau said work on Old Black Colony Road has to be “top on the agenda.”
Ray Bryant, At-Large Position 3 member, said he plans to push for “something to happen” with Old Black Colony Road.
“It’s not an option, it’s a must,” Bryant said. “I’m going to be a bulldog and not let this go.”