The future of downtown Kyle was on the table Saturday as city leaders met with stakeholders hoping to find middle ground on the subject.
While no formal decision was made, officials and residents came to terms on issues such as noise problems in the downtown sector, which they felt must be dealt with.
Discussion on downtown arises as the city eyes updating its 10-year Comprehensive Plan in 2020. Downtown area residents, however, have spent hours coming to council meetings in recent years to speak against rezoning propositions, new businesses and specifically, the addition of new bars and restaurants that would bring traffic and noise to the area.
Meanwhile, city leaders, staff and Kyle residents have supported the idea that Kyle needs an active, thriving downtown area that moves away from residential zoning. In recent weeks, Mayor Travis Mitchell supported the possibility of turning Uptown Kyle, located near Plum Creek and the Hays Performing Arts Center, into a downtown area.
However city leaders hoped the town hall would serve as a form of open dialogue with residents on the best approach to downtown.
A major theme throughout the debate is and has been, noise.
Downtown is surrounded on three sides by neighborhoods.
“My issues that I have at this time is noise,” resident and former council member Joe Diaz, who lives near Rebel Drive, said. “In particular, I know a lot of the people that live around here, and for the life of me cannot understand how they live near that noise on the weekends.”
Diaz said he has called the police to ask downtown businesses to be quiet after 10 p.m. in accordance to the city’s noise ordinance. Diaz said businesses are not exempt from the rules, which require amplified noise to be turned down after 10 p.m.
Some residents said some downtown businesses violate the city’s noise ordinance.
Hometown Kyle resident James Nino said he supports downtown growth because he does not want to travel to Austin or San Marcos on the weekends to enjoy his days off.
“I love the fact that I can walk to downtown if I want to,” Nino said. “There is no other downtown. I’m tired of giving my money to Austin, to Buda and to San Marcos.”
Nino said he supports the current downtown area, but proposed noise ordinances be enforced after dark to benefit the surrounding neighborhoods.
“The point of the meeting was to hear from the public and I feel like we accomplished that,” Mitchell said. “Now, the council is now tasked with coming up with a plan. But you have several council members with different objectives here.”
Mitchell said he expects council members to propose various action items by July 2 to be debated and voted on by council.