By Brittany Anderson
As Kyle continues to see explosive growth, decisions must be made on what developments are best for the city — and two items during the Feb. 15 city council meeting looked at the addition of some developments while restricting others.
In a 5-2 vote, council members approved the rezoning of 27.8 acres of land in Kyle Marketplace from RS (retail services) to MXD (mixed-use) in order to allow a vertical mixed-use development with commercial and residential uses to come into the space.
Council members Yvonne Flores-Cale and Michael Tobias were the two opposing votes.
City planner Will Atkinson said the rezoning has been a “long time coming” and works well for the area, saying that the parcels are in a central part of Kyle with completed infrastructure, roads, water and wastewater. Additionally, they are looking to add residences in the parcel behind Target.
Flores-Cale voiced concerns with the rezoning regarding traffic and how school buses would impact the area.
Atkinson explained that vertical mixed-use developments tend to reduce traffic all around as there are multiple points to get in and out.
Mayor Pro Tem Robert Rizo also noted that if there is less than a two-mile radius between a school and residences, school bus routes are not required. The closest school to the development is Kyle Elementary, which is 1.7 miles away. He added that the presence of sidewalks around the development will also hopefully help reduce bus traffic.
Other council members remained positive about the development, including Ashlee Bradshaw, who said that this is going to be a “game changer” for Kyle as the city’s first mixed-use development.
The item will go back to council for a second reading.
Got Gas? Yes!
Another item discussed the prospect of restricting certain land uses in the city, specifically gas stations, car washes and self-storage units. Atkinson said that as the city grows, it has seen an abundance of land uses for these businesses over town.
There are 26 gas stations either in review, existing or approved in Kyle — and based on the national average, the city only needs 15. Atkinson said the plan is to allow a new gas station to be built if an additional 5,000 people have moved to the area it is proposed for.
The idea is not to limit these businesses entirely, but to also prevent them from taking up prime real estate, Atkinson explained.
Flores-Cale said that she was “excited” that this was brought to council’s attention, adding that with nine car washes in Kyle, it is almost triple the city’s need.
Flores-Cale and Rizo both agreed that this item would not create a monopoly or stop these businesses from coming in forever, but to allow them as the city grows in certain areas and ensure, for example, that there is not a gas station on “all four corners of a neighborhood.”
Mayor Travis Mitchell said that he is “strongly on the other side of the fence” as it relates to restricting these businesses from a taxation, convenience retail, jobs and customer demand standpoint.
“Gas stations and car washes are convenience retail on small pieces of land used by people in the neighborhoods,” Mitchell said. “They set the market … I don’t personally want to see mattress stores or fast food restaurants. We could go down and down the list and micromanage the market,” adding that he, like a lot of other people, will go to the business that’s closest — whether it’s a gas station, car wash or coffee shop.
Mitchell asked if a conditional use permit could be put in place instead of an outright denial, which Atkinson said could be considered, but they would have to look at various metrics, from the area’s population to the businesses facade and location.
After going into executive session for 20 minutes, the council decided to hold off on the gas station and car wash items.
However, restrictions on self-storages passed 5-2 with dissenting votes from Rizo and council member Dex Ellison, with Rizo saying that based on council’s earlier conversations, they shouldn’t be limiting one type of business but not others.
“I can understand the logic for self-storage,” Mitchell said. “It does produce a low return-on-investment, has the potential to take up larger pieces of land and doesn’t produce jobs.”
Mitchell said that staff may bring back additional conversations about the gas station and car wash restrictions, and the possibility of a conditional use permit process for self-storages as well.