By Brittany Anderson
BUDA — For the past several months, Buda residents have raised traffic, safety and environmental concerns regarding the Bailey and Armbruster Tracts, a 775-acre development being proposed along FM 967.
Buda City Council held a workshop during the regular council meeting on March 22 with MileStone Community Builders, the developers of the tracts, to address some of the questions and concerns that have been brought up by the community and city officials.
The agenda item allowed for residents and council members to ask the developers more questions following a presentation by Garrett Martin, CEO of MileStone. Also present for the presentation were Robert Deegan with Rialto Studio and Jeff Howard with McLean & Howard Law Firm.
After receiving a myriad of concerns from the community and city officials, MileStone provided an updated presentation during the March 22 meeting with possible solutions regarding transportation, tree preservation and commercial and residential land use issues.
Some residents who spoke during the public hearing portion of the item were satisfied with MileStone’s improvements, but for others, questions and concerns still remain.
Many of those questions centered around the ongoing traffic concerns and the proposed FM 1626 connector in the Armbruster tract. Along with the roundabout entrance into the development off 967, the connector would act as a much-needed second entrance/exit to 1626.
Initially, the connector was not expected to be completed until several phases into the development’s transportation improvement plan, but this received pushback from the community and city officials.
MileStone said they are “committed to building the road as quickly as it can be permitted.” As such, they have outlined two options to pay for the connector and get it completed: through a PID (public improvement district) or a MUD (municipal utilities district).
Through a PID, the process of building the connector would be able to be completed in 2025, around two years earlier than if they were to go through a MUD.
Additionally, a PID would allow for these transportation improvements to occur with fewer homes on the ground, according to the presentation. Council members have stressed the importance of building the connector before many — or any, if at all — homes get built, in order to mitigate the creation of even more traffic along 967.
MileStone is looking for a July 2022 approval date for either a PID or MUD, but some council members are hesitant at being able to come to a decision with such a quick-approaching deadline.
Other concerns addressed in the presentation included lot sizes. MileStone said that per the development agreement, 55% of residential lots in the Bailey tract will be 40’ alley loaded lots, while 25% will be 55’ lots and 20% will be 65’ lots. The Armbruster tract will contain a mixture of lot sizes with a 55’ lot minimum, as previously discussed.
MileStone also said that they are committed to reserving between 28 to 30 acres for commercial land use, and that at least 78% of signature trees and 85% of heritage trees will be preserved and extended into the Armbruster tract.
While the development continues to slowly move forward, some residents are still hesitant about letting such a development into the city at all.
“We would like to retain what’s left of rural Buda,” said Buda resident Gerald Haschke. “The proposed development will just be about removal of the last large tract of undeveloped land in the Buda area. What’s going to happen to all the wildlife? Why not create a nature conservancy instead of filling it up with apartments, businesses, crowded homes on small lots and narrow streets with lots of traffic?”
Because it was a workshop item, no action was taken during the meeting. Council will continue to discuss the tracts with the developers, who will also continue to receive feedback from the community and city officials.