Builder seeks zoning change to build 110 homes in River Place Added traffic could be up to 2,000 daily trips

By CASSIE MCKEE, Four Points News

A River Place landowner is requesting a zoning change to develop 110 single-family homes on a 40-acre tract at River Place Boulevard and Milky Way Drive.

Jeffrey Howard, an attorney representing Milestone Community Builders, submitted the zoning application to the City of Austin on June 23, seeking a zoning change to SF2 for the 40 acres.

“We filed SF2 to do some single-family development that’s consistent with the typical single family you’d find in the River Place subdivision,” Howard said.

The land is currently zoned as Development Reserve (DR), which allows for only one lot per 10 acres. According to the city, DR zoning is intended for a temporary use or a use that will not commit land to a particular use pattern or intensity.

This aerial view shows the intersection of River Place Boulevard and Milky Way Drive, near where a zoning change is being requested on a 40-acre tract to develop 110 single-family homes.

This aerial view shows the intersection of River Place Boulevard and Milky Way Drive, near where a zoning change is being requested on a 40-acre tract to develop 110 single-family homes.

Milestone Builders logoMilestone Community Builders is under contract to buy the land from longtime landowner Berta Bradley and plans to build 110 homes, with a density of three homes per acre. According to the zoning application, the homes would range from three to four bedrooms, the size would mirror that of the community, and range in value from $700,000 to $900,000. The developer plans to designate 14.9 acres as drainage and green space.

From the date the zoning application was submitted, city staff will have 28 days to review the case and make a recommendation to the city’s zoning and platting commission. The commission will then schedule a public hearing. After the public hearing, the commission will make a recommendation for or against and the case will be scheduled for a public hearing with the Austin City Council.

All residents living within 500 feet of the rezoning will receive a notice from the city about the public hearing, according to city planner Sherri Sirwaitis. The notices will also include a form for public comments.

Howard filed a second zoning application at the request of Milestone Community Builders for a separate 42-acre-tract of land in River Place, also owned by Bradley. Bradley is in the process of donating that parcel of land to The Autism Trust. The zoning application is requesting a zoning of General Office with a Conditional Overlay (GO-CO) in order to build a center for adults living with autism.

Both zoning changes would have to be approved by the Austin City Council but no hearing date has been set, Howard said. He said Milestone plans to begin discussing the project with homeowners on Milky Way Drive and the surrounding neighborhood.

“We’re going to be setting up meetings with neighborhood representatives and working with the neighborhood and city staff on it,” Howard said.

One issue that will likely be discussed is the increased traffic the project will bring to Milky Way Drive, a residential street that would be the development’s only access to the neighborhood. According to the zoning application, the project could increase traffic on Milky Way Drive by up to 2,000 trips per day.

“We’ll be addressing traffic with the neighborhood,” Howard said.

River Place Homeowners Association Chairman Scott Crosby said the HOA board plans to discuss the project at its next meeting on July 14.

“We want to work with the applicant to deal with questions of traffic, access to River Place Boulevard, design, value, etc.  — all the concerns of our homeowners,” Crosby said.

There are currently 30 homes on Milky Way Drive that are built on one-acre lots and have an average value of $1.4 million. Howard said he did not think the new development would have a negative impact on the neighborhood.

“(New) homes that are a quarter of a million to $1 million, I can’t imagine they would have a detrimental effect,” Howard said.