By LESLEE BASSMAN , Four Points News
A site plan permit for a 14-building, mixed-use project, Parke 27, has been approved by the city of Austin Dec. 26, with the developer required to provide building plans for all 14 of its structures before construction can begin, said Sylvia Arzola, spokesperson for Austin’s Development Services Department.
According to filed documents, the Parke 27 project is slated to include a 100-room hotel, a day care facility, retail space, a tire store, a drive-in bank, restaurants including fast food with drive-through windows, and an automated car wash on a 27-acre tract at 7710 RM 620 at the intersection of Vista Parke Drive in the Four Points area. The project is scheduled to be complete in 2020, the documents state.
Attempts by Four Points News to contact owner Parke Properties LLP and its representative, Singer Island, Florida-based The Ferber Company, have not been responded to as of presstime.
Neighborhoods worked with developer
The project has long been in the purview of the nearby communities of Canyon Creek and Grandview Hills whose residents were concerned about the environmental, traffic, safety and lighting impact Parke 27 will have on their neighborhoods. However, representatives of these subdivisions have since worked with the developer to create an agreement that will run with the project, giving their ‘blessing’ to move it along.
“There were a number of neighborhoods that were interested in what was going on with Parke 27,” said Randy Lawson, a board member of the Canyon Creek Homeowners Association. “We had a number of meetings with the developer and their representatives. We finally did—after a kind of drawn out negotiation—reach an agreement.”
The project’s permit application with the city of Austin dates back to Sept. 25, 2017.
Lawson said the parties came to terms, with Canyon Creek and Grandview Hills representatives signing a private restrictive covenant in November that runs with the property should it sell to another owner. The covenant covers several provisions including requiring the development to save 73 of the larger native trees on the site facing RM 620; comply with the requirements set out by the International Dark Sky Communities that includes shielded lighting, preventing it from proliferating into the night sky and the Balcones Canyonland Preserve lying behind the property; and comply with Austin’s Hill Country Roadway Ordinance whose provisions are meant to maintain the area’s rustic setting, Lawson said. The provisions of the restrictive covenant extend to the entire site, he said.
“We actually worked hand in hand with (the developer) for several months—us along with Canyon Creek,” Grandview Hills Estates President John Saragusa said. “We’re very good with the site plan.”
After the restrictive covenant was signed, the HOAs of Grandview Hills Section 8, Canyon Creek and River Place as well as 2222 Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, a grassroots effort to monitor development and zoning changes along RM 2222, offered letters of support to Austin’s Zoning and Planning Commission when the project went before commissioners for site plan permit approval and before it was approved by Austin City Council, he said.
“As long as (the restrictive covenant) was done, the neighborhoods were willing to support the project,” Lawson said.
Traffic impact, flow
A Traffic Impact Analysis was performed on the project in August by LJA Engineering, Inc., that stated “the proposed development, when fully constructed and occupied, will generate 18,420 daily trips, 1,432 a.m. peak hour trips, and 614 p.m. peak hour trips.”
The report proposed a number of improvements to the affected intersections including adding a traffic signal at RM 620 and Vista Parke Drive. According to a Dec. 20 city of Austin memorandum, the developer was required to post the cost of this proposed traffic signal, in the amount of $253,000 as a condition to the site plan permit approval.
He said the neighborhood groups negotiated with the developer to ensure that all three entrances to the project from RM 620 be limited to right-turn in and right-turn out, so no left turns out of the development would cause vehicle to turn into oncoming traffic.
“We were very insistent on that (limitation) early on and we made it clear that we were willing to take (the developer) on and oppose them if they didn’t agree to that,” Lawson.
He said the Texas Department of Transportation, the state agency that owns and maintains RM 620, backed the neighborhoods’ desire for right-turns in and out of the project.
“At the end of the day, yes, it will be a pretty big traffic impact but those trips per day is a max,” Lawson said. “And, most of the time, it will be well below that.”
He said the developer has already started putting fencing around the trees that face RM 620 “so they won’t be accidentally bulldozed when they come in there and start doing initial construction and clearing.”
“The neighborhoods that were keeping close watch on Parke 27, as soon as it became obvious that it would be a project that would be a significant commercial development, we concentrated on things we actually felt we would have an impact and have influence over,” Lawson said. “We didn’t try to take on a Traffic Impact Analysis because it was obvious to us they were going to get approval on that.”
Other nearby projects
Recently, SAS filed rezoning documents with the city of Austin, requesting a change for its 94 acres of undeveloped land at 11920 Wilson Parke Ave., just off RM 620, from Interim Rural Residential to General Office in order to make the parcel more attractive for an upcoming sale.
Efforts are also underway to start construction of up to 70 condominium homes on a 7-acre tract at 12001 Vista Parke Dr. and a 5-story Hyatt Place hotel is already under construction off RM 620 at RM 2222, behind the CVS Pharmacy.