Moratorium placed on MileStone’s project at Milky Way in River Place

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

At a March 29 City of Austin Zoning and Platting Commission meeting, a moratorium was placed on MileStone Community Builders in their project at the end of Milky Way Drive to build 68 homes. River Place homeowners presented their issues and got support from ZAP. In general, sources tell Four Points News that the Commissioners were “not happy that MileStone changed the rules to serve themselves after years of debate and rulings that were made. They voted unanimously to put a moratorium on MileStone immediately.”

So the project has been halted for now.

For more than six years, residents who live in the 25 homes on Milky Way Drive in River Place have voiced their concerns about proposed development at the end of their street but time has come for construction to begin at the 42 acres to make room for some 68 housing units.

Since early this year, the developer MileStone Community Builders has been prepping the site at the end of the cul-de-sac on Milky Way Drive with a construction office and its first roads. (Story posted in February.)

But now the project is halted.

The 42-acre site at the end of Milky Way Drive has was rezoned for single-family condos with conditions. Austin City Council voted in favor of it on October 31, 2019.   GOOGLE MAPS


A group of residents who live near the River Place project have been working together to try to draw awareness of concerns about the MileStone project.

“As a commissioner for land use and River Place resident, I and fellow commissioners were very disturbed by what appears to be a breakdown in the public processes and possible breaches of restrictive covenants with interested entities,” said Jennifer Mushtaler, who serves on the Austin Planning Commission, appointed by Council Member Mackenzie Kelly for District 6. After redistricting, she will be assigned to District 10 Council Member Alison Alter. 

There are two land commissions in Austin that regulate zoning: the Planning Commission and the Zoning and Platting Commission or ZAP.

“About a month ago, I presented to ZAP requesting that they open a hearing on improper procedures regarding MileStone. ZAP debated but did decide to issue a staff request for information and set a hearing for last night (March 29),” said Mushtaler, who is also the former president of both the River Place HOA and River Place Limited District. 

Mushtaler has been working with several key groups with renewed vigor for several months now regarding this property and project including:: residents of Milky Way Drive, Randall Jamieson and the River Place HOA, the CONA 2222 alliance, and the Lake Austin Collective.

Mushtaler shared that Commissioner James Shieh spent several hours going through the council transcripts and materials with her. She said he thought he was going to be explaining to her why things happened but instead he felt surprised and appalled at what he found.

“Clearly, so did ZAP. Commissioner Hank Smith left the dais before our hearing but we received a unanimous vote (on March 29) from the sitting commissioners to issue a moratorium on the site and to draft a resolution to council,” she said. 

When council approved MileStone, it was with unprecedented thought and care to ensure certain requirements to make for a safe development. A few in staff and MileStone had been sequentially circumventing and unraveling those requirements, according to some River Place residents.

Mushtaler believes that both the River Place HOA and Leander ISD are further researching the matter. 

“The LISD land use attorney had been contacted by the developer but this has not gone before the Board of Trustees and the planned emergency access requires the HOA approval as required by certain restrictive covenants the HOA has had in place on public record for almost twenty years,” she shared.

“I’m very pleased that ZAP shares our concerns, the matter will go before council and we still have work to do,” Mushtaler said. She shares that the team did a great job.