SALADO — The Board of Aldermen held its initial reading of a new ordinance establishing an overlay district on the west side of Interstate 35 at Thursday’s meeting.
Jim Reed, the village’s city manager, said the new overlay district will add “additional layers of development requirements” between I-35 and West Village Road.
The new requirements will allow the village’s board and planning and zoning committee to consider additional criteria and have further input into the design phase of future commercial development in the affected area.
“The idea is to shape the character of the west side so that it’s not so piecemeal,” Reed said. He said the goal is to create an architecturally uniform area that has “inviting park-like areas.”
Mayor Danney McCort agreed with Reed’s assessment and said he hopes the area will have the same aesthetic cohesion as the Wolf Ranch shopping center in Georgetown.
“That’s a high standard,” Alderman Michael McDougal said. “Wolf Ranch is a classy place, but we can do it.”
As the discussion moved from the regular meeting and into a public hearing, Reed and McCort began fielding questions about the specificity of the ordinance.
Questions were raised about whether the new ordinance defines the specific types of building materials commercial developers can use.
McCort said white Texas limestone and a further list of specific building materials allowed is found in the subdivision portion of the village’s ordinances.
“This is more of a conceptual ordinance. It doesn’t specify the types or size of bricks that can be used or the types and height of trees that can be planted,” Reed said. He said the village can revise the ordinance at a later date, but the current board decided not to spend “$100,000 or $150,000 in regulation for what are just 10 or 15 properties.”
Reed used the Cefco gas station currently under construction on West Village Road as an example of the type of development that would be impacted by the new ordinance.
He said the current design of the store portion of the gas station only opens onto the highway and has no entrance facing West Village Road.
Under the new ordinance West Village Road is viewed as an “increasingly busy roadway for locals.”
The ordinance also requires the portion of any future commercial development in the affected area facing West Village Road be both “functional and aesthetically pleasing.”
One of the goals of the ordinance is to prevent drivers on West Village Road from only seeing “the backside” of buildings.
In other action, the board unanimously voted to bring Walter Lesley’s property in the Hidden Springs subdivision into the village’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
“That lot is already surrounded by property that’s in the ETJ,” Alderman Bryan Fritch said. “So it’s just common sense to honor the owner petition and bring it in.”
The board was scheduled to discuss the donation of the Stagecoach wastewater plant; however, the motion was tabled so the village attorney could further review documents relating to the donation.
“We’re finalizing the documents with the attorney for the donation,” Reed said. “As we move forward you can expect to see more (discussions about the plant) on the agenda.”
The village attorney also is reviewing documents relating to a plan to lease out the plant to an operating company.
“We’re on a two track approach,” Reed said.