Feature Photo (above): Google Earth view of the Lakeway Apartment Homes project site.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Austin (Travis County) — The Zoning and Platting Commission gave their seal of approval to a Project Consent Agreement that will provide affordable multifamily housing near lakefront property in Lakeway next to Hudson Bend.
A Project Consent Agreement, passed unanimously June 4, is used by the city in situations where the developer’s vested rights are unclear and to clearly establish vested rights as a way to incentivize development. Establishing rights required negotiations with the developer, Dallas-based Sonoma Housing Advisors.
The city and Sonoma Housing Advisors agreed to the following conditions for its project, Lakeway Apartment Homes:
Impervious cover is limited to 56% of the gross surface area.
Cut-and-Fill site grading will be limited to 7 feet of cut and 11 feet of fill.
Sonoma Housing will only protect hardwood native trees.
Sonoma Housing will comply with the Dark Skies exterior lighting code.
All landscaped areas within 40 feet of Ranch Road 620 will preserve and restore, per Hill Country Roadway requirements.
The 5.9-acre site is heavily wooded. There are 135 hardwood trees, however, 37 percent of the trees and bushes–as measured by caliper inches–will be removed.
Bill Fisher, president of Sonoma Housing Advisors. Courtesy: City of Austin video archives.
Bill Fisher, president of Sonoma Housing, said the PCA and City Council’s passage of the agreement later this month is critical to securing the financing. This is a 4% low income housing tax credit financed project that was awarded by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs in the 2018 application round. But financing has also been contingent on obtaining a development endorsement with the city.
If all goes as expected, construction will begin before the end of summer. Total construction costs were estimated at about $19 million.
The site is very unique, given the value of land in the area. Travis County Commissioners Court endorsed the project last fall.
“One of the reasons why we’ve gotten good support from the county–where frankly the (precinct) commissioner might not have even looked at it five years ago–is the fact that the (Lakeway) businesses are unable to staff the business and keep their doors open because no one can live out there because the housing is too expensive,” Fisher told the Z&P Commission.
“You know the average price of a single family home in about a 2-mile radius of our property is a million dollars,”
Site plan for Lakeway Apartment Homes (aka Ranch Road 620 Apts.) Courtesy: Sonoma Housing Advisors.
Lakeway Apartments Homes, which has also traveled through the review processes under the names Villages at Cardinal Hills and Ranch Road 620 Apartments, is a five building complex. Each building is four stories and there will be a total of 180 apartment units.
The gross living area is 175,303 square feet. Surface parking will accommodate 277 vehicles.
Resident incomes may be up to 80%, subject the averaging rules where the average income and rent has to be at or below 60% of the area median family income. Fisher said 40% of the units are either two- or three-bedroom units.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.