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New Braunfels: Austin Developer Plans Multifamily Project Near Gruene

Feature Photo: aerial photo of the project site for a proposed 24-unit/acre multifamily development. Image: Google Earth/VBX graphic.

UPDATE of April 7, 2021 — At the April 6 meeting of the Planning Commission, the MNO Partners project, Common St & Old FM 306, was recommended for approval. The zoning case now moves to City Council for final approval.

The Planning Commission favored the project with the following conditions, which were negotiated between the developer and neighboring residents:

  • Stormwater Drainage – Adding an extra 5% to city requirements.
  • 2-Story Adjacent to Homes – All units adjacent to single family use are limited to two stories.
  • 4-Story Buildings are eliminated from the plans.
  • Low Lighting will be used to fit in with the neighborhood.
  • Construction Noise/Sound Proofing – a permanent 10-foot privacy wall (higher than required by code) will be constructed. The wall goes up before vertical construction begins, and will be built around the Gruene Vineyard POA entrance gate.
  • 3-Story Buildings are restricted to the interior, closer to Common Street.
  • Clearwater Drive – Vehicular access is restricted to emergency vehicles only.
  • Dumpsters will be located away from single family uses.
  • Traffic – An access point onto Old FM 306 is added to the access point on Common.
  • Material Standards – The development will use only high quality products.

Originally Posted: 3-4-2021

by Adolfo Pesquera

New Braunfels (Comal County) — An Austin land development company has its sights on a tract of almost 10 acres near Gruene, and is asking for multifamily high density zoning.

Located at the northwest corner of East Common Street and Old FM 306, the land has agricultural status, but the Planning Commission was asked this week to recommend a Special Use Permit (SUP) to allow an apartment complex with up to 24 units per acre. The exact land area, 9.673 acres, would limit the number of units to approximately 230.

Prior to this week’s public hearing, representatives of the development company, MNO Partners, met twice in January with neighboring residents. To gain their approval, the developer made three concessions after the first meeting:

  • Setback increased for three-story buildings: The SUP proposes a minimum setback of 100 feet from any adjacent property used or zoned for single or two-family use for buildings in the development that are three stories in height; an R-3H District (the zoning code sought) only requires a minimum 20-foot setback, plus an additional foot for each foot of building more than 20 feet high.
  • A taller masonry buffer wall: The SUP proposes a 10-foot tall CMU buffer wall between the multifamily property and adjacent single and two-family residences; city ordinance requires only a 6-foot to 8-foot masonry wall.
  • No extension of Clearwater Drive to East Common Street: The SUP proposes the easement at the terminus of Clearwater Drive be restricted to emergency vehicles and pedestrian access; city ordinance would required the extension of Clearwater Drive, but neighbors voiced concern about through traffic going to or coming from Gruene if there is an extension of Clearwater Drive to East Common.

Development of the property will require a Traffic Impact Analysis, which will determine if any improvements are required to be made by the developer. Traffic signal improvements at the East Common-Old FM 306 crossing are in final engineering design as part of the city’s Roadway Impact Fee program.

However, construction funding has not yet been identified and timing of the traffic signal project is unknown at this time.

On maximum lot coverage, the SUP conforms to the requested zoning–the combined area of all yards shall be at least 50% of the total tract; however, in the event enclosed or covered parking is provided, the minimum total yard area shall be 40% of the total tract.

The general site plan was drafted by the Dallas office of Humphreys & Partners Architects under the working title Gruene Multifamily.

Note 3 of the site plan notes states, “Several building will be 3 stories within the 3 story zone, but 2 stories within the 2 story zone.”

VBX Project ID 2021-18CD

At the request of the neighbors, the developer is asking the city to waive a requirement to connect Clearwater Drive to East Common through the center of the lot. Image: Humphreys & Partners Architects LP.


Related Images

Construction Preview
By |2021-04-07T15:05:32-05:00March 4th, 2021|Construction Preview, Feature Story|

About the Author:

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.

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