A controversial zoning request resulted March 8 in what Leander City Council called a compromise.
The southwest intersection of FM 2243 and Ronald Reagan Boulevard, once targeted by Texas-based grocer H-E-B, was rezoned under a less-dense general commercial designation than requested by landowners.
The 23-acre site, originally zoned for single-family rural homes, was modified by a unanimous council vote into a combination of GCS-2 and GCS-3 designations—the higher the number, the more dense the general commercial—in a move to temper development at the location until a more definitive use emerges, Leander Mayor Chris Fielder said.
“If they come to us with some change, we at least have a starting point where a big-box [retail store] can't come in without bringing something to us again,” Fielder said, explaining the council's decision allows limited commercial development opportunities until a more specific site plan is presented.
The first 400 feet of the intersection's corner was approved for more dense commercial use, while the property's center was upgraded to GCS-2, which is not dense enough to allow a large retailer to build on the site. The property's back 100 feet were designated as single-family suburban to serve as a natural buffer to the neighboring Ridgmar Landing subdivision.
The city's Planning and Zoning Commission approved GCS-3 rezoning on Nov. 8 when, at the time, H-E-B was considering building a second Leander store. The unanimous decision came despite pleas from many Ridgmar Landing residents to protect the land from such dense development.
Citing neighbors' concerns, H-E-B publicly announced Jan. 16 it no longer was interested in building a future store at that site. The applicants decided to nonetheless advance the zoning to council despite having no user publicly in place.