The City of Kyle is considering a new set of standards for the I-35 Overlay District that could dictate what hurdles commercial developments must clear before getting their building permits.
Kyle Planning Director Sofia Nelson said the current standards are subjective and create a “game of risk” for developers who are unsure whether their plan will be approved by City Council.
The I-35 Overlay District development standards would create a uniform set of rules and guidelines for nonresidential commercial developments.
“What the standards are hoping to do is create a higher caliber of development along the interstate, which is our gateway, but to also be very upfront in our standards and to say, 'These are the criteria you have to meet, and if you meet them, you get your building permit,'” Nelson said.
According to the original draft of the proposal, the new standards will not apply retroactively to existing structures that are already in compliance, single-family residential building developments or structures undergoing a rehabilitation that will not change the use or expand the building.
The overlay standards will address areas such as building oriented relative to the interstate or public right of way, utility line management, parking lot layout, water feature design, landscaping and building form, among other things.
Nelson listed Target and Lowe's as two examples of developments that have not been completely built out but will be subject to the laws that were on the books when they came into the city.
“Our review with the City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission in the coming months will be two-fold,” she said. “'This is what we're proposing,' and we'll also say, 'This is how it compares to the cities around you.'”
The commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal at their meeting Oct. 23. Nelson said if the Planning and Zoning Commission makes a recommendation to City Council to approve the proposal, the council would discuss the issue at its meeting Nov. 6.
Nelson said some of those who attended the first hearing on the issue Sept. 17 expressed concern over how quickly the process has moved so far.
“The last thing we want to do is shove anything down anyone's throat,” she said.
Nelson said the commission may choose to postpone action on the item until its November meeting.