Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a list of the questions we received in our various public meetings and via email. We’ve attempted to answer every questions we received, though some very similar/identical questions were combined to save space.
We’ve received a wide range of questions regarding traffic, from general to highly specific, including:
- Would there ever be a traffic light at 45th and Shoal Creek Blvd?
- Have you considered widening Bull Creek Road?
- What are you planning to accommodate traffic on Bull Creek & 45th?
- How do you foresee handling/minimizing cross-through traffic in the neighborhoods abutting the site?
- Will there be a light at 39th & Bull Creek?
Response: The Grove worked for about a year on our Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA). Our TIA has gone through an unprecedented, thorough and very conservative review by the Austin Transportation Department. The result is a transportation mitigation plan that works and is recommended for City Council approval. More facts about our traffic solutions can be found under the Traffic section on this website.
Have you considered spanning Shoal Creek to alleviate traffic congestion? Will there be a pedestrian bridge connecting across Shoal Creek?
Response: We announced plans to build a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Shoal Creek. Details can be found here.
Will the houses on 45th get an access road to the back of their property?
Response: We repeatedly met with the property owners on 45th Street separately in order to determine how best to mitigate the project’s impacts on their property. At this time, an access road is not part of The Grove's Master Plan. The north side of The Grove is now a 50-ft. wide greenbelt that will create a Green Gateway for walkers, runners, cyclists, and anyone else to enjoy from 45th Street & Bull Creek Rd. all the way to the Signature Park. As a follow up to this question, we have met with the folks on 45th and we have identified a variety of questions and recommendations they had about the project and how best to integrate their housing into the project. As a result of this meeting, we have some good ideas about how to plan our project on that boundary line near their houses, which we intend to integrate at our planning meeting with the architects.
Will you promote & foster the use of public transit and bicycles both within the development and to/from it? Are you working with Capitol Metro, Bike Austin, etc.
Response: It is certainly our intention to develop a project that is highly friendly to all modes of transportation as we believe such modes go hand in hand with higher density. There is an existing bus line on Bull Creek Road that would serve the project. We’ve had high level preliminary discussions with Capitol Metro on subjects such as how this project may impact frequency on that bus line, connections to a future Lonestar Rail stop in the area, etc., and we have a meeting set for additional discussions to further integrate their transportation options into the project. We expect the interior of the project to be highly bike and pedestrian friendly.
Will the Shoal Creek Trail be extended up to the site?
Response: We would love to see the trail extended to the site. The only piece of the trail we have direct control over is the portion of the trail that would be on our property, and we will certainly work to facilitate the trail on that segment. It will be the City’s responsibility to construct the trail from 35th Street to our site, but we will continue to work with the neighborhoods to do all we can to encourage this outcome.
Have you thought about creating a community foundation in partnership with the surrounding neighborhoods to fund offsite improvements that would mitigate cut through traffic and other impacts?
Response: We are interested in discussing this further with the neighborhood groups. In fact, at the request of Friends of The Grove, we have made a commitment to help fund a Neighborhood Partnering Program in the amount of $100k -- to be paid after our first home closing. Those funds can be directed by Friends of The Grove to go make things happen, get sidewalks built, and get better multi-modal connectivity. This will be in addition to funds that we intend to make available to help complete the planning, right-of-way acquisition and construction of the Shoal Creek Trail.
Can I see the Traffic Impact Analysis that was conducted for The Grove?
Response: Yes, of course! You can download the file by clicking here. It is a rather large, 300+ page document.
We received a large number of questions regarding specific proposals on the site including:
- How many roads are expected inside the site?
- Where will the main entrance/exits for the project be?
- What is the price range for the different types of housing?
- You talked about high density, is there single family planned? Would it be attached?
- Any affordable housing? How many new units?
- Does “mixed use” include large grocery stores? And restaurants?
- Where are you going to put parking for residents, visitors, employees?
- How high do you anticipate the commercial buildings will have to be to make the project financially viable for your company?
- What percentage of the land use will be for single family homes? How dense is the area along Bull Creek?
- Of the 75 acres, how many acres commercial? How many acres residential? How many acres open space & green areas?
- Would you consider including a small, upscale boutique hotel so visitors at Westminster would have a convenient place to stay?.
- Will you include live-work units?
Response: The best way to get all of these answers is to review the Master Plan we announced on March 30, 2016. The presentation and video from the meeting is available here.
We’ve also received numerous questions as to whether there is some sort of existing scheme for the site that has not yet been revealed, including:
- Why are there stakes in the ground on the property that say “pond site”? This implies that you already have a development scheme.
- There have been geotechnical bores completed recently in lower elevation areas near the creek (Area 6). What is the purpose of these bores if not for road or building construction?
Response: There is no secret plan for the site. We are engaging in this process honestly and openly (and do not know what the “pond site” stakes are). We are conducting extensive studies of the site, including geotechnical, as part of the process for developing a vision and plan for the site. As an update, we had someone go out onto the site to try and ID the Pond stake, and he could not find a stake that indicated where a pond might be. We do know, within a fairly broad range of locations, where the pond is likely to go. It goes on the lowest point of the site, where all of the water flows. This implies that it will go near the creek somewhere along the eastern part of the site outside of any required setbacks from Shoal Creek.
How do you intend to address parking?
Response: There will be a range of solutions, but we anticipate that most of the parking in the commercial and higher density areas will be accommodated in parking structures.
Will you preserve the existing views of the skyline?
Response: While the exact plan is not known, the existing views are one of the great resources of this site and good planning would indicate that these views should be preserved and shared with as many residents and visitors to the site as possible.
Did you consider flipping the mixed use? Develop open space along Bull Creek Road and higher density near Shoal Creek?
Response: The survey results have clearly indicated that the community as a whole would prefer to see higher density closer to Bull Creek Road and lower density along Shoal Creek.
Survey / Community Outreach
Was a survey conducted and when did it happen?
Response: Facts about our survey are available here. We held two Vision Workshops on Jan. 21 and Jan. 28 where the survey was conducted to gain input about the creation of a new community. Interested persons could also take the survey online for more than a week.
Where can I view the survey results?
Response: The results of the survey are available. Click here to learn about the survey and get the results.
Was there an independent entity that compiled the survey results?
Response: The survey results were compiled and analyzed by our consultants. We would be happy to make the results available if someone wants to review the data as we are confident in the fact that we have honestly represented the summary of the data correctly. Facts about our survey can be found here.
How do you weigh the votes of the directly impacted neighborhoods (Ridgelea, Oakmont) versus the ones that won’t feel the daily impact? Why are all the votes equal?
Response: While responses were not weighted based on location of the respondent, we believe that the higher rates of participation from the most impacted neighborhoods have achieved this goal.
Have you considered a walking tour/community meeting on the property itself?
Response: We have already conducted one such tour and can conduct another if there is sufficient interest. Please email us if you are interested in participating in a walking tour.
Process and Timeline
Can you provide a timeline from now to full build out?
Response: We are undergoing the zoning process. There are a number of factors that may impact the duration of the zoning process, but our goal is to have the property zoned as soon as possible, and be in a position to start the initial phase of development. The rate of build-out from there will depend on a number of factors including types of development, market fluctuations, and the permitting process, so it is difficult to accurately predict a completion date at this time. A portion of the property is being leased back to TxDOT and will not be available for development until that lease is terminated.
What effect will the 3 year lease back to the State have on your timeline and what parts of the 75 acres are under the leaseback?
Response: There are currently approximately 30 acres of land, the area where the existing structures and parking lots are located, that we are under agreement to lease back to the State. While this property will certainly impact short-term phasing, it is our goal to plan and develop a cohesive and unified community regardless of the leaseback area.
What’s the property currently zoned?
Response: Because the property was State-owned, it has no current zoning. Our first step is to work with the City to determine zoning for the site.
How will you determine whether to pursue conventional zoning or a Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning?
Response: At the start of the project, we took time to contemplate the pros and cons of pursuing conventional vs. PUD zoning. We are now pursuing PUD zoning. PUD zoning provides for some additional flexibility that can be beneficial when developing a mixed-use community, the PUD process in Austin is currently in a state of transition. However, due to the unpredictability of that process, we may determine that it is preferable to pursue conventional zoning designations.
Is development of the property economically viable within city codes as currently established?
Response: We believe that it is, though the property must be zoned.
What are the development restrictions with development near Shoal Creek, with archeological features, and with heritage trees?
Response: The City has a very complex system of codes addressing these items, and those codes can be modified through the PUD process if we proceed in that direction. Generally speaking, the code heavily restricts development within the floodplain of Shoal Creek and further limits development that will impact a heritage tree.
Does the City of Austin have input on workforce and affordable housing on site?
Response: As we are pursuing a PUD zoning designation, the City has had input on the inclusion of affordable housing as part of the development.
We announced our own intention to include affordable housing in the project. Details can be found here.
Is the general public going to be welcome to use all the trails/open spaces/parks? Or will there grow a sense of private space and non-public usage or a “gated” community feeling?
Response: We anticipate that the majority of the open space in the final project will be public. Final ownership is not known, but it is likely that much of the open space will be dedicated as public parkland and owned by the City. It is not our intent for this project to be a gated community in actuality or perception.
Is a member of any neighborhood association part of this plan or is it just meetings?
We are working closely with the neighborhood associations, both through broad outreach and feedback through the public workshops and surveys, and closer working sessions with the leadership of the Bull Creek Road Coalition.
What are you defining as “the community” – please answer honestly. It sounds like you think of us surrounding neighbors as not part of your “community” plans.
Response: We believe the existing neighborhoods surrounding this site are critical to the success of this project. We have endeavored from the beginning to include the existing neighborhoods in the process, and when the project is complete, our hope is that it will be frequently used and proudly claimed by the existing communities around it. It is no way our intent to exclude the existing communities from our vision for this project.
Have you discussed the project with Post Properties Management?
Response: Not at this time, though many residents of that property have participated in this public outreach process.
Infrastructure and Site Conditions
Will this development impact the water pressure for neighbors?
Response: Yes, we will be extending a large water line from the west side of Mopac to Bull Creek Road, which will improve water pressure for many of our neighbors.
We were asked about use of a number of green practices on site including reuse of rainwater, condensate water, and greywater, green roofs, solar power, and community gardens.
Response: We have studied these options. Stormwater and condensate systems in particular are being studied at this early stage of planning to determine the feasibility of implementing them on a community scale.
Do you have any sense of how groundwater runs through Ridgelea and how this project will impact that?
Response: We are aware that groundwater is currently an issue in the Ridgelea neighborhood and hydrological engineers are currently studying this condition to try to determine the source of this water and if we can improve the situation.
How are you going to deal with Shoal Creek Canyon? (The huge erosion area downstream from the 45th bridge.) What type and extent of creek bank stabilization is planned?
Response: At this time we have not determined what would be appropriate here. Any major creek stabilization would require significant engagement by the City of Austin.
Have you considered adding a state-of-the-art Fire & EMS station with an emphasis on brush fire fighting (as a trade-off if you need it)? We’re going to have a huge fire someday. It’s not a matter of if…
Response: This is not something we’re currently planning for. Public safety and infrastructure needs will be part of our ongoing discussions with the City.
What’s your opinion about Mueller development? Will yours be similar? In what way different?
Response: There are many elements of the Mueller development that may translate well to this site, including extensive, well-utilized open space and moderate density housing that is oriented toward creating a neighborhood feel. The retail in Mueller is likely not appropriate to this site.
How do you plan to prevent construction parking on my street? What are the plans to control parking on my street post-construction?
Response: While these are details that are not fully worked out yet, construction workers will be required to park on-site during construction, and provision of adequate parking on-site should be sufficient to minimize off-site parking post construction. Due to the large size of this site, we do not anticipate any difficulty providing adequate parking during or after construction.
A dog park was listed as #1 on the desired requests in the survey. Is that in consideration?
Response: We have clearly heard the neighborhood’s desire for a dog park on this site, and will consider that as a potential amenity in the open space plans as they are further developed.
Is there any potential for organized events (festivals, concerts) to take place in proposed “open spaces”?
Response: Most successful mixed use developments do have organized events in their open spaces. For example, the neighborhood indicated a strong desire for farmers’ markets. We believe some events are likely in the new community.
What do you plan on naming the development?
Response: After enlisting the help of neighbors, we chose the name: The Grove at Shoal Creek.
What happens if you give us higher density but then over time you co-opt the open space for more high density building?
Response: We anticipate the much of the open space on site will be permanently dedicated as parkland and ownership will be transmitted to the City or the HOA, so it could not be developed in the future.
What is the architectural / design team you have selected.
Response: We have selected two architects, JHP and Overland Partners, as well as a planning and landscape architecture firm, Norris Design. These firms will work together utilizing your vision in collaboration with us, our technical consultants, the City, and the community to create a master plan for the site:
What other Austin properties have you developed?
Response: Please visit the Communities section of our website at http://www.mymilestone.com/communities.php