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Granite Shoals Council approves 1,500-acre development agreement

GRANITE SHOALS — The third time’s the charm.

After two previous City Council meetings left members with a few more questions, all those blanks were answered today as the members approved an agreement that will bring a 1,500-acre mixed-use development to the Granite Shoals area.

"I think this is going to be an unbelievable moment for Granite Shoals and even Burnet County," said Todd Fox, a member of Barnett Rances LLC, which brought the development plan to the city.


PHOTO 1: The City Council of Granite Shoals Tuesday held a first meeting in their new headquarters at 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road, just off RR 1431. The building is still being renovated, but in the past it has housed a church and offices for a quarry. The official dedication is 11:30 a.m. April 24. Staff photos by Daniel Clifton

PHOTO 2: Developer and golf course designer Roy Bechtol goes over a proposed 1,500-acre development in the Granite Shoals area that includes single-family, multi-family and commercial development along with a golf course and green space. The City Council approved the development agreement Tuesday by a 5-0 vote. Council members Bessie Jackson and Merilyn Nations were not at the special-called meeting.

The council held the meeting at a new municipal building at 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. Official dedication for the building will be 11:30 a.m. April 24.

During the meeting, the five council members in attendance agreed and gave the development, annexation and utility agreement a thumbs-up. Council members Bessie Jackson and Merilyn Nations were absent.

"It’s a true win-win situation for the city," Mayor Frank Reilly said.

The city also gave its consent for the creation of Burnet County Municipal District No. 3 for the area within the proposed development.

The proposed development encompasses land on the north and south side of RR 1431 just east of Phillips Ranch Road. Another segment wraps around the new city’s municipal building on Phillips Ranch Road before coming back up to RR 1431 between Granite Shoals and Highland Haven. The third parcel is on the north side of RR 1431 along CR 120 toward Oxbow Trail.

Most of the land in the development is within the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

The concept plan calls for both single-family, multi-family and commercial areas as well as a golf course and greenbelt.

The creation of the MUD will also allow the city to pick up the pace on building a wastewater facility, the mayor said. But whether or not the development or MUD builds the wastewater plant, the city would do it down the road.

Council member Calvin Chamness stressed that the current residents of Granite Shoals won’t be included within the MUD, so they won’t fall under its jurisdiction. They also wouldn’t have to pay to hook up to the wastewater facility.

"I want to make it clear that it is my understanding that the MUD won’t cost the city of Granite Shoals anything," he said.

Council member David Dittmar and members of the city’s airport advisory committee asked that the developers consider including space for a possible airport runway extensions in their plans.

Bob Sylvester of the committee said the current grass strip is 2,000 feet long but they would like to add another 2,000-3,000 feet onto it. If the Federal Aviation Administration approves the expansion, Sylvester said, the federal agency would kick in 90 percent of the cost, leaving the city with the remaining 10 percent.

But the extension could force developers to reconsider the current conception of their plan.

"We wanted you guys to at least take it into consideration at this time," Dittmar said.

Chamness pointed out that this plan was just a concept at this time, but reminded the council that it’s a starting point. One, he said, that will make a significant impact on the city

"I’m extremely passionate about this project," he said.

Even though it spreads out over 1,500 acres, Chamness said, it provides a realistic plan for "moderate growth."

daniel@thepicayune.com