City manager: Proposed development would add to Burnet’s affordable home market


BURNET — After sitting idle for almost a decade, 13 acres in the southeast portion of Burnet could become the site for about 25 homes and possibly duplexes.

The Burnet City Council entered a letter of intent on March 14 with Langley Homes to develop the acreage near the intersection of Westfall and Cemetery roads.

“With the resurgence of the development in that part of the community and the My Town project, it’s become economically feasible,” City Manager David Vaughn said.

Several months ago, city officials released a call for partners for developing the property. Langley Homes, which has been a big development partner for My Town, stepped forward.

Langley Homes officials are considering the development of 39 lots for about 25 single-family homes with remaining lots intended for multi-family housing such as duplexes. Vaughn said fire limitations will dictate the number of what types of family dwellings will eventually be constructed.

The letter of intent isn’t a legal binding agreement but outlines what would likely be included in an official agreement such as the city’s contribution of the property and waiving building permit fees, Vaughn said. On the developer side, the letter of intent also includes proposed timelines for completion of the project and possible penalties for not living up to those deadlines.

“While most of what is in the letter of intent is being included in the draft agreement, several major points are still under negotiation and the agreement has not been acted on by council,” the city manager added.

The city purchased the property more than a decade ago for $45,000 from Frank Fickett, who has since died.

City officials had been searching for more land to entice partners to develop affordable housing because the My Town project has been beneficial for families, developers, the city, and the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District. My Town is a collaborative effort among landowners, the city, builders, and contractors to provide affordable housing.

“The program has been so successful,” Vaughn said. “We ran out of a couple of minor projects.”

Projected costs per dwelling is $150,000-$160,000 because of the size and the costs associated with construction. Infrastructure is already in place.

Still, Vaughn said, the homes in Burnet are among the most affordable in the Highland Lakes.

“I’m not aware of anywhere where you can get that quality of a product at that price with the masonry, size, and price range,” he said. “We worked hard to keep the price range down. The program has been tremendously successful. We’ve had more positive comments on this than on anything we’ve done.”

The city manager credited several entities for keeping the prices at that range, including the city of Burnet for finding a reasonable medium on fees, permits, and other costs; professionals for being willing to work with builders to lower costs; and developers for seeing the value of providing quality homes at lower prices to families that might not have been able to purchase one without the My Town project.

In another item, the council approved the plating and infrastructure of The Hills of Shady Grove subdivision, which will include about 13 acres on the southern edge of town off U.S. 281. The development will include homes projected to cost $200,000-$250,000.

“The council is very supportive of the project, and we can’t get it going fast enough,” Vaughn said of The Hills of Shady Grove.

The council also approved code ordinances for non-point source pollution, which relates to protecting drainage ways, creeks, rivers, and lake areas of the city, a process city officials started more than a year ago.

Instead of developers working with the Lower Colorado River Authority, they will work with the city of Burnet to ensure one of the area’s most valuable resources is safe, Vaughn said.

“Everyone sees the need to protect the water quality of the Highland Lakes,” he said. “It’ll make it much easier for development.”

Vaughn said the goal is continue to encourage development in the city while still being fair about fees and still guarding one of the elements that draw people to live here.

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