STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
HORSESHOE BAY — Bay Country subdivision residents are raising concerns about a planned retirement center’s building size and height requests by the developer as well as potential traffic congestion issues.
The Villages of Sienna Grove is a proposed retirement community on the southeast side of RR 2147 West in Horseshoe Bay about 550 yards northeast of Texas 71. The project would be located in the heart of a 100-acre planned development.
Developer Mike Walsh approached Horseshoe Bay zoning officials for variances on the retirement community project.
The retirement community would encompass about 14 acres with proposed independent and assisted-living facilities, including a 71-unit, three-story building (independent living), a 46-unit structure (assisted-living), a 38-unit “memory care” facility, and 17 duplexes (independent living).
“The average age in Horseshoe Bay is around 70 or 71,” said Walsh of Lavaca Financial Corp. “We don’t have any facilities here (for them).”
Walsh described a situation in which a Horseshoe Bay resident had little option but to move back to West Texas after her husband’s death.
“Typically, one of their spouses gets ill, and there’s no assisted living, so they move out of town … where they have these kinds of facilities,” Walsh said.
Despite the need, a number of residents in the Bay Country subdivision, located across from the proposed development, have expressed concerns, one of which involves the potential disruption of activity at a nearby equine facility.
“This is directly across the street from my riding arena entrance,” Bay Country resident Becky Collins said.
Her property includes horse paddocks, a barn, and a riding arena.
“Horses are all unpredictable. There is no turn lane there on (RR) 2147,” Collins added. “My concern if we have a rear-end crash (is) a loud noise could send those horses off in a panic.”
Collins is among several residents who have relayed concerns over building height and size during public meetings to city staff and elected officials.
“I’m afraid … it will become a three- or four-story building. If we let three- and four-story buildings move in, we may … turn into a Lakeway,” Collins said. “The growth has exploded there. Most of the residents here would like us to maintain the lifestyle that we have.”
On June 27, the city’s planning and zoning committee is scheduled to consider Walsh’s variance requests to clear the way for the height and square-footage plans he has for the project.
“When they zoned this project that I’m part of, they limited the slab sizes to 10,000 square feet,” Walsh said. “You can’t build a 71-unit, three-story building on a 10,000-square-foot pad.”
Larger facilities would translate into a higher density, Collins explained.
“We’re longterm residents,” she said, referring to how long she’s lived in the community. “We want to make sure we don’t lose the quaintness and special kind of feel that Horseshoe Bay has.”
Planning and zoning chairman Norm Long said commissioners will take a close look at the request while also keeping nearby residents in mind.
“The need for assisted-living facilities is viable,” Long said. “We have to look at the building height variance — and the size of one of the buildings will require a variance.
“(Opposing residents) would probably love for (the property) to be a cattle grazing field,” he added. “We’ve got to make sure it’s done right and doesn’t have an impact on the neighbors.”