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Church demolition to make way for new Marble Falls apartment complex

CrossView Baptist Church in Marble Falls

CrossView Baptist Church, formerly First Baptist Church of Marble Falls, will be demolished before a new apartment complex is built on the site. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The Marble Falls City Council voted 5-1 to approve a new multi-family dwelling during its regular meeting Tuesday, June 21, despite opposition from the project’s neighbors. The three-story, 180-unit complex on 12th Street will include a swimming pool, green space, and 328 parking spaces. Units will have 1-3 bedrooms. 

CrossView Baptist Church currently sits on the site at 501 12th St. The building was previously home to First Baptist Church before it moved to La Ventana Drive.

The project calls for demolishing the buildings on the property. 

David Turrentine of Horseshoe Bay, owner of Turrentine Properties, is the project’s developer. The property’s current owner, Rose Brausel of Burnet, believes Turrentine’s ties to the community make him a good fit to develop the site.

“He’s a local developer,” Brausel said. “He’s not just some developer from Arizona who is going to build some apartments here and head back to Arizona. He really wants to do something nice.”

The city has asked the developer to build several 6-foot-wide sidewalks in the vicinity of the project, including from 12th Street to The Home Depot and on one side of avenues G and E. The developer also will pay the city $50,000 in escrow for the extension of 12th Street and the connection to Primrose.

Neighbors of the proposed development cited concerns about crime, noise, privacy, and traffic. 

The developer conducted a trip count survey to measure traffic, but neighbors claimed the results were lower than they would be in reality. Residents near the proposed apartment complex told the council that a traffic impact analysis (TIA) conducted during the school year would yield more accurate results.

“All of our concerns take a back seat to the traffic issue,” said resident Christopher Feller. “The thing that sticks in our craw more than anything is the TIA not getting done. It just seems like the obvious thing to do. I know the importance (Brausel) puts on the trips report, but it’s theoretical.”

Another neighbor of the proposed development, MaxAnne Jones, stated how much she will miss the history and peacefulness of the old church.

“This location is a special place to me and the countless others whose lives have been changed for the better since 1963,” Jones said. “I honestly can’t imagine what the property will look like without those buildings, with their stained-glass windows and steeples. I know that such change is inevitable and redevelopment is certain. I just cannot imagine a high-density apartment complex with 180 units built on this location.”

Resident Jason Coleman spoke in favor of the project. He said it was unfair to distrust the trip count study as it has been used in several prior developments across the city.

“The trip study that was performed was done by a third-party that the city has recommended,” he said. “It has been used on multiple developments in town.”

Coleman pointed out that the number of trips counted in the study was less than what current developments on the property yield.

“In that trip study, nobody seems to focus on the fact that the number is actually less,” Coleman said.

After hearing public comment on the issue, Councilor Bryan Walker pointed out the city’s lack of affordable housing. He claimed that residents’ concerns about crime and traffic did not outweigh the town’s current housing crisis.

“Our town is growing,” Walker said. “We are starting to get exclusive. We’re starting to use these meetings to be exclusive. That’s not the Marble Falls I remember moving to. We need housing, we know this. We need places for people to live in that want to come and work here.”

The council deliberated for some time before voting 5-1 in favor of approval. Councilor Lauren Haltom voted against; Councilor Reed Norman was absent.

The Marble Falls City Council’s next regular meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 5, in council chambers at City Hall, 800 Third St. 

nathan@thepicayune.com

15 thoughts on “Church demolition to make way for new Marble Falls apartment complex

  1. People don’t need housing. They need affordable housing. Why do I seriously doubt the place will have affordable housing? Probably because the newer apartments built around here want an arm and a leg to rent.

    1. Agreed. However, more housing helps to meet the demand that our current supply simply can’t meet. Rentals in general (apartments and houses) are high right now in the region due to so much demand – it’s true in Austin and Dallas and it’s true in Marble Falls. All that to say, to do nothing isn’t going to solve anything either. The older apartments around here are held together by scotch tape. We need newer ones, but we also need to city to negotiate with developers for a portion of new builds to be affordable (i.e., a % of their units at or below market, etc.). There are such agreements in place in cities of all sizes. I don’t know if MF has any such agreement, but I hope they do.

      1. For John B.: You can’t say that a developer, or anyone, should be required to build something, or a % of something, at below-market value. They can’t afford to lose money, either. A developer is the one taking the risk to build. That is no different than saying you should go build a shelter in your yard that you are required to rent for less than it cost you to build it. Or if you see that the older apartments are falling apart, are you going there to help rebuild at your own expense?

        Not everyone “deserve(s) to be able to live close to conveniences just like anyone else.” We can’t all live close to conveniences. We don’t all get the same things , we don’t all make the same salary, we don’t all have a nice car.

        I am not a developer. I am not an advocate for the current developments in our area. I am also not an advocate of government controlling what people “should” charge or pay for something. The free market will determine that.

        1. I hear you points. I’ll respond to some of them.

          To say that people don’t deserve to be near to conveniences isn’t wrong but it is a little nearsighted. To allow the free market alone to determine where and how people live goes against centuries of development practices in Western societies. There was a plan for Marble Falls when the original plats were determined. Zoning in the modern sense does this as well. Why? Because if we price people out of the city, we lose workers, we lose taxes, we lose opportunities, etc. Not to mention the fact that if prices aren’t pulled under control, then the cheaper homes are farther out and that contributes to traffic, pollution, etc. The Austin area is growing and thus the Marble Falls area is growing. People are coming here whether folks like it or not. We may as well have a plan for the growth, and sometimes that requires compromise for the betterment of *all* citizens, not just the ones who can afford it no matter how high the prices go.

          Regarding the city telling developers what to do, that is basically what zoning is. It’s fluid by nature and can be changed through established processes and/or impacted by public opinion. However, affordable housing agreements which are in place are certainly up for debate and I don’t disagree with you there. I see that my original post on that point seems that I’m for it, but in actuality my intent was simply to state that other cities have such agreements in place and Marble Falls *could* pursue that. Whether they should or not is up for debate.

  2. One more thought to add that I appreciated from the article. Folks need housing, and not all folks can afford a single-family home. This is a great opportunity for a community full of hardworking, blue-collar folks who deserve to be able to live close to conveniences just like anyone else.

  3. Couple of things. God doesn’t reside in buildings. The First Baptist Church had a long and cherished history in that location, and God will use them in mighty ways from the new location on the hill. That building on 12th street is just that – a building. They sold it and no longer use it. Any other uses of it are to be determined by the owner(s) of said building/property.

    To the next part, the various responsible parties have a duty to follow the current laws and approved and disapprove based on those. Opinions of residents are taken into consideration as a part of the process, but those opinions do not always lead to changes because what one does with their property (fortunately) doesn’t always depend on the opinion of neighbors, so long as they’re not violating laws or regulations. The developers of the site would do well to take any of the concerns into account and consider how to develop with those in mind through mitigation efforts for traffic, noise, etc., of course – because that’s the right thing to do.

    There is nothing nefarious or otherwise immoral happening here. Please don’t take a former church building being sold and its property repurposed as an attack on Christianity. God is bigger than buildings and property. Most of the global church meets in homes or multi-use facilities (businesses, warehouses) – or outside. Some of the global church meets in secret. Let’s take a step back here, folks.

  4. It seems like the mightly Dollar is worshipped far more than God these days. And in recent decades.

  5. A 5-1 landslide?! Cmon. Out of all things to do right now. Sheesh. So many roads to be worked on still ,So many street lights that should be in place. So many sidewalks to have. Even having electric transportation for residents of marble and surrounding areas could be established. That’s just the tip..but y’all went a step above it all. it must take years to get this creative.

    1. And the planning and zoning commission unanimously voted to deny this. Shows how much the city council considered their recommendation. Councilman Bryan Walker called our arguments against the plan petty and exclusionary, as if the value of our homes is a trivial matter.

  6. I am sickened that this was approved! That church building should be declared an historical landmark and preserved! Some people will sell their soul for a few dollars!

  7. I keep wondering why we have water boards? Where are they? I never see any objection to the development of hotels, subdivisions, apartments. Yet, there is always concern about our droughts, our lake levels, we need to cut back on water usage, protect the water tables, etc.

    Then there is the electric grid.

    Go figure.

  8. There really is no way to compromise and somehow work the church into the design of the apartment complex? The residents will need someplace to worship. This is a terrible precedent, kicking God out of our community. The presence of the Church will reduce crime. Perhaps if the church were turned into a Community Center which could serve the residents. This demolition seems short sighted!

    1. I completely agree! It is so backwards to remove a God-centered place….a place where people worshipped, healed, married the love of their life and eulogized family and friends when their lives ended… where little ones learned about Jesus, and parents trusted their children to be cared for while they worked….
      Such a sad, sad change to the face of the town where I grew up.
      I miss the Marble Falls of the 70’s and 80’s!

  9. Where’s a picture of this proposed development? So 5 people decided this was ok and we’re going with that even though residents around it are objecting? The City seems to care less and less about current residents.

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