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.