Downtown Master Plan open house follow-up
We had approximately 60 people attend the Downtown Master Plan open house meetings Jan. 12-13. We met a fair number of newcomers to the planning process, and saw a lot of familiar faces too. Thanks to all for taking the time to attend. It was a very productive two days.
If you weren't able to attend but want to see what was presented, here are the exhibits (PDF). If you've got questions or comments, please make them here on the blog.
Most folks who attended were complimentary of the plan and the process, and those who had questions and concerns were able to speak with staff one on one and/or provide their input in writing. Based on the input, we'll be recommending another tweak or two to the Plan.
Here are some of the highlights:
A gentleman whose family owns a house on Pecan Street came to the meeting Tuesday evening, as did his two adult daughters who live in the home. He and one of the daughters spoke in opposition to the plan at the Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing Nov. 10. We had a very productive visit at the open house, and we understand his issue much more clearly now and think we have a way to enable his family to achieve their goal for the property while we still achieve the overall mission of the plan.
The Round Rock Donuts "extended family" visited Tuesday, as did a representative from First Baptist Church. They were anxious to see how the design is coming along for the realignment of Round Rock Avenue onto Liberty Avenue (Here is the page (PDF) from the plan showing "before and after" images of the realignment.) We anticipate receiving a draft design from our consulting engineer soon, and when we do we'll start visiting with nearby property owners.
The owner of Kawaii Shaved Ice on Mays Street expressed his opposition to the recommendation in the plan to take Mays Street from four lanes to three in the future. Here's our consulting engineer's analysis of the proposal (PDF), with an explanation of why the change will improve traffic flows on Mays by allowing for more effective signal timing at the Mays-Main Street intersection. It's certainly sounds odd, if not downright crazy, that reducing the number of lanes will allow traffic to flow better, but that's what will happen. For those who remain skeptical, know that we are planning to test such a change by simply restriping Mays to see how well it works in practice before we rebuild anything.
One display we had up that's not included in the exhibit download above is the Heritage Trail concept produced by our Parks and Recreation Department planning team. The plan would have the Heritage Trail start in Old Town Brushy by “the rock” with a number of sculptural stories and interpretative signs to tell the story of the frontier days in old town Brushy. As the trail continues east along Brushy Creek, the history of Round Rock would continue to be told through interpretive signs, sculptures and custom “time portal” view points. A pedestrian bridge would cross from the north side of the creek to the south side at approximately Lewis Street at Veterans Park.
Everyone was really excited about the Heritage Trail concept with one notable exception: those folks who own homes on Vista Avenue whose property backs up to the creek. They would much prefer the trail be built on the south side of the creek. They are concerned about safety, impact to creek views and the division of their property. These issues will be addressed during the design process for the trail, which will occur at some point in the future. There is no funding currently identified for the trail project.
Regarding the East Main Street ballfields property owned by the Round Rock Community Foundation, we received a couple of written comments asking the property remain as is, or that a majority of it remain green/open space. The RRCF is planning for the property to be used by social service providers like Williamson-Burnet Counties Opportunities Inc. and Hope Alliance and to provide some open/green space on the site. A special zoning district (Planned Unit Development) will be required to develop this property because a portion of it is currently zoned single family residential, with the balance zoned commercial. The PUD process will include neighborhood input.
We anticipate having the final draft of the plan document ready by next Wednesday, Jan. 20, when we will be distributing copies to Planning and Zoning Commission members in advance of their Feb. 3 public hearing and recommendation vote. Once we've got the Plan posted online, we'll send an email to our stakeholder list and write a new blog post.