Council approves heavy commercial rezoning for Hero Way site

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A 42-acre office park could be built north of Hero Way after Leander City Council on Aug. 8 approved rezoning the site from interim single-family rural use to heavy commercial.

The collection of five properties is located between CR 270 and Palmera Ridge, a planned residential development on the site of the former Kittie Hill Airport. Zoning change applicant Ryan Betz, manager of commercial real estate firm Betz Co., said he hoped the office park would take residents’ needs into account.

A property that is zoned heavy commercial can include office space, storage facilities, lumber yards, indoor manufacturing, warehouses and wrecker impoundment.

“We’ll be bringing a quality development that will fit a need for jobs in the city,” Betz said.

Homeowners southwest of Hero Way and CR 270 spoke against the rezoning Aug. 8. City Council members at first voted to postpone the rezoning vote after Betz asked for more time to do further research. After a meeting recess, City Council returned to the item and unanimously approved the rezoning, with conditions that the site cannot be used for outdoor entertainment or businesses such as pawn shops or same-day loan establishments.

Councilwoman Kirsten Lynch said Betz’s offer to comply with the restrictions could help ease neighbors’ concerns.

Residents including Andrew Lewis said the rezoning would overwhelm Hero Way with traffic.

“There’s a lot more traffic, and there’s a lot of speeding,” Lewis said. “If you change it to [heavy commercial zoning], it wouldn’t help the situation at all.”

City Manager Kent Cagle said any Hero Way expansion was at least five years away. Hero Way’s traffic has increased but is still light compared with other city roads, he said.

Opponents of the heavy commercial zoning have started a petition and a Web page, As of Aug. 13, the petition had 48 signatures.

Betz said his development would not affect local water quality because it would use the city wastewater system. A 12-inch waterline is being built as part of the Palmera project, he said.

Updated Aug. 13 CST at 10:06 a.m.