Bee Cave to add 400-acre Sweetwater East mixed-use project

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Covert rendering SweetwaterUnder the terms of a development agreement approved Dec. 8 by Bee Cave City Council, Covert Automotive Group may construct a sales and service center on the 32-acre Eastland tract it purchased in July.Rendering courtesy city of Bee Cave
Covert rendering Sweetwater

The city of Bee Cave plans to add more than 400 acres into its extraterritorial jurisdiction, including a proposed mixed-use project, Sweetwater East, on the south side of Hwy. 71 adjacent to the Lake Travis ISD bus barn or depot. A city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction lies outside of city boundaries and does not receive city services but is able to be annexed into the city if conditions are met.

Bee Cave City Council approved a development agreement Dec. 8 between the city and WS-COS Development partners, which also does business as Wheelock Street Capital and is the developer of the Sweetwater project; the Lazy Nine Municipal Utility District No. 1A, which provides water and wastewater service to Sweetwater; and Matthews-Barnes Brothers Investment which represents Covert Automotive Group.

Under the agreement, the Lazy Nine MUD will annex a 393-acre Eastland tract and, since the tract is outside the jurisdiction of any city, select Bee Cave’s ETJ as the tract’s designated jurisdiction. The Eastland tract will become part of Bee Cave’s ETJ.

Eastland tract plans
Eastland tract plans

The tract is planned to be developed in a style similar to the Sweetwater development and slated to include a residential component—single, patio and/or multi-family homes—as well as possibly an assisted-living facility, active adult community, office space and retail, WS-COS Development Managing Member Mike Rafferty said. A section of the lengthy agreement outlines what development standards the project must meet.

“This Development Agreement provides an alternative to typical city regulatory processes for development in its ETJ,” state Dec. 8 City Council agenda supporting materials. “It encourages innovative and comprehensive planning of the [MUD] tract while providing for certain regulatory requirements throughout the term of this agreement. The development agreement encourages the creation of a high-quality community for the benefit of the present and future residents of the city and the project.”

Although the Eastland property will be located within the city’s ETJ, under the terms of the agreement, the city cannot annex the tract into its full-service borders until the earlier of Dec. 8, 2045, or the vast majority of the project’s infrastructure, parks and recreation facilities is complete, Bee Cave City Attorney Patty Akers said.

The agreement also provides that Covert—which purchased a 32-acre parcel in the Eastland tract from Sweetwater developers in July—may construct an auto sales and service center on the site. However, as a condition of Covert buying and building on the new Eastland tract, the original 23-acre tract Covert owns on W. Hwy. 71 just outside the Falconhead West neighborhood will be designated as neighborhood services and not for automobile service uses.

The LTISD tract—including its bus depot—will be annexed into Bee Cave’s ETJ along with the Eastland tract but will not be subject to any other terms of the agreement.

The city of Bee Cave and Lazy Nine MUD will sign a strategic partnership agreement outlining the land conveyances in the Dec. 8 plan, with required public hearings set by Bee Cave City Council for Jan. 26 and Feb. 9.

In 2013, Covert’s proposal for a dealership on its 23-acre tract outside Falconhead West was met with stiff opposition from residents citing lighting, noise and safety issues from cars test driving in the neighborhood.

“It’s nice to have a pathway to a future solution,” Bee Cave Mayor Caroline Murphy said.