Disallow Future Development of High Density Residences in Steiner Ranch
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The Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association (“SRNA”) hereby expresses our concern and, without appropriate measures to address these concerns, our opposition to the high-density, multi-family development currently being proposed by Taylor Morrison (“Taylor Morrison” or “Developer”) on several remaining undeveloped tracts. The Developer is also seeking to re-zone land to allow for additional high-density multi-family development not currently permissible with the current zoning in place.
Taylor Morrison is actively soliciting or negotiating development deals that would lead to approximately 900 new households inside of Steiner Ranch proper. Of these, approximately 85% will be high-density multi-family units that are located toward the front of the development near Ranch Road 620. A representative sample of these projects includes:
· Development currently under contract is for 246 apartment units to be built on tract MU-1B between the Canyon Glen neighborhood and Quinlan Crossing (i.e., Randall’s) and will expose the Canyon Glen neighborhood to the significant traffic related to this complex.
· Another similarly-sized project is already underway for 298 units on Steiner Ranch Boulevard between the existing Monterone Apartments and the Steiner Ranch Steakhouse.
· A project containing 180 duplexes on tract MU-14 (on the corner of Quinlan Park and RR 620 across from the Randall’s development) is under consideration.
Our opposition to further high-density multi-family development is based upon the following concerns:
1. Traffic and Safety
· Based upon information from the Developer and Travis County officials, there will be no new roads allowed to exit from Steiner Ranch onto Ranch Road 620. All additional traffic will be forced onto Quinlan Park Road and Steiner Ranch Boulevard, which will increase congestion, commute times and accident rates for all of Steiner Ranch.
· The RR 620/2222 corridor is already at capacity and there is currently no public funding available to address the problem. Additional high-density, multi-family development will only exacerbate the current congestion and safety issues.
· Logistically, our only route out of the community during an emergency is through either Quinlan Park Road or Steiner Ranch Boulevard, which both feed onto Ranch Road 620. As we all experienced during the Labor Day wildfires of 2011, this situation presents a community-wide safety issue and adding another 2,000 vehicles to the population will only stress a system that is already substandard and unsafe.
· Regarding the specific development adjacent to the Canyon Glen:
o Access to/from that neighborhood is already particularly dangerous during peak travel times such as during rush hour and schools start and stop times;
o This development proposes that traffic to/from the apartment complex utilize, in part, the existing residential streets in the Glen Canyon neighborhood.
o An October, 2011 traffic study showed as many as 2,700 cars passed through the Canyon Glen/Quinlan Park intersection in a single two-hour period during peak travel times. An additional +/- 500 cars from the contiguous development of 246 units will only compound these current safety and convenience problems.
2. School Overcrowding
· Our schools are already at capacity. Adding 900 new households will create higher student-to-teacher ratios and lower per student spending.
· Given the high demand for the L.I.S.D. schools inside of Steiner Ranch, the populations of the new apartment units will likely be family-focused and have higher than average occupancy.
· Portable buildings and busing our kids to schools outside of Steiner Ranch are unwelcome possibilities.
3. Public Services and Security
· Adding thousands of new residents through +/- 900 new households will increase the need for, and strain on, critical public services such as police, fire and EMS.
· Evacuation car counts during an emergency would increase dramatically.
4. Property Values
· Further high-density, multi-family development will lower our property values and erode our quality of life.
· Adding apartments to line the front of the neighborhood is not consistent with the “Master Planned Community” concept and is a change of plans by the Developer from prior representations (through the Welcome Center personnel) who told prospective residents that Monterone would be the only apartments in Steiner Ranch.
Creating more traffic pressure on Quinlan Park Road and Steiner Ranch Boulevard, without any release valves available onto Ranch Road 620, is a detriment to both convenience and public safety … both of which drive down property values.
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