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The Lead May 13, 2022: In its first look at massive project, Kerrville planning commission says it needs more time to evaluate

The project would bring about 1,600 housing units to the city.

Good morning, Kerr County!

If you go outside any time in the next few days, remember to bring water and sunscreen, and you should probably wear a hat. If not, maybe consider making a dermatologist appointment to ensure your face hasn't melted off from the heat over the next few days — or weeks. Look, we're not saying it will be pleasant out there during the day, but if you like warmish evenings, this weather is for you. Highs in the 90s for the foreseeable future and really, really hot next week.

On today's The Lead Live!

The Democrats are coming! In a battle of gerrymandered futility, 21st Congressional District Democratic candidates Ricardo Villarreal and Claudia Zapata will be our guests. The two face each other in the May 24 Democratic primary for the right to face Rep. Chip Roy in the November general election. However, this isn't like 2020, when the 21st District was competitive. The new district lines give a clear advantage to Roy, thanks to the maps drawn by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature. Villareal earned 27% of the vote in the primary to Zapata's 47%. Villareal will join us by video conference, while Zapata will join us at 10 a.m. at Pint and Plow. Also joining us today will be Georgieanna Itz to discuss Kerr Konnect's open house on Saturday.

Today's newsletter is sponsored by:

It's Friday the 13th. Time to get out and have some fun!

Rocket Launch

  • Rockets2022 — Segner Ranch, Stonewall, 8 a.m. Information: https://www.greateventseats.com/events.php?lID=92 The details: Students from 19 Texas high schools will launch 50 rockets they designed and built, as part of the culminating event for SystemsGo. There is no fixed launch schedule. Rockets will go up during all daylight hours, in the order, they are certified prepared for launch and recovery. Categories will include launching a one-pound payload one mile high or to achieve the speed of sound.

Markets

  • Kerrville Farmers Market — A.C. Schreiner Mansion, 4 p.m. Information: https://kerrvillefarmersmarket.com/ The details: Come down and enjoy a complimentary beer, or buy a handcrafted pizza and enjoy the market.

Live music

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  • Campfire Songwriters Retreat — Camp Stewart, Hunt, through May 15. Information: https://www.txcampfireretreats.com The details: Three days in the Texas Hill Country! The best music, food, folks, fun and memories to be had along the Guadalupe River. Hosted Happy Hours, Hill Country Cuisine and scheduled Songwriter Showcases with more surprises in store!
  • Boone Holding — Pint and Plow Brewing Co., 6 p.m. Information: 830-315-7468 The details: A night of telling songs, singing songs and good vibes. Boone's music is acoustic and has been referred to as "organic."
  • Stan Morris — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information: https://www.shopsattheridge.com
  • The Reefs — The Hunt Store, 7 p.m. Information: 830-238-4410 The details: Party on the patio with this super fun jam band! Bring the family, grab some dinner and find a seat.
  • Jake Hoot — Cailloux Theater, 7:30 p.m. Information: https://www.caillouxperformingarts.com The details: The Season 17 Champion of NBC TV's "The Voice," Jake Hoot has amassed more than 10 million streams and thousands of downloads, including the smash hit "I Would've Loved You," his duet with superstar Kelly Clarkson. He's appeared on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," "Today" with Hoda Kotb, and "Entertainment Tonight," among others. Tickets: $25-40.
  • C-Rock — Pier 27 River Lounge and 8 Ball, 8 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437
  • Braden Toomey — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Boutique, Ingram, 6 p.m. Information: 936-554-8326

Theater

  • Live comedy theater "Drinking Habits" — The Point Theater, Ingram, 7:30 p.m., through May 15. Information: https://www.hcaf.com/2022-theatre-season/ The details: Accusations, mistaken identities, and romances run wild in this traditional, laugh-out-loud farce. Two nuns at the Sisters of Perpetual Sewing have been secretly making wine to keep the convent's doors open, but Paul and Sally, reporters and former fiancees, are hot on their trail. They go undercover as a nun and priest, but their presence, combined with the addition of a new nun, spurs paranoia throughout the convent that spies have been sent from Rome to shut them down. There's the spilling of wine and secrets as everyone tries to preserve the convent and reconnect with lost loves.

Planning and zoning gets its first look at The Reserve at Kerrville

The first look at a massive residential and commercial development, dubbed The Reserver at Kerrville, in south Kerrville proved a formidable moment for the Kerrville planning and zoning commission on Thursday.

After meeting for more than three hours, the planning and zoning commission said it would table discussion about the project — expected to bring more than 1,000 homes and 600 multifamily residences — until its next meeting in June.

"I'm just uncomfortable," said Mike Sigerman, the chairman of the six-member commission. The discomfort lay with the scale of the project and a raft of zoning variances needed to make it viable.

The project would tie together highways 16 and 173 with a four-lane roadway, but its proximity to Comanche Trace drew a standing-room-only crowd — one clearly larger than Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

The more than 480-acre property sits between Kerrville-Schreiner Park on the west and Comanche Trace on the east. A narrow portion fronts Bandera Highway, with the park as a border, but it soon opens up to the rest of the property. Triple Root Development, a San Antonio-based firm, said it plans to build multiple phases over the coming years, but the first phase could be more than 200 high-end estate homes next to Comanche Trace.

However, the discussion about the variances needed to achieve the project led to the most challenging conversations. Cities can regulate density in Texas, and this project tossed the commission some ideas not usually found in the Hill Country.

For instance, the city's zoning code for a duplex is a 6,000-square foot lot, but the variance here was 3,000. As Triple Root's land-use manager, Nick Haskell, said, the development was working the maximize open-space offerings, reduce grading and better fitting into the topography of the land.

The housing options offered ranged from large estates to small single-family homes and cottages with courtyards. If developed, the project could offer 50 acres of parkland and live-work spaces, and the developers even touted a winery. There was a lot of promise.

The Comanche Trace folks didn't seem very impressed, but commercial real estate broker Bruce Stracke asked the crowd how many of them had participated in the Kerrville 2050 plan. Almost nobody raised their hands.

Stracke said this development was the closest he'd seen to realizing the city's comprehensive plan to manage growth. Still, Sigerman said he wanted to see more concrete ideas of what lots would look like, but the developers pushed back against that suggestion. The developers wanted the zoning changes for the project and were agreeable to removing the variance requests. Even that wasn't enough to sway the commission.

Other things we learned on Thursday night:

  • The commission approved six short-term rentals, but it has become a regular occurrence for the commission to struggle with permitting in neighborhoods.
  • At the end of the meeting, Planning Director Drew Paxton said the City Council and planning and zoning commission would likely have a joint workshop about the issue of short-term rentals. While Kerrville is not overrun like other Texas cities, there is clear pushback on their approvals from neighbors.
  • The Triple Root development team was asked if there were incentives from the city attached to their planned project. They said there are some negotiations about incentives with city officials.

Get your hands dirty at the Library

Want to learn the basics of gardening? Join the staff of the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library at 10:30 a.m. in the meeting room for the next installment of the Gardening 101 program. Jackie Skinner, a Master Gardener, will discuss best practices to ensure your hibiscus plants thrive. Questions are welcome! This program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the library reference desk at (830) 258-1274, or visit the city's website at www.kerrvilletx.gov.

Kerrville Pets Alive in action

Kerr County remains mum, silent and non-communicative about the 50 dogs it seized from a Kerr County property on Wednesday. However, Kerrville Pets Alive had plenty to say and shared it on its Facebook page as it worked to care for the dogs — many of them small. The volunteers gathered rocks to help secure some of the kennels, washed and bathed the dogs and got cages ready for transport.

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