Frequently Asked Questions on proposed downtown zoning change

Proposed zoning designed to allow orderly development of changing area

The City of Round Rock is proposing rezoning portions of the downtown area. Below is an FAQ developed by City staff following a May 15 public hearing at the Planning and Zoning Commission.

An second open house meeting has been scheduled for May 29. An earlier open house meeting on the zoning proposal was held March 5.

What is the downtown zoning proposal and why was it created?

In 2010 City Council adopted the Downtown Master Plan to guide future development of downtown Round Rock according to the following vision:

“Downtown Round Rock can become a thriving town center, featuring a viable mix of residential, commercial, retail, dining, entertainment and public space uses, in a walkable and historically sensitive environment to enhance Round Rock’s economy, quality of life, and sense of place.”

The Plan was created with much public input in the form of open houses and public hearings. The Plan contains zoning recommendations and improvements to streets, parks and utilities that the City should complete in order to achieve the Downtown Master Plan’s vision. After the Plan was adopted, the Future Land Use Map in the city’s General Plan was amended to specify mixed land uses for future rezoning in the downtown area.

Since then, city staff has been working on the creation of new development rules to implement the vision of the Downtown Master Plan with a group of downtown home and business owners and members of the Planning & Zoning and Historic Preservation Commissions. The group concluded that the zoning recommendations in the plan would produce development that was too intense, and that the proposed regulations were too complicated, confusing, and restrictive.

As a result, staff decided to 1) focus on the immediate and surrounding downtown area, and 2) simplify the rezoning proposal from 12 to 3 zoning districts in order to make it easier to understand, interpret, and apply the regulations.

What does zoning do?

Zoning helps our community continue to be a safe and desirable place to live and work. Zoning regulates what uses are allowed in different areas of the city. Each zoning district has a set of rules specifying the types of uses allowed and the way in which development must take place. Zoning regulations may include the maximum height of buildings, the size of lots and yards around buildings, parking, and landscaping.

What is mixed‐use zoning?

Mixed‐use zoning is slightly different from typical zoning in that it allows the combining of residential and commercial uses in the same building, on the same site, or in the same block.

What earlier public meetings has the City conducted on potential rezoning of the Flat and historic core of downtown?

During the nearly two-year long Downtown Master Plan process there were more than a dozen public meetings. A couple were held specifically regarding rezoning. You can check the Downtown Master Plan project blog for recaps of the January 2010 Open House meeting and the Feb. 3, 2010 Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing.

Why are some areas left out of the downtown zoning proposal?

Certain areas included in the Downtown Master Plan are not proposed for rezoning at this time. These include the Circle Avenue area and the area east of Georgetown Street. These are designated for single family uses in the Downtown Master Plan and are already zoned appropriately. It is staff’s professional opinion that these areas are unlikely to support non-residential uses at this time.

What happens if my home is rezoned from a single‐family zoning district to a mixed‐use zoning district?

If a single‐family home is rezoned from a single‐family zoning district to a mixed‐use district, it may continue to be used as a single‐family home for an unlimited period of time. You may also enlarge your home without any additional restrictions, should this zoning be implemented.

You may also choose to use your home for certain other uses that would not have been permitted under single‐family zoning, such as for office or retail. In that case, certain improvements to the building or site would likely be required.

What happens to an existing church if it is rezoned to a mixed‐use district?

Nothing. A church is a permitted use in all zoning districts, including in the proposed mixed‐use districts. Federal law limits local land use regulation for churches. Most religious organizations are exempt from property taxes.

Will Veterans Park be affected by the rezoning proposal?

No, there are no changes proposed for the park. The proposal would rezone the single-family areas at either side of the park from single‐family to mixed‐use, but the park itself would still be zoned open space.

What property has the City purchased in recent years in downtown and for what purposes?

The City purchased three different properties in the 100 block of East Liberty Avenue for future downtown parking. The City also purchased 304 E. Bagdad Ave. and is currently creating a parking lot there. The City last year purchased 200 W. Main St. (the former Kanda Kropp State Farm office) and a few years earlier purchased 210 Round Rock Ave. (the former Snapdragon Florist) for roadway improvements.

What will happen to my taxes if the downtown zoning proposal is adopted?

The appraised value of a property is determined by the Williamson Central Appraisal District based on comparable sales in the area. If a property is a person’s primary residence, the property appraisal may be reduced by Homestead and Over 65 exemptions when applicable.

What is the rezoning process and how can residents and neighborhood groups voice their opinions?

The downtown zoning proposal is like any other rezoning case, except that many properties will be evaluated at the same time. All rezoning cases are prepared by city staff and presented to the Planning & Zoning Commission, which votes on whether to recommend approval or disapproval of the rezoning to the City Council. The City Council makes the final decision.

The Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council each hold a public hearing before voting. Comments made at the hearings are part of the official public record. If you would like to speak at a hearing, you will be asked to fill out an “appearance before the commission/council” card. The card reserves a 3-minute time to speak at the hearing, and provides a record of who speaks.

You may also contact the Planning & Development Services Department staff with questions at any time. Staff can be reached at 218-5428. A Spanish‐speaking staff member is also available to answer questions. Staff can provide technical information about the ordinance or address any concerns that you may have.

What changes are under consideration based on input eeting, the Commission postponed their vote on the downtown zoning proposal until June 5. We’re working on several changes to the ordinance based on your comments at the public hearing. One of these changes is that new single‐family will be allowed to be built on vacant lots in the MU‐2 district. Additionally, homes that are destroyed by act of God will have five years to rebuild under the existing regulations that are in place today. After five years, certain design standards will apply to the reconstruction of a home.

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