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Buda planners OK changes to Sunfield MUD

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 by Jacob Cottingham

Despite objections from a vocal group of citizens, the Buda Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend to City Council a change in the land use agreement between the city and Sunfield MUD. The MUD wants to allow 159.9 acres, which was designated for commercial retail use to become office and industrial use.


US Foodservices has been considering a move of its South Austin distribution center to a parcel of land in the Sunfield MUD. Those opposing the change to the agreement were primarily concerned about increased big rig traffic through downtown Buda and residential neighborhoods.


Commissioners spent nearly two hours in discussion during which US Foodservice could only be referenced hypothetically. The commission was technically forbidden from considering traffic implications. The acreage is split into several parcels along a proposed Main Street extension and Turnersville Road.


Two weeks ago commissioners tabled the agenda item after citizens organized under the Save Buda banner presented the commission with a lengthy list of questions about the proposed changes. Warren Ketteman, Executive Director of the Buda Economic Development Corporation showed up with 17 pages of responses to the questions, which ranged from sales taxes to traffic to road development.


Mike Boswell, project manager for Sunfield MUD told the commissioners that Bob Daigh from TxDOT, the area engineer of the Main Street and I-35 overpass, said that the oft-delayed road project was on track to begin construction in 2009. Boswell also floated the idea that stimulus money could provide a boost to some of the area transportation projects, which would eventually allow any trucks to merely use I-35 and SH 45. Main Street in Buda is in the midst of a multi-year multimillion dollar expansion east over I-35 and Sunfield would extend that to Turnersville Road. The Sunfield developers would also connect Main Street with FM 2001, CR 118 and eventually tie in SH 45 in the east.


When asked what new information came to light, Commission Chairman Rahm McDaniel told In Fact Daily, “information about the truck volume at the current facility of the prospective tenant… the truck routes through the subdivision prior to the completion of Main Street, the results of their interaction with TxDOT on when Main Street would be completed and how that would go.” During the public discussion, McDaniel also indicated that trucks in Buda were part of life already. Commissioners also discussed ways in which the city could limit traffic either by prohibiting travel on certain roads or constraining it based upon load limits.


McDaniel said the approval did represent some “risk to our transportation infrastructure as a result of changing the plan this way, and as we proceed through the plaiting process we’re going to have to watch this very closely and it’s not without some peril.”


The Buda City Council will take up the land agreement issue at the March 17 session, where Save Buda plans to make an even larger presence. Hays County Commissioners are said to be watching the council action closely as US Foodservices is also asking for tax breaks in their hypothetical relocation efforts.

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