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Bastrop’s land use revisions aim to cater to new development, while maintaining ‘authenticity’

Thursday, April 11, 2019 by DaLyah Jones

Bastrop residents and city staff got their first look at ideas to help mitigate the city’s flooding problems at the Transportation and Drainage Rodeo on Tuesday.

The community event was part of the process to update land use regulations after concerns that ramped-up development is impacting the drainage system in the growing city of almost 9,000 people. Bastrop has had three major floods in recent years, resulting in substantial damages and repair costs.

Matt Lewis with Simplecity Design, a nonprofit helping Bastrop with the revamp, said developers want to take the city’s existing gridlike buildout and expand it.

“The fact that the buildings have been in the same configuration for 187 years says that they worked,” he said. “We’re re-extracting that character and reintroducing it back to the city” to make the community more walkable, while also allowing cars to be prevalent.

Proposed changes to the city’s thoroughfare involve revised street classifications and intersections, as well as connecting more trails and streets.

The city also wants to rework its drainage regulations, which the managing director of public works said have been “reworked and bounced around” over the past 20 years.

Problems are often discovered along the way, Trey Job said, “and we want to prevent that from happening up front,” saving owners time and money.

Ishmael Harris, a City Council member and fifth-generation Bastrop resident, said he feels like the city is on the right track and that the drafts cater to incoming businesses and residents, while maintaining the city’s authenticity.

“There’s still some restrictions, but (city staff) are giving residents the choice to build how they want and not conform to one style,” he said.

Design staff said Council members can expect to see a first draft of recommended land use changes May 24.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT.

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