The new Verbena Subdivision behind North Haven Gardens

A single family home builder in Austin, PSW Real Estate, bought the rear half of the North Haven Gardens property (about 4 acres) in 2014 to construct and sell homes in the $600,000-$700,000 range.  Their web site can be viewed here.  A heavy commercial landscaping business previously operated on the site.  PSW is developing 31 contemporary single family homes on small lots.  

A copy of the PD zoning regulations for this property may be seen 
here.

The site is a "transitional" location.  One side adjoins an institutional use (the Jewish Community Center), the second side adjoins a busy retail/commercial operation (North Haven Gardens), and the third side is adjacent to a public park and high-voltage electric towers (the Northaven Trail).  Only one of the four sides has residential adjacency.

This is the plat.  The primary access will be from Freda Stern Drive to Royal Lane, but for public safety, the City required a second access point, which will be Azalea Lane.

The zoning proposed by the original owner, North Haven Gardens, and approved by the City in Feburary, 2013:
 

  • Single family homes on smaller lots.  At the request of Hillcrest Forest, they increased the average lot size to at least 5,000 sq. ft., a 50% increase from their original proposal.

 

  • Retirement Home.  It could serve as a “transition” between the institutional use on the east (the JCC) and the single family homes on the west.  It would be quieter and generate less traffic than the current retail and commercial landscaping contractor.  Height would be limited to 36 feet (3 stories).  At the request of our association, they agreed to a condition that would require that Hillcrest Forest be notified in advance of any plans for a retirement home so that we might be part of the review process.


In addition, the owner agreed to many other restrictions, including:
 

  • A minimum 35' of landscaped property fronting on Northaven Road, to match the required front yards of the homes on Northaven and maintain a residential look to the street.  

  • If single family homes are developed within 30 feet of the west property line, the west side of such homes cannot have clear second-story windows or balconies overlooking the existing homes within our association boundaries. The new homes can have translucent (not clear) windows, or windows at least 6' off the floor on the west side.  

  • No retirement home more than 20' high (essentially 2 low stories) within 90 feet of the west property line.

  • For a retirement home or garden center/landscaping use, access to the property from Azalea Lane or Currin Drive is prohibited.  Access is allowed for Single Family homes only.


The Hillcrest Forest Neighborhood Association contacted the single family homes within 500 feet of North Haven Gardens.  Due to the many restrictions, new protections offered to adjacent neighbors which would not exist if the zoning change did not take place, and the lack of opposition from most of the immediate neighbors, Hillcrest Forest chose to neither oppose the request nor support it.