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The Southwest HEB promises environmental stewardship in Hill Country
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The Southwest HEB promises environmental stewardship in Hill Country

Southwest HEB location promises environmental stewardship of Hill Country

Photo by Austin

Friday, January 21, 2022, Kali Bramble

Southwest Austin has a new HEB. The store will open sometime this year to the Hill Country area bordered at Oak Hill to the east, and Dripping Springs to its west. However site developers will first need to compromise with the city in order to accommodate the environmental regulations.

Following briefings by HEBs civil engineers team and the citys Development Services Department, the Environmental Commission unanimously accepted four variance requests. It concluded that they did not pose any threat to Bear Creek Watershed.

The 12115 U.S. Highway 290 site was home to the Nutty Brown Amphitheatre. They closed their doors last November and plan to move to McNeil Park, Round Rock, later this year. HEB purchased the land 2015This was at a time when Belterra Village was in full swing and the surrounding area was rapidly developing.

The availability of land and the proximity to U.S.290 have encouraged growth in the southwest Hill Country. However, the topography of the area and its location within the Barton Springs or Drinking Water protection zones pose challenges for developers. HEB’s developers argue that these features are restrictions that permit reasonable variances in land use code.

Joseph York, civil engineer, spoke on behalf of Jones & Carter and asked for four variance requests to be approved by the city. Two of these variance requests would increase cut&fill constraints (from four feet to twelve and 21 feet respectively), while the other two would allow construction of parking or driveway features on slopes exceeding 15 percent.

HEBs applicants argue the Hill Country’s unique topography warrants an exception to cut-and-fill or excessive slope codes.

York also expressed support for HEBs commitment towards improving the area’s natural drainage systems. He noted that Nutty Brown Amphitheatre, the previous land steward, had illegally expanded its impervious coverage and dumped nearly 125,000 cubic yard of unpermitted soil in areas that blocked natural drainage flow into critical wetlands nearby.

HEBs’s development team has agreed that the illegal fill will be removed and the surrounding area will be restored to its original grade.

York stated that water from wetlands is usually coming from upstream, or off-site. York said that this has always been an natural drainage pattern that was then blocked by the unpermitted material. Our goal was to restore the natural drainage pattern and give water from other sources a place to go. The area is also home to tall grasses, trees, and shrubs that help to slow down water flow and absorb it.

City staffers also requested developers to pay for the removal of roughly 20 trees that the project team intends to remove to make way for parking access. HEB will also preserve a 20 acre grove of trees at its rear and compensate for any damage done by the building.

HEB is moving closer to bringing essential shopping services in the Hill Country and along the 290 corridor, as recommended by the Environmental Commission. Growth engineSouthwest Austin. If all goes according to plan, you can expect the new location to open sometime in October.

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