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Bastrop's Land-Use Revisions Aim To Cater To New Development, While Maintaining Authenticity

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
Bastrop is updating its land-development rules.

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 consultant helping Bastrop with the revamp, said developers want to take the city's existing grid-like 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 it more walkable, while also allowing cars to be present.

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 prevent that from happening up front," saving owners time and money.

Ishmael Harris, a candidate for City Council 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.

The Bastrop City Council voted last year to put a temporary hold on new development projects that could have negative effects on the drainage system. Design staff said councilmembers can expect to see a first draft of recommended land-use changes May 24.

Correction: A previous version of this post referred to Ishmael Harris as a City Council member; he is a candidate for City Council. It also called Simplecity Design a nonprofit; it is a consultant on the new land-use plans. 

DaLyah Jones is a former assistant producer for All Things Considered and evening host. She is also co-host of the Two & Fro podcast.
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