Members of the New Braunfels Planning Commission on Tuesday gave the green light to a recommendation of an application that would allow the construction of a car dealership on the southbound I-35 access road near Oak Creek Way , on the east side of town.
The recommendation is now submitted to City Council for consideration. If passed by council members, the proposed Neighborhood Business District rezoning with special use permit would allow for the relocation of an existing Hyundai dealership and the potential development and construction of a future retail project and automotive services at 4165 and 4261 IH 35 North.
Ashley Farrimond, attorney for San Antonio-based Killen, Griffin & Farrimond, representing the Steele Auto Group, told commissioners that the current 2.2-acre Hyundai dealership property, located at 485 N. Business IH-35, is undersized for their operations.
“They’ve been looking for another site on I-35 where they can have a lot more properties and develop and build a dealership that lives up to their standards,” Farrimond said.
The nearly 30-acre property is adjacent to the Oak Creek Estates subdivision, which would trigger standard residential buffers, such as walls and landscaping, between non-residential development and single-family neighborhoods. Development standards are intended to protect residential properties by mitigating the potential negative impacts of commercial uses.
Farrimond told commissioners that company representatives met with the Oak Creek Homeowners Association and other neighbors in May to discuss the proposed development.
She added that the owners “understood what we were doing but asked for some certainty in this process”.
“What the (site plan) does and what was most important to the neighbors was locking down what’s going on at the back of the property,” she said. “The site is only accessible from I-35, but it is adjacent to Oak Creek, so some of the conditions and some of the warranties that come with this site plan are basically that there will be no construction or development in the rear part of the site.
Development conditions and standards under the Special Use Permit include a 50 foot landscaped buffer adjacent to a single family residential property in Oak Creek, a 20 foot landscaped buffer adjacent to multifamily properties, no loudspeakers exterior and a minimum of 300 feet setback from the rear building.
Additionally, any lighting at the rear of the most set back building would be LED directional lighting and would be dimmed to 50% of the brightness used during business hours.
The proposed location for the car dealership is near a parcel of land that was previously intended to accommodate the construction of a new truck stop. Residents of the Oak Creek subdivision opposed the project and the applicant withdrew its application for a rezoning and special use permit.
According to Farrimond, Steele Auto Group, based in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, has 54 dealerships with 28 different brands.
The group has five dealerships in Texas, including Steele Hyundai of New Braunfels.