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Kyle, Texas
May 13, 2015     Hays Free Press
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May 13, 2015

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F Section D May 13, 2015 Page 1D 1 BY MOSES LEOS III CITY OF KYLE BUILDING PERMITS, 2005-2015 A sharp rise in new residential building permits from 2011 to 2014 has helped ushered in an increase in growth in Kyle. According to Kyle city spokesperson Jerry Hendrix, while the city is expanding, he said it is now seeing a"more broad based and balanced" level of growth in town. "That's what we've been looking for, to balance it," he said. "Not only to provide services and jobs to people that live here and are moving here, but also to create Kyle into its own destination where they don't have to leave the city." Kyle's spike, which began in 2012, has seen the city slowly grow from 241 residential permits in that year to over 500 in 2014. As ofApri12015, the city has issued 238 new residential permits. The numbers are still lower than the amount of permits issued during the city's housing boom in the early 2000s. Between the years 2005 and 2006, the city approved a combined 1,892 residential building permits. Kyle's average of 2.6 new building permits per day. A majority of the development during that time was in the Hometown Kyle and Plum Creek subdivisions. Between the years 2005 and 2006, 269 new permits were issued in the Plum Creek Subdivision alone. The Hometown Kyle subdivision had 259 new permits. "It was a hectic time," Hendrix Said. "It was everything (the city) could do to keep up with that." He added the sharp increase led'to increases in city staff. But a downturn in the economy saw the number of new residential building permits plummet. From 2005 to 2011, new residential permits dropped by 393 percent. "Even during the downturn, we still continued to grow," He said. "It was at a smaller rate, but we continued to grow." Numbers have been on the rise since. Included is the number of commercial permits, which rose from 23 in 2009 to 67 last year. The city has issued 39 commercial permits so far in 2015. But growth has now shifted to the east side of the city. Subdivisions such as Waterleaf are continuing to build out. Over the past two years, Waterleaf has been granted 208 of the 825 total residential permits issued in Kyle. 8OO 600 4OO 0 20(~ 2006 2007 2006 2009 2010 2011 2012 201:1 2014 2015 "All that being said, [unstable soil on the east side of Kyle] is a hard problem to conquer ... We aren't the only ones having that problem to conquer. We're taking steps to mitigate that in the future." --Jerry Hendrix, city spokesperson The ci , however, continues to battle the issue of unstable soil on the east side. Unstable soil has led to infrastructure issues in several east side subdivisions. It includes road degradation in Post Oak, which the city fixed in early 2014. Hendrix said staff is working with TxDOT to take measures to combat soil issues. At this time, he said solutions haven't been identified, but that the cityis "pursuing it." '~_11 that being said, it's a hard problem to conquer," Hendrix said. "We aren't the only ones having that problem to conquer. We're taking steps to mitigate that in the furore." PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III Kyle's spike in building permits, which began in 2012, has seen the city slowly grow from 241 residential permits in that year to over 500 in 2014. As of April 2015, the city has issued 238 new residential permits. BY MOSES LEOS III A variety of concems over a planned apart- ment development near Center Street and Interstate-35 led the Kyle City Council to give a rezoning application for the complex the cold shoulder. By a unanimous vote on May 7, the Kyle Coun- cil denied an application for Center StreetVillage, LP to rezone six acres of land from retail services to apartment residential. According to Kyle May- or ToddWebster, the city could "do better" than to allow for an apartment complex to set up neat the Center Street bridge. "It's important for our city and our corridor to not be tumed into a multifamily residential corridor, at least in a non-mixed use sense," Webster said. City Council took up the rezoning application after it passed through Planning and Zoning by a 4-1 vote on April 30. But the application wasn't without dissen- tion. Commissioner Timothy Kay expressed concerns on the increase in traffic the develop- ment could bring. In ad- dition, the development's location wouldn't allow for residents to travel south. The proposed develop- ment was to be located behind the 7-Eleven at the intersection of IH-35 and Center Street. Mayor Pro-Tem Diane Hervol seconded those concerns, saying she envisions the access road leading to FM 150 "back- ing up, especially in the morning." But one of council's primary issues was with the rezoning of the land. The applicants chose the location as it was on the northern part of the Plum Creek flood plane. They also chose apart- ment residential as it allowed them to place the most units per bulldable acre. Apartment residential allows for 28 units per buildable acre; Multifam- ily, or R-a-2, allows only 21 units. In addition, Tres How- land, civil engineer of the "1 can trace every bad decision the city has made to being in some sort of a hurry, or someone being in a hurry ... That was the first red flag for me." -Todd Webster, Kyle Mayor project, said the location was "ideal for the com- munity," where it was be- hind the retail pads and it "lends itself to walkability and a mixed use develop- ment concept." However, the develop- ers ultimately conceded there are no plans to create a mixed-use development, instead relying on the walkability to retail surrounding the complex. But Webster and coun- cil didn't agree. Webster was opposed to the idea of multifamily residential complex developing in that area. He also had concems of the devel- oper possibly rushing to meet a financial dead- line. "I can trace every bad decision the city has made to being in some sort of a hurry, or some- one being in a hurry," Webster said. "That was the first red flag for me." Council member Da- vid Wilson's primary con- cem was the quality of the apartment complex. He said he didn't want Kyle to be "known as the cheap rent place for folks in Austin that can't afford to live in Austin." But Joe Mooney, busi- ness partner for the proj- ect, refuted the claims. He said the developer is "trying to think of the bigger picture, and not just development." Steve Durso, property owner of the proposed project, said the develop- ment is "going to be an at-market or above mar- ket complex." Mooney said rushing wasn't their goal. But Durso questioned the city's recommended use of apartment and multifamily residential use in the comprehensive plan. "If that wasn't recom- mended, why is it in there," one official said. "That was one of the reasons that pushed us in that direction." Out-going council member Samantha Bellows believed an apartment complex at the location was "bare basement." She envisions the area becoming what she called a South Congress style area, with restau- rants, an entertainment district and things "you can lure in that are easy to do as far as develop- ment of property is concerned." "I know you are frus- trated and I know you've held on for some time. But I know this property could be so much more," she said. "That's why some council members are hesitating, because we know what kind of jewel you have." you base on a strong Financial Focus by Janet Ross Currently, the U.S. dollar is pumped- up and powerful. But what does a strong dollar mean to you, as an investor? To begin with, it's important to understand just what is meant by a "strong" dollar. The U.S. dollar does not exist in a vacuum -- its value, from a global perspective, is determined by its changing strength relative to that of other currencies. Let's look at an example: Suppose that, in 2011, you traveled to Europe and wanted to trade in one dollar for its equivalent value in euros. At that time, your dollar would have converted to about .75 ofa euro. Fast forward to early 2015; if you remmed to Europe now, your dollar would fetch you almost one full euro. In other words, you can buy more euros because the dollar is "stronger." In fact, earlier this year, the euro hit a 12-year low versus the dollar. And it isn't just the euro; the dollar is strong against almost every other major currency in the world. What has led to this strength? It's not always easy to determine what's behind foreign exchange rates -- which can fluctuate even more than the stock market -- but the recent surge in the dollar seems to be due, at least in part, to its obvious connection to the American economy, which has been growing faster than many other economies around the world. The stronger dollar is also due to expectations that interest rates will remain higher in the U.S. than in many other countries. But whatever the reasons for it, the dollar's strength may be having an impact on your investments. A strengthening dollar typically lowers returns from international investments because you get fewer dollars in exchange for the value in euros or other foreign currencies. And some U.S. companies with a global presence may face challenges due to lower earnings from their international operations. These results might lead you to think that a strong dollar would be bad news for the stock market, but that hasn't been the case in the past. At different times, the markets have performed well with both a strong and a weak dollar. In contrast to its impact on U.S. companies, a strong dollar can help foreign companies compete and may give them an earnings boost from their U.S. sales. Also, the stronger dollar can help make foreign investments "cheaper." Even more importantly, by taking advantage of the stronger dollar and investing an appropriate amount internationally, gaining exposure to different economies and markets, FINANCIAL FOCUS, 4D |IIM I:t I il 1itl i ! I !] It III I