The College Station City Council unanimously gave conditional consent to create a new municipal utility district that will replace the Texas World Speedway just outside of College Station.
The plan will now go to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for its approval, during which time a series of agreements will come before city council to ready services and sync up the development plans with the city’s building standards. The developer is asking for the city to provide water and sewer services to the community.
The municipal utility district will be the first in Brazos County. The cost for these districts, or MUDs, are all fronted by developers. Then the MUD can issue bonds to recoup costs.
The concept plan for the development will span about 550 acres in College Station’s extra-territorial jurisdiction, and add about 1,400 single-family homes, 27 acres of commercial development, 14 acres for a future College Station school district school and 73 acres of detention and greenways.
The Brazos County Appraisal District values that land at $5.4 million, but the projected build out value is $514 million.
The proposed tax rate for the MUD is set right now at $1 per every $100 of assessed property value. That’s more than double College Station’s property tax rate, which is currently 42 cents per $100 of assessed value. Legal counsel for the developer said those tax rates reduce as the MUD matures, typically by 40 percent.
Traffic and fire services were topics of conversation for the council. Bill Mathers, developer on the MUD and president and CEO of Texas World Speedway, said a traffic study will be coming to determine how best to plan for an increase in traffic around the development.
College Station Fire Chief Eric Hurt said the planned development is being served right now by the South Brazos County Fire Department. He said the development would be a big burden on its services, though it may be looking to move from a fire district to an emergency services district, which would allow it to collect more tax dollars in that area to get the equipment necessary. Hurt and Mathers said discussions are ongoing to address that need.
Discussion on the proposed master-planned development lasted longer than an hour. Five people spoke during a public comment period, including the developer and a representative of local homebuilders, Buck Prewitt, who said there is a need for this development in College Station’s growing community.
Three of the public speakers spoke on behalf of the racing community that would miss the track.
Mayor Pro Tem Karl Mooney said the speedway just hasn’t been able to keep up with the times.
“I believe in owner’s rights and I believe the owner of any property is entitled to the best use of that property,” Mooney said. “Our local builders have said there’s a need for single-family lots and quality neighborhoods. This is an opportunity for the city. We don’t have to do this tonight ... but if we don’t down the road when this property becomes annexed, we may regret a lack of action.”
Mathers expressed his gratitude to the council for its support and said he will begin work right away on the agreements.
“We’re grateful for the ability to have a cooperative relationship with the municipality and work together — that’s a real blessing for a developer,” Mathers said.