Parking concerns have halted the chance of The Colony getting a farmers market and craft fair in the Austin Ranch area.
During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, a plan was presented to amend land use regulations to allow for a farmers market and a craft fair in The Shacks and The Boat House portions of Austin Ranch.
The proposal was to allow a farmers market and craft fair, which includes an antique car show and musical performances. The maximum duration, as recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission, which unanimously recommended approval earlier this month, would be one day, and the maximum frequency would be two per month.
Tom Holland, with Austin Ranch, requested the amendment. He said there are 246 parking spaces available at The Shacks and 65 at The Boathouse.
“We’re trying to create some synergy with the existing retailers to create some traffic,” Holland said.
However, Mayor Joe McCourry and other council members were concerned there would be too much traffic for the parking to handle.
Isaac Williams, senior planner, said parking for the event would be limited based on parking at The Shacks and The Boat House.
The proposal stated that the event setup must not infringe on the parking spaces required to meet city code. The event would have to be contained to private property and not require any traffic control.
“As long as there’s a parking demand that is met, essentially one-to-one and no surplus, that would limit the ability to actually have these events,” Williams said. “As written, if the event occupies parking spaces that are currently in use, that would not be permitted. There would have to be a surplus there to actually hold the event.”
But Williams said since there are three planned buildings for The Shack that are not built there are opportunities to have those events.
McCourry said he saw future problems with insufficient parking.
“It sounds like we’re approving something that we don’t have space to put it in there,” McCourry said. “Because we’re also saying you can’t infringe on businesses that are already there. And by the time you get people to come in and set up booths, whether it’s a craft fair or a farmers market, now we don’t have a place for the people to park. And they can’t park on unimproved surfaces. So really we’re approving something that can’t happen because that space is not fully developed.”
McCourry said people would have no choice but to park on unimproved surfaces, which would be illegal.
“I’d love to have a farmers market here,” McCourry said. “But I want to make sure we get it right.”
Other council members agreed that the draw of these events would create a parking issue.
“Once people here there’s a farmers market down there people will be coming from all over on that,” Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Richard Boyer said.
The amendment failed for a lack of a motion.