Historic district design guidelines update

The City of Georgetown has drafted initial revisions to the City’s Downtown and Old Town Overlay Design Guidelines based on City Council direction and public, stakeholder, consultant and staff recommendations, and is ready to present the proposed updates to the public for another round of public review and discussion.

“We are grateful for the community’s participation in the update and the continued investment in our historic past and the opportunities of the future,” Planning Director Sofia Nelson said. “We look forward to hearing the community’s feedback and ensuring these Design Guidelines continue to support our small-town charm and the values we hold for our Downtown, Old Town, and historic properties.”

The City’s project team will host a live, virtual open house from 3 to 4 p.m. April 28 via Zoom and the City‘s Facebook page. This virtual open house will focus on initial recommendations, including revisions to the content, the addition of graphics, and changes to the format of the guidelines to improve usability. The virtual meeting will be recorded and posted online for those not able to join live. Visit historic.georgetown.org for a link to the Zoom meeting, as well as a call-in number if you would like to join by phone.

Additionally, the City will use an online survey to collect feedback from the public on the proposed changes. The survey will open be open from April 28 to May 14, 2021, and will be available at historic.georgetown.org.

In April 2019, City Council adopted changes to the design review requirements for properties identified on the City’s Historic Resource Survey as well as for projects in the City’s historic overlay districts. The effort to update the Downtown and Old Town Overlay Design Guidelines, the special requirements for those properties and the historic overlay districts, began in October 2020.

Updating the guidelines will be done in three phases. Phase one was completed in February and included an analysis of the current Guidelines, stakeholder feedback, and public engagement. A summary of the engagement completed in Phase 1 can be found here. The public review of the proposed updates launching April 28 is the second phase of the project.

Phase 3 includes the review and recommendation from the Historic and Architectural Review Commission. City Council is expected to consider adoption in July.

For more information, contact the downtown and historic planner at 512-930-3581 or historic@georgetown.org, or by calling the Planning Department at 512-930-3575.

Public input sought for Design Guidelines update

The City has begun updating the Downtown and Old Town Overlay Design Guidelines, which provide guidance for building and signage in the historic districts.

As part of the update process, the Planning Department will host a virtual open house from 3-4 p.m. Dec. 16 on Zoom and Facebook Live. A survey will also be available to collect public feedback on the update Dec. 16-30.

The updates to the guidelines include allowable materials, commercial signage, demolitions, and residential infill, and follow changes made by City Council in 2019 to the Certificate of Appropriateness requirements. The design guidelines were last updated in 2012.

“Most of the buildings on the Square are more than 100 years old, and while things change over time, we want to manage that change, so we can continue to enjoy the historic charm into the future,” Downtown and Historic Planner Britin Bostick said. “While the guidelines primarily affect property and business owners in the historic district, the way our historic districts look and feel is something we all love about Georgetown. Through this process, we want to learn what residents think it looks like to protect that historic character.”

During the Dec. 16 town hall, participants will get an overview of the project, as well as a chance to provide their opinion on what is working and what changes they recommend for the update.

The update is expected to be completed in summer 2021.

Current design guidelines, as well as information about the update and links to virtual meetings, are available online at historic.georgetown.org.

For more information, contact the Downtown & Historic Planner by calling 512-930-3581 or emailing historic@georgetown.org, or call the Planning Department at 512-930-3575.

Proposed Voluntary Annexation of 36.21 Acres

The City of Georgetown is considering a voluntary annexation of property into the city limits.  A Public Hearing will be held at the December 8, 2020 meeting at 6:00pm. City Council meetings are located at the City Council Chambers, 510 W. 9th Street.

The area being considered for voluntary annexation is an approximately 35.298-acre tract of land out of the F. Hudson Survey, Abstract No. 295, and a 0.902-acre portion of Rabbit Hill Road, a variable width roadway, generally located at 1051 Rabbit Hill Rd.

After holding the required public hearings, the City Council will consider an ordinance for the annexation.

For additional information, please contact Nat Waggoner in the Planning Department, 512-930-3584 or email at nat.waggoner@georgetown.org.

For a location map, click here to view a .pdf

City hosts history-based webinars

The City’s Planning Department has joined with the Georgetown Public Library to host an informal webinar series named “Tuesday Talks with Britin and Ann.” The monthly webinars will feature different topics covering Georgetown’s history lead by Georgetown Downtown and Historic Planner Britin Bostick and Reference Librarian Ann Evans.

The meetings will be held at noon on the first Tuesday of the month, starting Aug. 4, and feature a different topic each month. Links to the meetings will be online at historic.georgetown.org.

The first meeting will cover the history of I-35 through Georgetown, including how the highway’s route came to be and how its construction in the mid-1960s changed downtown Georgetown.

For more information, call (512) 930-3581, email historic@georgetown.org or visit historic.georgetown.org.

City hosts Preservation Month webinars

In recognition of National Preservation Month in May, the City is hosting a series of informal webinars discussing Georgetown’s history and historic preservation efforts lead by Britin Bostick, the City’s Downtown and Historic Planner.

The meetings will be held on Mondays in May at Noon and feature a different topic each Monday. Links to the meetings will be online at historic.georgetown.org.

Preservation Month events:

  • May 4—Where to find the City of Georgetown’s online historic resources and a brief history of Downtown’s development.
  • May 11—Topic: What is a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA), why do we have them, and when did Downtown have a 100-foot tall tower?
  • May 18—Pro tips for historic property research and the first known female real estate developer in Georgetown.
  • May 25—How the railroad made the Downtown we enjoy today, and why Old Town has so many different building styles.

For more information, call (512) 930-3581, email historic@georgetown.org or visit historic.georgetown.org.

Draft 2030 Comprehensive Plan update open house Feb. 12

The City of Georgetown Planning Department will host an open house from 4:30-7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St. on the draft 2030 Comprehensive Plan update. The meeting is come-and-go, and presentations will be made on the hour.

During the meeting, residents and property owners will be able to learn more about what’s included in the plan and provide feedback to staff.

City staff presented the draft plan to City Council at its Jan. 28 meeting. The plan is expected to be adopted by the council this spring.

The 2030 Plan acts as a guide for the City’s growth and development decisions, and components of the plan include land use, Williams Drive Gateway Plan, gateways and image corridors, housing, and plan implementation.

The implementation plan will guide how the City uses the 2030 Plan during the next 10 years.

The implementation plan outlines three major strategies:

  • Regulatory framework
  • Decision framework
  • Plans, programs and partnerships

Each strategy relates to the goals outlined in the 2030 Plan update, which were drafted using public input from community surveys including the first “On the Table,” in which more than 1,400 people participated in conversations to envision Georgetown’s future, and an accompanying online public survey taken by an additional 1,460 people.

To see the full draft plan, visit 2030.georgetown.org. Feedback should be sent to 2030@georgetown.org.

The Planning Department also is offering office hours by request. To request a meeting or to have a planning staff member present at a community meeting, call (512) 930-3575 or email 2030@georgetown.org.

City hosts public meeting on future land use map on Oct. 30

The City of Georgetown is hosting a public meeting to share and review proposed changes to the future land use map on Oct. 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St.

During the meeting, attendees will be able to review and provide feedback on the proposed map. Drafting the future land use map is one of the final steps in completing the update to the 2030 Comprehensive Plan. The 2030 Plan is a guide for growth and development decisions in the City and is created based on input and feedback from the community.

Representatives from the planning department will also host a live question and answer session on the City of Georgetown Facebook page at noon on Oct. 30.

Feedback from the Oct. 30 meeting will be consolidated and presented to the 2030 Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, the Planning & Zoning Commission, and City Council. The update to the 2030 Plan is anticipated to be formally adopted by City Council in early 2020.

Previous Engagement Efforts

The public process to update the 2030 Plan began when the planning department hosted the first citywide engagement day, On the Table, on Oct. 2, 2018.

During On the Table, more than 1,400 people participated in conversations to envision Georgetown’s future. An additional 1,460 people took the first public survey related to the 2030 Plan update. The major themes that emerged included: maintaining the family-oriented, small-town feel, continuing to encourage high-quality development, enhancing citizen participation and engagement, focusing on housing and affordability, enhancing economic development opportunities, maintaining and expanding existing parks and recreation amenities, and improving and diversify the transportation network.

To better understand community needs related to housing and affordability, a second survey was conducted in March. The survey was taken by 566 people who emphasized property taxes, the cost to maintain their home, and public safety as top issues affecting people’s ability to remain in their home. Additionally, the inability to age in place was highlighted as a barrier to remaining at home.

A third survey on gateways and corridors was conducted in April and May. The survey was taken by 337 people who reported characteristics of their favorite and least favorite corridors and identified good and bad examples of design elements along corridors.

Data from all three surveys and On the Table has guided the drafting of the future land use map. Representatives from the planning department are also available to speak to those interested in learning more about the 2030 Plan.

For more information, including a summary of all public feedback, previous presentations to City Council, an FAQ for the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, and to schedule an in-person presentation on the 2030 Plan, visit 2030.georgetown.org.

City reviews housing policies, requests input on gateways

At Tuesday’s meeting, City Council reviewed proposed housing policies as part of the ongoing 2030 Comprehensive Plan update. This plan acts as a guide for the City’s growth and development decisions. One of the stated goals of the plan is to ensure “access to diverse housing options and preserve existing neighborhoods for residents of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels.”

Since October, the City has been collecting feedback from the community to help shape the comprehensive plan, including citywide surveys and On the Table, a communitywide public engagement event in October. Clear priorities of the community are to maintain the family-oriented small-town feel and focus on housing and affordability.

To better understand community needs related to housing and affordability, a second survey was conducted in March. The survey was taken by 566 people who highlighted property taxes, the cost to maintain their home, and public safety as top issues affecting people’s ability to stay in their homes. Additionally, the inability to age in place was highlighted as a top reason for residents to leave their neighborhoods.

To better support aging in place, respondents highlighted the need for support services (e.g. home modifications and financial assistance), accessibility, healthcare, and transportation. Respondents highlighted a preference for smaller homes on smaller lots and a desire for a variety of housing types, including townhomes and mixed-use developments.

To better support affordability, respondents also highlighted the need for a broad range of housing costs, particularly lower housing prices.

Based on the housing technical study, survey results, as well as the community’s input from On the Table, the direction from the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee’s feedback, City Council reviewed sixteen proposed housing policies organized into four general categories: preservation, affordability, coordinated housing programming, and diversity. City Council directed staff to take the draft policies back to the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee for further consideration and a vote. The policies will be brought back to Council at a future workshop.

“If we have heard one thing from our residents, it’s that people love living in Georgetown,” Mayor Dale Ross said. “The policies the council discussed at its meeting can help ensure people who call Georgetown home today will be able to call Georgetown home tomorrow.”

“City Council is committed to maintaining Georgetown’s very low tax rate and high-caliber public safety services, which are some of the best in the state,” Ross said. “Effective housing policies are another key ingredient to ensure Georgetown maintains the small-town feel that residents expect us to preserve and protect.”

The proposed housing policies range from “preserving existing housing stock that contributes to diversity and affordability” to “encouraging and incentivizing new housing to provide a mixture of housing types, sizes, and price points”.

Once finalized, these policies will be incorporated in the overall update to the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, which is expected to be formally adopted late-2019. Additional public meetings and presentations to City Council will be made throughout the summer.

Gateway Survey

The next phase of the comprehensive plan update relates to the development goals and standards for the City’s gateways.

Gateways are areas along main entrances to the City such as those along Interstate 35, Highway 29, Williams Drive, and Austin Avenue. Gateway corridor planning includes elements such as landscaping standards, building setbacks, land uses, sign standards, roadway standards, and pedestrian or bicycle facilities.

The public is encouraged to comment on how they would like the City’s gateway corridors to develop or redevelop, what the corridors should look like, and what corridors are the most important to preserve or maintain.

The gateway survey can be found at 2030.georgetown.org. The survey closes on May 15. Results of the gateway survey will be presented to the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee on May 16 and City Council on May 28.

Proposed Voluntary Annexation of Shell Road Development

The City of Georgetown is considering a voluntary annexation of property into the city limits. The Public Hearings will be held at the February 12, 2019 meeting at 3 pm and February 12, 2019 at 6 pm. City Council meetings are located at the City Council Chambers, 101 E. 7th Street, at the northeast corner of Seventh and Main Street. The area being considered for voluntary annexation is generally approximately 262.011 acres in size and located along Shell Road, north of Williams Drive to be known as the Shell Road development.

After holding the required public hearings, the City Council will consider an ordinance for the annexation.

For additional information, please contact Chelsea Irby in the Planning Department, 512-931-7746 or email to chelsea.irby@georgetown.org.

Shell Road Development Location Map

Proposed Voluntary Annexation of Maravilla Subdivision

The City of Georgetown is considering a voluntary annexation of property into the city limits.  The Public Hearings will be held at the February 12, 2019 meeting at 3 pm and February 12, 2019 at 6 pm. City Council meetings are located at the City Council Chambers, 101 E. 7th Street, at the northeast corner of Seventh and Main Street.  The area being considered for voluntary annexation is approximately a 23.10-acre tract of land situated in the Joseph Pulsifer Survey, located at 34 Skyline Road, north of W University Ave and east of DB Wood Road, to be known as the Maravilla Subdivision.

After holding the required public hearings, the City Council will consider an ordinance for the annexation.

For additional information, please contact Chelsea Irby in the Planning Department, 512-931-7746 or email to chelsea.irby@georgetown.org.

Maravilla Subdivision Location Map