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You may have seen a new sign along Solana Boulevard across from Town Hall. It depicts the new Knolls residential neighborhood which is set to break ground on Monday. As crews prepare to get started, we have some important information about the project that may impact you. But first, a little background.
The Knolls at Solana will be constructed on a piece of land that sits between Solana Boulevard to the north, the Glenwyck Farms neighborhood to the south, Larry North Fitness to the east, and the Granada neighborhood to the west. Back in February, Town Council approved the measure to switch the zoning of the area from commercial to residential so that 56 new homes can be built on the lots.
Approving the change wasn’t easy. Town Council and staff vigorously worked with residents and the developer to ensure as much of the wooded area and knolls were preserved. The result was that nearly 23-acres won’t be disturbed so that the beauty of the land would be maintained. That untouched land will become a conservation area. Couple that with the 11-acres known as “Mayor’s Hill” which will serve as a public park, as well as another 9-acres of green space scattered throughout the development, and it’s clear, conservation of the site is a top priority.
However, with any new development, there will be some land cleared during the process. To enhance the preservation of the site, crews will not be pre-grading, which means they’ll grade the lot for each individual home as the project progresses as opposed to simply preparing the entire site at one time. This process will ensure that more trees are saved during construction, which is a major goal of the Town Council. This approach is much different than most other developments in and around Westlake due to the objective of maintaining the beauty of the property.
Also, the developer will use double the amount of construction fencing and use smaller equipment to minimize any potential damage to vegetation. Plus, there will be regular street cleanings of Solana Boulevard throughout the process.
Town staff will be checking in multiple times each day to make sure the developer and builders are taking the necessary steps to preserve the land as agreed upon back in February.
Access to the conservation area will be limited. A permanent fence will be put in place at the back of the development to minimize the amount of activity that may further disturb the wildlife and vegetation.
Another change you’ll see during this time will be the temporary closing of a portion of the trail along Solana Boulevard. With so much construction activity happening, it’s necessary to shut down a stretch of the trail for safety reasons. This could last as long as six months. The good news, however, Town staff is working with the developer to reroute the trail or minimize the closure so that the interruption is minimal. Stay tuned for future communications regarding that. Or, you could choose to explore one of our other picturesque trails around Westlake. We’ve provided a complete trail map here.
Once the trail reopens, you’ll see some changes we think you’ll really enjoy. A concrete walkway will be put in place with benches built into the retaining wall that will surround the neighborhood. Plus, you’ll see additional landscaping along Solana Boulevard as well, all upgrades from what we have now.
Here is a tentative timetable of what you can expect during the entire process and when they will occur. This, of course, is subject to change due to any weather issues crews may encounter. The end result of the project will be homes that are very unique to Westlake. Surrounded by a native, natural cross-timbers forest, these luxury custom Villas will be nestled within the existing trees by flowing with the natural grade of the property and will utilize a mix of traditional and contemporary architectural styles. To ensure this vision is carried out, Town Council will be approving the architectural standards of all of the homes and pavilion as well.
Obviously, any time the natural landscape changes, that impacts the wildlife that lives in and around the area. Stay tuned on Monday for another news brief that focuses specifically on the possibility of displaced wildlife and what that may mean to you.
by, Jon Sasser