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New Zoning District Paves the Way for Future Master Planned Communities in Katy, Texas

Last week, the Katy City Council voted unanimously to create a new Master Planned Community Zoning District, which will encourage quality residential growth within the Katy city limits. This new zoning district will provide the opportunity for development of more pedestrian-friendly and walkable communities, with smaller lot size and setback requirements and more open space and trails.

The effort was spearheaded by RISE Development Partners, developers of the proposed Cane Island community in Katy.  Together with a devoted team of consultants, RVi helped create the design standards that were adopted as part of the new zoning district.

RVi Principal Chris Patterson has been involved with the Cane Island community since its inception.  “This was an incredible team effort that required many months of collaboration and focus.  The City of Katy was an excellent partner to work with in the creation of the new zoning district, which will have a lasting positive effect on development within the city,” Patterson said.

Cane Island will occupy approximately 1,000 acres just west of downtown Katy.  It will feature primarily single family residential homes on lots ranging from 50 to 100 feet.  RISE Development is planning an impressive level of amenities for the community, including a recreation center and an extensive open space and trail system all within the first phase of development.  RVi is providing master planning services for Cane Island.

Image courtesy of Tom Haymes

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St. Edward's Science Building Receives AEGB 3-Star Rating

Austin Energy Green Building has awarded a 3-Star Rating to the John Brooks Williams Natural Sciences and Technology Center - South Building at St. Edward's University. The building, designed by Moore Rubel Yudell Architects and STG Design, includes a host of sustainable features such as energy efficient fixtures, locally-sourced materials, and low-emitting materials.

The landscape design for the facility includes an educational courtyard that features native plants and demonstration gardens. Decomposed granite was used to allow the plants to find and follow their natural growth patterns, which will serve as a model to students of how micro-climates affect a plant's ability to flourish in nature.  Rain gardens were also used as a sustainable water treatment method as well as an educational tool for students and visitors.

RVi has worked closely with Sasaki Associates for more than a decade on the St. Edward's University Campus Master Plan, helping enhance outdoor spaces throughout the campus.  For this project, we also collaborated with SEU biology professor Dr. Bill Quinn on the courtyard plant selection.  In addition to its educational nature, the courtyard will eventually mature into a shady gathering space for university students.

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Onion Creek Greenway Team Surveys Flood Damage, Finds Four-Legged Friend

The flash flooding that occurred on Halloween of this year devastated several southeast Austin neighborhoods, but perhaps none more so than the neighborhood surrounding Onion Creek.  According to City of Austin officials, the creek rose to a record high of 41 feet and the peak flow rate of 134,000 cubic feet per second was significantly higher than the average flow rate of Niagara Falls.  Many homes were damaged or destroyed, and four people lost their lives as a result of this historic event.

Here at RVi, we were anxious to see how our Onion Creek Greenway project faired in the flood.  Phase I of the 4.5 mile trail is nearing the end of construction and was about 95% complete on Halloween.  Much of the Onion Creek Greenway is located within the 100-year floodplain.  It is not uncommon for parks and trails to be located in the floodplain because they tread lightly on the land and they bring outdoor enthusiasts close to the water's edge, making the most of a beautiful natural setting.

Earlier this month, RVi’s Chris Lalich and Paul Cozzolino visited the Onion Creek Greenway site along with other members of the project team and representatives from Travis County.  Luckily, the team found no serious damage to the project – but they did find an unlikely visitor on site: a lost German shepherd named Max, who was stranded in the creek.  The team called in Austin firefighters, who were able to save Max and return him to his owner. 

Images courtesy of KVUE News and Charles Bergh

See the coverage of Max's rescue on KVUE News website

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Creek flooding near Highway 71

Austin firefighters rescuing Max