Universal City (TX) – Future Land Use Plan

ChallengeSeveral factors led to the need for a future land use plan. First, Universal City did not have a Future Land Use Plan, resulting in a zoning ordinance that essentially operated in a vacuum, with little guidance for staff and commission members on how the community should grow. Furthermore, the city is landlocked – meaning future growth will occur largely within the existing boundaries. There are only a few parcels of undeveloped land remaining in the city making the existing “re-development sites” (largely along Pat Booker Road) crucial to the community’s future growth. There are numerous car lots and auto repair shops along Pat Booker Road and while they are contributing to the tax base, they deter desirable commercial development.

ApproachTIP Strategies, in association with Espey Consultants, a civil engineering and planning firm, reviewed available background information including the Market Analysis & Retail Recruitment Strategy (TIP, November 2005), the City of Universal City Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan (March 2006), examined the current land patterns of the community, and interviewed local officials and stakeholders regarding community goals. These tasks resulted in the preparation of the Future Land Use Map and future land use recommendations. By developing an existing land use map and looking at land use classified into categories, the consulting team was able to understand location preferences for certain uses. TIP and Espey Consultants worked closely with a committee appointed by the city staff and the Development Services Director.

OutcomeThe Future Land Use Plan was presented to Universal City’s City Council with a recommendation to engage a consultant to revise the existing zoning ordinance and to extend the moratorium on car lots as well as expand the moratorium to include auto repair and service facilities until a new zoning ordinance is in effect. Several sections within Universal City were identified as “special policy areas,” such as the Pat Booker Corridor, due to the potential for the most change in the next few years. Guidance was given to each area in terms of future land use. For example, the Future Land Use Map creates an urban pattern for the Pat Booker Road Corridor of “paths” and “nodes.” Retail districts at major intersections form nodes of retail use and they are reinforced, by “paths,” along the corridor of commercial services. This strategy is derived from the need to capitalize on prime retail areas and is guided by urban design principles.

TIP Contact Tom Stellman

Photo credit Katie Labor