8300 N IH35 (Austin Suites) zoning and future land use

April 11 update: The City has scheduled their community meeting for Wednesday, April 25 at 6:30pm at the Little Walnut Creek Library. The neighborhood team will hold a called meeting in conjunction with the city-facilitated meeting.

March 29 update:
Applicant response to GANA and NLGACT meeting comments

The City has received an application to make land use and zoning changes  for the Austin Suites property, in order to convert it to an apartment complex. This would involve amending Georgian Acres planning area’s Future Land Use Map (FLUM) from Commercial to Mixed Use. It would also involve changing the zoning from CS  (Commercial) to CS-MU (Commercial Mixed Use), that is, adding residential uses to the existing zoning and conditions.

(CodeNEXT draft 3 would change the zoning to MU4A-A, Mixed Use. This zoning could allow 36-72 units per acre, depending on affordability, as well as most commercial uses, with buildings up to 45 feet high.)

According to the application, they are proposing 216 units total, 170 efficiency and one-bedroom, and 46 two-bedroom, from 400-800 sq ft.

Here’s the complete zoning application and FLUM amendment application

The amendment process will include at the least a community meeting in our area, a Planning Commission hearing, and a City Council hearing, before any decision is made. There will probably be several meetings amongst developers, nearby stakeholders, and neighborhood groups before any of that happens.

The agent for the new owner and developer for this project has met with the neighborhood team and with the Georgian Acres neighborhood association (GANA). Here are some of the topics included. Are there others?

  • Stormwater infrastructure
  • Relocation/retention of current residents
  • Housing affordability (number of affordable units, percentage of MFI)
  • Fair housing (source of income, lookback period)
  • Traffic on E Powell Ln (speed mitigation)
  • Access to Georgian Acres neighborhood park
  • Attendance zone for new TA Brown
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DRAFT minutes called meeting / reunión llamada April 5, 2018 (E Powell rezoning)

Little Walnut Creek Library, Thursday, April 5, 2018, 6:30pm

Voting members: Johnny Atkinson, Lisa Garner, Lisa Hinely, Daniela Nuñez, Rodney Thrailkill
New members: Leonard Flores, Allen Graham, Chris Mallett, Luz del Mundo (Sarai Vazquez)
Guests: Alice Glasco, Kurt Goll, Ross Hamilton, Maureen Meredith

This called meeting of the North Lamar/Georgian Acres neighborhood plan contact team was held in conjunction with a community meeting on the neighborhood plan amendment application for 601 E Powell – 400 E Wonsley, facilitated by city staff. That meeting was arranged by city staff at a location outside of the North Lamar/Georgian Acres planning areas. No interpretation or childcare were provided.

Maureen showed the FLUM and described a neighborhood plan amendment process involving Planning Commission and City Council. She said that there would be a staff recommendation (not the final report) by the end of the following week. Contact team member was allowed to point out that the neighborhood plan contact team existed, and would also make a recommendation, with meeting attendees eligible to vote. No information offered about the remainder of the neighborhood plan, and did not provide copies or web links.

The applicant said that they could build 220 residential units under the current mixed use (MU) overlay, all efficiencies. They said that with the requested MF4 zoning, they could build 258 units – 110 efficiencies, 110 one-bedroom, 36 two-bedroom, and “a few” three-bedroom – of “quality apartments at an affordable rate”. [Note: This is different from what is in the application.] They would be targeted at households making 60% of median family income (MFI) for “the area”. Sizes would range from 510-965 sq ft for efficiency to two-bedroom units, with rents $850-1270/month. (Later discussion clarified that what the applicant “could” do was constrained by their economics, in addition to the zoning category’s constraints.)

The applicant JCI Residential said they are an Austin-based company, and have built several thousand Class A units across the city in the past 2-3 years. This includes Carrington Oaks in Buda, Estancia Villas south of Onion Creek, and Flora (under construction) on Middle Fiskville. All have “stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and stained wood cabinets”. They would build the complex and manage it.

Sam Rayburn landlord has experience with the applicant’s Buda property. Believes the company is reputable, but notes that they sell the complexes they build after 2-3 years of operation. Applicant later said that the economics of the financing they anticipate for this project would result in them holding this project for 10-12 years.

The applicant says the E Powell site is attractive because of its proximity to downtown and to I35. The units here would be smaller and more affordable than the other projects they mentioned. The concern they have about the site is that the grade is “deceptively sloped” – it may be difficult to fit units, parking, and water quality/detention features. A possible concern is pre-existing environmental contamination. LisaH will send 2015 research report from city’s brownfields program.

The applicant says they would build three-story, walk-up buildings, with surface parking. The property would be gated. They said they would build a public 8ft paved route from Wonsley to Powell along the side of the property. The applicant noted compatibility setback requirements triggered by an adjacent house.

The applicant anticipates one driveway onto Wonsley and two onto Powell. No discussion of bike/ped-only entrances.
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Georgian Acres Park development / desarollo del Parque Georgian Acres

Austin Parks and Rec department is partly through the engineering drawing needed before park construction can begin. They’re going to be able to include playscapes, a picnic pavilion, basketball court, and walking trail, with only cutting down five trees!

Here’s the site plan they have so far.

Here’s their updated schedule:

  • Engineered Drawings and Permits:  January–October 2018 (submitting for permit review in June/July)
  • Prepare Bidding Documents: PARD is going to do the work with existing park improvement contracts and therefore skip the bid process
  • Bidding and Contracts: PARD will still need a proposal and to set up schedules. They’re estimating that to happen in Nov./Dec. 2018
  • Construction:  January – October 2019

Volunteers will start moving some of the wildflowers after they bloom this spring, so that they won’t be destroyed by next year’s construction. Let us know if you’d like to help, or if you have a publicly visible spot in the neighborhood where they could be planted.

In the meantime, keep enjoying our park!

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DRAFT minutes called meeting / reunión llamada March 25, 2018

Officers: Colin MacDougal, Larry Reagan
Voting members: Lisa Hinely, Monica Guzmán, Rodney Thrailkill
Guest: Angelica Garcia

CodeNEXT discussion of corridors and centers continued from the Feb 10, 2018 meeting. Both resolutions were passed in their entirety:

North Lamar Boulevard
Whereas one of the City of Austin’s zoning principles is that similarly situated properties should be treated equally;
Therefore, the same system of zoning categories should be used on both sides of the North Lamar Boulevard corridor from US183 to Braker Lane.

Urban boundaries
Whereas regional centers, the “most urban” of the center types, in the adopted Imagine Austin growth concept map include Lakeline, Highland, and North Burnet/Gateway, as well as downtown;
Whereas the adopted North Burnet/Gateway master plan and regulating plan aim to create an urban, mixed-use community, often referred to as a “second downtown”, with as many as 40,000 new housing units and buildings as high as 20 stories;
Whereas the area around the Lamar/Rundberg neighborhood activity center is one of the densest residential neighborhoods in the City, with roughly three-quarters of its housing units in apartment complexes;
Therefore, urban/suburban/rural boundaries of any development regulations or infrastructure criteria or guidelines should be based on relevant characteristics and on the Imagine Austin growth concept map. Relevant characteristics would include population density, transportation volume by mode, and development patterns including internal circulation;
Specifically, the activity corridors (North Lamar Boulevard, Rundberg Lane, and Braker Lane) and activity center in the North Lamar/Georgian Acres and North Austin Civic Association (NACA) planning areas should be considered “urban”.

Discussion points for the North Lamar Boulevard resolution included:

  • recognition that during the city-facilitated planning process, North Lamar/Georgian Acres stakeholders  identified crime as the top priority issue, followed by traffic safety. Their land use preferences along the corridors were heavily driven by the desire to create an environment less conducive to crime and violence, and more protective of vulnerable populations.
  • Comparison of “conditional overlay exercise” during the city-facilitated planning process in 2007-10 with North Lamar Boulevard conditional overlays (183-Rundberg, Rundberg-Braker, as adopted by city council in 2010, and with CodeNEXT draft 3 allowed uses.
  • the NACA 2000 neighborhood plan (“Introduce mixed-use development along
    perimeter thoroughfares… to maximize economic development opportunities while interjecting the aesthetic appeal and vibrant nature of properly designed mixed-use development.”) and 2017 CodeNEXT position paper (“Match mixed-use zoning on N Lamar from US 183 to Braker Ln to be consistent on both east and west sides.”)
  • pace of redevelopment

Discussion points for the urban boundaries resolution included differences in park access, transportation criteria, and site design standards.

New CodeNEXT discussion of interior residential lots resulted in passage of a resolution supporting
Duplexes and ADUs
Duplex _and_ accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to be allowed on lots in residential-scale zones, when they otherwise meet site requirements.

Discussion of “missing middle” housing (3-24 units) was tabled.

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8300 N IH (Austin Suites) Response to GANA and NLGACT meeting comments

North Lamar and Georgian Acres Neighborhood teams,

Thank you for providing thoughtful input regarding the Austin Suites property. We have filed both the Neighborhood Plan Amendment and Zoning applications and would like to discuss our project proposal with your membership in further detail before the formal NPCT meeting. We have taken your concerns and requests to Artesia Real Estate Group and they are looking forward to partnering with you on the following:

  • Voluntary, modified compliance with Tenant Relocation Ordinance notification requirements for all tenants:
    • 90-day official notice to vacate
    • Provide tenant information packet to all residents including 90-day notification and access to relocation services and information.
  • A voluntary, modified tenant relocation for every existing, non-subsidized tenant; to be paid by property owner:
    • $500 payment for moving and relocation expenses per unit
  • A voluntary, modified tenant relocation for every subsidized tenant; to be paid by property owner:
    • Moving expenses
    • Temporary housing during remodel
    • Right of first refusal for tenants if they meet program screening criteria
  • Register subsidized units will register with City of Austin’s Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) program for tenant rent subsidy, counseling services, and resources.
  • Pedestrian path or view corridor to Georgian Acres Park: We have contacted the neighboring adjacent property owners and will update once regarding access options.
  • Non-profit or education programming for all tenants: Property owner will provide meeting/programming space within the building.
  • Cost Participation in Neighborhood Partnership Program for the installation of traffic calming infrastructure on Powell Lane: We have been in communication with neighboring property owners who would also like to participate.
Posted in housing, land use, transportation | 1 Comment

601 E Powell Ln – 410 E Wonsley zoning and future land use

March 22 update: The City has scheduled their community meeting for Thursday, April 5 at 6:30pm at the Little Walnut Creek Library. The neighborhood team will hold a called meeting in conjunction with the city-facilitated meeting.

The City has received an application to make land use and zoning changes on 8 acres between E Powell and E Wonsley, in order to build an apartment complex. This would involve amending Georgian Acres planning area’s Future Land Use Map (FLUM) from Neighborhood Mixed Use and Mixed Use/Office to Multifamily. It would also involve changing the zoning from LO-MU and LR-MU (limited office and neighborhood commercial, mixed use) to MF-4 (moderate density multifamily).

According to the application, the current zoning would allow 23 units per acre, or about 186 total. They are proposing 37 units per acre, or 300 total. The current MU zoning allows smaller professional offices and neighborhood-serving stores. The proposed residential zoning does not. Currently, the maximum height is 40ft. With the proposed zoning it would be 60ft. The impervious cover limits are about the same. (CodeNEXT draft 3 would change the zoning to MU2A, Mixed Use. This zoning could allow 18 or 36 units per acres, depending on affordability, as well as small professional offices and groceries, up to 45 feet high.)

According to the application, the apartment units would all be one-bedroom, from about 450-550 sq ft, all renting at market rate.

Here’s the complete zoning application and FLUM amendment application

The amendment process will include a city-facilitated community meeting in our area, a Planning Commission hearing, and a City Council hearing, before any decision is made. Typically, there would be several meetings amongst developers and nearby stakeholders as well.

The owners and developers for this project have not spoken with the neighborhood team yet. Here’s a starting list of topics for when that conversation begins. Are there others?

  • Stormwater infrastructure for sheet flow south from Wonsley
  • Water pressure
  • Traffic on E Powell Ln (speed mitigation, demand management)
  • Traffic on E Wonsley Dr (speed mitigation, demand management)
  • Access to E Lola Dr (demand management)
  • Access to Georgian Acres neighborhood park (easement from Wonsley, safe crossing of Powell)
  • Park land dedication fees
  • Attendance zone for new TA Brown
  • Fair housing (source of income, lookback period)
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March 6 primary election

Voter turnout in our precincts:

  • Pct 139 (183 to the creek) 14.4% ( 12.3% Dem + 2.1% Rep)
  • Pct 164 (creek to Applegate) 8.7% ( 7.6% Dem + 1.2% Rep)
  • Pct 211 (Applegate to Braker) 18.6% ( 15.1% Dem + 3.5% Rep)

Complete election results.

The primary election decides the democratic and republican party candidates for the general election in the fall, for US legislators, the governor and other state offices, and local offices like judges.

The next election will be the runoff from this primary, on May 22. Register to vote

There will be one especially competitive democratic runoff in parts of our neighborhood, for the Texas house of representatives 46th district:
Jose “Chito” Vela
Sheryl Cole

Travis County will be hiring people to work the election, including call center, tech support, and delivery positions, as well as poll workers, from $8-14 per hour.

mx For mexican citizens, you can register and vote in the mexican presidential election this summer from the US. March 31 is the deadline to register.

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