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Neighbors, by Neighbors

YOUR Voice Matters - Sign the Petition and Send a Message to Austin City Council to Stop the Granting of Special Favor Zoning

About / Who We Are

The Neighborhood Coalition is the voice of concerned Austinites who love and wish to celebrate the quirkiness of Austin. We stand for the care and improvement of our City through thoughtful interaction and considered development that gives back to the neighborhoods and communities. We do not oppose reasonable development that keeps in mind the Austinites who live here.
In the past few years, the City Council has begun the process of over-developing our City
without regard for the character and beauty that made Austin so special. They have done this
through (among other things) a process called a Planned Unit Development (a “PUD”), which
is a costly process that allows developers direct access to the City Council to request rezoning
of specific properties (spot zoning). A PUD allows big developers to write their own zoning rules, with zero regard for the existing Land Development Code. To date, the City has approved
every PUD request it has received.
These PUDs affect all Austinites, as we now watch generic, bloated buildings pop up without
regard for how they affect neighbors. We are currently focusing on the gateway to Zilker/Barton Springs PUD request for 517 South Lamar Blvd.
This PUD would allow for the spreading of downtown into main avenues like Lamar. Through the PUD process, the developer is requesting a minimum of 102 feet in height (over 10 stories), which is massively higher than the current CS-V zoning. The developer is also requesting special waivers and exceptions for increased density, floodplain, water quality, massing & natural buffer zones.
Further, the developer professes to provide superior affordable housing, while actually providing much less than would be required if they went through the currently approved Land Development Code. In other words, it’s a golden ticket for big developers. We believe this will start a trend that will cause high rise expansion within steps from residential neighborhoods.  This will affect the character of these areas, while causing massive traffic congestion, without providing enough affordable housing.
Another example is the Brodie Lane PUD.
The Brodie Lane PUD is a cluster of towers adding 900 percent more building density onto the site, with the tallest building reaching 27 stories. The character of this area will forever be altered. It could trigger a domino effect with other nearby properties all seeking the same consideration from the City. Barton Creek is a natural refuge, a popular place, and the last swimmable creek in the heart of the fastest growing city in America. This unique setting is presumably why developers are choosing this location over others as a place to build their mixed-use center.
The normally required park area for a project of this size is 29.6 acres. Instead, the PUD is providing an “8.9 acres of credited Private Parkland”. The rest of the requirement is to be met with a “fee-in-lieu.” In material presented to the Austin City Council, there is no mention of how much this money is; nor where in the city the land will be bought. Elsewhere in the council's backup, 11.6 acres is listed as “open space”. Calling it “Private Parkland” suggests not all the land will be available for the public to use.
Developers also failed to meet the impervious cover limits of the Save Our Springs (SOS) ordinance, a law on the books for over 30 years. Applicants ordinarily must purchase offsite land in the same watershed in exchange for being allowed to exceed the limits.


Sign the Petition!

To: Austin City Council

Planned Unit Development (PUD) is a special consideration zoning designation that allows builders to design their own zoning rules. It is desirable for big developers because they can build substantially more than they would under the current zoning rules.

The undersigned owner(s) do hereby protest against any change of the Land Development Code (the Code”) for the above-referenced Property, which lies less than 200 feet away from single family, residential homes. The current Land Development Code, including set backs and compatibility must be enforced.

We strongly oppose special dispensation to build under rules that are watered down - PUD or no PUD. We strongly oppose any height, density, floodplain, water quality, massing & natural buffer zone waivers or variances for the Property. If the City Council grants a request for re-zoning at this location, it would be usurping the purpose of zoning laws entirely. To do so would be out of congruence with the desires of the Austin residents.

Given the City's history with passing CodeNext illegally, and its current attempts to pass VMU2 zoning without the legally required state mandated notice given to the residents affected, one can only conclude that the continued flouting of the current Code is designed to frustrate the will of the people in favor of "big money” developers. We strongly oppose this favoritism, and the failure to consider the residents desires for Austin to remain a world class city with character. The PUD at 517 South Lamar is yet another example of developers seeking to write their own rules simply because the City Council has allowed them to do so.

Unfortunately, the City Council has demonstrated a history of allowing PUDs that are completely untethered to the requirements of the current Code. We, the residents of the City of Austin, demand that this come to a stop here and now.

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For media, interviews, or news contact Lydia Zaidman, esq. at
[email protected] or 718-791-5493