The Planning Fee has backed the most recent challenge by native reasonably priced housing developer Basis Communities, recommending Multifamily-Reasonable Density (MF-4) zoning for an 8-acre, church-owned property at 2105 Parker Lane in Southeast Austin.

The Parker Residences will supply 135 items reasonably priced to households at or under 60 % space median income, along with a learning center, public group house, church workplaces, and a full slate of tenant companies. 

The challenge will change the defunct Ward Memorial Methodist Church. These affiliated with the church say the challenge will permit the church’s mission to proceed. 

The tract is presently zoned Household Residence (SF-3), and the developer requests MF-4 zoning. Metropolis staffers really useful MF-3 zoning for compatibility causes. Conor Kenny, agent for the developer, mentioned that though MF-3 zoning would most likely permit the challenge to be constructed as proposed, MF-4 supplies “flexibility.”

The challenge is household oriented: 80 % of the items may have 2 or 3 bedrooms, and 14 items will cater to dad and mom and kids who’ve been homeless. The developer will search Austin Vitality’s highest Inexperienced Constructing requirements, present open house and protect all heritage bushes. Based on Kenny, the open house makes the challenge’s density akin to that of a challenge with MF-1 zoning. 

Regardless of the challenge’s deep reasonably priced housing and bounty of group advantages, a 3rd of the neighboring property house owners have signed a petition in opposition to the rezoning, forcing a supermajority vote at Metropolis Council for approval. A number of neighbors additionally wrote in opposition and spoke on the assembly. Although issues ran the gamut, essentially the most salient concerned sustaining the property’s civic use. 

Walter Moreau, Basis Communities government director, mentioned he was “shocked” that so many neighbors oppose the challenge, significantly on the grounds that it might preclude future civic use on the positioning. “All of the companies of the neighbors need – meals pantry, well being packages, immigration companies, youngsters’s education schemes – that’s precisely what we do.”

“There are just a few neighbors who’re against the challenge it doesn’t matter what,” Moreau mentioned.

Commissioners supported the challenge although differed on the right zoning.

Commissioner Grayson Cox tried to carry Basis Communities – and a hypothetical future developer, ought to the property change palms – to the present proposal, making a movement to advocate MF-3 zoning with a 135-unit restrict. 

“We’re altering the zoning on this property to one thing that might probably be extraordinarily helpful to builders,” Cox mentioned. If Basis Communities was not the developer, Cox mentioned he would probably vote in opposition to a similar-sized challenge.

Commissioner Jennifer Mushtaler, the brand new District 6 appointee, shared Cox’s issues that permitting MF-4 zoning may “open up this space to one thing that isn’t acceptable.” 

“I’m unsure why we’d cap the variety of reasonably priced items,” Commissioner Awais Azhar countered. Azhar motioned to advocate the requested MF-4 zoning to present Basis Communities “the pliability that they want.” He and others vouched for Basis Communities and the church’s bona fides and confused the unlikelihood of both get together backing out and a brand new developer swooping in.

Cox’s movement failed.

After a “hefty” – as Azhar mentioned – two-hour dialogue, the commissioners voted 11-0-1 to advocate MF-4 zoning, with Mushtaler abstaining. Council is scheduled to vote on the rezoning Might 6.

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