Final week the Planning Fee heard a surprisingly controversial debate amongst neighbors in East Austin’s Senate Hills over whether or not to permit the development of a brand new neighborhood park.

Although the commissioners all sided with these in favor of the park, the park’s future is unsure after a majority of commissioners indicated their desire for a public as an alternative of personal park. Some feared that holding the park personal, because the neighborhood requested, would result in policing of non-residents who use the area.

The neighborhood’s owners affiliation is requesting a conditional use allow to permit the park to be constructed. The location’s Single Household-Small Lot (SF-4A-NP) zoning doesn’t permit a neighborhood recreation (personal) use with out Planning Fee approval. The park can be constructed on a one-acre public utility easement.

The neighborhood gained’t must foot the invoice. The developer of an adjoining subdivision has agreed to pay for the park in full – together with upkeep – in change for permission to funnel runoff into Senate Hill’s water detention ponds.

In accordance with Andy Creel, president of the HOA, it has taken three and a half years, 10 public conferences and “a really prolonged dialogue on Nextdoor” to get up to now.

The park would have paths, a pavilion, a nature play space, and a grill. Picture courtesy LJA Engineering.

New parks are sometimes a consensus concern for neighborhoods, however this case proved an exception.

Some neighbors raised considerations that the park would enhance visitors, noise and crime.

“I’m afraid that the noise and the visitors brought on by the park can be a disturbance to me,” mentioned neighbor Ursula Carter. Carter mentioned that the HOA’s proposed crime-deterrence methodology – dummy cameras – wouldn’t cease crime. “Additionally, there’s a really massive park proper throughout the road, so I don’t see the need for an additional park.”

Creel mentioned that the conferences in regards to the park generated “very passionate dialogue” with “slightly little bit of yelling now and again.” A number of neighbors who opposed the park accused the HOA of mendacity of their written feedback to town, with out giving additional particulars.

“No answer can utterly handle all considerations from all people,” Creel mentioned. In the end, 76 owners voted in favor of the park to 29 towards.

Although commissioners supported making a park, some feared that holding it personal would allow neighbors to name the police on non-residents who’re merely having fun with the area, probably subjecting them to hurt.

“I can not in good conscience vote for creating personal area the place we are able to use policing to take away individuals from the neighborhood,” Commissioner Awais Azhar mentioned. Azhar motioned to postpone the vote till June 8 to present the neighborhood time to think about permitting anybody to make use of the park.

Commissioner Joao Paulo Connolly concurred: “I could also be in a small minority on this metropolis on this, however I stand by the concept … parks ought to be public areas that everybody can take pleasure in.”

Commissioner Grayson Cox thought this may finish the possibilities of the neighborhood getting a park. “What’s probably going to occur is the neighborhood goes to object to having a public use area be developed out, they usually’ll simply find yourself dwelling with the overgrown (public utility easement).”

The fee voted 7-5 in favor of postponement. The message was clear: Except the park is public, it may not get sufficient votes subsequent time round.

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