Within the late Nineties, Metropolis Council determined to revitalize so-called blighted areas east of downtown by city renewal plans. Now, over 20 years later, town is updating these plans alongside East eleventh and twelfth streets.

The first objective is to simplify the East eleventh and East twelfth avenue city renewal plans and their related neighborhood conservation combining districts (NCCDs), which meticulously define improvement requirements for particular person tracts, to raised align with neighborhood priorities and facilitate predictable improvement.

A number of planning commissioners, based mostly on their work with neighbors and proposals by metropolis staffers and the City Renewal Board, proposed updates to the peak and density (i.e., ground space ratio) entitlements in sure elements of the NCCDs, along with different land use updates. Probably the most vital suggestion is the rise in allowable ground space ratios (a standard option to regulate density) for almost all tracts in each districts; commissioners, nonetheless, stopped wanting permitting limitless FAR, as proposed by the City Renewal Board and metropolis staffers. Commissioners additionally really useful decreased top limits beneath what’s at present allowed for sure areas.

The 2 NCCDs, which purpose to protect a neighborhood’s constructed atmosphere and make new improvement match the peak and density of present buildings, promote separate visions. The East eleventh Avenue NCCD permits comparatively dense residential and business makes use of. The East twelfth Avenue NCCD, alternatively, constrains websites to smaller-scale business and residential improvement. A lot of the East eleventh Avenue NCCD has already been redeveloped, whereas the stretch alongside East twelfth Avenue has seen much less improvement. 

Map reveals the City Renewal Plan space and related Neighborhood Conservation Combining Districts. Picture courtesy metropolis of Austin.

The fee handed all of the suggestions simply. Suggestions to largely prohibit resorts and the sale of liquor handed unanimously, and the modified website improvement guidelines handed with solely commissioners Jeffrey Thompson and Claire Hempel voting in opposition to or abstaining.

The suggestions that decreased entitlements sparked probably the most debate. 

“It’s one factor to not improve the entitlements, however one other factor to scale them again,” Thompson mentioned. “And I can’t help that.” Thompson argued that town ought to look to extend density in an effort to forestall sprawl.

Commissioner Joao Paulo Connolly argued in favor of the decreases. He mentioned density will get authorised alongside two-lane streets like eleventh and twelfth in East Austin, however such density is rarely thought-about for properties alongside related streets in different elements of town – one other instance of inequitable improvement patterns.

“I’m often arguing for denser improvement in Austin, and I respect the necessity to develop and make more room for folks, however on the similar time, we have to do it in a approach that’s even and that’s equitable,” Connolly mentioned. 

Thompson countered that the fee lately had the chance to extend entitlements on the west facet with a South Lamar zoning case, however failed to recommend it.

Commissioners James Shieh and Grayson Cox questioned whether or not the advice would unfairly take away entitlements from property homeowners. Some property homeowners exterior the City Renewal Plan space however inside the East eleventh Avenue NCCD, going through decreased entitlements, requested that they be exempt from the modifications. Different commissioners mentioned that the transfer adopted precedent and warranted that the websites would nonetheless be viable for improvement. 

Metropolis Council will focus on the modifications at its subsequent assembly on July 29. Group members can be taught extra concerning the proposed modifications at SpeakUpAustin.org.

Picture made out there by a Creative Commons license.

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