With the assistance of a variance from town’s Board of Adjustment, a brand new improvement on a puzzle of a downtown parcel will likely be transferring ahead, connecting a neighborhood to the lake within the course of.

Nikelle Meade, representing Pressler RRI, acknowledged that growing the peak of the challenge from 60 to 75 ft by way of a variance was “odd and weird.” Nonetheless, she defined, stakeholders had made it clear that the creation of a deliberate unit improvement as an alternate path to elevated peak inside the waterfront overlay wouldn’t be supported.

The variance for the elevated peak was accredited by the board in a unanimous vote.

The proposed improvement will span 300 and 301 Pressler St. and 1409, 1501 and 1505 W. Third St. on a plot of land sandwiched between Lamar Seashore Park and the Union Pacific railroad tracks. The parcel of land presents quite a lot of challenges and the developer has been working with town since 2017 to untangle them. However now the ensuing resolution guarantees to create a brand new entry level to Woman Hen Lake, bike trails and the Colorado River Hall.

“That is an uncommon request, we all know that,” Meade mentioned. “It is extremely clear that nobody wished us to ask for a PUD. That’s the reason we’re earlier than you as we speak.”

Board Member Brooke Bailey, who’s a former chair of the Waterfront Planning Advisory Board, mentioned she was “extraordinarily” accustomed to the property – at one level she even labored to provide you with design options for the property. She requested Meade whether or not the railroad had given permission to cross the tracks, noting they’d by no means performed that earlier than.

“You’re precisely proper, sure. They’re very troublesome about it and we do have that permission. We labored fairly extensively with town of Austin, Metropolis Council and UPRR, Union Pacific railroad, to come back to an settlement about setting up these arms. And I’m truly pleased to say that development began as we speak,” mentioned Meade, who burdened that the developer was paying for the crossings alone. “It’s a fairly large deal.”

“I’m impressed,” Bailey mentioned. “I’m normally extra hardcore in relation to peak within the waterfront, however I feel this has achieved so most of the long-term objectives of the neighborhood.”

Brockett Davidson, who chairs the Outdated West Austin Neighborhood Affiliation, wrote a letter in assist of the variance, saying it will “tackle long-standing points impacting our neighborhood and assist advance the objectives of our neighborhood plan with out slicing in opposition to the intent and objectives of the waterfront overlay.”

Within the letter of assist, the neighborhood affiliation highlights the 1986 City Lake Hall Research, which known as out the neighborhood’s lack of pedestrian entry to the waterfront. It notes that the event will repair that challenge via “the creation and development of two new accessways that may present bicycle and pedestrian entry from the neighborhood to areas south of the Union Pacific railroad tracks, together with Lamar Seashore Park, Woman Hen Lake and the Hike and Bike Path,” in addition to offering a secure path to Austin Excessive Faculty, bettering Lamar Seashore Park and creating new railroad security crossings.

“After a youth misspent sneaking up and down that hill, it will likely be good to see some entry,” Board Member Rahm McDaniel mentioned.

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