Jackie O’Keefe has done a wonderful job chairing the zoning function for the
Allandale Neighborhood Association.  She will still be here, and active, but
she’ll be moving on to other involvements, and I’ll become chair on zoning. 
Jackie and I met on this yesterday, and Gretchen Vaden, our President, and I
talked on the phone today.

I am learning on zoning.  I look
forward to Jackie’s good advice, and the advice of any of you. 

Here are a few things I think I know:

1) Zoning is something cities
use to restrict land use.  No one wants high-rise apartments interspersed among
single family homes, or noisy manufacturing in a hospital zone.  There are
different kinds of zoning, but zoning applies throughout Austin.

Zoning is complex.  I’ll have a later email so that all of you can learn some of
what I am learning from the city www sites on zoning.  SF-1 (single family
residential) is one of the least intensive uses.  Many of us own single family
homes, in areas zoned SF-1.

3) Development and re-development will
be coming to Allandale.  Many of us are in Central Austin, and there are
incentives for more intensive development in Central Austin.  Some proposed
development we will probably want to encourage, and work with; other proposed
developments we probably will want to oppose.  It is not an all Yes or all No
business, and since we are diverse in our membership and interests, we will not
always agree on what is good, and what not so good, but we need to work
together, as neighbors, and as an association, as proposed projects appear.  The
new Amy’s Ice Cream at Burnet and Northland is, in my opinion, an example of how
development can enhance our neighborhood.

4) Developers, and land
owners, when requesting zoning changes, almost invariably request a change from
a less-intensive use, to a more-intensive use.  That’s understood.  What also
needs to be understood, by all of us, is that zoning rights go with the land. 
If we as a neighborhood support a "nice" landowner in getting a more intensive
zoning for his property, two things that could be damaging could follow as
consequences.  (1) the landowner could sell the property to someone not so nice,
and the new zoning rights would transfer with that property, and (2) other
landlords, similarly situated, could invoke precedent to make the case that
their properties, similarly situation, should, in all fairness, also be allowed
this more intensive use.  So, we need to beware of what we approve, and where
zoning requests per Allandale are, in the approval process by city council.  The
Austin City Council has the final word..

5) We are the eyes and ears
to be sure that zoning is enforced.  If a new building is going up, it should
have a city permit in full-view, and it should be going up in accordance with
the existing zoning for that tract of land.  If a house has single-family
residential zoning, and someone is redoing that house into multiple apartments,
I need to know that, and we as a neighborhood need to blow the whistle on it
EARLY, with the city.  Zoning laws are rules to work within.  If someone is
operating outside the rules, the whistle needs to be blown on them EARLY.

Let me learn from you.  Let’s see your responses to this posting.

Best regards,
John Keohane
(incoming) Zoning Chair
Allandale Neighborhood Association
5702 Wynona Avenue
Austin, TX 
(512) 371-3853
keohane [Email address: keohane #AT# prodigy.net - replace #AT# with @ ]