The City Council will vote this Thursday, September 27, on a
“land swap” which could amount to a $1.3 million corporate giveaway that
undermines the Crestview/Wooten neighborhood plan and is opposed by the
neighborhood association. Crestview Neighborhood Association asks neighbors
throughout the Northcross area to call City Council members today and Wednesday
to oppose the land swap.
WHAT IS THE LAND SWAP?
The proposal before Council would give Stratus, owner of the
land where the Crestview Station development will be built, and Trammel Crow,
the Crestview Station developer, 5.5 acres on
planned commuter rail station. In exchange, the City would receive 2 acres near
the southwest corner of Lamar and Morrow.
Austin Energy (AE) wants the swap in
order to build an electric substation at Lamar/Morrow. The City Council wants
the swap to achieve even more dense development occurs next to the station.
Stratus/Trammel Crow want the swap because they will make money developing the
WHAT IS THE NEIGHBORHOOD’S POSITION?
Crestview Neighborhood Association (CNA) passed a resolution
to have the City retain ownership of the 5.5 acres and convert some or all to
parkland, consistent with the approved neighborhood plan. CNA and neighbors
have spoken to Council members and staff and testified before the Planning
Commission against this land swap. We have basically been told “it’s a done
deal” and our input and neighborhood plan have been completely dismissed. CNA
is not against putting the proposed substation at the Lamar site. We want the
City and AE to buy the Lamar land outright and retain public ownership of the
5.5 acre parcel until a plan for its use can be developed that is consistent
with our approved neighborhood plan objectives.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED?
AE never did due diligence to look for other possible
electric substation sites. In addition, the land could be purchased rather than
swapped for publicly-owned land but no real work has been done to explore that
option. Trammel Crow is willing to sell the land to the City if the swap is not
approved. To justify the swap, the City got an appraiser to say the two parcels
are roughly the same value, but TCAD shows the publicly-owned parcel at about
$1.74 million and the Stratus/Trammel Crow parcel at about $400,000. And once
again, the City is ignoring public input and the neighborhood planning process.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
The City Council has the power to stop the swap and make AE
and Stratus/Trammel Crow work with the neighborhood toward a mutually-agreed
solution rather than steamroll us. We ask our neighbors throughout this area to
help us by calling Council today and Wednesday and expressing opposition to the
Crestview Station land swap.
For more information contact Eddie Gary, 917-7557 or
gratefuled [Email address: gratefuled #AT# sbcglobal.net - replace #AT# with @ ]