6a00d8341c574253ef00e54f807e9e8833-800wisubmitted by Tom Linehan [Email address: tlinehan #AT# austin.rr.com - replace #AT# with @ ]

A group of Allandale Neighborhood Association (ANA)
representatives and affected neighbors spoke before the City Council Thursday
night in opposition to a proposed variance request by Ardent Properties regarding the
5350 Burnet Rd (Antique Marketplace) property for an expanded vertical mixed use (VMU) development. We were unsuccessful.

Instead of opposing a VMU development at
the site Allandale expressed concern about the increased density of the project
and the resulting traffic it would generate on Burnet Rd. Steven Zettner
presented a variation of the project that would make it more pedestrian friendly
and become the start of a pedestrian walkway leading down to the Yarborough library.
The variance was granted by a unanimous vote of the Council. Council member Lee
Leffingwell added two friendly amendments at our request which placed a cap on
the number of residential units allowed at this site to 175, and prohibited a
driveway onto Lawnmont.

By way of background, Carr Development came to ANA two years
ago asking support for a height variance on a mixed use development at this
site which ANA supported. What was presented to ANA at the time was a mixed use
development that consisted of retail and 88 owner-occupied units. Mr. Carr
received the height variance allowing him to go to 60 feet on his proposed
development.

 

In July Allandale learned that Ardent Properties was given
an option to buy the property from Carr and wanted to do something very
different. Instead of 88 (2-bedroom) owner-occupied units, Ardent proposed to nearly
double the number of units, essentially going to 165 plus (1-2 bedroom) rental
units.

The outcome of the vote came as no surprise to those of us
in attendance. Preliminary meetings with council members and council member
staff made it clear that VMU is the city mantra and Burnet Rd is the poster child for it.
This is how council member Brewster McCracken referred to Burnet Rd when expounding on the City’s intentions with VMU zoning.

What follows is the agenda item for the variance request for
Thursday’s meeting.  Click here for all of the back up detail.

Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Chapter
25-2 of the Austin City Code by rezoning property locally known as 5350 Burnet
Road (Shoal Creek watershed) from general commercial services-mixed
use-conditional overlay (CS-MU-CO) combining district zoning to general
commercial services-mixed use-conditional overlay (CS-MU-CO)combining district
zoning to permit vertical mixed use on the site.