Friends and Neighbors;
Please help spread the word by passing this information to your neighbors.
I am sure you have heard me talk about VMU (Vertical Mixed Use). Even if you thought VMU might be a good thing–new development, a few apartments, etc.; as you see the effect of this ordinance on the ground, I believe you will have concerns on many levels. The more I learn about this ordinance and the Commercial Design Standard that will govern its projects, the more concerned I become about the fate City has in store for neighborhoods. Now is the time to spring into action. The Allandale VMU Application will come before Planning Commission to be heard and ruled upon next Tuesday, May 13 and then before City Council, Thurs., June 5.
Allandale’s quality of life and future existence depends on all of us
to speak up. Please contact the Planning Commission Members
individually before next Tuesday, (http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/boards/results.cfm). You can do this by
email or snail mail. If you received the notice (you live within 300ft
of Burnet Rd commercial zone), you may want to use the response sheet
included and fax it to city staff. Also contact each City Council
Sign a petition. Check the Allandale Reporter to find out where you
can sign a petition regarding VMUOD (Vertical Mixed Use Overlay
Finally, we will need lots of bodies to show up at the hearings.
Carpool together or maybe ride the bus, but come! You do not have to
speak although you may sign up to do so if you want. We welcome
speakers. Please let me know if you want to speak so that we can
coordinate speakers. It is important that PC and Council see that
there are many concerned and watching. We will have name tags to
identify us as a group.
Below are some points which may help you in writing. Make it your
own. Be brief and clear in asking them to support the Allandale VMU
Application. You can read the notice of hearing and the application summary here.
I will be reminding you of the hearings again as they get closer.
We vehemently disagree with the “blanket”, “one size fits all” approach of the VMUOD.
- We want a comprehensive approach to adding density –which includes
planning for infrastructure (traffic, water, wastewater, schools,
police, EMS, mass transit, parkland, etc), consideration of effect of
other developments already approved, consideration of connecting
- Allandale’s properties along Burnet and Anderson were zoned CS (Commercial Services)—not just adding a V to MU.
- We believe that the small businesses that have their beginnings on
Burnet Rd and are growing will be forced to close by escalating rent
rates in VMU buildings. Small businesses are a strong foundation of
Austin and have been promoted by City Council.
- Many of Allandale’s properties are shallow and too small to develop as
VMU in a cost effective manner. Developers would require, at a
minimum, all the incentives, and would probably place much pressure on
City to give variances to maximize building on property, thereby
overwhelming SF2 (single family) properties. We request these shallow
lots be excluded from the VMUOD.
- The residential portion of a VMU development receives a 40% reduction
in required parking by right and 40% reduction in required parking for
retail is part of the incentives package which neighborhoods are
allowed to weigh in on, but not always listened to. Where do you think
the extra cars will park??
- Amenities pointed to by City as desirable will not necessarily happen.
For example, the street trees will not be placed on Burnet Rd as it has
overhead utility lines which prohibit the planting of street trees
under them. We are more likely to see crepe myrtles. Open and green
space while often referred to in talks, is not written into (required
by) the ordinance.
- 6400 Burnet Rd (Burnet Storage) is an extremely large lot which pushes
deep into the neighborhood. It has flooding issues at the back of the
property which effect the neighborhood as well. This property should
be removed from the overlay and dealt with gently if and when it comes
up for redevelopment.
- It has become increasingly apparent that the City of Austin has no
intention of allowing our input on these developments. In fact, the
City has implemented the VMU ordinance in such a way as to eliminate
our involvement and is currently striving to dilute the applicability
of the Compatibility Standards – requirements for commercial projects
that are located near residential properties that would typically mute
the impacts a bit.
- Overburdened CTC (core transit corridors—Burnet Rd and Anderson Ln.)
will result in flooding neighborhood streets with cut through traffic
as well as parked cars from VMU projects.
Allandale has proposed other options for increasing density that would
be more protective of the neighborhood and meet city density goals.
These have received no traction.
Please support Allandale’s VMU application.
Feel free to email or call me with questions. Please pass this request along to your neighbors.
Thanks for your help.
Paulette Kern [Email address: paulettekern #AT# sbcglobal.net - replace #AT# with @ ]
Chair, ANA Zoning and Planning Committee