Austin Oaks Proposed Redevelopment
Background on the Zoning Case

What is it? Austin Oaks is a wooded 32-acre tract with twelve 1–3 story office buildings. Current zoning allows for various commercial and office uses with maximum 4-story building height. This Planned Unit Development (PUD) rezoning initially requested high-rise office buildings, 300 multi-family residential units, retail, restaurants, a 2-acre park. [Update: max building height was lowered from 17 stories, to 10, to 7. Residential units now exclude families with children. The plan now also includes a hotel.]

Where is it? It’s at the southeast corner of Spicewood Springs Road and MoPac; head west on Anderson Lane, cross over MoPac and Austin Oaks is on the left.

What’s the problem?

  • Austin Oaks currently generates 4,248 vehicle trips per day; PUD zoning would generate 20,000 per day.
  • High-rise buildings at the edge of MoPac would loom over Allandale residents 500-ft. away. Buildings over 5 stories would set an undesirable precedent along MoPac.
  • The heavily wooded tract would lose several heritage trees and most of the protected and smaller trees.
  • Austin’s Imagine Austin comprehensive plan designates the Anderson Lane Station at MoPac and Anderson Lane a “Neighborhood Center,” so the PUD densities proposed on the NWACA quadrant could be repeated in Allandale, Balcones, and North Shoal Creek, far exceeding neighborhood-serving development. [Update: in Feb. 2016, Union Pacific Railroad terminated commuter rail negotiations.]

Who’s involved? Since June 2014, representatives of five neighborhood associations have been involved in discussions regarding Austin Oaks with the owner’s agent (first the Drenner Group, and now Michael Whellan), and Austin’s Planning & Development Review Department (PDRD) staff. (Special thanks to NWACA’s Joyce Statz for organizing initial meetings.)

Where are we now? Following a week-long design charrette at the end of January 2016 (see daily charrette reports in the timeline, below), unsatisfactory levels remain related to building heights in excess of 5 stories, overall square footage resulting in excessive traffic, and heritage tree removal.

Austin’s comprehensive plan, “Imagine Austin” densifies where possible at the edges of established neighborhoods with a mixed use “live/work/play” scenario that is meant to reduce the need to drive. We question whether the Austin Oaks charrette plan represents an adequate mix of square footage with:

71% office
17% residential
8% hotel
4% retail

and wonder precisely how public transit will reduce auto-centric travel to and from Austin Oaks.

While NWACA opposed the first PUD go-round because their residents were overwhelmingly opposed, their board members support the charrette process and design outcome, believing that the process was fair and that the ultimate design represents their community’s desires. They cite majority attendance from NW Hills but they didn’t analyze daily head counts. Working group members from the surrounding neighborhoods (Allandale, Balcones Civic, North Shoal Creek, and numerous area HOAs) considered these factors relevant:

  • “Vote night,” 28-Jan., was not announced to surrounding neighborhoods, but some NWACA board members apparently knew about it ahead of time and posted to special interest forums urging people to attend that night.
  • ​The comparison between the code-compliant plan (utilizing current zoning categories) ​and the charrette design (requiring PUD rezoning) was heavily pitched as a de facto decision in favor of the charrette design by Doug Farr’s presentation and proselytizing from the floor.
  •  Of all nine public events related to the charrette, there were more attendees on “vote night” (113) than any other night, and more attendees (36) of that single event.
  • NWACA reported that 64% of the votes were in favor of the charrette design, but did not mention that only 86 people voted, with 55 votes for the charrette design, and 31 for current zoning.

The only “focus group” participating throughout the process was the ​working group, and they called upon Spire to correct deficiencies in the charrette’s final design (see timeline entry of 02-Feb, below). Yet the NWACA board passed a resolution supporting the charrette design without waiting to hear how Spire would respond to the working group (Spire subsequently rejected the working group’s request).

When the Austin Oaks plan is available for review—expected to be sometime in April—ANA committee members will compare it to the previous PUD related to:
(1) traffic generated
(2) building heights
(3) heritage tree loss

In the news: Links to articles about the Austin Oaks PUD and the PUD ordinance are listed below. Neighborhood activists dedicated to protecting the community and schools encourage responsible commercial development within conventional zoning standards; see the nopud.weebly.com blog.

Send feedback: Allandale residents may send feedback [Email address: allandale.neighborhood #AT# gmail.com - replace #AT# with @ ] with “Austin Oaks” in the subject line indicating whether you’re For or Against the PUD. Provide your name and address (for residency confirmation only).

A Timeline of Events follows (most recent first), with links to documents about the proposed PUD.

Timeline: Austin Oaks

2016-Mar-31 ANA Awaits Update: When the Austin Oaks plan is available for review, ANA committee members should make a decision after considering:

(1) traffic generated

(2) building heights

(3) heritage tree loss

2016-Mar-15 ZAP Case Postponed: The case was scheduled on the agenda simply to keep it from expiring. Since it will be some weeks before a site plan is submitted for staff to review, commissioners granted an indefinite postponement. Other than staff’s explanation, no discussion was anticipated. Listen to testimony under Item C1 given here, where Spire’s John Ruff was invited to speak, as were three NWACA representatives who had emailed the ZAP chair, Gabe Rojas, directly. All spoke in support of the charrette and the current design. As is standard procedure, a number of area residents had signed in to speak. After a slight kerfuffle as Mr. Rojas was about to proceed to the next agenda item, three residents were allowed to speak, all in opposition to the current design.
2016-Mar-01 Second Post-Charrette Working Group Meeting: It is expected to take 5 weeks for Spire’s design team, TBG, to refine the charrette plan into a workable site development plan. Spire’s Jon Ruff will not ask to deviate from the charrette plan. However, TBG was provided with the items requested by the working group (see 2016-Feb-02 entry, below), but it is not clear how the design team will respond to those requests. It’s possible that adjustments will be recommended due to infeasibility of one thing or another that could adequately address tree retention or equalize building heights, modifications that might satisfy the working group.

The case should go before the Zoning and Platting Commission on 15-March, and staff is expected to request another indefinite postponement.

 

2016-Feb-24 Area HOA Boards Respond: Courtland Oaks HOA does not support the charrette outcome (see Courtland resolution). The Williamsburg HOA board voted to support the working group’s “Letter of No Confidence.”

Balcones Civic Assoc. Board will ask their membership to endorse or disapprove of the final plan. The board asks that Spire continue to develop and improve the plan in accordance with the objectives set during the vision and values workshops.

 

2016-Feb-22 Spire’s Response is Pending: ANA is awaiting Spire’s response to the working group requests before considering whether to support or oppose the charrette redevelopment plan. At this time, a plan that does not differ substantially from the previous PUD application would likely not receive support.

The North Shoal Creek N.A. Development Committee is also waiting for the outcome of negotiations before recommending action to the directors and membership. The membership did vote against the last PUD zoning request and there is not enough change here that would change most peoples’ minds. A rejection is likely forthcoming if Spire’s counter isn’t substantially improved.

The Working Group is scheduled to meet again on 01-March.

 

2016-Feb-20 Working Group Issues “No Confidence” Letter: Austin Oaks working group members representing area neighborhoods (except NWACA) expressed a failure to meet key OSMs that were developed collaboratively over the course of the charrette (see No Confidence Letter).

 

2016-Feb-16 Balcones Civic Assoc. Board Weighs In: The BCA board of directors does not support the charrette plan and asks that negotiations continue (see BCA resolution).

 

2016-Feb-10 NW Austin Civic Assoc. Board Supports New Plan: The NWACA board of directors endorses the charrette process and supports the outcome (see NWACA resolution).

 

2016-Feb-02 Post-Charrette Working Group Meeting: The group agreed to work together on a negotiation with Spire to achieve a better outcome. Most in the group agreed to move forward by negotiating to address reducing overall square footage to reduce traffic impacts, possibly reorienting buildings to preserve more heritage trees and to better resolve the matter of building height. These were the group’s specific requests:

  • Buildings 1, 2, 3: 60 feet (5 floors)
  • Buildings 4, 5: as is, single story
  • Building 6: 60 feet (5 floors)
  • Buildings 7, 8, 9: 40 feet (3 floors)
  • Building 10: 50 feet (now in the plan as 4 floors)
  • Building 11: 60 feet (5 floors)
  • Structured parking should be to scale with the buildings, lower than the height of the buildings

The Working Group’s goal is to bring the plan in line with what was expressed during the vision and values workshops to meet the OSMs that were developed publicly as a group. While the current plan generally follows the neighborhood input, it fails in terms of traffic and building height, two of the most important issues cited by participants.

 

2016-30-Jan Analysis: Attendees by Neighborhood

Sign-in sheets were provided at all events: Information sessions, Vision & Values Workshops, and every day of charrette week. Here is the breakdown of attendees by neighborhood. The first page shows the distribution by neighborhood of all 251 individuals who attended at least one event; subsequent pages track how many days each of the 251 individuals participated (only the individual’s neighborhood is listed, names and addresses were removed). The resulting tallies illustrate how many individuals attended each event (Attendees/day) and how many individuals attended only one event (Singletons/day).

Plan F Scorecard from Allandale

Despite the often kludgy charrette process, the final conceptual plan is a very pretty picture. The TBG team’s renderings are absolutely beautiful and illustrate without a doubt that a picture is worth a thousand words, or perhaps in today’s economy, a million.

A 1,196,000 sq. ft. mixed-use development, top-heavy on office space—the major money-maker—with 846,000 sq. ft. of office spread over seven buildings, the plan also includes 210,000 sq. ft. of multi-family housing, a 90,000 sq. ft. hotel, 50,000 sq. ft. retail/restaurant, a 2-acre park adjacent to the housing, and 4 acres of open space (including the creek zone). This plan is similar in scale to the previous PUD application:

comparison

Traffic generation of 17,000 trips per day seems low. Traffic mitigation efforts will extend one mile to the west of the intersection of Spicewood Springs and MoPac, but will not extend east to Anderson Lane where 25% of the traffic is expected to impact Allandale and North Shoal Creek.

Analysis of tabletop comments from both Vision & Values workshops, organized by subject illustrate that modifications to the OSMs during charrette week resulted in overall failures related to traffic generation, tree preservation, and building height (see MoPac building height survey).

Looking at the top three concerns from Allandale’s perspective on the east side of the Spicewood/Anderson/MoPac intersection:

  1. Traffic generated across MoPac to Anderson Lane
  2. Maximum preservation of heritage trees
  3. Maximum building height of 5 stories along MoPac

and assessing each of them by Allandale’s metrics provides our basis in scoring the final design.

<scorecard pending>

2016-29-Jan Charrette Day 5: Attendee Log: 48

Final Day Presentation
The final design team’s preferred scenario (click on the diagram below for a closer look) was presented again, followed by an explanation of the process to transform the charrette outcome into a land use plan and revive the Austin Oaks zoning case.

2016-01-29-Final_Plan

2016-02-01_FinalPresentation

2016-28-Jan Charrette Day 4: Attendee Log: 113

Results from Wednesday’s show of hands straw poll were:

Wednesday-straw-poll

Design Team’s “Preferred Plan” Presented

Plan F was rolled out for review. Charrette participants had been asking since Tuesday’s tabletop exercise for the code-compliant design to be among the options from which to choose, so it was introduced tonight for a vote. The comparison was heavily pitched as a de facto decision in favor of the new plan vs. “what’s there now” by both the presentation and proselytizing from the floor.

Vote results were: 55 in favor of design team’s recommended Plan F, and 31 in favor of the code-compliant plan.
Thursday all presentations

WYSIWYG
Despite lengthy discussion, no recommended changes from the participants were considered; however, adjustments may emerge on Friday in the form of error correction.

2016-27-Jan Charrette Day 3: Attendee Log: 54

Two Alternative Designs Presented
Presentations included a background of the Austin Oaks rezoning project from the neighborhood’s perspective, then from the property owner’s perspective, followed by the design team’s review of Tuesday night’s conclusions, and their rollout of plans D and E.
Joyce Statz Background Slides
Doug Farr Wednesday presentation and designs

Feedback Devolution
The two plans were difficult to compare. For example, an objective to minimize Impact to Schools was rated “0” in Plan D and “250 non-family units” in Plan E; one might expect both plans to rate zero. Discussion revealed that the plans were designed by two different teams using somewhat different measures. One plan reflected a $14,000,000 cost for improvements—street enhancements, park space, etc.—by increasing some of the building heights to 8 stories and adding 200,000 additional sq. ft. The Q&A session took up a good bit of time with questions about building use designations related to traffic generation, pro- and anti-housing advocacy, and the difference between park and open space. The heritage tree situation—how many spared, removed, or transplanted—was undetermined. There was so much confusion about how traffic counts were derived, the tabletop exercise was scrapped for lack of time. Instead, a simple show-of-hands vote ensued, e.g. “who wants housing?” and “who wants a hotel?” and “who wants daycare?” By the time the question of building height rolled around, the two plans were equalized at 7 stories. Or was it 6? Or 8?
Wednesday Pin-up Comments
Wednesday Comment Counts
Wednesday straw poll

2016-26-Jan Charrette Day 2: Attendee Log: 105

1.    Three Alternative Designs Presented
Drawings of a “code compliant plan” (or redevelopment potential under existing zoning) and three design alternatives—A, B, & C—were pinned to the wall for participants to review and comment on prior to the tabletop exercises.
2.    Information & Instruction
Basic assumptions pertaining to economic equivalences, development, parking, and design were presented, followed by brief instructions on the structure and methodology for the tabletop exercises. Q&A took quite a bit of time yet did little to clarify the tabletop assessment process.
Doug Farr – Site Design Alternatives
3.    Tabletop Exercises
Drawings of conceptual designs A, B, & C were available at each table; the code compliant plan was not provided. Participants were to assess each cell of a matrix that divided each of the 3 drawings into 4 zones—Hart Lane, Middle, Creek, and MoPac—and rate all 12 cells as Preferred, Acceptable, or Unacceptable scenarios. Overall square footage and building heights were included for each plan but the drawings lacked details such as what each building was used for (office, retail, or residential) and how much space was allocated per building (to determine general traffic impacts), building height (to determine compatibility), or impacts to heritage & protected trees. Rather than a methodical analysis, this was essentially a visual ranking exercise propelled by guesswork and a dash of bickering.
4.    Winnowing Down the Designs
Tabletop exercise results are supposed to lead to two subsequent designs for Wednesday evening’s refinement exercise. Verbatim comments from 50 rating sheets and 3 other sheets of paper submitted by individuals, segmented into categories, as well as verbatim comments from the post-it notes are available:
Tues rating summary
Tues rating form comments by category
Tues Concept Post-It Comments

5.    More About Traffic
At one of the Monday sessions, people asked for an explanation of how trip counts were done. Jeff Whitacre provided some insights using a portion of this presentation.
Jeff Whitacre on Trip Generation

2016-25-Jan Charrette Day 1: Attendee Log: 57

1.    Review of Objectives, Strategies, & Measures (OSMs)
Doug Farr (Farr Associates & charrette facilitator) led a review of the OSMs. A few changes suggested during Monday’s workshop discussions were incorporated into these “Final Draft OSMs” which will be posted on the wall at the charrette site Tuesday morning. Portions of the OSMs (especially the measures) are supposed to evolve during the week.
Final Draft OSMs_ as of 012516

2.    Transportation 101
Jeff Whitacre (Kimley-Horn), Scott James (City of Austin Development Services Dept.), Eric Bollich (City of Austin Transportation Dept.), Hector Tamez (Texas Dept. of Transportation), and Roberto Gonzalez (CapMetro). Topics included current traffic situation, perspectives, and plans.
Jeff Whitacre – Transportation Demand Managementv2
Hector Tamez – TXDoT for TIA

3.    Environmental Site Analysis
Sean Compton (TBG Partners & charrette design team lead) on overview of the geography and use of the Austin Oaks site; Adam Zerrenner (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services) on endangered species and critical habitat on the site (Jollyville Salamander has been found on the site in the past); Michael Embesi (City of Austin Chief Arborist for many years) on protected trees and the regulations regarding trees; Chuck Lesniak (City of Austin Environmental Officer) on how environmental reviews are done by the city; and Marilyn Lamensdorf (City of Austin Parks & Recreation Dept.) on the availability of and need for parks in this part of the city. Beth Robinson (City of Austin Watershed Dept.) was also present to answer questions.
Sean Compton – Existing Conditions

4.    History & Demographics
Ben Luckens (NW Hills resident & volunteer charrette project manager) provided a high level overview of the projections for growth in the area surrounding Austin Oaks in coming years, using data from the City of Austin demographer and recent data about segments of the population and housing types.
Ben Luckens – Demographic Snapshot

Rich Denney (NW Hills resident) provided a history of Spicewood Springs based on his extensive research.
Rich Denney – Spicewood Springs history, Austin Oaks PUD

Chuck Stahl (Barrow and Stahl Architects) reviewed the development history of NW Hills, telling the story from his personal experience helping to develop the area.
Chuck Stahl – Northwest Hills History

Time constraints prevented Ben Luckens from presenting an overview of Allandale.
Ben Luckens – About Allandale

5.    Market Analysis 101
Charles Heimsath (Capital Market Research) on what goes into a market study, and a description of the apartment, office, and retail market of the Austin Oaks area.
Charles Heimsath – Austin Oaks Presentation (2016)

Terry Mitchell (Momark Development) on the related nature of large issues facing Austin—transportation, housing, affordability—and how density addresses some of the issues.
Terry Mitchell- Housing and Other Factors

Stayton Wright (Cresa) on what commercial office tenants are looking for (e.g. many are seeking locations that integrate live/work/play to support a quality lifestyle), and how large & small companies ask for such sites, especially when courting the millennial workforce.
6.    Zoning 101
Jerry Rusthoven (City of Austin Planning & Zoning Dept.) on the basics of conventional and PUD (Planned Unit Development) zoning.
Jerry Rusthoven – ZoningPresentation2016
Jerry Rusthoven – PlannedUnitDevelopmentProcess

7.    Town Planning 101
Doug Farr reviewed the day’s activities and gave a Town Planning presentation (updated since the Vision & Values workshops on 16-Dec & 12-Jan). A much-discussed addition is slide 27, intended to show how trip counts at about 5:00 PM are affected by including residential components on a site.
Doug Farr AustinOaks_TownPlanning

8.    The Reference Plans
Sean Compton’s team has been working on a “baseline plan” (one of the four plans we are to see during the charrette) for several weeks. The baseline plan was done using current zoning of the 13-lot Austin Oaks site, following current regulations with some improvements over what a developer is obligated to do. This is not a site plan that could be filed; this is a study of a code-compliant site plan. Off-putting from the start were levels of underground parking (a total of 20) throughout the site. The baseline plan will be posted on the wall at the charrette site on Tuesday morning and will be part of the presentation and pin-up review on Tuesday evening. (Traffic counts are not yet included here, but are to be developed on Tuesday.)
Sean Compton Code Compliant Plan Conditions
Sean Compton Code Compliant Plan

2016-Jan-25 to Jan-29 Design Charrette week at Congregation Agudas Achim Social Hall, Dell Jewish Community Campus, 7300 Hart Lane [NOTE: the venue was changed from the Meridith building at Austin Oaks to Agudas Achim].

Charrette-Map (1)

Charrette Week Schedule: Your participation is encouraged during all sessions highlighted in yellow—especially during the evening sessions. All sessions highlighted in blue are open to the public for observation; these are times when the design team will be transforming our input into visual representations of various development scenarios.

Charrette-Schedule-Final (1)

 

2016-Jan-13 In yesterday’s V&V workshop (the second of two), 85 participants gathered for a tabletop exercise to discuss and record their preferences for redevelopment of Austin Oaks and ideas about how to achieve them. Captured as “Objectives & Strategies” in seven categories (Design/Aesthetics, Transportation, Environment, Economic, Regulatory, Culture, and Equity), along with “Measures” that were added by Farr Associates and some of the working group members, “Objectives, Strategies, & Measures” (OSMs) emerged to help guide design options.

Results of Both Vision & Values Workshops

Attendee Log: 133 (48 on 16-Dec, 85 on 12-Jan)

Community members provided input about what they want and don’t want to see in the redevelopment of Austin Oaks. In table-top exercises of 6–10 neighbors per table, they discussed and recorded their views and ideas about how to achieve them—captured as “Objectives & Strategies”—in seven categories.

Objectives are goals to be achieved; strategies are possible methods to achieve those goals. In some cases, alternatives from different perspectives may be in conflict. Strategies are not absolute requirements, rather, they represent ways in which groups within the community believe the objectives can be reached. “Measures”—ways to quantify how well the strategies are met—were added by some of the working group members and Farr Associates. Together these are supposed to comprise the “Objectives, Strategies, & Measures” (OSMs) that help guide the redevelopment design options.

Hundreds of workshop comments were consolidated into a 6-page draft of OSMs, available here. The OSMs are to be developed further during the charrette and will be the first item of discussion, from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 25.

Original Objectives & Strategies (scanned) from both Vision & Values workshops are available here. There were 16 tables in all; the first 6 pages are from the 16-December workshop and the remaining 10 pages are from the 12-January workshop. An analysis of tabletop comments from both Vision & Values workshops, organized into seven categories, along with counts of specific objectives that were of particular importance to participants is available here.

Innovative Ideas: For creative development ideas, take a look at this presentation. (The Ted Talk mentioned on slide 3 is located here.)

 

2016-Jan-12 Visions & Values Workshop #2: 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Austin Board of Realtors (Auditorium A), 4800 Spicewood Springs Rd.If you missed the December workshop, here is another opportunity to provide input. Residents of neighborhoods surrounding Austin Oaks (Allandale, Balcones, North Shoal Creek, NW Hills) are invited to attend this workshop to provide input on what you would like to see at this site and to learn about the upcoming charrette.Results of this workshop and the one held on 16-Dec. will provide direction to the charrette, so this is an important opportunity to express your views. The workshop will last about 2 hours. Agenda:1. Welcome (Ben Luckens)

  • Meeting purpose
  • How did we get here?
  • What’s been happening?
  • Meet the Working Group
  • Meet the Charrette Team
  • Charrette week schedule

2. What is a Charrette? (Kareeshma Ali, Farr Associates)

3. Town Planning (Doug Farr, Farr Associates)

4. Existing Site Conditions (Sean Compton, TBG, Doug Farr)

5. Facilitated tabletop discussions with maps (Doug & Sean)

  • Objectives & Strategies Exercise
    • What do you envision?
    • How do you make it happen?
  • Report back on tabletop discussions

6. Next Steps

  • Finalizing the Objectives & Strategies
  • Charrette, January 25–29, at Congregation Agudas Achim Social Hall, Dell Jewish Community Campus, 7300 Hart Lane
    [NOTE: venue was changed from Austin Oaks to Agudas Achim]
  • Charrette schedule

 

2016-Jan-08 OSM Development Continues: There is a draft list of OSMs created by the Working Group and a list of OSMs from the 16-Dec. V&V Workshop. Additional OSMs will be gathered at the 12-Jan. V&V Workshop.

Following the second workshop, the charrette Working Group and the charrette facilitator, Doug Farr, will outline a framework for the final OSMs. Using that framework, the Working Group’s OSMs and those from both V&V workshops will be consolidated into a single set of OSMs. The consolidated OSMs will be presented on the first day of the charrette and are expected to evolve further.

The Working Group and Doug Farr are working hard to finalize and will publish the OSMs to the Austin Oaks charrette web page and emailed to ZAP Commissioners as soon as possible.

 

2016-Jan-05 Status Report to Zoning & Platting Commission: The current zoning case will expire on 08-March, so it will have to go before ZAP prior to their 14-March meeting; at this time it is doubtful the case will proceed in that timeframe. Commissioners were given an overview of community input opportunities (info sessions, workshops, charrette week). Commissioners requested a list of stakeholders, list of public event attendees, list of OSMs, all of which will be provided shortly.

During the charrette, one of the designs will illustrate development potential under current zoning (creatively, not as an ugly mass) in addition to three other designs that take into account top neighborhood concerns (traffic, trees, and building height). All designs will be subject to pin-up reviews on Tue-26-Jan, followed by design refinements based on components as selected by public input during all three evenings, and then consolidated into one final design on Fri-29-Jan.

The ultimate zoning designation, which may include conventional zoning, conditional overlays, restrictive covenants, development agreements, and PUD—in short, all of the zoning designations available today—will be derived by implementing the land use plan into the CoA zoning process. Items and scenarios possible solely under a PUD will be identified.

 

2015-Dec-16 Vision & Values Workshop #1: The first of two Vision & Values (V&V) Workshops was held from 6:00–9:00 p.m. at St. Matthews Episcopal Church. Approximately 50 neighbors participated in tabletop exercises to enumerate their objectives and strategies for future redevelopment of Austin Oaks. Results will be posted following the second V&V workshop on 12-January.

 

2015-Dec-07 AO Working Group Meeting: To optimize communication and progress, meetings now include steering committee and working group members (composed of key stakeholders). Discussion focused on agenda and logistics for the upcoming V&V Workshops, slight refinements to OSMs, and further stakeholder analysis.

 

2015-Dec-01 & 02 Community Information Meetings: To accommodate varying schedules, one session was held during the day and one in the evening. Approximately 50 neighbors attended each session. The meeting handout is available here and the presentation slides are available here (both courtesy of NWACA).

 

2015-Nov-17 AO Steering Committee: Finalized pre-charrette public meeting times and locations; selected 19-Nov for press release timing and contact (Ben Luckens); continued OSM refinements; charrette week plans. Discussed post-charrette implementation: documenting the zoning development framework for a land use plan as basis for the final zoning ordinance.

Community Information Meetings: Please attend one of these meetings to learn about the process and how neighbors can contribute to the Vision and Values Workshops. Neighborhood representatives will be there to provide information and answer questions.

  • Tuesday, December 1st 6:00–8:00 PM at St. Mathew’s Episcopal Church, Room B-18, located at 8134 Mesa Drive
  • Wednesday, December 2nd 11:30 AM–1:30 PM at St. Mathew’s Episcopal Church, Room B-18, located at 8134 Mesa Drive

Neighborhood Vision and Values Workshops: Please participate in one of these meetings to provide input.

  • Wednesday, December 16th 6:00–9:00 PM at St. Mathew’s Episcopal Church, Huffman Hall, located at 8134 Mesa Drive
  • Tuesday, January 12th 11:30 AM–1:30 PM at Austin Board of Realtors, Auditorium A, located at 4800 Spicewood Springs Road

Charrette Design Workshop: As the workshop schedule is finalized, additional information is forthcoming about how neighbors can participate.

  • January 24-29th at Congregation Agudas Achim Social Hall, Dell Jewish Community Campus, 7300 Hart Lane [NOTE: the venue was changed from the Meridith building at Austin Oaks to Agudas Achim].
2015-Nov-09 AO Steering Committee: Reviewed: workshop schedules and venues; press release and single point of contact; grant funding; clearly stated requirements for continued OSM refinements, iterative process, and innovation.
2015-Nov-03 AO Steering Comittee: Committee assignments and schedules were updated. Discussion focused on: selecting dates for pre-charrette stakeholder outreach workshops; funding; refining Objectives, Strategies, and Measures (OSMs); and drafting a mission statement, “To create a redevelopment plan for the Austin Oaks site that satisfies the values of the neighborhood stakeholders and is economically feasible.”
2015-Oct-27 Working Group Formed: A working group was established, charged with planning the charrette, informing neighborhoods about the process, and engaging the community in identifying values to guide a collaborative design. Four Austin Oaks (AO) committees were populated: Steering, Community Involvement, Official Interface, and Logistics. Leads selected were NWACA resident Ben Luckens as project manager, TBG Partners as local design team, and Doug Farr as design facilitator.
2015-Oct-07 Neighborhood Reps Met with Spire Reps: Jon Ruff, President of Spire Realty, and Spire’s counsel Michael Whellan reiterated the desire to suspend PUD activity at the city’s Planning & Zoning Department in order to conduct a charrette, engaging neighbors to identify concerns. As expressed previously by Spire’s former counsel, Steve Drenner, everything is on the table, including the potential to withdraw the PUD application in favor of conventional zoning. Neighborhood reps were asked to identify three possible charrette leaders by our next meeting, tentatively scheduled for 27-Oct.

Charrette 101: So what is a Design Charrette? In a nutshell, it’s a multi-day design exercise that brings stakeholders together with a multidisciplinary team of designers, engineers and other specialists to plan the site through a collaborative process. Throughout the charrette, stakeholders provide input and feedback to the design team, and various development scenarios are reviewed against agreed-upon objectives and measures, refined and revised as appropriate. The outcome of the charrette is a consensus-based design for the site which can be used to guide the redevelopment.

2015-Oct-01 New Counsel to Meet with Neighborhoods: Michael Whellan (attorney with Graves Dougherty Hearon Moody) representing Spire Realty, called a meeting of neighborhood representatives to discuss how to move forward and involve the community regarding future development of Austin Oaks. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for 07-Oct.
2015-Sep-15 Zoning & Platting Commission: 6:00 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 301 W. 2nd St. (Please note, access to the City Hall parking garage has changed; the entrance is now on Guadalupe, and the exit is on Lavaca.) Adjacent neighborhood associations continue to request that the PUD be denied, but we expect planning & development staff to request another postponement due to incomplete review of the Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA).

Update: Staff is not ready to provide feedback at this time. The applicant now requests an indefinite postponement in order to conduct a charrette. After more than an hour of discussion, commissioners voted to grant an indefinite postponement, with regular staff updates starting on 06-Oct pertaining to the status of the TIA and the charrette process.

2015-Sep-08 Community Meeting on Austin Oaks: 7:00–8:30 p.m., at the Austin Board of Realtors Building, 4800 Spicewood Springs Road, Balcones Civic Association invites all 4-corners area residents to an information session where CoA planning & zoning staff will talk about the PUD process and field questions.
2015-Aug-13 PUD Updates: You can review the developer’s latest changes to their Land Use Plan (LUP) here and their responses to staff review questions here.
2015-Jul-08 Meeting with City Staff: ANA and NWACA neighborhood representatives Kata Carbone and Joyce Statz met with Tori Haase, Matthew Lewis, Matt Dugan, Kathleen Fox, and Jerry Rusthoven to discuss the neighborhood’s main points of concern, particularly as the proposed development relates to Imagine Austin.
2015-Jul-07 Zoning & Platting Commission: As we anticipated, the Austin Oaks PUD case was granted another postponement. The case is slated to go before the Environmental Board on August 19th, and then back to ZAP on September 15th.
2015-Jun-16 Zoning & Platting Commission: The Austin Oaks PUD was scheduled to be heard tonight (we anticipated that another postponement request would be granted) but the meeting was cancelled due to inclement weather. ANA had submitted a letter to ZAP stating that the NW Austin Neighborhoods alliance* consisting of ANA, Balcones Civic, and North Shoal Creek N.A.s requests that the PUD rezoning be denied on the grounds that the alliance and Drenner Group (representing Twelve Lakes LLC) have not reached agreement on the critical issues of:

  • Building height and density
  • Traffic
  • Impact on schools
  • Trees and the environment
  • Consistency with Imagine Austin

*NWACA declined to participate in a group letter, but issued their own resolution opposing the PUD and requesting a community engagement process.

2015-Jun-11 Austin Oaks Community Meeting: From 5-7 PM at the Jewish Community Center, 7300 Hart Lane, the Drenner Group will provide area residents with current information on Austin Oaks and solicit input. (The meeting will be repeated on June 15.) Attendees are welcome to come any time during the two-hour open house to view information exhibits, ask questions, and share ideas. Refreshments will be served. Exhibits will include:

  • Planned improvements to traffic flow
  • Revisions to the Austin Oaks Plan since the last presentation
  • Neighborhood amenities proposed in the plan
  • Planned Unit Developments (similar to how the Jewish Community Center was developed, Austin Oaks is requesting PUD zoning)
2015-May-30 Four Corners Alliance: Meeting of Allandale, Balcones Civic, North Austin Civic, and North Shoal Creek N.A. representatives. Of note was discussion about a robocall on May 17 & 18 to District 10 residents that some were calling a “push poll” (an ostensible opinion poll in which the true objective is to sway voters using loaded or manipulative questions). Next steps included a proposal that a facilitated meeting (or charrette) be held and that the alliance maintain a unified voice in recommending that ZAP deny another postponement.
2015-May-15 Zoning & Platting Commissioners McDaniel and Seeger, District 10 Council member Gallo, District 7 Council member Pool met with neighborhood association representatives and area residents to discuss impacts of the proposed development from the neighborhood’s perspectives.
2015-May-06 ANA hears updates to development proposal: Steve Drenner, principal of Drenner Group, provided an overview of their latest changes to the Austin Oaks development plan during ANA’s May Executive Committee meeting. A comparison of key issues follows (see the 2015-May-04 timeline entry below for links to documents related to PUD Proposal 2).

AOnumbers (1)

Focus turned to specific details such as the possibility of transplanting protected trees, screening unattractive parking garage structures, potential building surfaces to minimize visual annoyances (reflected glare and heat, light trespass, etc.), all of which the Drenner Group expressed interest in exploring further.

Representatives of the four corner neighborhoods will continue discussions with council members Gallo and Pool, commissioners, city staff, and the Drenner Group, with anticipated opportunities for wider participation in a public forum.

2015-May-05 ZAP hears updates to development proposal: The Drenner Group will provide an update to Zoning & Platting (ZAP) commissioners on Tue-05-May at 6:00 PM (at which time, see the May ZAP agenda, watch the meeting live or watch later).

In advance of the update, Balcones Civic Association (BCA) contacted ZAP commissioners to voice their neighborhood’s unequivocal opposition to the PUD (see BCA to ZAP).

2015-May-04 NWACA hears updates to development proposal: The Drenner Group provided the following documents to North West Austin Civic Association (NWACA):

NWACA representatives met with ZAP commissioner Rahm McDaniel and council member Sheri Gallo to discuss NWACA’s survey results and key concerns. Mr. McDaniel and Ms. Gallo offered to help the neighborhood come together on this issue. NWACA also met with the Drenner Group and asked them to develop a communication dialog plan for the neighbors, to explain the type of development that can be done under current zoning, to explain the use of PUDs, to provide more information about the latest plans, and to gather feedback from the community. NWACA compared previous and current aspects of the PUD here.

2015-Apr-10 Austin Oaks PUD Report from District 10 Austin City Council Member Sheri Gallo: “At their April 7, 2015 meeting [watch here], the Zoning and Platting (ZAP) Commission received a briefing on the status of the proposed Austin Oaks Planned Unit Development. Commissioners were informed that the Northwest Austin Civic Association (NWACA) conducted a survey of their neighborhood based on the developer’s December proposal. The Drenner Group informed the Commission that they were waiting for the results of the survey and would provide the Commission with an update at their May 5, 2015 meeting. The Planned Unit Development must be posted for action, including postponement, by the ZAP Commission on or before June 16, 2015.

The results from the Northwest Austin Civic Association (NWACA) March 2015 survey were published on the NWACA website on April 9, 2015. After validating responses to the survey, the NWACA board reports 501 valid responses from NWACA households, with 81.8 percent opposed to the proposed PUD. With 4160 households in NWACA this indicates that 12 percent of NWACA households are represented in the survey…

The Allandale Neighborhood Association (ANA) and the Balcones Civic Association (BCA) are still officially opposed to the proposed Austin Oaks Planned Unit Development. ANA has not ruled out a survey and intends to reach a decision at their May 6, 2015 Executive Committee meeting…”

2015-Apr-09 NWACA Survey Results: NWACA residents were asked to respond to PUD zoning changes proposed by the developer in December 2014 (see sample survey). A summary of results and survey participant comments were forwarded to the Drenner Group, to City of Austin Planning and Development Review staff, and to District 10 council member Sheri Gallo’s office.
2015-Apr-08 The Austin Neighborhoods Council executive committee contacted City of Austin Mayor Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Tovo, and City Council members to register opposition to rezoning of the Austin Oaks property to a Planned Unit Development.
2015-Feb-18 Meeting with City Council Reps: District 10 Council member Gallo invited District 7 Council member Pool, neighborhood representatives, and area residents to discuss concerns. Suggested action item for the “four corner” neighborhoods: poll residents to gauge opinions on the proposed rezoning of Austin Oaks.
2014-Dec-22 Updated Proposal Received: Letter from Steve Drenner (here) listing modifications to the initial PUD proposal as discussed at Nov 17 meeting:

  • Traffic congestion: additional funding (~$400 k) for traffic mitigation (above TIA $1 million) with neighborhood input for prioritization. (Attachments 1A and 1B)
  • Pedestrian safety: hybrid beacons, rapid flashing beacons, or similar options along Far West Blvd. for walk/bike to school safety; enhanced on-site amenities to facilitate walking/biking; preserve bike lanes on Hart; neighborhood feedback requested to identify trouble spots. (Attachment 2)
  • Financial assistance to schools: formation of “Austin Oaks School Assistance Trust” (funded by 0.2% ad valorem tax on the property, ~$9 million by 2032) to benefit capital improvements, infrastructure renovations, academic initiatives, classroom support, etc. Trustees would include one seat for the property owner and other seats TBD by neighborhood and school campus leaders. (Sample, Attachment 3)
  • Parkland improvements, off-site: $150k to Doss elementary school playground and park (new exercise trail, equipped fitness station, shade canopies, new benches, resurfacing playground and sport court). (Attachment 4)
  • Parkland improvements, on-site: trail system throughout; 2-acre community park. (Attachment 5)
  • Retail space: 90k sq. ft. retail inclusive of 60k sq. ft. restaurant space.
  • Residential units: adding 300 apartments instead of 575 (adding 60–120 elementary, middle, and high school students to overcrowded schools).
  • Building height: increased to 200 ft. max instead of 225 ft.
  • Density: increased to 1.4M sq. ft. instead of 1.6M (increase of 20k traffic trips per day instead of 25k).

Mr. Drenner underscores PUD superiority requirements beyond current zoning standards and greater scrutiny than conventional zoning cases (see attachments here and here). He states that redeveloping under current zoning capacity (450,000 sq. ft.) will not be financially feasible to the property owner.

This is contrasted with Jim Duncan’s calculation of 1,000,000 sq. ft. at full build-out under current zoning (see p. 5).

2014-Dec-16 Zoning & Platting Commission: PDRD staff’s request for an indefinite postponement was approved; ZAP commissioners are disinclined to set deadlines until a case is fully vetted. Since no definite date is set, neighbors will be renotified prior to the next public hearing. Staff will continue discussions with the applicant and neighbors and will provide a progress report to ZAP on February 17, 2015.
2014-Dec-12 Zoning & Platting Commission, public hearing December 16, 6:00 p.m. City Hall, 301 W. 2nd St. Residents opposed to the PUD are asked to email ZAP commissioners before December 16 stating that you OPPOSE an indefinite postponement of Case #C814-2014-0120 and believe that a 60 day postponement (to February 17, 2015) gives PDRD staff sufficient review time.

bc-Rahm.Mcdaniel [Email address: bc-Rahm.Mcdaniel #AT# austintexas.gov - replace #AT# with @ ], bc-Betty.Baker [Email address: bc-Betty.Baker #AT# austintexas.gov - replace #AT# with @ ], bc-Gabriel.Rojas [Email address: bc-Gabriel.Rojas #AT# austintexas.gov - replace #AT# with @ ], bc-Cynthia.Banks [Email address: bc-Cynthia.Banks #AT# austintexas.gov - replace #AT# with @ ], bc-Patricia.Seeger [Email address: bc-Patricia.Seeger #AT# austintexas.gov - replace #AT# with @ ], bc-Sean.Compton [Email address: bc-Sean.Compton #AT# austintexas.gov - replace #AT# with @ ], bc-Jackie.Goodman [Email address: bc-Jackie.Goodman #AT# austintexas.gov - replace #AT# with @ ], Dora.Anguiano [Email address: Dora.Anguiano #AT# austintexas.gov - replace #AT# with @ ], Greg.Guernsey [Email address: Greg.Guernsey #AT# austintexas.gov - replace #AT# with @ ]

2014-Dec-05 ANA Comments to Zoning & Platting Commission: Submitted by ANA Zoning Chair Nathan Vassar to PDRD case manager Lee Heckman in response to notice of Dec 16, 2014 ZAP public hearing, Case #C814-2014-0120:

On behalf of the Allandale Neighborhood Association, I write to state our opposition to the applicant’s requested rezoning from LO, SF-3, LR, and GR to PUD. The Allandale Neighborhood Association voted on September 3, 2014 to oppose the rezoning request as the PUD proposal is incompatible with adjacent neighborhoods, including Allandale. Allandale residents have raised a variety of concerns, including proposed impacts upon traffic, height (including viewshed blockages into Allandale), and the elimination of heritage trees, among others.

2014-Dec-03 ANA Executive Committee meeting: EC voted to respond to Zoning & Platting’s notice of public hearing by objecting to the Austin Oaks PUD rezoning.
2014-Nov-17 Drenner Group meeting: Representatives of ANA, BCA, NSCNA, and NWACA met to hear the developer’s suggestions for modifications to the initial proposal. Documents provided by the Drenner Group at this meeting are available here. Modifications include:

  • Traffic increase of 20,000 (not 25,000) trips per day
  • Maximum building height of 16 stories (not 17), or 11 stories if parking structures are detached
  • Adding 300 multifamily units (not 600), less impact on overcrowded schools
  • Creating a 2-acre park adjacent to retail space (retaining 4 heritage trees initially requested for removal on Tract A)
  • Adding sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes throughout the development
  • An ad valorem tax funded by commercial development to be used for schools or other improvements stipulated by the neighborhoods

A comprehensive counter-proposal is expected to be provided by the development team at a later date, after which a second public community meeting was suggested.

2014-Oct-05 NW Austin Neighborhood Alliance letter opposing PUD was sent to Austin city council, commissioners, planning & development review staff:

Mayor, Council Members and City Staff,

Together, the neighborhoods composed of Allandale Neighborhood Association, Balcones Civic Association, North Shoal Creek Neighborhood Association and Northwest Austin Civic Association have formed an Alliance to review and make recommendations on the proposed Austin Oaks PUD zoning request.

The Alliance surveyed their respective residents, representing 12,660 households, who overwhelmingly request that the City of Austin Staff, Committees and City Council deny the proposed Austin Oaks PUD zoning request. Additionally each of our individual neighborhood associations have voted against the Austin Oaks PUD proposal.

Below is our official position and I have also attached this in a word format for your convenience. We are open to discussion should you have questions.

Sincerely,
Debra Bailey
President Balcones Civic Association & NW Austin Neighborhood Alliance Member

NW Austin Neighborhood Alliance:
Allandale Neighborhood Association, Balcones Civic Association, North Shoal Creek Neighborhood Association,
& Northwest Austin Civic Association

Official Position Regarding Proposed Austin Oaks PUD
Case Number C814-2014-0120

The NW Austin Neighborhood Alliance, composed of ANA, BCA, NSCNA, and NWACA, was formed to review and make recommendations on the proposed Austin Oaks PUD zoning request. The Alliance represents 12,660 households at the ‘4 Corners’ intersection of Spicewood Springs Road and MoPac where the Austin Oaks PUD is proposed (ANA-SE corner, BCA-NW corner, NSCNA-NE corner and NWACA-SW corner).

The Alliance surveyed their respective residents, who overwhelmingly requested that the City of Austin Staff, Committees and City Council deny the proposed Austin Oaks PUD zoning request.

Facts About Austin Oaks PUD:

  • Does not meet the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, which designates this area as a Neighborhood Center, the least dense of the activity centers.
  • Adds an estimated 21,000 car trips over existing traffic.
  • Traffic Impact Analysis does not properly assume background traffic, omitting for example:
    • Far West: Vertical Mixed Use zoning on Far West from Chimney Corners to MoPac
    • Spicewood: Austin Board of Realtors Building, Small Office at 4845 Spicewood
  • Removes existing bike lanes on Hart Lane
  • Project adds 125–150 students to currently overcrowded schools:
    • Doss is at 200% capacity
    • Murchison at 145% capacity
    • Hill is at 135% capacity
    • Pillow is at 114% capacity
    • Gullett is at 128% capacity
  • Height of the buildings is greater than anything outside of downtown (17, 14, 8 stories)
  • Creates a precedent for higher office towers along MoPac
  • Loss of heritage and protected trees

This corner of Spicewood Springs Road and MoPac requires careful attention to preserve the natural beauty of the abundant large native trees and wild plant materials found in similar areas of Austin west of the Balcones fault line. For the most part, the natural scenic beauty of the area has been skillfully and sensitively preserved as new developments have occurred and this concern is of the utmost importance in preserving the environmental quality of the neighborhood as parcels are developed. Topographically, the area is varied and interesting in character, which has resulted in a wide variety of commercial and residential designs, many of which have effectively taken advantage of the dramatic views of the hills and valleys in the western two thirds of the neighborhood and beyond.

Over the years, the NW Austin Neighborhood Alliance has individually and successfully worked with numerous residential and commercial projects to ensure that the quality and natural beauty of the neighborhood is not lost. We continue to advocate to preserve the relatively uncluttered and natural wooded quality of the land while encouraging high quality and sensitive design of projects within the neighborhood and along its edges with improvements that enhance rather than detract from the environmental quality of the area.

The proposed Austin Oaks PUD project does not fit the long term goals of our neighborhoods, it contributes more traffic on roads that cannot handle it, exceeds the capacity of our overcrowded schools, and removes too many trees.

The NW Austin Neighborhood Alliance respectfully asks that you deny a zoning change for Austin Oaks case number C814-2014-0120.

Sincerely,

Debra Bailey-President, Balcones Civic Association
Kata Carbone-President, Allandale Neighborhood Association
Joyce Statz-President, Northwest Austin Civic Association
Kevin Wier-Liaison, North Shoal Creek Neighborhood Association

2014-Sep-15 ANA Land Development Code Committee meeting: Presentation on Austin Oaks PUD by guest speaker Jim Duncan (CodeNEXT Advisory Group member) is available here.
2014-Sep-03 ANA General Membership meeting: Presentation on Austin Oaks PUD by NWACA residents Ann Denkler and Ben Luckens illustrating how the proposed development would negatively affect adjacent neighborhoods.

Following Q&A, a motion was passed with unanimous vote of the membership authorizing ANA to oppose the Austin Oaks PUD rezoning as incompatible with our adjacent neighborhoods. [Soon after, BCA, NWACA, and NSCNA voted to oppose the PUD.]

2014-Aug-19 Community meeting: Organized by NWACA to hear presentations from PDRD and the Drenner Group. Q&A followed. The meeting was attended by residents of all surrounding neighborhoods. Joyce Statz, NWACA President, reported:

More than 300 people attended the Community Meeting about the Austin Oaks PUD on Tuesday, August 19, and most were very actively engaged. Neighbors provided a clear message to the City staff and the developer’s staff that those present oppose the plans for the PUD they have outlined. The feedback forms gathered at the meeting show that 93% oppose, 4% are neutral, and 3% favor the planned PUD.

Austin Planning & Development Review Department Presentation: A PUD is essentially a blank piece of paper; the City has a set of rules for developing them, but each crafts its own unique rules for the development of the property, including modifications (variances) to the City land development code, including flexibility over conventional zoning relating to height, density, building coverage, and impervious cover.

The PUD designation and its rules apply in perpetuity.

Gaining approval of a PUD requires that the applicant demonstrate the “superiority” of its planned approach over conventional zoning.

In the process of determining the superiority of the PUD (over conventional zoning), the City can ask for things in exchange that don’t otherwise apply. City Staff needs to feel that they’re getting a good exchange of value for granting the PUD zoning.

Among the superiority areas the City looks for is a contribution to affordable housing (either on-site or fee in lieu).

Drenner Group (Presenting for the Owner/Developer, Spire Realty): All of the Austin Oaks property is covered by the PUD application; the property is a total of 31.37 acres.

The current uses of the property are 2 and 3-story office buildings, with paved parking. All of the space is leased now, and it’s expected that re-development would not begin until about 2020.

Buildings in the current PUD site plan range in height from 5 stories on the western edge (near Hart Lane) to the taller ones at the eastern edge near MoPac. The tall ones are 17.5 stories, one with 10 levels of office and 7.5 levels of parking structure and another with 11 levels of office and 6.5 levels of parking.

The PUD plan incorporates aspects of Imagine Austin, the City’s comprehensive plan that was adopted in June of 2012. It has characteristics of a Neighborhood Center, is situated across MoPac from a projected transit center intended for light rail.

Q&A Highlights: Most people had comments and questions about the density impact of planned residential use as well as office use: traffic, overcrowding of schools, height of buildings that were incompatible with the existing neighborhood, and anticipated higher taxes.

Suggested alternatives that were reinforced by several questions included parks or playgrounds, housing for retirees, bike lanes, and hiking trails.

Several questioners asked for additional research—such as meeting with AISD representatives, expanding the traffic analysis, getting more community input from working sessions with the developer.

2014-Jul-30 Documents related to the proposed Austin Oaks PUD to date are available here.
2014-Jul-06 NWACA meeting: Met with Zoning Committee to discuss the proposed PUD; questions raised to ask the Drenner Group:

  • Why the need for 14- and 17-story CBD-style building heights?
  • How does a PUD benefit the community more than building out to current zoning?
  • How do they meet Imagine Austin’s definition of a Neighborhood Center (the smallest)?
  • How family-friendly is it?
  • What will the impact to schools be?
  • Why is there so much office vs. retail?
  • What percentage of residential is owned vs. rented?
  • How is parking allocated and is it shared?
  • How are traffic flow percentages derived?
  • How will pedestrians get from the PUD to future commuter rail across MoPac?
2014-Jun-30 Drenner Group meeting: Representatives of ANA, BCA, NWACA, Williamsburg Charleston Place, and others met to hear the redevelopment plan presented by representatives of Spire Realty (the property owners).

Current configuration: 450,000 sq. ft. office space in 12 buildings, 1–3 stories, on ~31 acres.

Proposed: 1.6 million sq. ft.: office (878 k), retail (112 k), restaurant (10 k), residential (650 k: 36 townhomes, 2-3 story; 575 apts. 4-story), and parking structures.

Heritage trees: 76 on-site; will ask to remove 9.

Impervious cover: will build at 15% below allowable.

Open space: will provide 25% above required.

Community benefits: 3,500 jobs, public meeting space, considering park/playground, considering 10% units affordable (at 60% Mean Family Income).

Parking: integrated and adjacent structures; some surface parking.

Traffic: Access to MoPac managed lane; bike lane to Metro Rapid [on Burnet Rd]; expecting future light rail station east side of MoPac on Anderson Lane.

Current: 450k sq. ft. office space = 4,248 trips/day.

Future: 1.6m sq. ft. mixed use = 25,333 trips/day

Distribution: 25% MoPac (N & S); 20% Spicewood & Anderson; 5% Hart & Woodhollow.

2014-Jun-16 Planning & Development Review Dept.: Received June 13, 2014 notice of completion of a project assessment report and presentation to the city council, case #CD-2014-0010, Austin Oaks Planned Unit Development, proposed zoning change. Location: southwest corner of Spicewood Springs Road and MoPac Expressway: 3409, 3420, 3429, 3445, 3520, 3636, 3701, 3721, 3724, and 3737 Executive Center Drive and 7601, 7718, and 7719 Wood Hollow Drive.

Notified ANA’s Zoning Committee and LDC Committee members:
From: Kata Carbone <kata@>
Date: Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 7:38 PM
Subject: Development across MoPac

This is about a proposed PUD. I couldn’t quite figure where it was in relation to Allandale (I couldn’t read the street names on the back of the notice), so I mapped it (see shaded area on the attached map). It’s across MoPac from Anderson Lane, but within 500-ft., which is why ANA received notice.

This 30+ acre complex was purchased last year by Spire Realty Group (spirerealty.com) out of Dallas. Looks like the plan is to replace 12 existing 1970s buildings with all new construction. The development assessment file doesn’t give a lot of detail at this stage, but what really caught my attention was “proposed building height 225-ft.” That’s like 20 stories—skyscraper range in these parts. I don’t think I’ve seen anything higher than 7 stories outside Austin’s CBD.

Case #: CD-2014-0010

This is a rezoning request: from LO, LR, GR to PUD.

Location: Spicewood Springs Road at MoPac.

Current configuration: 12 existing buildings on 31.37 acres (of note: shoal creek watershed, 68 heritage trees)

Proposed use: new townhomes, multifamily, retail, restaurant, office, structured parking.

Will this reflect on the future development of Anderson Lane?