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City Council hires Roma to plan for Seaholm Power Plant district

Monday, July 3, 2000 by

Will let developer Gordon Dunaway lead Rainey Street planning

The City Council was set last Thursday to add $200,000 to the contract for Roma Design Group Inc., which has impressed the council with plans for reuse of the former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport and the draft report on development standards for the Town Lake Corridor South Shore Central and Travis Heights Subdistricts. Half of the total amount would be allocated to the San Francisco-based consultant to do a master plan for the Seaholm Power Plant area. The other $100,000 was to assist the Rainey Street Neighborhood in its redevelopment plans. However, a neighborhood representative told the council her group prefers to work with developer Gordon Dunaway to create such a plan.

In April, Rainey Street Neighborhood residents presented their conceptual plan to the council. The council wanted that proposal evaluated, especially in light of complaints by members of the Austin Heritage Society, who would like a number of historic homes preserved. Homeowners generally oppose any plan that would restrict their right to sell their homes at top dollar.

The Planning, Environmental and Conservation Services Department offered to get Roma involved in planning reuse of the neighborhood, with the support of investors Perry Lorenz and Robert Knight, who own property adjacent to the Rainey Street Neighborhood. Dunaway, who is building a condominium project on Rainey Street, then stepped forward and offered to assist the neighborhood in its master plan. Former Council Member Brigid Shea, who lives at Davis and Rainey streets, told the City Council her neighborhood would like to work with Dunaway, who may be able to aggregate properties for marketing purposes. Council agreed that a private developer could foot the bill, rather than the city, cutting the new Roma contract in half.

Lorenz told In Fact Daily that he was disappointed with the decision "to the extent that it slows the process down. My concern would be it doesn't find a common ground between the historical preservation, high-density development, economic value for property owners, and the Smart Growth objectives of the city."

Council Member Daryl Slusher said, "It's an unusual situation when you have a whole neighborhood calling to sell their property en masse. The city isn't going to do research for a private development deal. If Dunaway can do that (research) for the city and let us use the information, all the better."

New Board and Commission appointments

Place 6 Council Candidate Nelson Linder appointed

On Thursday, June 29, the Austin City Council made the following new appointments to city boards and commissions.

Arts & Recreation Subcommittee: Eliza May Bond Oversight Committee: Vincent Aldridge Brackenridge Oversight Council: Dr. James Brand Child Care Council: Joy Simmons Downtown Commission: Bruce Willenzik, Clint Small Ethics Commission: Mark McCray, Paul Saldaña Human Rights Commission: Jimmie Brown Jr. MBE/WBE: Nelson Linder Music Commission: Darrell Morris Parks & Recreation Board: Rhonda Taylor Planning Commission: Sterling Lands Resource Management Commission: Curtis Wilson Water & Wastewater Commission: Michael Warner

Council kicks back…In case you haven't heard, the Austin City Council will not meet during July. The next council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 3… New report coming…The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce has announced that beginning this month it will issue a monthly update on economic trends in the Central Texas region. Economic Highlights will use current, localized data from various sources to chronicle growth, economic activity, employment and other indicators. For more information, call Elizabeth Smith at 322-5694 or send e-mail to esmith@austinchamber.org… No newsletter tomorrow…July 4 being an official holiday for the City of Austin, In Fact Daily will not be published again until Wednesday, July 5.

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