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Time Insurance zoning case gets final approval

Friday, January 11, 2008 by Mark Richardson

Just one day short of a year after it was passed on first reading and four years after it was originally filed, the Time Insurance zoning case was given final approval by the City Council on Thursday, as neighborhood residents seemed resigned to the project going forward despite their objections.

 

The long-running case involved a planned mixed-use complex at the corner of Riverside Drive and the I-35 access road. The tract was rezoned from limited office (LO) district zoning and family residence (SF-3) district zoning to community commercial-mixed use- conditional overlay (GR-MU-CO). (See In Fact Daily, Dec. 13, 2007)

 

The site, known as the Schuler Tract, sits below a bluff that presents a commanding view of Lady Bird Lake and the downtown skyline. It also sits on one of the busiest traffic corridors in the city.

 

Members of the East Riverside-Oltorf Combined Planning Area, or EROC, have opposed the project based on potential traffic problems since the case was originally filed. The group posted a valid petition against the zoning change, but the case was approved anyway.  

 

But EROC’s efforts were not without some effect on the case. They were able to obtain several restrictions on the three tracts that comprise the project in the form of a restrictive covenant, including:

 

  • All residential units must be sold as condominiums;
  • Commercial spaces must be set up for office or retail space;
  • A 25-foot vegetated buffer must be maintained between the property and the adjacent residential areas;
  • Sidewalks and streetscapes must be built and maintained according to Great Streets standards;
  • One-fourth of the roof area of the project must be a “green roof” covered with live vegetation;
  •  Access points will be on I-35 and Riverside, with no access to Summit or Manlove streets;
  • There will be a limit of 65 residential units;
  • Commercial space is limited to 75,000 square feet; and
  • Height limitations of 45 and 60 feet are in place to preserve views for neighborhood residents.

Several Council members expressed relief that case was finally resolved. Council Member Mike Martinez congratulated the parties for reaching an agreement.

 

Council members voted 7-0 to approve the zoning change.

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