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Commission, neighborhood approve mixed-use development for S. 1st St.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 by Austin Monitor
With the neighborhood’s blessing, the Planning Commission has endorsed a zoning change for a vertical mixed-use project on land owned by the Oak Meadow Baptist Church at 3715 S. 1st Street. Plans call for approximately 5,000 square feet of retail along South 1st with 310 apartments surrounding a structured parking garage. The agreement between the developers and the neighborhood limits non-residential uses on the part of the property closest to adjoining homes. That restriction is also included in the conditional overlay for the site, which was part of the Planning Commission’s 9-0 vote in support of GO-V-NP-CO.
“You can pinch yourself, you’re not dreaming. The Dawson Neighborhood and a developer have joined hands and are in complete agreement on a project,” said Rob Robbins, a member of the Dawson Neighborhood Planning Team. “Most of the times when I speak here it is on a very acrimonious situation. This is a very harmonious one. I can’t think of a situation that is easier for you to say ‘yes’ to. The neighborhood is very comfortable with the restrictions on the property.”
Attorney Steve Metcalfe with Drenner & Golden Stuart Wolff LLP said the developers had met on numerous occasions with the neighborhood to discuss the project and seek input. “This really is a success story. We have full neighborhood support. We believe this is a great site for a VMU,” he said. “It’s a core transit corridor, you have neighborhood support. This is exactly what was envisioned when the VMU ordinance was passed.
As part of the VMU designation, the developers are agreeing to make 10 percent of the residential units at the site available to tenants at 80 percent of the area’s median family income. The developers are also pledging to make some improvements to the streetscape and to limit the height of buildings closest to surrounding homes.
“I would like to say how happy I am that the neighborhood and the developer and the folks at Drenner Golden have been able to come up with this,” said Commissioner Mandy Dealey. “It takes a lot of time and effort and goodwill to do that. There are win-wins when everybody does that.”
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