About Us

Make a Donation
Fully-Local • Non-Partisan • Public-Service Journalism

Council zones Conn tract commercial

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 by Austin Monitor

On first reading, Council agreed last week to zone for commercial use about 60 acres near the intersection of Interstate 35 and State Highway 45, although surrounding property owners were far from thrilled that the new zoning could bring industrial facilities.

This parcel of land is just southeast of Austin’s city limits, but will likely be annexed soon. As was pointed out during the discussion at Council, the parcel has yet to have a confirmed water provider.

Staff recommended GR-MU-CO zoning, which would be intended for community commercial uses, like those currently on the northbound frontage road of Interstate 35. In December, the Zoning and Platting Commission agreed to the more intense CS-MU-CO, with exceptions for adult-oriented businesses, blood plasma centers and pawnshops.

Peter Cesaro of Graves, Dougherty, Hearon and Moody represented the landowner of the Conn tract. Cesaro agreed to exclude of a long list of uses on the property and said that Travis County had indicated it had no problems with the plan.

Cesar argued that the land was in the city’s desired development zone and is near, but not on, environmentally sensitive land. It’s also outside the flood plan.

The land currently is in the Creedmoor-Maha water utility service area, although Cesaro said a service extension request has been filed with the city. According to the documents on the service extension and annexation request, the goal would be to provide water service for 960 apartments, 250,000 square feet of retail uses, and 8,000 square feet of restaurant uses.

Cesaro said the landowner was willing to accept a conditional overlay for a trip limit of 2,000 vehicles per day, far less than implied under the request for water service. If, and when, full development comes to the property, the property owner – or owners, if the tract is subdivided – would have to come back to ask for a more intense zoning category.

Surrounding landowners are concerned with the possibility of a limited warehouse and distribution site on a portion of the property. Carol Urban’s family owns 450 acres south of the property. “Over the years, our family has looked at many different ways of developing our property,” Urban said. “We were not thinking of the commercial-industrial type scenarios you might see closer to downtown. We were interested in keeping the bar high.”

Landowners also are concerned that the topography of the tract might make it difficult for larger trucks to enter and exit the property. The city has yet to do a traffic impact study on the property.

Local landowners preferred the staff recommendation. Cesaro, in his rebuttal, said the owner would comply with all design standards and setback requirements set out by the city. The owner also agreed to various limits on uses.

Council Member Sheryl Cole moved for approval of the ZAP recommendation. Council approved the zoning, on first reading, with a vote of 6-0. Mayor Will Wynn was absent from this portion of the meeting.

Join Your Friends and Neighbors

We're a nonprofit news organization, and we put our service to you above all else. That will never change. But public-service journalism requires community support from readers like you. Will you join your friends and neighbors to support our work and mission?

Back to Top