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ZAP approves final plat for two sections of Bradshaw Crossing

Thursday, March 25, 2010 by Austin Monitor

The Zoning and Platting Commission approved the final plat for another two sections of Bradshaw Crossing in far South Austin but only after a line of questioning about the future of transit for the project and the opportunity to address regional water management.


Bradshaw Crossing, which will ultimately encompass more than 670 lots over more than 220 acres, will roll out in 19 sections, engineer Ryan Mattox told ZAP last week. During discussion at the hearing over approval of two of the earliest sections, commissioners were focused on the proposed mass transit component of the project’s SMART housing incentive package.


That program is intended to reward developers that meet certain criteria to encourage mixed-use affordable housing projects. Commissioner Sandy Baldridge addressed the commission’s concern over lack of specificity in transit requirements.


“We have no real standard for mass transit,” Baldridge noted of the SMART housing specifics. “We have one little vague sentence, and no one really defines it.”


Commissioners wanted to be sure that transit would actually be incorporated into the final project. Planner Javier Delgado, who is in charge of the city’s SMART housing program, noted that it would be his assumption that incentives would be rolled back if transit were not incorporated into the project. That was an assumption, Delgado said, because no developer had ever failed to meet the requirement.


Delgado confirmed that Capital Metro was apprised of, if not directly involved in, the Bradshaw Crossing project. Bus service reaches to just about a mile outside the project.


Applications involving SMART housing are automatically forwarded to the transit agency. In the case of Bradshaw Crossing, the assumption is that bus service will be provided within the project, which Mattox noted would be based upon streets in the area being upgraded to city standards in order to meet Capital Metro service requirements.


Bradshaw Crossing is so large that it is expected to roll out over the next five years, according to market conditions. The lots approved last night were some of the earliest.


Mattox said the developer had been in talks with Capital Metro, and while SMART housing does not have specific requirements for transit – for instance, a developer is not responsible for the construction of bus stops – Bradshaw Crossing’s developer would provide more specifics as to where and how bus stops would function in the development.


Dick Perrone of the Onion Creek Homeowners Association also addressed ZAP, noting that the neighborhood’s concern was wastewater management in the area. Perrone noted that three creeks run through or near the property and a total of almost 1,300 lots had been approved for development in the area near the Onion Creek subdivision.


“We would ask you to place a moratorium on any additional plats until we get some kind of regional plan for storm water management in place,” Perrone said.


Jose Guerrero, who serves as the city’s consultant on storm water issues in the area, said the city was in discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers, Travis County, and the Lower Colorado River Authority to create such a plan.


While the region was in negotiations to buy out certain lots in the larger Onion Creek watershed to minimize flooding issues, that option was neither recommended for, nor desired in, the area of the Bradshaw Crossing subdivision, Guerrero told ZAP commissioners.


The developers of Bradshaw Crossing had gone ahead and upgraded the low water crossing on Bradshaw Road, which served as an immediate and tangible benefit for the neighborhoods in the area that might be faced by flooding, Guerrero noted. But the water flow in the area of the subdivision indicated it was well situated to flow directly back to Onion Creek.


Questioned directly by commissioners, Guerrero noted that the city did not permit properties that were in danger of being in a flood zone and that the properties in question were not in any danger.


Commissioner Gregory Bourgeois, who was chairing the commission hearing in Betty Baker’s absence, closed the discussion by noting that neighbors now have a direct contact in the city for any future questions about flooding issues. The plat passed unanimously, 6-0, with Baker absent.

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