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Storage Depot gets ZAP approval on second try

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 by Kimberly Reeves

The owner of a storage facility on MoPac came back for a second bite at the apple at the Zoning and Platting Commission last night, earning approval for a conditional overlay to his existing zoning change to allow additional construction.


Neighbors, including Ann Denkler of the Highland Hills neighborhood, are not big fans of change for the Storage Depot, but they didn’t put up significant opposition. Once allowed development rights under the GR zoning category, owner Jim Lederer agreed to downzone to CS under a number of conditions: Convenience storage would be the only use under CS zoning; limitations on height, to 40 feet, when he could have built up to 60 feet; impervious cover limits of no more than 70 percent, where CS zoning allows up to 95 percent impervious cover; and a 1-to-1 floor-to-area(FAR) ratio.


Lederer was back at ZAP last night to ask that his FAR be relaxed slightly, to 1.1-to-1. That would allow him to build an additional 15,000 square feet on one end of his 1.75-acre property. Denkler was on hand to outline the neighborhood’s concerns for the area – homeowners in the area are not big fans of development along the one-road artery out of their neighborhoods – but she did not necessarily oppose the additional construction.


“If you think they’ll save the trees, do it,” Denkler said. “If you think they won’t, then don’t.”


In a conversation with the commission after Denkler’s comments, Lederer said he would continue to be bound by the limitations of the covenant on his property, a covenant negotiated with the neighborhood. Asked directly by Commissioner Sandy Baldridge whether the tree ordinance might be a problem for his expansion, Lederer said he doubted it, but he would leave those decisions to city officials.


“We’re just going to go through the process to get our site plan and building permit,” Lederer said. “We’re going to follow the rules that the City of Austin would have us do, and if there’s some reason we can’t do it, then I’ve just wasted an application fee and some of your time.”


ZAP can’t designate a single use for a zoning category on a property, so, in line with Denkler’s comments, the commission decided to suggest a solution that was compatible with surrounding development: a conditional overlay with a 1.1-to-1 floor-to-area ratio, with all the existing conditions intact. Use in the current CS zoning on the property is limited to convenience storage, with any other uses developed under LO standards, which are compatible with nearby buildings.


The motion passed on a unanimous vote.

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