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Council votes against rezoning for medical office in North Austin
Thursday, May 20, 2010 by Josh Rosenblatt
The City Council voted last week to deny the rezoning of an office building at the corner of
Originally the applicant, J.B. Phillips, had requested the rezoning of his property at 12412 Limerick Avenue from neighborhood office-mixed use (NO-MU) combining district zoning to general office (GO) district zoning. Phillips hoped to turn what is currently an office for a roofing contractor into a medical office. However, after staff recommended denial of the rezoning request because the property entrance leads onto a residential street, the applicant amended his request to limited office (LO) at the May 4 ZAP meeting.
ZAP then met the applicant halfway, approving, by a vote of 4-3, a recommendation for limited office-conditional overly (LO-CO) zoning, with the following conditions: limit the building size on the site to 2,000 square feet and limit the site to less than 200 vehicle trips per day.
But that compromise didn’t satisfy most Council members, who were worried both about the relationship between an LO property and its neighboring properties on Limerick Avenue, most of which are zoned single family, and the specific nature of LO zoning.
Greg Guernsey, director of the Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Department, told Council members that it was concern over the property’s proximity to the single-family neighborhood and the fact that its entrance is on
“The entrance way is on a single-family neighborhood (street),”
“So LO would be appropriate if they had a driveway on Parmer (rather than
The applicant’s agent, Jim Bennett, was quick to point out that despite the change in use, there would be no material differences between the current property and the future one.
“(We’re) not proposing any changes to the site,” Bennett said. “The parking is in place. We’re taking the building that’s currently there. The (driveway) access is there. Materially there won’t be any change in the site.”
Council Member Laura Morrison then asked
“It goes back to characteristics,”
Under city code, he said, properties under LO zoning can be used for, among other things, medical offices, communication services, limited hospital uses, and convalescent services.
Hearing this, Mayor Lee Leffingwell asked
“You could, yes,”
Despite Leffingwell’s contention that such restrictions on the site would be possible and that he would like more time to consider the rezoning application on second and third read, Spelman made a motion to deny the request. Morrison seconded the motion, saying, “In terms of graceful transitions of zoning, I agree with staff on sticking with NO. It seems entirely appropriate.”
Council then voted 6-1 to deny the applicant’s request, with Leffingwell voting against the motion.
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