Tuesday, May 26, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs SOS amendment for Lantana tract

With the blessing of the Save Our Springs Alliance, City Council voted unanimously last week to approve a zoning change on the Lantana property at 7415 Southwest Parkway, allowing for the development of multifamily housing instead of the office complex that had previously been approved. In winning a positive recommendation from city staff and SOS, Stratus Properties agreed to reduce the overall impervious cover on the project from 60 to 25 percent.

As the alliance noted in a news release, the agreement with Stratus “will help protect approximately 10 acres of land from commercial development and will reduce the total amount of impervious cover (i.e., pavement) that can be built in the immediate area surrounding the new apartment complex by 6.9 acres.” Bobby Levinski, an attorney who represents SOS, told Council the offer from Stratus went beyond staff’s recommendation and he described the company as “incredibly responsive to our concerns.”

The multifamily project is the last phase of development on the tract. Jerry Rusthoven of the Planning and Zoning Department told Council that staffers were recommending approval of the zoning change plus an amendment to the SOS Ordinance. He said, ” Long and short of that agreement is that in exchange for the applicant donating six acres of parkland adjacent to this property,” as well as “an additional almost four acres of park across the street, the total net impervious cover is able to come to 25 percent, the current code level.”

As SOS wrote in its news release, Stratus owns “land all throughout Southwest Austin, including the site of the notorious 4,000-acre Barton Creek PUD, which was the catalyst of the SOS movement 30 years ago, when more than 800 Austin residents rallied to protect Barton Springs from overdevelopment. Oftentimes, the inherent conflict between developer profits and our mission to protect the water quality of Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer puts SOS at odds with developers, like Stratus. But this is not one of those days.”

Map courtesy of the city of Austin.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

Save Our Springs Alliance (SOS): An advocacy organization. According to its web site, Save Our Springs "works to protect the Edwards Aquifer, its springs and contributing streams, and the natural and cultural heritage of the Hill Country region and its watersheds, with special emphasis on Barton Springs."

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