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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Thursday, May 21, 2020 by Jo Clifton
Opposition to RV park diminishes
Although members of the Lower Boggy Creek Neighborhood Association have opposed a zoning change that would allow construction of an RV campground, cafe and convenience store on Delwau Lane, it appears that they will accept the new development after negotiating with representatives of the developer and Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison’s office.
As the Austin Monitor reported last week, at its May 7 meeting City Council approved the zoning change on second reading with Council members Alison Alter and Kathie Tovo voting no and Council Member Leslie Pool abstaining. The item is on today’s agenda for third and final reading. Delwau is a narrow dead-end road on the Colorado River east of Ed Bluestein Boulevard.
Jayme Moore, president of the neighborhood association, told the Austin Monitor she delivered a petition opposing the zoning request to the Planning and Zoning Department last week. However, on Wednesday, Moore said she and her neighbors had negotiated the terms of the restrictive covenant prohibiting amplified sound or music, which was a major concern of the neighborhood.
Moore said that because the Colorado River takes up so much of the property next to the proposed campgrounds, her neighborhood’s petition would not reach the 20 percent required to be considered valid. A simple majority of Council will be able to approve the new zoning.
“I want my lawyer to look it over it before I sign it,” Moore said, but, “barring any extreme legal findings from my lawyer, I’ll sign it.” The covenant contains a number of promises related to safety of vehicles and pedestrians along Delwau Lane. It also contains a promise from the Lower Boggy Creek Neighborhood Association not to oppose the developer’s application for a site plan and to “cooperate in good faith” with Delwau LLC throughout the application process with the city.
Last week, Moore said she did not intend to sign the restrictive covenant offered by the developer for two reasons. She and her neighbors were opposed to having a cafe and convenience store at the end of narrow Delwau Lane, particularly since they will be selling beer and wine. In addition, she wanted items in the restrictive covenant, such as a promise not to have amplified music, to be listed in the conditional overlay instead.
Max Elliott of Urban Roots Farm, which had initially opposed the zoning change because of safety concerns about the narrow road and bridge, said he would not be signing the restrictive covenant. However, he said he would sign up to speak as neutral “because we want to honor the accommodations” made by the developer and “the efforts of Council offices to mediate this process.” He said it will be up to the city to invest in infrastructure along the road to make it and the bridge safer for everybody.
Glen Coleman, who represents the applicants in the case, known as Delwau LLC, said there would be a symbiotic relationship between the cafe, the convenience store and the RV campground. Without the campground, he said, there would not be enough business for the convenience store and cafe; without the convenience store and cafe, the campground would not flourish.
Coleman said Wednesday that his clients had also promised not to put trash cans in the 100-foot setback between the campground property and the neighborhood.
“We agreed to no retail activity within 100 feet of the property line,” he said, “but not to no structures.” He added that the parties expect Harper-Madison to propose some additional prohibited uses to the conditional overlay. That would include outdoor entertainment, theater, sports and recreation, and hotel/motel uses, he said, noting that all sides were in agreement on that.
Coleman concluded, “This is continuing on the theme of making the project more housing-centric and less entertainment-driven.”
The cafe and convenience store have had consistent support from the Knollwood on the Colorado neighborhood, which is about a mile away from the proposed project. Driveway Austin Motorsports, which sits at the end of the lane, also supports the project.
Map courtesy of Google Maps.
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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.