Monday, November 30, 2020 by Daniel Salazar

Environmental Commission endorses variance for new Concordia dorm

The Environmental Commission has recommended a variance for Concordia University in order to build a new residence hall on its campus in Northwest Austin.

The university wants to construct another campus residence hall for students at 11400 Concordia University Drive off of FM 620.

Kristy Nguyen, an environmental review specialist with the city’s Development Services Department, said Concordia was seeking a variance to the Lake Austin Watershed ordinance for a fill as well as a cut exceeding 4 feet. Staffers found that the project met requirements for the variance.

Nguyen noted that similar variances were previously granted for Concordia to develop athletic fields, parking lots and other improvements to build out its campus.

“The variance is the minimum departure from the ordinance, which will not create significant probabilities of harmful environmental consequences,” Nguyen said.

Brandon Hamman with Kimley-Horn & Associates, the applicant for the variance on behalf of Concordia, said the proposed residence hall would be located near other residence halls previously built on the campus.

“With this current project, we feel like we’ve done our best to work with the terrain (and) preserve trees to the greatest extent possible,” he said.

Commissioner Katie Coyne motioned to recommend the variance for approval. That recommendation included conditions from staff that all trenching greater than 5 feet deep would be inspected, the top 10 inches of topsoil would be preserved and used on-site, and increased tree mitigation and landscaping would be used to stabilize erosion.

Commissioners unanimously approved the recommendation.

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City of Austin Environmental Commission: An advisory board to members of the Austin City Council. Its purview includes "all projects and programs which affect the quality of life for the citizens of Austin." In many cases, this includes development projects.

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