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South Austin rezoning sails through ZAP

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

The Zoning and Platting Commission unanimously recommended the requested Family Residence (SF-3) zoning for a 2.4-acre lot at 2414 Drew Lane in South Austin on Tuesday. Council’s approval of the request would pave the way for 16 units that are likely to be single-family homes with accessory dwelling units.

The site, which has one single-family home on it, is currently designated Development Reserve, a term for property near the edge of the city that requires rezoning upon development. The request proved uncontroversial among commissioners, who concurred with city staffers’ SF-3 recommendation.

Only one neighbor, Scott Jarrett, opposed the rezoning. In addition to traffic and flooding, Jarrett said he was concerned about the fate of the trees and wildlife on the property. “This area has a lot of trees that really are the home for a lot of wildlife, a lot of deer, birds, foxes, raccoons.” Jarrett said the new homes would alter the neighborhood’s “bucolic” feel.

According to Victoria Haase, agent for the applicant, most of the trees are likely to stay, thanks in large part to the minimum 10,000-square-foot lot size, a condition placed on the property years ago. SF-3 zoning allows lots 5,750 square feet or greater, but Haase said the developer will honor the larger lot size requirement.

“Because the lots are going to be larger, it does provide a lot more flexibility to save a lot of those trees,” Haase said. “And hopefully the wildlife will also stay in the area.” Ron Thrower, also representing the applicant, said all seven heritage trees and most or all of the 14 protected trees will remain.

Each lot will likely contain a single-family home and an ADU. Although the entitlements allow 10 lots, site constraints mean that only eight lots can realistically be developed. Haase said that the requested three dwelling units per acre is “pretty low density” and that the area is “ideal for adding more housing at the scale proposed.” The lot is within half a mile – as the crow flies – of Slaughter Lane, an Imagine Austin Activity Corridor with transit, an HEB and other amenities.

The case is scheduled for City Council on Aug. 26. Assuming Council approves the rezoning, the project will come back to ZAP for a resubdivision review.

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