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More homes on the way to substandard Rogers Lane

Thursday, May 19, 2022 by Jonathan Lee

Rogers Lane, a steep, narrow road in East Austin, has seen substantial development recently. On Tuesday, the Zoning and Platting Commission heard a rezoning case that could bring 107 additional units to the street, drawing concern from some residents.

The rezoning covers 17 acres of vacant land at 7902 W. Rogers Lane & 4708 Rogers Lane. The property owner requests a change from Single Family-Standard Lot (SF-2) zoning to Single Family-Small Lot (SF-4A), which would allow for an expansion of the existing Agave subdivision.

Leah Bojo, representing the property owner, said the expansion would be similar to Agave – that is, “mostly for sale, more modestly sized homes with a commitment to energy efficiency.” She said not all the additional drivers would be funneled onto Rogers Lane; a connection to the existing subdivision via Annette Cove would allow two points of ingress and egress, with more connections possible in the future.

Even so, some Rogers Lane residents are uneasy about the prospect of 107 new homes, which could bring 1,100 trips per day to and from the new subdivision, according to a traffic analysis.

“This would exacerbate (traffic) issues beyond resolution,” resident Jenny Reyna said. Another resident, Maria Bowen, spoke neutrally about the case but urged the city to fix her street. “I just want the city to know so that they can do something about (it) and keep us safe up here with the infrastructure,” she said, describing how the narrow road forces cars to pull onto the grass in order to pass other cars.

One resident, however, did speak in favor. “Housing is a human right, and we need more of it,” Brandon Farmahini said. “SF4-A is still single-family zoning, so we’re not talking about any kind of scary density.”

After Bojo and staffers eased commissioners’ concerns about the impact to Rogers Lane, ZAP voted unanimously to recommend approval of the rezoning. In a separate case last year, ZAP did not recommend a rezoning to bring 10 units to 5417 Rogers Lane because of the street’s poor condition.

Commissioner Scott Boone said he supported the rezoning in part because the development would connect well with existing infrastructure. “I think this is a region of the city that, especially with respect to transportation, multimodal transportation, there’s a ton of opportunities,” he said. “There’s also opportunities to build a bunch of subdivisions that don’t connect at all.”

While Commissioner Ann Denkler supported the rezoning, she had lingering concerns about Rogers Lane. She hoped that the road could be added to the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan so it could receive an upgrade at some point. “I’m going to suggest to my Council member that they look at that issue and hope that others will do the same,” Denkler said.

Photo caption: Aerial view of the existing Agave subdivision. Courtesy city of Austin.

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