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Planning Commission supports first phase of East Austin development

Thursday, June 2, 2022 by Jonathan Lee

The Planning Commission OK’d a rezoning on May 24 for the first phase of a larger development planned along Hudson Street in East Austin. 

Ledgestone Development Group plans 97 units in a mix of single-family homes and attached townhomes on several properties spanning 5711 to 5909 Hudson St. To build the project, the developer requests a zoning change from Family Residence (SF-3) to Multifamily-Medium Density (MF-3) zoning. 

The developer originally requested Multifamily-Moderate Density (MF-4) zoning for the lots but is now amenable to the staff recommendation of MF-3. “At the time we applied for (MF-4) zoning, we were hoping to do multifamily – about 260 units – that would be under MF-4. But in looking at the overall plan … my client would like to have a diversity of housing,” said Alice Glasco, representing the developer. Glasco said other properties owned by Ledgestone will come before the commission for rezonings, though some do not need a zoning change.

Two neighbors spoke at the meeting, and while they weren’t opposed to the rezoning, they did worry about increased traffic on the narrow streets in their neighborhood. 

“There’s cars that frequently get hit. Side-view mirrors get knocked off on a regular basis .… There’s going to be a bunch of traffic here. There’s kids who play in the street. I don’t really know what’s going to happen,” Mike Borkenstein said. 

To ease neighbors’ concerns, Glasco proposed a “street master plan” for Hudson Street that would be funded by the developer. The idea, Glasco said, is to have uniform sidewalks, shade trees and traffic-calming islands with the hope of slowing cars down and creating a pleasant streetscape.

Glasco said she has been working with the office of Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, who represents the area, to get City Council to kickstart the plan. Infrastructure improvements would be paid in part by street impact fees from the development. 

The commission, satisfied with Glasco’s promises of better street design, voted 7-0 in support of the rezoning, with commissioners Carmen Llanes Pulido and Solveij Rosa Praxis abstaining and four members absent.

“It’s forward-thinking. It’s 97 units. It’s a lot better than what current zoning would allow,” Commissioner Greg Anderson said. 

The zoning case now moves on to Council.

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