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ZAP votes to support Albert Road rezoning

Tuesday, August 23, 2022 by Jonathan Lee

The Zoning and Platting Commission supported a rezoning last Tuesday to bring several single-family homes to a 1-acre lot in South Austin. 

Applicant Juan Pablo Mondragon requests Family Residence (SF-3) zoning for the property at 7415 Albert Road, which is zoned Development Reserve (DR).

“We’re not asking for anything extraordinary. There is precedent of several other SF-3 properties in this area,” Mondragon said. Eight homes are currently planned, though Mondragon said that could change depending on how the property is subdivided.

The three neighbors who spoke Tuesday weren’t happy about the prospect of eight new homes on a quiet street with sprawling lots.

“This is not an East Austin development. This is not a Mueller development. We don’t want density,” Jeff Dickerson said, arguing that density leads to gentrification and “environmental destruction.” 

“What’s happening here is this obsession with, ‘We need more housing. We need more housing. We need more density.’ What does this density do? What is the impact it has?” Dickerson said.

Neighbor Karen Fernandez also bemoaned gentrification for having “demolished so many beloved neighborhoods and displaced the teachers, artists, civil servants and working-class members of our community.” 

Neighbors cited the inadequate road and utility infrastructure as additional reasons for their opposition. As a compromise, the neighbors said they would support an alternative rezoning to Single Family-Standard Lot (SF-2) with a maximum of four units. 

After some discussion, the commissioners concluded that the property could likely only yield four units anyway, disregarding the applicant’s intention to build eight units. Though the 1-acre property could theoretically be divided into seven SF-3 lots, a rule requiring each lot to have frontage on Albert Road would make that challenging – especially given the property’s long, narrow shape. 

Commissioner Betsy Greenberg motioned for SF-3 with a cap of four units “just to prevent some other kind of subdivision using flag lots.” The commission passed the motion unanimously.

A valid petition against the rezoning by adjacent residents means at least nine out of 11 Council members must vote in support for the rezoning to pass. City Council is scheduled to vote on the case Sept. 1.

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