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Parks board recommends Brodie Oaks development

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 by Nina Hernandez

Last week, the Parks and Recreation Board voted to recommend the Brodie Oaks planned unit development as superior to City Council, contingent on the applicant complying with a list of board recommendations concerning public access to the on-site park and related facilities.

The proposed PUD, located at Loop 360 and Highway 290, would reimagine the shopping center that was once home to Toys R Us. The applicant is proposing a walkable, mixed-use development with 1,700 residential units on 37.6 acres. The area is also an Imagine Austin activity center.

The proposal includes a series of interconnected parks throughout the development, which would add up to 11.6 gross acres of parkland across three separate parks. The design includes a central park, a trailhead overlook park that would connect to the Barton Creek Greenbelt, and a nearby 2-acre neighborhood park that would be constructed during the project’s second phase.

After deductions for stormwater infrastructure, the project will contain 7.6 credited acres of parkland or 20 percent of the gross site area. The 76 percent of the remaining parkland requirement will be paid via fee-in-lieu at an estimated $4 million price tag.

“That is superior to what we would be able to require under current code,” said Thomas Rowlinson, principal planner for the Parks and Recreation Department. “Right now for an infill urban core project like this we would be capped at 15 percent of the gross site area. So really this application is doubling that amount.”

The applicant has committed to exceeding the current park development fee by $700 per unit. That will equate to an estimated $2.2 million in park development funds generated by the development. Each park must include a minimum of three amenities. The applicant will be responsible for both development and maintenance of the parks.

The development will create 50 parking spaces reserved for park users in phase one. Rowlinson said the parking is a “value add” for staff as it works to find additional parking for the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Board Member Rich DePalma called the project a “roadmap” for reducing impervious cover in the region. He said he felt the project avoided becoming another Statesman PUD, which the parks board found did not meet the threshold for superiority.

“This is not the Statesman,” DePalma said. “We’re seeing this real active green space, we’re seeing mixed use, we’re seeing open areas.”

The parks board recommends the applicant work with city staff and the Transportation Department to provide 10 free parking spaces to the neighborhood park site; amend the application to state there will be a publicly available restroom at the neighborhood park; continue to work with Hill Country Conservancy and the Austin Parks Foundation to ensure sustainable trail access to the greenbelt; and investigate and report back on methods to fund off-site greenbelt preservation and management through commercial development.

The board voted to pass the recommendation unanimously, with board members Dawn Lewis and Kimberly Taylor absent.

Rendering by Lionheart Overland via the city of Austin.

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