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Environmental Commission approves park plans for new East Austin PUD

Monday, May 20, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

In far East Austin there’s a sand and gravel mine that also operates as a concrete batch plant, which produces a large portion of the construction concrete for Austin. Spread over 2,000 acres, this plot of land is in the process of becoming a mixed-use planned unit development. “It’s a really interesting project, especially from an environmental perspective,” said Atha Phillips of the Watershed Protection Department at the May 15 meeting of the Environmental Commission. “There are endless possibilities.” Some of these possibilities include 701 acres of open space along the Colorado River with shoreline frontage that is longer than the distance of the shoreline of Lady Bird Lake. “The designs are intended to restore the river’s edge to a natural ecosystem,” Phillips said. Besides restoring wetlands and riparian vegetation, the PUD plans show flood mitigation ponds that are large enough for water recreation activities. The idea, said Steven Spears of GroundWork Development, is that “when major storm events come in they actually go into these areas and not into our adjacent neighbors.” While it’s still in the very early planning stages, the commission unanimously recommended approval of the request for Austin Green Improvement District No. 1. Commissioners Andrew Creel and Curtis Smith were absent.

Correction: An earlier version of this whisper stated that the entire PUD had been recommended for approval by the commission. The whisper has been updated.

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