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Renteria questions sale of alleys

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council Member Pio Renteria is questioning the payment that the city is receiving in return for vacating a 20-foot-wide alley in East Austin. Renteria brought up the matter during Tuesday’s work session, noting that there was a great disparity in the appraised value for two different parcels. Council is poised to approve the vacating of approximately 669 square feet of right-of-way between East Fourth and East Fifth streets, west of Robert T. Martinez Street, at Thursday’s meeting. For that small property, a developer will pay the city $44,856, according to city records. However, city documents indicate that the city would receive about $61,600 for a much larger parcel between East Fifth and East Sixth streets running from Navasota Street to Onion Street. That parcel is described as approximately 5,410 square feet of right-of-way within a 20-foot-wide alley. Two different companies, each taking half of the alley property, have deposited funds for the purchase. However, Renteria told his colleagues, “We’re not getting our value” in the latter sale. Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, who advocates keeping alleys open for alternative uses, particularly pedestrian commerce, also said she wanted to review the proposed sales before Thursday’s meeting.

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