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ZAP votes to honor Council decision from 1984 rather than modern code

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

When the city of Austin expanded U.S. Highway 183 to include a frontage road in the 1980s, businesses that fronted the highway and backed up to Jollyville Road were given the opportunity to relocate any of their improvements made in the areas that were sacrificed to the right-of-way condemnations to another portion of their property. In the case of Covert Ford at 11514 Research Boulevard Southbound Service Road, this was the on-site parking. Today, things have changed, and now the owners of the property are looking to convert the surface parking into a multi-level garage. However, the current site for parking is located on the backside of the property and is partially in a 120-foot-wide strip along Jollyville Road that is zoned Limited Office and not Commercial, as is required for a parking garage. This strip of Limited Office zoning was incorporated into the property as part of the Jollyville Road Study, which was adopted in 1984. In an effort to comply with the precedents set by Council over the years, city staff did not recommend rezoning the area to commercial. Alice Glasco, representing the applicant at the Nov. 5 Zoning and Platting Commission meeting, said that the property owners were willing to limit the use of the piece of property to Limited Office with the addition of three commercial uses: automotive sales, automotive repair and automotive washing. Sherri Sirwaitis with the Planning and Zoning Department told the Monitor that a parking garage fell under the automotive sales use. Although staff did not support commercial zoning, the commission did vote 8-1 to recommend the rezoning of the strip. Commissioner David King voted against the motion and Commissioner Jim Duncan was absent. “I really have just wondered what is served … by bringing up something that was done in November of 1978,” said Commissioner Bruce Evans. He said basing a recommendation on a study from 1984 is also not reflective of modern-day needs: “That is 40 years old; let’s get current with things.”

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