Category: Uncategorized (page 3 of 4)

Action Alert!

Action Alert!!

 The Grove PUD is scheduled for the Environmental Commission meeting on November 4th – this Wednesday at 6 pm.  This is the first step in the commission / council PUD approval process.

 The BCRC believes it is premature for The Grove PUD to go before any commissions since significant issues remain unresolved, and we have sent a request to postpone this item.  The Environmental Commission’s review of the PUD includes many topics like flood control, watershed protection, recreation resources, heritage trees, noise abatement, among others.  We encourage all concerned neighbors to email the members of the Environmental Commission *now* to encourage postponement of this item and express your concerns about The Grove PUD.  The eleven commissioner emails are below.  Please also feel free to use, in whole or part, the suggested text at the bottom of this post.

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

Dear Commissioners,

 I am a neighbor of the future development called “The Grove at Shoal Creek” which is under consideration on your November 4th meeting.  First and foremost, please postpone this item since significant flooding, environmental, park, drainage, and other issues remain unresolved with the PUD application.  Some of these issues include the following:

 The heritage trees on this site are magnificent – so much so that the applicant named their development after them, but this PUD does not include sufficient protections to ensure the survival of these heritage trees.  Substantial development and detention facilities are proposed immediately adjacent and within critical root zones.  How can it be environmentally superior to completely remove or threaten the health of these protected trees and excavate within critical root zones?

 The PUD’s site has a well-documented history of flooding downstream neighbors, and this PUD has not indicated how such flooding will be mitigated after nearly 50 acres of impervious cover is constructed on the site.  The proposed wet pond detention facility is located within the heritage oak grove and is limited in its size without damaging the largest heritage trees on the site.  Where is the space available within the PUD if a second or larger detention facility is needed?  Much of the storm water from PUD’s impervious cover flows south toward downstream neighbors in Ridgelea.  Since flooding from the site has a history of threatening lives and property, what provisions are within the PUD to mitigate this critical concern?  Shouldn’t known flooding issues receive particular attention before recommending a substantial level of development on this site?

 Parkland is a significant neighborhood priority for this site, but the amount and location of parkland still remain unresolved within the PUD application.  Recent comments by parks staff indicate that the amount of quality parkland within the PUD is insufficient.  The applicant has added undefined “flex space” just to meet the minimum requirements under conventional zoning.  How can insufficient parkland be considered superior?  Doesn’t the unresolved parkland issue impact drainage, impervious cover, critical environmental features, heritage trees, riparian habitat and erosion along Shoal Creek, and recreational resources – all critical issues that deserve attention by the Commission?

 A sizable wetland critical environmental feature exists on this site, and the PUD includes a reduction in the wetland’s buffer zone.  The wetland is also included in the same location that the developer proposes parkland.  How can this wetland be mitigated as shown in the PUD without negatively impacting the heritage oak trees?  How can the wetland be protected if it is also proposed as park space which is intended to serve thousands of people and pets?

 Noise abatement and air quality are not sufficiently addressed in this PUD.  The applicant has proposed 25,000 square feet of bars, an urban plaza, and an amphitheater within the park.  How does the PUD address the noise impacts from these uses and how noise affects the residents within the site, around the site, and the undeveloped site’s wildlife?  Traffic is a significant concern, and the latest Traffic Impact Analysis shows over 19,000 new vehicles trips per day generated by the site.  How does this PUD address the air quality impacts by substantial increase in vehicles and traffic around and within this site?

 As you can see, there are many unresolved issues with The Grove PUD and they should be addressed by the applicant prior to the Environmental Commission considering the superiority of this proposed development. Please postpone this item or determine The Grove PUD is *not* superior and should come back to the Commission when these critical environmental items are resolved.

 Thank you!

Baseline Zoning Vote Postponed at City Council

Today, City Council voted to indefinitely postpone the approval of the baseline zoning for The Grove. For more information about the importance of baseline zoning on this property, here’s some information from today’s Austin Chronicle:

“There’s a subtle but important step in the Grove at Shoal Creek development at today’s council meeting: Item 4, establishing baseline zoning for the entire 75-acre tract – which has never been zoned because it belonged to the state until recently. Most of the adjoining neighborhood is zoned as single-family SF-2 or SF-3, so the thinking is that most of this tract should have base zoning no denser than that, especially because the transportation access is so poor. Of course, ARG Bull Creek, Ltd. intends to build a planned unit development much denser than that; the whole point of a PUD is to override the base zoning, to create a development that’s superior to the few hundred tract houses you’d get in SF-3.

So, why quibble about the base zoning? Largely because of the affordable housing component. In whatever PUD plan is approved (see “Game of Zones,” p.16), the developer will have to provide a set amount of affordable housing, either on-site or as a financial contribution to housing elsewhere in the city (see “Bonus Points for Affordability,” Oct. 2). The amount of that contribution is based on the increased density (and profit) afforded by the PUD, compared to the base zoning. So today’s discussion has nothing to do with what ARG will finally build on the site, but a lot to do with how much affordable housing they’ll have to provide. And remember: Those who will doubtless be arguing today for denser base zoning are asking not for a more compact city, but for a more profitable city with less affordability.”

Full article here.

9/23/15 Meeting Between BCRC and Milestone; BCRC Meetup

Below is an email that was sent on the BCRC listserv by BCRC VP, Grayson Cox:

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Good Morning Neighbors,

We wanted to provide some information regarding the BCRC board meeting with MileStone this coming Wednesday.  In an effort to provide the best chances for a productive dialogue between the Coalition and MileStone, this upcoming meeting will only include discussion about the facilitation of future negotiation meetings.  None of the priority issues (traffic, density, parkland, flooding, allowable uses, etc.) will be discussed at this meeting.

Neighbors are more than welcome to attend, but discussion will be limited to board members (neighborhood liaisons) and MileStone representatives in an effort to keep the meeting brief and productive.

The agenda for 9/23 is short and simple:

(1) Discuss the selection of an independent 3rd party facilitator – a neutral professional trained in helping groups work together more effectively in a consensus-building process.

(2) Discuss location and time for next meeting.

(3) If time allows, select topics for discussion for next meeting.

While this particular meeting won’t include pubic discussion of the neighborhoods’ concerns, BCRC volunteers are organizing events where neighbors can discuss The Grove, receive updates, and provide feedback to BCRC board members, including…

Bull Creek Road Coalition Meet Up and Potluck for National Night Out

When: Tuesday, October 6 at 6:00-9:00pm

Where: 49th Street at Strass Drive (closest address is 4901 Strass Dr)

What: Join neighbors and BCRC volunteers for a potluck in Shoalmont as we come together to celebrate National Night Out in Austin. Meet your local Police, Firefighters, and EMS who will greet your families as you visit with other neighbors. If you have questions about the Grove Development, we plan to have volunteers and Board Members from the Bull Creek Road Coalition (BCRC) present to answer them. Bring a chair and dish for sharing. A grill will be available. 

We would also like to encourage all interested neighbors in attending their neighborhood association (NA) meetings where BCRC neighborhood liaisons will be present to participate in the conversation about The Grove.  The next NA meeting is for the Ridgelea NA at 6 p.m. this Monday in the Westminster Chapel.

Please stay tuned to this BCRC_neighbors listserv, Facebook, Twitter, and the BCRC website for updates and information regarding BCRC events and The Grove PUD.

Thank you!

Grayson

BCRC VP

BCRC Op-Ed in the Austin American Statesman

Yes, in our back yard (but together, let’s make it great). Check out this excellent op-ed by BCRC VP Grayson Cox in today’s Austin American-Statesman.

Coverage from the Austin Business Journal

“Representatives of BCRC said the MileStone project highlights a much bigger matter for the city at large — neighbors near unzoned state properties are in jeopardy of not having their voices adequately heard when inevitable infill development takes place. They note that Austin city staff had been directed as far back as 2008 to zone all state properties and never did so.

. . .

“Currently, the state owns about 820 acres across about 35 properties in the city of Austin — an amount that could have substantial future impacts.”

. . .

(City Council Member Sheri Gallo) said, “It’s a public policy discussion for sure.”

Click here for full article.

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