Plaza Saltillo Development

#1

Cap Metro and the Plaza Saltillo developer are requesting a small height increase along I-35 Tuesday at Planning Commission in order to bring their vision for Plaza Saltillo to fruition. The East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood Planning Contact Team (NPCT) is opposing the height increase.

More info on the project:


http://austin.towers.net/plaza-saltillo-finding-a-balanced-mix-of-market-vs-affordable-housing/

The project will bring 800 much-needed housing units (including 141 below market-rate units affordable to 50% MFI, on average). It will also bring pedestrian paseos connecting 5th and 4th streets, an extension of the Armstrong Bikeway, and really good street fronting urban design.

I’m emailing Planning Commission in support of the zoning change, and I encourage you to do the same. Also, please consider coming to Planning Commission Tuesday the 10th at 6pm (at City Hall) to sign up or speak in favor of the development and the zoning change:

bc-Stephen.Oliver@austintexas.gov
bc-James.Shieh@austintexas.gov
bc-Fayez.Kazi@austintexas.gov
bc-Jayme.Mathias@austintexas.gov
bc-Karen.McGraw@austintexas.gov
bc-Tom.Nuckols@austintexas.gov
bc-Angela.PineyroDeHoyos@austintexas.gov
bc-Patricia.Seeger@austintexas.gov
bc-Jeffrey.Thompson@austintexas.gov
bc-Jose.Vela@austintexas.gov
bc-Trinity.White@austintexas.gov
bc-Michael.Wilson@austintexas.gov
bc-nuria.zaragoza@austintexas.gov

4 Likes
#2

Brian G and I will make our best efforts to come down on behalf of Midtown.

2 Likes
#3

@cevangill, my inclination is to be supportive of the form portion of this urban infill proposal, but will wait to hear both sides Tuesday as it is so new, after which it seems fair for FAN to consider developing a resolution followed by vote.

From austin.towers.net link posted above:

City staffers have reviewed the plans and are recommending approval of Endeavor’s request to change the zoning

@Pete_Gilcrease was working on a resolution related to the Audit of Neighborhood Planning which would suggest FAN may formally recommend a bigger role for City staff in dealing with complex neighborhood planning issues. This may be a good example of that arguement, as the neighborhood plan was developed in the last century:

From Neighborhood Plan / East Cesar Chavez NCPT

Austin City Council adopted the… Plan on May 13,1999…

In looking at their “Neighborhood Plan Goals” it appears this proposal is directly supportive of many, and the NCPT’s letter of opposition to the Planning Commission does not appear to indicate which of their goals / if any, are being compromised, much less why whatever objections they might would outweigh the many good things that are obvious in the proposal.

@niran, any thoughts, from a Desegregate ATX perspective, on the proposal for “100 senior affordable apartments”? It’s all good, but there is a big senior housing complex close by already, and an older than average resident population in the city center already, so it would not have occurred to me that would be a priority demographic for desegregating the city center.

1 Like
#4

Agreed. After Planning Commission, FAN might want to look into officially weighing in on this…

1 Like
#5

It strikes me that some of the language you used at the outset of this thread would work well in a potential resolution for FAN members to consider.

Also, would you mind updating us on what happened at Planning Commission and any new information on this topic?

#6

Planning Commission recommended the request as proposed.

How about this for resolution language? Please feel free to suggest edits.

Friends of Austin Neighborhoods supports the requested zoning change, which will allow for moderate increases in height on this tract in order to support CapMetro and the developer’s joint vision for this project.

The project will bring 800 much-needed housing units (including 141 below market-rate units affordable to 50% MFI, on average). It will also bring pedestrian paseos connecting 5th and 4th streets, an extension of the Armstrong Bikeway, and excellent street fronting urban design.

Although there have been calls to adjust the unit mix for affordable housing to favor more 2 bedroom units and fewer 1 bedroom units, FAN recognizes that the dire shortage affordable housing units impacts all demographics, including young adults, couples without children, and the elderly, who could all benefit from affordable 1 bedroom units within walking distance of downtown and passenger rail service.

#7

This looks good to me. Should we go a little farther and say that there should be more height added then what’s even being requested or no?

#8

I’m in favor of suggesting additional height/density. This is literally a contiguous extension of the downtown core (ignore I-35 for a second), and height restrictions of any kind at this location is pretty absurd.

1 Like
#9

@Pete_Gilcrease @jonbrewer I modified the language to support additional height. I think we should tread carefully… we don’t want to blow up the agreement between CapMetro and the developer, which was approved by the CapMetro board, and delay the groundbreaking of the project. It seems like the developer is already pretty far along in the planning process, and probably wants to break ground soon.

Here’s my draft resolution:

Friends of Austin Neighborhoods supports the requested zoning change, which will allow for moderate increases in height on this tract in order to support CapMetro and the developer’s joint vision for this project. Given the project’s location adjacent to the Central Business District and Saltillo Station, and given Austin’s critical shortage of affordable and market-rate housing, FAN believes more height than the applicant is requesting would be appropriate for this site, especially if additional height resulted in more market-rate and subsidized housing units.

The project will bring 800 much-needed housing units (including 141 below market-rate units affordable to 50% MFI, on average). It will also bring pedestrian paseos connecting 5th and 4th streets, an extension of the Armstrong Bikeway, and excellent street fronting urban design.

Although there have been calls to adjust the unit mix for affordable housing to favor more 2 bedroom units and fewer 1 bedroom units, FAN recognizes that the dire shortage affordable housing units impacts all demographics, including young adults, couples without children, and the elderly, who could all benefit from affordable 1 bedroom units within walking distance of downtown and passenger rail service.

1 Like
#10

@cevangill Thanks for making the addition! It looks good to me.

#11

Alright, here’s the current draft. Any other suggested changes? If not, should we put this up for a vote soon? The item is up at Council on Thursday

Friends of Austin Neighborhoods supports the requested zoning change, which will allow for moderate increases in height on this tract in order to support CapMetro and the developer’s joint vision for this project. Given the project’s location adjacent to the Central Business District and Saltillo Station, and given Austin’s critical shortage of affordable and market-rate housing, FAN believes more height than the applicant is requesting would be appropriate for this site, especially if additional height resulted in more market-rate and subsidized housing units.

The project will bring 800 much-needed housing units (including 141 below market-rate units affordable to 50% MFI, on average). It will also bring pedestrian paseos connecting 5th and 4th streets, an extension of the Armstrong Bikeway, and excellent street fronting urban design.

Although there have been calls to adjust the unit mix for affordable housing to favor more 2 bedroom units and fewer 1 bedroom units, FAN recognizes that the dire shortage affordable housing units impacts all demographics, including young adults, couples without children, and the elderly, who could all benefit from affordable 1 bedroom units within walking distance of downtown and passenger rail service.

1 Like
#12

I think we should probably put it to a vote as soon as we can if it’s coming up that quick. We could start the vote 24 hours from now and end the vote on the morning of Wednesday the 25th to have it done by that council meeting, if that works for everyone. Anyone could have the next day to make suggestions or changes to the vote.

2 Likes
#13

I agree, let’s get it up for a vote within 24 hours. Hopefully some more people will have a chance to weigh in in the meantime

1 Like