Villas on Town Lake Deserve Better From City

RECEIVED Tue., March 28, 2006

Dear Editor
    I am an owner and resident at the Villas on Town Lake in the Rainey Street/Waterfront Neighborhood, which was rezoned (with support from the Villas) to central business district about a year ago to encourage high-density development. My neighbors include retirees, musicians, professors, professionals, city employees, and families with children spread over 58 units. For 24 years the Villas had fire/emergency vehicle access through east and south gates. The east gate will soon be shared with the Shore Condos and a 22-story hotel both developed by Trammel Crow. The south gate is shared with the Mexican American Cultural Center.
    In spite of a promise by the city of Austin to provide us south gate fire access, the MACC design ignored this. Recently the city chose to remove a fire hydrant from the site instead of moving it onto our property. Trammell Crow plans to eliminate our east gate access as well. Making matters worse, all traffic entering and leaving their project will move across the shared entrance to the Villas. The city of Austin and Trammell Crow did not reach agreement on a plan to extend Red River Street through their property and out onto Rainey Street. Given the high traffic volume that will be generated I am very concerned that we will be forced to wait while entering and exiting our own residences and that the already congested Red River/Cesar Chavez intersection will become even more dangerous.
    After supporting the city to rezone the neighborhood we deserve better than this. All I ask is that what has been taken from us be returned or replaced in some form and that our rights as long-standing property owners and tax-paying citizens be respected.
Marco Schneider
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