Dear Editor, There have been recent articles in both the Chronicle ["The Town Lake Variance Shuffle," News, Nov. 24] and the Austin American-Statesman regarding proposed development along Town Lake and developer requests for variances regarding setbacks, threats to continue or not continue the Town Lake hike-and-bike trail depending upon variances being granted, and petitions to trade public access for variances. These articles have focused on the shoreline west of I-35. We, the stakeholders east of I-35 in the East Riverside/Oltorf Neighborhood Planning Area have been fighting these same battles. In dealings with the Constellation Property Group concerning redevelopment at 1001 South I-35, with AMLI Residential concerning redevelopment at 1708, 1712, and 1720 South Lakeshore and with Cypress Real Estate advisers concerning redevelopment at 2217, 2227, and 2336 South Lakeshore, we have been asked to approve height and impervious cover variances to both the South Lakeshore and East Riverside Subdistrict regulations of the Waterfront Overlay. In discussions with developers, compliance with the Waterfront Overlay has been used as a bargaining chip as a trade-off for requests for increased density and FAR. We believe that the regulations developed to protect Town Lake are sacrosanct and were created so that all of the citizens of Austin could enjoy its beauty; they were not created so that a chosen few could modify them for short-term profit. We sincerely believe that Town Lake should not be for sale to the highest bidder.
Janice Long East Riverside/Oltorf Neighborhood Planning Contact Team