The Austin Chronicle

URA Votes Against East 11th Density Increase

By Lee Nichols, August 22, 2008, News

The Austin Revitalization Authority suffered a possible setback Monday night in its attempt to increase the density of a proposed vertical mixed-use project in the 1100 block of East 11th Street, best known as the block that houses the Victory Grill.

After a meeting last month failed to produce any action, the city's Urban Renewal Agency this time voted twice against recommending the project to the City Council. The ARA has requested modifications to both the East 11th and 12th Street Urban Renewal Plan and the East 11th Street Neighbor­hood Conservation Combining District – both requests were shot down on 5-1 votes, with only Urban Renewal Agency board Chair Kevin Cole (husband of Council Member Sheryl Cole) supporting them.

Urban Renewal Agency board member Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez said that overwhelming community opposition expressed at previous meetings prompted her motions to vote down the requests. Several Eastside neighborhood associations have said that they don't necessarily oppose increased density along the East 11th corridor but that ARA was asking for too much.

"We'll continue working with the neighborhoods to reach a compromise," said ARA President and CEO Byron C. Marshall after the meeting. "We're not that far apart on a lot of items, and we think that we'll be able to reach consensus by the time it gets to council."

The ARA's proposal will also be considered by the city's Planning Commission. Neither body's recommendations are binding upon the council.

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