Public Notice: Another Non-Revolting Development
Planning should always be this easy
As if scheduled just in time for Michael King's feature about the future of the East Riverside Corridor Plan (see "On the Edges of Gentrification," Feb. 15), Austin City Council takes up a couple of significant rezonings in the corridor at their next regular meeting, Thursday, Feb. 21 – significant not because they're contentious, but precisely because they're not: The first case, Items 37 & 38, will rezone several tracts in the heart of the South Shore area (the triangle between Riverside, Lakeshore, and Tinnin Ford; see the map posted with "On the Edges of Gentrification," Feb. 15) from "neighborhood mixed use" to "corridor mixed use," allowing for high-rises up to 120 feet. That's three to four times as high as anything yet seen in that area, but it has yet to attract any attention or dissent because it doesn't overreach. "Corridor mixed use" is a reasonable designation for this plot; it's likely that the only real question is not over the intensity of the development, but over how much of an affordable housing component the city ought to require in exchange for giving the developer (FBZ Town Lake Circle LP) its added entitlements. That's a question that will continue to be asked with increasing regularity (see last week's Public Notice and "More Affordable Housing Everywhere,")
Similarly, Item 43 would rezone property at 5107 East Riverside from "single-family" to "limited office/mixed use," and while it's a significant upzoning – within a couple hundred feet of small, single-family homes – it's drawn no real opposition or even notice, and like the Town Lake Circle proposal, it passed the Planning Commission unanimously, which usually portends smooth sailing at Council. Why? As the background materials note: "Staff supports the applicant's request for Mixed Use/Office land use because this land use is appropriate for this location." This supports several primary goals of the ERCP, those being to:
• "Preserve and enhance the character of existing residential neighborhoods";
• "Improve the appearance, vitality, and safety of existing commercial corridors ... and encourage quality urban design and form that ensures adequate transition between commercial properties and adjacent residential neighborhoods"; and
• "Encourage a balanced mix of residential, civic, commercial, office, and other land uses without adversely affecting adjacent residential neighborhoods."
See, it's not so hard.
Design Talks is the new name for the AIA Austin event series formerly known as the Luncheon Speaker Series. It kicks off with guest speaker Phoebe Lickwar, an associate professor at UT-Austin's School of Architecture and a founding principal of FORGE Landscape Architecture, whose résumé includes work on such major gardens and landscapes as the National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the National September 11 Memorial in New York City. The event is Tuesday, Feb. 19, 11:30am-1pm at Austin Central Library. The $40 includes lunch; presale and member discounts at www.aiaaustin.org.
Amplify Austin Day, Austin's annual day of giving (from Feb. 28, 6pm, to March 1, 6pm), is coming up fast. The People's Community Clinic, one of the worthy organizations hoping to benefit from your generosity, is holding a happy hour kickoff party next Thursday, Feb. 21, 5:30-7pm, at Still Austin Whiskey Co., 440 E. St. Elmo, with live music by James Durkee. During happy hour, $1 from each signature cocktail will go to the clinic.
The city of Paris is suing Airbnb for $14 million, saying Airbnb published 1,000 illegal rental ads that don't include the required registration number the city uses to track compliance with its regulations. "The goal is to send a shot across the bows to get it over with unauthorized rentals that spoil some Parisian neighborhoods," Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche. Paris is Airbnb's single biggest market, at around 65,000 listings.