Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition | March 2022


Stories from the web

Austin loses appeal over land development code rewrite lawsuit


aordability and increasing housing supply,” Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement. Austin spent nearly $120,000 on the land development code litigation so far, according to the city, while millions more were spent on the code revision process since 2012. Appeal denied In Texas, cities are required to notify residents when land near their property is under rezoning consideration. If at least 20% of noticed residents object, the possible zoning change must pass by a higher margin at the city level. The 19 property owners who challenged the city in court contended that the Austin leaders ignored that state rule during the process. Austin’s land code revision would have eec- tively changed the zoning categories of every prop- erty in the city. While public hearings were held throughout the process, Austin did not undergo the state-mandated individual notication process and argued that Texas zoning rules did not apply to its broad rewrite. The courts disagreed, holding that resident notices are required. A new land code would


On March 17, the 14th Court of Appeals dealt another blow to Austin ocials’ yearslong push to revise the city’s land development code. The 1980s land code governs what can be built in Austin and where. Over the past decade, the city moved multiple versions of a code rewrite through often contentious and tense public forums. The latest code revision made it through two of the three City Council votes required to make the change ocial. However, a resident lawsuit halted the eort in March 2020 after a Travis County judge ruled the city skirted state law related to property owner rights to protest the rewrite. The city appealed that ruling, leading to the March decision. “What it really boils down to is, the citizens in Austin are going to be heard, and their voices are going to be heard, and the city is going to have to acknowledge those protests,” said Doug Becker, an attorney for the citizen appellees, in an interview with Community Impact Newspaper . The city has yet to decide on any further legal action related to its land use update. “Whatever the nal outcome in the courts, our city’s most pressing challenge is still housing

Texas law grants property owners notice and protest rights during proposed rezonings near their land. Austin contended its land code update was not subject to these rules. Step 1: A rezoning is proposed at the city level.

Step 2: Properties within 200 feet of the subject land are notied of a public hearing concerning the potential change. Step 3: If at least 20% of relevant property owners protest the rezoning, it must clear City Council by a three-fourths margin—in Austin, nine total votes.


have to pass council with at least a three-fourths majority—nine votes—if enough property owners protest the change. Moving forward, the city can either seek to appeal the new ruling or bring the land develop- ment code rewrite back to council.

Council OKs funding for SouthAustin aordable condo, apartment projects


aordable units along future light rail lines, where there is a higher risk of displacement,” Citrine owner Teresa Bowyer said in an email. “We viewed our development as an opportunity to ensure that aordable ownership opportunities would be in place prior to the arrival of the Orange Line.” A few miles to the west, Capital A Housing will build a new perma- nent supportive housing complex for the formerly homeless at 7331 Menchaca Road just outside the

listed at an aordable level. The project team from the Summertree and Citrine Developments said they selected the South Austin site given their view on the need for aordable options in the rapidly developing cor- ridor, and its place along the future Project Connect transit system line that will run down Congress Avenue. “Aordable housing is needed everywhere in Austin, but with the passage of Project Connect it is even more important to secure permanently


Plans for an aordable condo- minium project and apartment com- plex for people exiting homelessness are moving ahead in South Austin. City Council approved $4.98 mil- lion in loans to support both projects March 3 with funding from the city’s $250 million 2018 housing bond. At 7308 S. Congress Ave., Summer- tree Development plans to construct 74 one- and two-bedroom condos, half of which are expected to be



Southbridge Villas community. The new apartment complex will feature 45 eciency rental units. Summertree’s project is backed by a $460,000 loan from the city, while Capital A received $4.52 million.

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