we often talk about affordability and density as a singular option but we have a proposed project on south lamar that appears to be choosing between the two. here is the update as was sent out by ZNA to inform neighbors about the history of the site, what was originally agreed upon, and what is now being proposed in place of that agreement. what are your thoughts about this new proposal versus the original or how the new proposal could be altered to achieve both affordability and density? what made the previous proposal economically feasible but now not? what is an appropriate amount of affordable housing when being granted an upzoning?
here is an article about the project: Follow-up zoning case promises more housing for South Lamar - Austin MonitorAustin Monitor
" The old Goodwill site, at 2800 S. Lamar, and two fourplex sites behind it on Skyway Circle were rezoned in 2013 for a VMU project with 110 deeply affordable apartments above a remodeled Goodwill store. The neighbors and ZNA were included in the zoning discussions with Foundation Communities, and we strongly supported the project.
Now, ten years later, a new landowner wants to build double the amount of commercial space on the property, with no housing of any kind. City staff seem to think it’s a great idea to replace the potential for 110 affordable apartments with the potential for 120,000 square feet of commercial space (convenience storage, offices, warehousing, commercial parking–anything but housing). The worst part is this quote from the staff report, describing the rezoning as “an opportunity for the ten MF-3 zoned parcels on Skyway Circle (all being utilized as fourplexes) to be considered for rezoning.”
So far, the investors own only five of the ten MF3 parcels. Under the current zoning, each parcel could be remodeled for six housing units. If the parcels are rezoned as proposed, Austin will lose the potential for 30 middle-income apartments or condos. If City staff get their way and all ten parcels are gobbled up, Austin will lose the potential for 60 middle-income apartments or condos–but it might gain some really big expensive buildings with parking garages.
For those of you who are less than 65, that approach to city planning is what was once known as “urban renewal,” a euphemism for slum clearance. A favored group of investors wants to buy up a block of properties at a bargain price, and the City’s planning department is eager to help the investors pressure the small owners to get out of the way of the redevelopment bulldozer. They all chant “Affordable housing, housing crisis” in unison, but when the dust clears, all that’s left is an empty office building.
This is happening all over Austin, and all over the country. Please tell the Mayor and City Council to stop the destruction of existing housing by voting against items 36 and 37. Register to speak here (remote or in person) by Wednesday 10/4 at noon."