The City of Austin ZAP Meeting Video from May 5, 2015 in on this link. See item C1 to to right to the Austin Oaks PUD Application. https://austintx.swagit.com/play/05052015-595
(UPDATED at 7:45 PM 57-2015)
Commissioner Rahm speaks, clearly to Mr. Drenner, the paid consultant for the developers of AustinOaks, and requests they take a step in the right direction to educate folks on their PUD proposal. All folks, not just the neighborhood associations. Rahm says local Citizens have little knowledge or understanding of the complexities of zoning and are in need of education. Sadly, the City staff and Council and Commissions have been overly dependent on the developers and their consultants to lead the discussions in most Austin zoning cases. This in essence becomes the fox watching the hen house. Councilman Rahm McDaniel contacted us to clarify his position and we THANK him for reaching out. He is the first and ONLY person in this process, besides the local district 10 and 7 council persons to reach out to groups besides the neighborhood associations. We applaud Commissioner Rahm McDaniel and pray that other ZAP Commissioners will follow his leadership.
The message remains clear, in terms of how the City typically operates in these Zoning cases: If you are a paid consultant for a big high-powered developer you have more credibility and are given deferential treatment when speaking up. And, if you are an average citizen speaking up to protect your city and community from harm of over-development you are a hobbyist or a grandstander. We seek to bring about change and we will work with any and all who will have a civil meeting between all parties to discuss real and NEW solutions, not foregone conclusions or pre-determined outcomes.
What you STILL need to do: Folks, send your letters to city council today with your views on this REZONING project. The link to email ALL City Council and the Mayor is here: https://austintexas.gov/email/all-council-members
The reasons to NOT grant this PUD to AustinOaks are many. The amount of traffic on MOPAC this PUD will cause (15,000-22,000 additional car trips per day) between the Domain and Downtown is reason enough to VOTE NO. Keep the regional centers as hubs for density. Stick to the Imagine Austin plan and stop allowing developers to manipulate the city's planning. Otherwise, why did we bother?
Here's a sample letter you can use to send to the Mayor & Council:
Dear Mayor and Council -
Please vote NO on the Austin Oaks PUD.
The current attempts at a forced negotiation to arrive at a foregone conclusion of a PUD is simply not a principle this country was founded on at all. We all are educated enough to know that PUDs are suited best for property that is out of town that will be annexed; or land that is raw and undeveloped but within the city limits. To REDEVLOP existing developed properties that are inside the city limits we need a better way. Something other than a PUD. Something that has a mechanism within it that includes the expenses built into its zoning designation for infrastructure and road redevelopment and such. Fees for infrastructure in exchange for the zoning designation of PUD wont' work because that becomes CONTRACT ZONING (unconstitutional and dicey business practice). Hence the need for a new zoning category for REDEVELOPMENT of large previously developed parcels within the city limits. Its time we put our thinking caps on and came up with a better solution. This is why we ask you to VOTE NO on the PUD and to work hard on our behalf for better government.
Those of us in the neighborhood who have voted no (80% of us) would be willing to negotiate if something OTHER than a PUD were on the table. But to have a forced outcome is not a negotiation at all.
ZAP is currently encouraging the Developer's representatives (Drenner Consultants) to work with the neighbors (all of them) to negotiate and compromise. And, once again as in previous zoning cases in this city, we have neighborhood volunteers trying to negotiate with the Developer’s lobbyist. Neighborhood volunteers do this for free because we love our neighborhood and we want to protect our quality of life. The developer’s lobbyist is a professional and paid healthy fees to get this through City Council.
Negotiations/mediations should never be held when there is an imbalance of power and/or the outcome is predetermined.
There is a huge imbalance of power in this scenario and the city continues to neighborhood people negotiate from a position of weakness on an issue that is considered a foregone conclusion, ie there will be a PUD, but we will pretend to let the volunteer citizens think they had some input into what goes in the PUD.
Anyway, let's not let the developers make a mockery of Austin any longer. Please choose to represent the folks who elected you and not just the big money developers and real estate folks in Austin. Let's get some real, and tough zoning rules in place and then let's make a united decision to ENFORCE them. I'm thankful for the environmentalists and local citizens speaking up on behalf of homes and communities. Its time more of us stood together. Compromise is great, and possible in this situation if we have more options than a PUD as the pre-determined outcome and result.
Using the "current zoning" scare tactics argument and saying that a car dealership "could go in there" if we don't give them their PUD is basically setting the tone for lunacy that will follow in the discussions. We all know the Austin Oaks owner won't put in a car dealership...why? Because it doesn't have RECURRING RENT income $$$$ they require.
Ok, enough. Just please Vote NO. The traffic JAM on MOPAC between the Domain and downtown is reason enough.
Austin Citizen and Voter