Sunday, December 18, 2005

New direction for Austin growth policy?

[This looks to me like an Austin Mayoral step away from a toll road focus. Sort of like Bush backing out of Iraq without admitting defeat.

My interpretation/theory is that Mike Krusee has told Wynn to push rail, Krusee having been told that even toll roads (which may not even be bondable now) cannot on their own handle the traffic -- from what are now emerging as the most profitable modes of private land development in denser clusters. -- Roger]


WHEREAS, the City of Austin is encouraging development of downtown as part of the City’s commitment to promoting transit-oriented infill development and to reducing sprawl development; and

WHEREAS, Mayor Wynn has established a goal of 25,000 residents living downtown in 10 years; and

WHEREAS, the City of Austin is pursuing a fiscal policy of strengthening the tax base by selling government-owned land and developing this land to its best community use; and

WHEREAS, the City of Austin must plan now for the placement of downtown rail and transit stations; and

WHEREAS, current funding for infrastructure such as sidewalks, Great Streets, drainage and flood control is inadequate and unpredictable; and

WHEREAS, the ordinances governing downtown development, which reflect a suburban sprawl-orientation, have not been updated in nearly two decades, and are now outdated in many important areas; and

WHEREAS, downtown contains significant parcels of government owned land that do not contribute to the tax base but which have the potential to be redeveloped to include housing in all price ranges; NOW THEREFORE,


The City Manager is directed to do the following:
Initiate the process to create of the Downtown Austin Plan and Ordinance; and
Establish the Plan and Ordinance boundaries as follows:

Town Lake
West side of Lamar
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Interstate 35;

Prepare a scope of work for the hiring of a national consultant with downtown expertise to develop the Downtown Austin Plan and Ordinance that includes the following:

Implement ordinance modernizations, including but not limited to—
FAR standards and procedures for modifying where appropriate;
Height standards and procedures for modifying where appropriate;

Funding ordinances for infrastructure; and

Identify right-of-way for passenger rail and dedicated bus thoroughfares; and

Develop a program and procedure for the sale and development of government-owned land; and

Work with stakeholders, including, but not limited to, the State of Texas, Travis County, the federal government, Capital Metro, the Downtown Austin Alliance, Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, Austin Neighborhood Council, Old West Austin Neighborhood Association, Judges Hill Neighborhood Association, affordable housing advocates, parks groups and environmental organizations on process and substantive issues; and

Identify east-west and north-south rail lines and dedicate station locations downtown; and

Integrate the Downtown Neighborhood Plan and the TOD Ordinance Convention Center Station Area Planning effort into the Downtown Austin Plan and Ordinance; and

Identify strategies and best practices for affordable work force housing in the downtown area; and

Present the proposed scope of work for the RFQ to the Council subcommittee on Land Use and Transportation prior to releasing for bids.


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