Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Marshall PUD: Development Assessment Application

Analysis and Comments

The Development Assessment Application for the proposed Marshall PUD was filed by Drenner Group, a representative of the perspective purchasers of the Marshall Tract, ie Cousins, on August 15, 2014. This is the first step in the process to change the zoning of the Marshall Tract from SF2 to a PUD (1). The application was sent to Greg Guernsey, Director, City of Austin, Planning and Development Review Department, and member of the staff to the Planing Commission.

Amanda Swor, Senior Project Manager, Drenner Group, is the author of the application. She states in the third paragraph:

“The proposed PUD is not located within a neighborhood planning area. There are single family properties within 540 feet of the project, however, the properties are not located within the City of Austin zoning jurisdiction, and therefore do not trigger compatibility standards.”

Both the Marshall Tract as well as the Lost Creek neighborhood are in the Barton Creek Mall planning area. The Barton Creek Mall area does not have a FLUM (Future Land Use Map). However, the City of Austin has zoned the Marshall Tract SF2 which is compatible with the Lost Creek Neighborhood. The author is correct that the area is not one of the neighborhoods of the City within the Residential Design and Compatibility Standards ordinance. The Marshall Tract is within the City limits of Austin, and the Lost Creek Neighborhood is scheduled for annexation in two steps. The MUD will be  taken over by the city and the end of this year, and the neighborhood at the end of 2015. More than likely the project will be completed after the city has annexed the area. A Limited District has been approved and it will go into effect on the first of 2015. Lost Creek is now in Austin's ETJ.
Barton Creek Mall Planning Area
Barton Creek Mall Area FLUM

Barton Creek Mall Zoning

City of Austin Compatibility Standards

But, regardless of the technicalities, the proposed development is not compatible with the Lost Creek neighborhood, nor is it compatible with  other office developments along Loop 360.

The fourth paragraph refers to an attached superiority chart that is not attached to my copy. It supposedly indicates that the PUD allows for a superior development of the property.

The author states the PUD seeks GO zoning for the base district and proceeds to indicate all the City Code modifications (what used to be called variances?) to the proposed PUD District:
  1. Maximum height 122 feet instead of 60 feet
  2. A maximum of 50 feet of cut instead of four feet of depth
  3. A maximum of 35 feet of fill instead of four feet.
  4. A maximum height of buildings of 120 feet more than 200 feet from Loop 360 instead of the Hill County Roadway ordinance of 40 feet.
  5. An assertion for the Hill Country Roadway ordinance that the area is in a moderate intensity zone.
  6. Instead of a Floor to Area (FAR) of 1:
    1. 0. 5 for a building on property with a slope gradient of 15% or less
    2. 0.25 for more than 15% but less than 25%
    3. 0.2 for more than 25% but less than 35%
    4. 0.1 for more than 35%
  7. Can construct a roadway or driveway with a gradient of greater than 35% instead of not greater than 15%
  8. Can construct a building or parking structure on a gradient of more than 35% instead of 25%
  9. May provide for water diversion of up to two acres instead of 1 acre.
The application does not mention the requirements of the Eanes or Barton watersheds. Nor, does it address the Golden Cheek warbler habitat on the land.

In the General PUD notes provided by 360 Professional Services, note 7 states that prior to the issuance of an occupancy permit, the drive to Las Cimas will be constructed. The notes do not state where construction equipment access will be allowed.

According to note 5, 10.4 acres of open space will be provided. This land does not appear to be within the boundaries of the PUD, but between the boundaries of the PUD and the property boundaries. It does not state how this land will be zoned.

The Land Use Plan submitted by 360 Professional Services Inc., indicate that the Marshall Tract will be divided into two regions – PUD and Open Land. The PUD will be divided into four areas:
  • Area 1 – 16.1 acres, office
  • Area 2 – 13.5 acres, office
  • Area 3 – 7.6 acres, civic/commercial
  • Area 4 – 0.1 acre, cemetery
There are 29 different types of civic uses permitted under the GO classification, and 15 commercial uses. Office is not a classification under GO. Different types of offices are listed under commercial uses.

The total of all the land areas and the open area equals 47.7 acres. The tract only has 37.4 acres.

There is no mention of where the water containment feature (2 acres) will be placed. Nor is there any mention of where AC equipment, garbage, lighting, etc will be placed. And, there is no mention of an environmental impact study which should be done on this environmentally and historically significant tract of land, nor its impact on mobility.

(1) See Austin's Neighborhood Planning Guide to Zoning for information on SF2, PUD and GO, as well as other useful information: 

1 comment:

  1. I was able to get and review Cousins Marshall tract PUD Tier 1 & Tier 2 Compliance (8/14/2014). In this document they do say that they will comply with both the Eanes and Barton watershed requirements. The document paints a rosy picture for the PUD in order to justify its creation. It appears self serving. Basically I can see no advantage of creating the PUD to the public. All of what they want to do, could be done without the PUD. The advantage to them is that get to write the custom zoning regulations for their use of the property.