The land use code has been a controversial subject, as it determines how land can be used in the city, including the types, sizes and locations of new buildings.
As the Nov. 3 election approaches, many Austin City Council candidates are taking a stance on what to do with the code. We asked Austonia newsletter readers if they supported the current draft, and the majority voted "No."
Of the 60 readers who responded, 90% voted against the current draft of the code. Opponents commented that they disapprove of increased density.
"They are changing land codes with intention of making more affordable homes but that isn't really what it does. In our neighborhood, builders can take lots, make more dense housing, but then just give money into a fund for affordable hous[ing]... thus creating more dense neighborhoods without creating more affordable housing. ... So we feel the pain with more traffic, etc., but doesn't actually make it more affordable for this neighborhood."
On the other hand, 10% voted in favor of the current draft. Some readers wrote that increased density is a good thing.
"We need to find ways for more people to live in the city. This means finding ways to fit more than strip malls and single family homes in as many neighborhoods as possible. I would like the [land development code] to change even *more* than what's proposed but I also believe incrementalism is the name of the game."
Next week, you can expect a story from Austonia about the land-use code.
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Designs for stations along Project Connect’s Blue Line were presented this week, giving a detailed look at what part of the rail system extending from downtown to the airport could look like.
The planned stations that have gotten the latest focus include Waterfront, Travis Heights and Lakeshore stations past Lady Bird Lake.
At the Waterfront station, the preliminary design aims to prevent visual obstructions and save on costs. This is accomplished by a transit guideway that will lower from the bridge to a level station.
Heading onto East Riverside Drive, the light rail faces a curve requiring a slow down to about 10 miles per hour.
The Travis Heights station could involve relocating a pedestrian crosswalk zone at Alameda Drive to Blunn Creek. Since light rails can't effectively operate on a steep grade, this allows the transit guideway to avoid that.
From there, the rail will extend to the Norwood Park area, and though it will reach along the right-of-way zone, the park will be able to remain open.
A view of the Blue Line by Lady Bird Lake. (Project Connect)
The line involves some coordination with the Texas Department of Transportation. That's because the department is working on an intersection that will have to be built before the phasing of the section of the Blue Line involving an I-35 crossing.
When it comes to the safety of cyclists and walkers, design ideas include a pedestrian hybrid beacon by East Bouldin Creek that would provide a protected signal to cross. And for the intersection TxDOT is carrying out, Project Connect is working with them on pedestrian access across the intersection. It could involve shared use paths along the street and crossings beneath it.
This summer, the public can expect 30% of design and cost estimates to be released. Though the project was $7.1 billion when voters approved it in November 2020, the latest estimates factoring in inflation and supply chain constraints show it could ultimately be upwards of $10 billion.
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Plans for an Amazon warehouse in Round Rock—a $250 million project slated to be a large distribution center—are on hold.
This comes just after the tech giant had its worst financial quarter in seven years.
- Late last year, it announced an expansion at the Domain adding 2,000 more corporate and tech jobs.
- Amazon still owns the site in Round Rock. Plans for it are unclear.
- Early this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is aiming to scrap warehouse space as it faces a slowdown in its e-commerce operations.
Part of that effort involves exploring the possibility of ending or renegotiating leases with outside warehouse owners. Another aspect is a plan to sublease warehouse space.
“It allows us to relieve the financial obligations associated with an existing building that no longer meets our needs,” an Amazon spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal. “Subleasing is something many established corporations do to help manage their real estate portfolio.”
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