The City Council voted to include Allandale’s Vertical Mixed Use (VMU) recommendations in the July 24th Consent Agenda which means it supported the Allandale Neighborhood Association’s (ANA’s) recommendations regarding Tracts 5, 14 and 15. This is a big deal for Allandale but hold off on the celebration. This was just the first reading and there’s more work to be done. Tract 5 is the tract that includes the Burnet Road Storage Center. Tracts 14 and 15 are the tracts on the south side of Anderson Lane at Shoal Creek.
ANA’s VMU application is a bit complicated as is the whole VMU process but important to the neighborhood so stay with me. As we reported on the web site in June, Allandale went before the City Council on June 18th and received Council’s support for Allandale’s recommendations for VMU along Burnet Road and Anderson Lane on the 1st reading.
If the Council’s vote carries through on the 2nd and 3rd readings, many of the commercial properties along Burnet Road that back up to single-family residences will keep their current zoning. Homes that back up to these lots can take comfort in knowing there is less of a chance they will one day have apartment dwellers peering into their backyard. This is the “shallow lot” segment of ANA’s application.
The shallow lot decision was only a partial victory because part of ANA’s recommendation in the June 18th meeting was to defer a decision on the tracts that include the 6400 Burnet Rd property (Burnet Road Storage Center) and tracts 14 and 15 (the south side of the intersection at Shoal Creek and Anderson Ln). ANA was given 30 days to work something out. During those 30-days Anne Young, who was appointed by the ANA VMU committee to be the point person in negotiations with the property owner’s agent, spent considerable time studying the options, talking with stakeholders, negotiating with the property owner’s agent, and keeping everyone informed. She did an exceptional job. Again, this is a complex matter and Anne took the lead. Fortunately, she was not alone. Paulette Kern, ANA’s Zoning chair worked closely with Anne and joined her in all of the meetings with city staff and council members. Donna Beth McCormick was instrumental in setting up meetings with council members and accompanied Anne and Paulette on many of those meetings.
What ANA asked for with regard to Tracts 14 and 15 is to exclude Tract 15 from VMU altogether. It’s the property on the southwest corner of Anderson and Shoal Creek where Suzi’s is and is not suited for the VMU Overlay as most of the property has vehicular access only to Shoal Creek Blvd. ANA further requested that if Tract 14 (the tract on the southeast corner of the intersection) is zoned for VMU that access to Shoal Creek is restricted. This was accomplished by splitting it into two tracts where the one adjacent to Shoal Creek would not be zoned for VMU.
ANA is recommending a number of things for Tract 5, the property that includes the Burnet Road Storage Center. We are asking that all in and out traffic is from Burnet Road, that a certain amount of acreage within the development be devoted to publicly accessible open space, that the flood mitigation measures be reviewed by the city not once but twice, and that the neighborhood and immediate stakeholders be notified of any development 90 days in advance of any site plan submission and that they have a chance to review the development plans as they proceed through the various stages of completion. Our next hearing on these issues is August 21.
Thanks to our zoning chair, Paulette Kern who has taken the lead on getting us through the process and to the VMU Task Force - Anne Young, Steven Zettner, Katie Hansen, and Donna Beth McCormick for their work on this complex project. Council Members Lee Leffingwell, Mike Martinez, and Laura Morrison have been very supportive of our efforts. Mayor Pro-Tem McCracken is taking specific interest in the open space issue. Property owners Cathy Savage and Linda Harty helped coordinate input from Tract 5 stakeholders.
Equally important in influencing the favorable vote at the June 18th council meeting was the show of support of the neighbors that attended the hearing each wearing a yellow tag with Allandale on it. There were so many people signed up to speak that our presentation could have lasted 75 minutes. And finally, the Allandale Neighborhood Association extends its appreciation to Michael Stevens Interest, the property owners of the 6400 Burnet Road Storage Center for their willingness to work with us. We anticipate a final decision on all of this at the August 21st Council Meeting. Check the web site for an update.