We wrote a few weeks back on one of the very worst Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning cases since the infamous Barton Creek PUD of 1990. The so-called “Statesman PUD” is back on the city council agenda for next Thursday, July 28, Items 131 and 132.
The Statesman PUD tract is 19 acres on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake, on the east side of the Congress Ave bat bridge. If approved as proposed it would include 1300 units of ultra-luxury condos, 1 hotel, 1.5 million square feet of office, and 150,000 sq. ft. of retail in a set of towers reaching up to 525 feet in the air. In effect, downtown would jump across the lake, with more development of a similar kind to follow along Barton Springs Road and Riverside.
Neighbors, environmentalists, park advocates, and fiscal conservatives are not really opposing the massive increase in density. Rather the owners—some of the richest people in the world—are demanding tens of millions of taxpayer subsidies for the project. They also want to cheat us out of park land that would, under standard city rules, be required to be dedicated to the public. To compound the outrage, they want to retain management control of the too-little-park-land they are dedicating while cutting off existing public access to the lake along the Congress Ave. sidewalk.
With your help and action by Councilmember Kathie Tovo the matter was delayed in June because there was no draft ordinance and a giant haystack of staff backup documents contained almost none of the needles of important details stitching this “welfare for the ultra-rich” scheme together.
Its back now on next Thursday’s agenda and we need your help again to have it delayed and then denied in its current form.
Please take a few minutes to send an email to City Council to insist that it be (a) postponed again until all of the public’s questions are answered,(b) all of the taxpayer subsidies are removed, and (c) all of the park land dedication normally required is granted to the public without the private developers’ retaining control and limiting access to this “public” park land.
Please also share this with friends, neighbors and family who might join in to fix this mess. Stay tuned and we will provide the link to speak at the meeting, in person or remotely, starting on Monday.
Here are the email addresses for the Mayor and council.