Friends of Hyde Park’s Updated Statement On Baker Center Rezoning

Planning Commission Meeting: March 13
Case Number: C14-01-0046.02
Project Location: 3908 Avenue B

Planning Commission,

Friends of Hyde Park is concerned that Alamo may have no intention of ever building any housing on the property, which is a requirement for them in order to qualify for the purchase of the property from AISD. We are concerned that Alamo is only including the designs for housing in their proposal as a way to purchase the property under market value from AISD so Alamo can use the property solely for their headquarters. Our concerns are based on two limited meetings with the architect for the project. This proposal may also be millions of dollars lower than what AISD could have otherwise received from another buyer, which deprives our schools, teachers, and children of much needed revenue.

Even if housing is built on the site in the future, Friends of Hyde Park is very concerned with the amount of complex zoning restrictions that will be placed on the Baker Center land if the zoning request is approved as requested. These extreme zoning restrictions place a large burden on the amount of housing and affordable housing that could be built on site. If affordable housing is something that our city values, then this project will be rejected or significantly altered.

Alamo negotiated exclusively with a select few people from the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association and the Hyde Park Contact Team with no outreach to other Hyde Park stakeholders to participate in the negotiations until the negotiations were completed. These negotiations do not reflect what the Hyde Park community wants for this property. After the negotiations with that group were completed no other changes were made that the community at large requested. By limiting the amount of housing that can be placed on this site, which Alamo may not even intend on adding, Alamo gains the support of a small number of people that would rather see less affordable housing than if someone else purchased this property. A small group of a few people that don’t reflect the demographics of the neighborhood should not be able to make these types of important decisions for the majority of the neighborhood as a way to limit the amount of affordable housing and amenities that the site can offer to our neighborhood.

The Hyde Park Contact Team only had 9 people participate in their vote on the Baker Center.

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association only had 28 people participate in their vote on the Baker Center.

Friends of Hyde Park voted on the Baker Center. 101 members voted and 86% of those that voted approved of the “site to be developed to allow the maximum amount of housing and/or walkable neighborhood amenities that would benefit the neighborhood. If residential use is included, options should include affordable housing units.” The majority view on what should be allowed on this site is not being taken into account with the proposed zoning.

Friends of Hyde Park Recommends The Following Changes:

If the below changes are not incorporated, then Friends of Hyde Park requests that the Planning Commission reject the rezoning of this property, which will lead to AISD picking another offer, which will most likely result in more housing and thus more affordable housing along with more amenities directly next to an Imagine Austin Activity Center where future growth should go. Otherwise, we request that rezoning be delayed until after CodeNEXT is adopted and these complicated and burdensome zoning restrictions will no longer be available.

1) The zoning of the property be CS-HD-NP and should not zone the property into antiquated NCCD zoning. Refer to Friends of Hyde Park’s previous statement on the Baker Center rezoning for why opposing any new NCCD zoning is important to our neighborhood and the city.

2) The proposed 50′ feet height limit on the western 100′ of the site should not be included. The height limit in place will limit the amount of affordable housing that can go on the one portion of the site that’s not impacted by compatibility restrictions because it is not near single family housing. All other sides of the property are severely restricted in height because of compatibility restrictions so this section of the property is the only realistic opportunity for the most housing.

3) Include during rezoning a requirement or agreement with Alamo and the City or Friends of Hyde Park that they will not enter into any restrictive covenants during the rezoning process or after without approval from Friends of Hyde Park. The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association wants to enter into a restrictive covenant for any zoning restrictions that they requested that can not be included into zoning itself, which would make these requirements impossible to change in the future to allow more market rate and affordable housing, even if sold to a new owner that’s open to providing the much needed housing, including affordable housing, that our neighborhood wants.

Information About Friends of Hyde Park

In one of the largest stakeholder processes in Hyde Park’s history, Hyde Park residents voted overwhelmingly to support a new land development code to replace the existing land development code in Hyde Park. 91 Hyde Park residents out of our 403 members at the time voted. 78% of the members that voted supported the resolution.

Our neighborhood association, Friends of Hyde Park, is the largest neighborhood association in Hyde Park with 415 current members (approximately 50% renters and approximately 50% homestead homeowners) and has more participation of residents in our votes and stakeholder processes out of any other neighborhood association in the area.

Board of Directors of Friends of Hyde Park

Pete Gilcrease
Teresa Griffin
Thomas Ates
Matt Desloge
Tom Clear
Adam Luikart
Robert Prentiss