By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Four Points Against More Traffic has collected more than 1,000 signatures on its petition to help fight a rezoning request for 11108 Zimmerman Ln.
“We have over 1,000 signatures between ink signatures and website signatures,” said Marc Chase, a River Place resident who started the Four Points Against More Traffic petition.
Last week the City of Austin Planning & Development Committee recommended not to rezone the property around 11108 Zimmerman Ln. based on environmental concerns, safety issues, and opposition from those living on the residential street, according to Chase.
“This is great news,” he said. “However, this case will still be presented to council for a vote and we will show a strong presence at this hearing.”
On February 25, a rezoning request was filed by Foundation Communities to build a new 124-unit affordable housing apartment complex at 11108 Zimmerman Ln. The 8.9 acres of land, not far from Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ, is currently zoned as single-family residential.
Chase owns Kailey Development which is developing the Preserve at Zimmerman Lane —nine, single-family lots with four homes built across from the proposed apartment project.
There have been previous requests for zoning changes on Zimmerman Lane that have been denied and this latest move stays consistent with those recommendations, Chase said.
Four Points Against More Traffic also filed a valid petition as of April 25 with support of 90 percent of all owners in the Zimmerman subdivision. Three property owners did not support the initiative or are being neutral, as they stand to benefit from the transaction, Chase said.
The zoning case is set to go before the Austin City Council in late May or early June. “Now we only need two council members to reject this zoning change and it’s dead,” he said.
Chase hopes to have 2,500 signatures on the petition by that council meeting.
“I’m going to need a strong presence at City Hall in late May or June to show council members we are serious about the Issues in Four Points. The more signatures the better,” Chase said.
Jennifer Hicks, director of housing finance for Foundation Communities, said that one of the main reasons they are looking to build Cardinal Point in Four Points is because of the lack of affordable housing for those who work in the retail and service industries. Their calculations indicate there are more than 500 jobs are located within a mile of the site.
“It has excellent schools, wonderful amenities and wonderful employment opportunities. It has zero affordable housing,” Hicks told Four Points News previously.
She added that funding for the project would primarily come from housing tax credits issued by Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. She said the zoning change is a condition of receiving the funding.
Foundation Communities did not send out formal notices about the proposed project to nearby HOAs including Grandview Hills, Steiner Ranch or River Place. Their application indicates the three groups they chose to notify were Long Canyon HOA, Leander ISD Administration, and some residents on Zimmerman Lane.
Jeff Arsenault, real estate professional with City View Realty, is marketing the Preserve at Zimmerman Lane and he and his also family live there.
“People in the area typically don’t hear about these projects until they have passed through all their approval processes, and then can only complain that they didn’t know that they could speak up. Here’s an opportunity to tell our city planners that we’ve had enough dense development until they do something to improve the safety and ease the traffic congestion of the roadways in Four Points,” Arsenault said in a Facebook post recently.
Adding 250 cars to a small, two-lane road with only a single way in and out, without a traffic light “poses sincere and serious safety concerns,” Arsenault added.
Chase found out by looking at current tax records that Foundation Communities contracted with the two landowners for five times the market value. Records show $1.4 million for 6.948 acres and $600,000 for two more acres.
Austin-based Foundation Communities manages close to a dozen affordable housing communities throughout Austin for those with low to moderate incomes— 50 to 80 percent of Austin median family income.
Chase added that if the property does get rezoned and Foundation Communities does not get awarded this particular project, then any developer could come into Zimmerman Lane and build multi family apartments from affordable housing to luxury housing.
“Any of these would be a major impact on our community,” Chase said.