River Place leader speaks at Land Development Code hearing 

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

River Place resident Jennifer Mushtaler was one of nearly 300 Austin citizens who signed up to address a joint meeting of City Council and the Planning Commission on October 26 about proposed changes to the Land Development Code, the city’s zoning regulations intended to increase the amount of housing available to Austinites. 

Mushtaler – who is a commissioner on the Austin Planning Commission and former president of both the River Place HOA and River Place Limited District – spoke to the joint commission and asked the following:

1. Will separate water/sewage/utility permits and taps be required? How has AW (Austin Water) assessed the existing infrastructure and how do we know it can accommodate a tripling of demand in some areas?

2. Since these will not require NTA’s (neighborhood traffic analysis), how will transportation know that our roads can accommodate ingress/egress, particularly in light of parking changes? What will be used to trigger requirement of second ingress/egress?

3. Firewise – our city is woefully unprepared for a catastrophic wildfire. AFD (Austin Fire Department) has previously testified about single home capacity in zoning cases, how will we ensure fire safety? I then referenced insurers pulling out of markets in our area and explained concern that if home owners cannot secure property insurance, they cannot obtain a mortgage. I stated that these are elements that are driving up costs of home ownership and costs to build infill if the city continues to fail to address what the national insurance industry has recognized

4. Will watershed please discuss how our drainage systems are prepared to capture runoff and how our infrastructure can accommodate drastic changes?

The Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the same topic on Nov. 14 and Council will hold a work session on Nov. 28. Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal on Dec. 7.