Toomey Road rezoning gets initial approval after long wait

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Friday December 10, 2021 by Jo Clifton

At the urging of council member Ann Kitchen, city council approved on first reading the rezoning of the apartment complex property at the corner of Toomey Road and Sterzing Street near Zilker Park. The tenants of the complex, which will be demolished to make way for a new building, have reached an agreement with the owner. Nonetheless, there was still some neighborhood opposition to the zoning change, which will allow a 75 foot tower. Initially, the developers had sought to build a 90 foot tower on the 0.9 acre property.

Although staff recommended the highest density multi-family zoning (MF-6), the planning committee was unable to reach a consensus and referred the case to council without a recommendation. Between staff and neighborhood requests to postpone hearings on the case, it was postponed eight times before Council took action on Thursday. However, the organized tenants agreed not to oppose the rezoning in return for certain promises, including the right to return to the new project.

Kitchen has made it clear that while she supports the zoning change at first reading, she will not support it on subsequent reads until the developer signs a restrictive covenant that includes reserving 15 percent of the units. rental for families earning 80 percent or less of median family income for 40 years. And 5 percent of all ownership units will be reserved for those earning 80 percent or less from the MFI.

A significant part of the agreement states that tenants will receive 180 days notice of demolition and pay no rent for 90 days prior to demolition. The developer, known as 1725 Toomey LLC, agreed to pay up to $ 2,000 for the first month’s rent for each tenant when moving, and $ 500 for moving costs, as well as up to $ 250. $ in administration fees.

Zoning official Jerry Rusthoven explained that the developer had also agreed to phase out short-term rentals as use in the building. He said he needed to speak to the town’s legal staff in order to put this in the order. In addition, Kitchen said the developer promised to create a public use vegetative buffer zone along Toomey.

Not everyone was happy with the proposed zoning change. David Piper of the Zilker Neighborhood Association said: “It has become the business of the Toomey Road hostages.” He said tenants, some of whom are paying considerably less than the market rate for their apartments, “deserve a better deal. It is a mistake that tenants get nothing for their non-opposition. The property is for sale between $ 32 million and $ 33 million, but if another developer buys it, it will have to comply with the restrictions that are part of the zoning ordinance.

The property is located in Kitchen District 5. No other board member commented on the proposal she and the tenants worked out with Amanda Swor, who represents the developer. The approval was unanimous.

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