Food trucks out, density in

On Bluebonnet Ln, just east of S. Lamar, is this really cool property that until recently had an abandoned house. The scenery looked almost tropical. Like a home built by a French colonist in Vietnam. I’ve never been to Vietnam and I don’t know anything about architecture, but that’s just what came to mind for me.

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It’s right next to this giant parking lot on S. Lamar that until recently was the home of several food trucks.

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Anyway, the house is no more. Somebody is fixing to turn it and the parking lot into a big mixed-use development. It looks like Kirk Rudy of Endeavor Partners is leading the development and Richard Suttle, one of City Hall’s top lobbyists, is shepherding the project through the zoning process.

In the short-term I’m definitely bummed about the loss of the food trucks and even a little bit sad to see the house go. But these lots are the low-hanging fruit in Austin’s pursuit of greater housing supply. It’s right next to two frequent bus lines: the 803 & 300. You can take either of those buses down to Central Market or Target at Westgate and you can take the 300 over to HEB on S. Congress & Oltorf.

And of course, hopefully the next development will include some retail that will help make the surrounding area even more walkable.

So far it doesn’t look like the South Lamar Neighborhood Association is throwing too big of a fuss. It requested a postponement at the last Planning Commission meeting to ask for assurances on the following:

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I don’t feel too strongly about any of these. I’m happy to see the 20% parking reduction. I only wish it were greater. There’s a private restrictive covenant on the property barring all kinds of uses that people usually don’t like: pawn shops, car repair, funeral homes … I don’t know why everybody is so opposed to funeral parlors. I, for one, want to be laid to rest in a walkable, transit-oriented neighborhood.

Although the restrictive covenant requires the property to abide by compatibility standards, I think the demolition of that house might have put the project in the clear on height. I don’t think there’s a single-family home within 500 feet that would limit its height. But we’ll see …

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