Commissioners also pushed off consideration of a pair of broader city planning updates for several weeks. Those items have been could each alter future development across the eastern side of downtown and around The Domain in Northwest Austin.
South Congress art yard
The rezoning case for 5604 South Congress Ave. would allow for a coffee and cocktail lounge alongside a music and arts space in an outdoor garden setting. Initial plans for the 12,624-square-foot site include a pavilion area and stage, lawn, and food vending.
The plan is scheduled for council review in February.
Windsor Park multifamily
Thrower and agent Victoria Haase also said that, while significant on paper, the zoning change would not permit residential construction that is out of character in the area. The Berkman Drive property is already restricted by compatibility standards—development rules that cap characteristics such as building height near existing homes—meaning the project would be limited to less than 35 units and 45 feet of height regardless of the zoning change.
City planning staff recommended voting down the request, citing the surrounding single-family homes as a baseline for local zoning.
No residents spoke against the plan Jan. 10. However, commissioners were split on whether to side with the Thrower team's ask for limited density given the constraints of the property or maintain the neighborhood's established zoning levels.
"The actual size of the building isn't changing that much between these two zoning categories, but in one of these you actually incentivize much larger units. ... This really seems like a slam-dunk case," Anderson said.
On the other side, multiple commissioners opposed the jump in land use entitlements proposed by Thrower. Several said that while more housing at the location could be welcome, a greatly increased zoning allowance was not needed and could result in future speculation rather than short-term development.
"[Multifamily residence high density zoning] doesn’t belong here. We can argue all day about titles and definitions and that sort of thing ... But as of right now, MF-5 does not belong in this location," Commissioner Grayson Cox said.