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Rezoning request fails to get unanimous vote, gets bumped to next council meeting

A request to rezone property in northwest Austin came before the Austin City Council Monday evening, and it hasn't seen the last of it because it didn't receive unanimous approval on its first reading.

The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society is requesting the rezoning of the property in the 200 block of 14th Street Northwest, the former Comforcare site with a lot size just under 65,000 square feet, from an R-2 multi-family district to a B-1 neighborhood business district.

Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society made the request to accommodate a future commercial development planned for this property.

This issue will come before council members again at its next meeting, Dec. 3. A vote must be a unanimous approval for the first reading of an ordinance. On Monday, the motion to prepare the ordinance had a 5-2 vote, with Roger Boughton and Marian Clennon voting against it. The vote on the second motion, to adopt the ordinance and order publication, was 6-1 with Clennon voting against it.

The request can be approved at the next meeting with two-thirds approval (or five votes, in Austin's case), according to Minnesota statute.


The issue came before the Austin Planning Commission Nov. 13. It voted 4-1 to recommend approving the rezoning request.

According to the city zoning ordinance, the purpose of the requested neighborhood business district is to permit and encourage small convenience goods and personal service centers located in close proximity to residence, which are designed to be part of a residential neighborhood.

In other words, it's designed to be in areas "close to or adjacent" to residential areas," said Craig Hoium, community development director.

"It seems reasonable that this could be a reasonably-controlled commercial area," said council member Brian McAlister.

But some of the surrounding residents said they were concerned about the rezoning idea.

"We are concerned about the garbage and what kind of businesses are going in," said Lani Seiver.

Seiver was representing her mother, who lives in the 200 block of 15th Street Northwest. Sevier was concerned about property values, because she wants to sell in a couple years, and she added that there was no problem when Comforcare was there. She also said traffic is already an issue.

Bill Rollie also lives in the 200 block of 15th Street Northwest. He listed some of his concerns as having to do with garbage, the unloading area and noise for whatever development would occur at the site.


This isn't the first time this area has come up before the council either.

At the council's Aug. 20 meeting, it voted 4-3 in favor of amending the comprehensive plan for land-use designation of the future land use map to reclassify the 205 14th Street Northwest property from low density residential to arterial commercial. Janet Anderson, Jeff Austin, Steve King and McAlister voted yes. Boughton, Clennon and Judy Enright voted no.

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