Home News Because of compatibility, mini storage units block 10 homes in South Austin 

Because of compatibility, mini storage units block 10 homes in South Austin 

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Tuesday, September 20, 2022 Jonathan Lee

The Coordination Board failed last Monday to approve a compatibility waiver allowing 10 townhomes at 1609 Matthews Lane in South Austin.

To build the unit, the owner of the half-acre property limited the building height near the single-family homes and requested compatibility differences that required additional setup. The adjacent property has had a mini-warehouse since 1984, but the land is zoned for single-family homes, which creates compatibility.

Victoria Haase, who represents the owners, said the board should consider using adjacent land rather than zoning. According to her, mini storage units don’t require the additional buffer from multi-family developments.

The plan included eight attached townhomes and two detached single-family homes, each three stories and up to 31 feet high. In 2021, the property has been rezoned to a maximum of 10 units Multifamily Low Density (MF-2-CO).

A conceptual site plan by Heimsath Architects shows the proposed setbacks.Compatibility requires the building to be set back 25 feet from the property line.

Kevin Crane, owner of the Mini Storage Unit, opposed the decentralization, as did the Matthews Lane Neighborhood Association. Association President Karen Fernandez spoke at the conference on behalf of Crane.

“The requested exemption is viewed as a concern for adjacent property for future planned development by Mr. Crane,” Fernandez said, adding that if the mini-storage facility develops into residential use, It added that allowing waivers could affect future residents.

In response to the concerns, the Applicant proposed setbacks of 10 and 14 feet from the adjacent property.

Some board members objected to the compatibility waiver because they thought the applicant was unable to demonstrate hardship.

“In the end, there are no difficulties here,” said director Darryl Pruett. “You’re going to scrape a lot of this. You don’t have to be ten, you can make a decent one.”

Haase responded that 10 units is a reasonable use given the city’s housing crisis.

Board member Michael von Oren argued in favor of decentralization. Unintentionally, the site’s environmental features push development to adjacent properties.

The Board approved the difference 8 to 3, just short of the required 9 votes. Board members Pruett, Barbara MacArthur, and Richard Smith, who is running to replace Paige Ellis as District 8 Councilor in November, voted against.

Without variance, fewer units may be manufactured. Haase said only his 40% of the property is currently available for development.

Photo Caption: A rendering shows a townhome project and a mini storage unit (left) that triggers compatibility. Rendered by Heimsath Architects.

of austin monitorHer work is made possible by donations from the community.Our reports are sometimes targeted at donors, but we take care to separate our business and editorial efforts while maintaining transparency. A full list of our donors is available hereand our Code of Ethics explained hereThis story was changed after publication to fix the requested setbacks.

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