Study aims to find balance for development along Lady Bird Lake

Austin skyline

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Waterfront views in Central Austin demand top dollar, and starting on Thursday the city is hosting an event to make sure competing interests don’t cost Austinites access to Lady Bird Lake.

The South Central Waterfront Initiative goal is to maximize public and private efforts to make any development along the lake a win-win situation.

“We are looking at a plan that cooperatively can work for everyone,” said Alan Holt, principal planner for the Austin’s Planning and Development Department. “Instead of property owners making decisions individually and as silos, if we can think across this whole district when we have the opportunity to create a network of streets, green spaces, connections and come up with a system to achieve affordable housing.”

The city said there are some challenges facing the lake like inadequate public access and limited public green space along the shoreline.  It also said parking lots, aging auto-oriented development and  “superblocks” are making it difficult for everyone to get to the waterfront.

“There are rules and regulations in place that talk about how far you need to set back from the lake but part of the problem is those rules deal with one parcel at a time. So dealing one parcel at a time doesn’t get you  into a system wide thinking of how to get connections through parcels and across parcels,” said Holt.

He said over the next three days the city is hosting “Vision + Design Intensive” to get public input for the future of the South Central Waterfront area of Lady Bird Lake.

The city said the point of the event is to build a plan to “guide redevelopment of the area over the next 20 years.”

  • Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Texas School for the Deaf
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