On Thursday night, City Council began considering the neighborhood opt-in/opt-out applications for vertical mixed-use zoning. First up: South Manchaca, Bouldin Creek, and Greater South River City (Travis Heights and the St. Edwards area). (I've posted a short primer on VMU here.)
Back in February, Council foolishly amended the VMU ordinance to permit neighborhoods to recommend that specific properties be opted out of the VMU district. I am confident that it will regret that vote.
But not on this Thursday night. Both Bouldin Creek and South River City acted responsibily. South River City asked to opt out one property; Bouldin Creek did not ask to opt out any. South Manchaca, which didn't have any properties originally zoned VMU, asked to opt in several properties, mostly decrepit strip malls.
VMU is off to a good start.
Brewster commended the neighborhoods, citing them as proof that Austin's neighborhoods are unfairly tagged as anti-density. Perhaps he just meant Bouldin Creek and South River City. He knows perfectly well that many neighborhoods have asked to opt out broad swaths of property. (Allandale's application is best understood as a temper tantrum; it has asked to opt out all properties except Northcross Mall and a tiny strip along Burnet.)