Austin Oaks

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Austin Oaks

Postby Alison Alter » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:13 pm

Dear Colleagues,

It was already Friday morning when we finished our 2nd reading discussion of the Austin Oaks case. Part of what stretched our talks into such a late hour was an attempt to reconcile the numbers upon which we were making our decisions. Specifically, I was trying to understand the underlying assumptions about how many community benefits should be derived from the granting of an additional 25,000 square feet of office entitlement.

The information below compares the numbers I am working from to the numbers underlying the motion that passed last week.

1. Motion approved on 2nd reading:
25,000 square feet = $1,000,000 in community benefits

2. Developer’s Charrette Powerpoint Jan. 2016:
15,000 square feet = $1,000,000
which makes 25,000 square feet = $1,666,500 in community benefits

3. Real Estate Services Q & A Response:
25,000 square feet = $1,946,750 in community benefits

Methods 2 and 3 yield respectively $666,500 and $946,750 more community benefits than the approach adopted last Thursday. This extra amount could be used to increase community benefits, such as much needed income restricted housing and increased traffic mitigation, or to reduce the height.

For reference, please find attached the documentation / sources for methods 2 ( ... 135116.pdf) and
method 3 ( ... 134158.pdf).

These details matter not just for the case before us, but for the framework for how we pursue every future case. When we give entitlements and we don’t know what they are worth, we are not able to negotiate from a position of strength. When we give entitlements without commensurate community benefits, we contribute to the high cost of land. Land prices rise because others now anticipate greater entitlements in their estimations of land values.

My intention in this case has been to advance the appropriate land use while also maximizing community benefits. My original motion was to accommodate the increased residential uses that my colleagues expressed a desire to pursue without granting unnecessary additional entitlements and burdens on neighbors. If we decide the only route to providing income-restricted affordable housing and basic traffic mitigation requires us to also grant 7 additional stories of entitlements, then we should be very confident that we are receiving commensurate community benefits for that increased entitlement.

Since by quorum rules I am precluded from raising this issue directly with most of my colleagues and in an effort to save us time at work session, I am posting this information on the message board. I would appreciate further explanation of the math behind what passed last week so we can be sure as we move into 3rd reading that we clearly understand the basis of our decisions. Before the City Council votes on anything else regarding this matter, it is my hope that we have clear answers to how we got to the $1,000,000 and can discuss how we value those entitlements at the appropriate work session.


Alison Alter
Council Member, District 10
Alison Alter
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:52 pm

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