FYI, following is the letter I sent to Council regarding tomorrow’s hearing, and I have pasted in their email addresses below:
Dear Mayor Leffingwell, Mayor Pro Tem Cole, and Council Members:
With the amendment of the Open Space Requirements, you have an opportunity to begin to address the disparity in access to parkland and multi-purpose trails suffered by neighborhoods identified in PARDâ€™s Neighborhood Gap Analysis.
It seems reasonable to require that PARDâ€™s definition of what constitutes â€œaccessibleâ€ should be used rather than the definition reflected in Part 3(F)(2)(a) and Part 4(A)(2) of the draft Ordinance dated October 14, 2011. PARDâ€™s definition contained in its Long Range Plan reflects reality, where the current definition in the draft Ordinance ignores the fact that public parkland may only be one-quarter mile away, but cannot be safely reached by foot or bicycle.
Stating that a signalized intersection is all that is required for safely traversing a roadway does not address the dedicated right turn lanes at many intersections, nor the distance between signalized intersections and the parks. In some areas, the parkland may be within a quarter mile, but youâ€™d have to walk over a half mile to reach a traffic signal, and then another half mile or more backtracking on the other side of the road to get to the park.
Doesnâ€™t it make sense that definitions contained in the City ordinance on Open Space Requirements should match PARDâ€™s definitions? Wouldnâ€™t that further the goal of improving â€œthe clarity and consistency in the wording and outcomes of existing standardsâ€ (Resolution No. 20090514-036, May 14, 2009)?
Itâ€™s a shame that no analysis of a developmentâ€™s impact on nearby parkland is required before granting a waiver to providing sufficient onsite open space for its residents. This is especially true for areas identified in PARDâ€™s Gap Analysis. Affordable housing and access to open/green space should not be an either/or proposition. If open/green space is not accessible under PARDâ€™s definition, it should be required on-site.
In instances where fees in lieu are approved, the ordinance should specify that those funds be used to provide green/open space within the affected Neighborhood Plan Area in accordance with that areaâ€™s Priority List contained in PARDâ€™s Long Range Plan.
Thank you for your consideration.
/s/ Toni House
Member, EROC NPCT and SRCC
1503 Inglewood St., Austin, TX 78741
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