After a 4-year process, the City Council finally approved a comprehensive master plan for downtown Austin. The plan subdivides downtown — defined as the area between the lake and MLK, I-35 and Lamar — into 9 distinct areas with differentiated development and preservation plans. The plan will guide downtown development for the next 10 years.
The 200-page plan will cost an estimated $350 million to carry out, money that will need to be raised through bonds, fees, or partnerships with private developers. Now, City staffers will turn the plan into detailed land use rules which will also require Council approval.
According to KXAN, Highlights of the plan include:
• “Dramatically improve downtown parks, including those along Waller Creek and the three historic squares.
• Complete the first phase of urban rail as the hub of a regional, comprehensive public transportation plan.
• Re-make East Sixth Street into an attractive destination for everyone.
• Provide permanent supportive housing throughout Austin for those most in need.
• Continue to invest in infrastructure, advancing the Plan’s long-term vision for a dense and vibrant downtown.”
In addition, the plan raises the maximum noise level for downtown businesses that serve food and requires new large development projects to offer or fund public benefits such as affordable housing, public space, or eco-friendly construction.