11/7/2014: Yesterday, City Council postponed this item to 11/20/2014 with direction for it to be heard at the Downtown Commission meeting on 11/19/2014.
10/30/2014: There’s a substitute proposed amendment on the draft City Council agenda (currently item #34, as of this update) for 11/6/2014. This proposed amendment unanimously passed first reading. It still proposes an expansion of the area where overnight concrete pours would be allowed, and is also proposing, among other things, to have any and all off-peak concrete pouring in the CBD and expanded areas to end at 2am, in most situations.
10/21/2014: We’ve just been told that, due to stakeholder feedback, the consideration of this proposed amendment has been indefinitely postponed.
At this moment it is difficult to name a residential tower in downtown Austin that is not within earshot of construction. This is one of those topics that reflects the challenges of managing economic growth.
The agenda item in question is in regards expanding the areas allowed for concrete pouring from just the CBD to include the Density Bonus Area (see image below), DMU areas (which would include Seaholm), and the (P) Zoning Districts.
Here’s a map (click on it to enlarge):
The amendment also adds what some would call “weak” language regarding noticing requirements.
The proposed amendment has revealed a bit of a fury from downtown residents – many of whom want the night-time pouring stopped altogether (we’ve been told by several sources that no other major city in Texas allows for concrete pours after 8pm).
Then there are residents who want construction to be completed as soon as possible, thus are encouraging the night-time pours. Some folks on this side of the issue note that ROI is impacted when construction timelines are longer, which could impact things like affordability and the ability to even build some dense developments. They also cite that day-time traffic would be even further gridlocked if some concrete pours aren’t allowed in the late evenings.
Notably, residents of the Spring Condos and 360 Condos are within proximity of Seaholm’s construction, and will be immediately affected if this amendment passes, and residents of Plaza Lofts (with the newly started construction of Hotel ZaZa) has previously expressed concerns about night-time pours in general.
We see both sides of the issue, (personally, I see the benefits of getting construction over with) and believe that downtown should continue to push for vertical growth. Of course, I’ve been woken up by early morning concrete pours. It’s just something we accept as part of growth, but we are watching closely to see how the chips fall at the October 23.