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New Skyscraper Ordinance Sure Quacks Like Zoning

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A public hearing will be held at Planning Commission, July 21, at 2:30 p.m., City Hall Annex, 900 Bagby, Public Level.

The High Density Ordinance proposals seek to provide buffering requirements when a development is proposed that is over 75 feet in heigh; is located along a local or collector street and abuts a single family property.

Affected areas:

MAC 1 – Beltway 8/Westheimer

MAC 2 – Interstate 10 at Highway 6

MAC 3 – Texas Medical Center

MAC 4 – Greenspoint

MAC 5 – Interstate 10 inside the Beltway

MAC 6 – Uptown/Galleria

MAC 7 – Greenway Plaza

MAC 8 – Central Business District

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Just to make sure I understand what I read.. the MAC boundaries are exclusion zones to this new proposed ordinance ?

I don't really see this as zoning. Like the language in the pdf says - It's meant to discourage hi-rises next to single-family residential, not prohibit. Prohibiting commercial would be zoning. Of course, It could have the same effect of prohibiting if the site is too restrictive, unless the developer/architect finds a way.

Would this new proposal save the people off Bissonnet from their tower of terror? I don't think so.

The Ashby site is 320x220. SFR only exists on the back side. So per the new rules, they would have to be 50' from the back PL, and 100' back at 90' elevation and higher. Plus you have the 10' building line up front and sides. So You could still have a floor plate of roughly 300' x 160' for the first 40' and that slopes back to 300'x110' at 90' and up.

Looking at the Ashby
.. What did they propose?

Their Ground level floor plate with parking is roughly 300'x200' . However, that includes significant retail and an additional 10' landscape/pedestrian buffer along Bissonnet.

Lose your 40' of ground level retail depth, lose that 10' buffer and you are still in business.

As for higher up.. the developers were already stepping back significantly at around 70-80' elevation it looks like.

Judging from the elevations, it looks like the depth of the actual tower part is about 120-130', the width along Bissonet is about 275' and it's about 70' away from the back property line.

With maintaining that 100' distance and pushing the building forward that extra 10'.. they'd only be losing about 10'-20' in tower depth.

What would the result be?

Ground level retail.. Out. Pedestrian zone off Bissonnet.. Out. Slightly skinner and disproportional tower - In. A residential development that strives to add streetlife to the community - Out.

If this ordinance goes through, and Buckhead plays ball, would the city have any ground left to say No. The anti-Ashby clan will find out that they'd be better off had they kept their mouths shut.

Edited by Highway6
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  • 3 weeks later...

Who decided the boundaries of the MACs? Planning Commission? Invited consultants? Any help is appreciated.

That would have to be VERY specific lines. If, say a tower were built at the location where the Holiday inn on the west loop is, then would A-oaks be open to residential towers? Slippery slope potential.

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