The Myth of the Better PUD: Why the BCRC's Math Doesn't Add Up.
We’re happy to hear that the BCRC supports the vision for The Grove at Shoal Creek, a vision created after a year-and-a-half of meetings, discussions and give and take between the community and the owners of The Grove.
Unfortunately, the BCRC’s latest proposed amendments to The Grove aren’t truly amendments. These new, burdensome requirements would fundamentally change the project, seriously undermine the community vision the BCRC acknowledges is best for the site, and make the project economically unviable.
We think you deserve to know why the BCRC amendments just don’t add up. Here’s why:
- The BCRC says it supports MORE housing and affordable housing — up to 1515 total residential units, and 600 congregate care beds in a new senior-living facility.
- The BCRC says it supports a vibrant mixed use project but with a smaller commercial footprint — up to 115,000 sf of office and 100,000 sf of retail.
- The BCRC also wants to increase parks by 6 acres and REDUCE traffic by 25%.
If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.
The simple fact is that the BCRC cannot mathematically have all three.
The reason? The BCRC’s proposed traffic limitations and park increases actually greatly reduce density and make their support for both more housing and a viable mixed-use project simply impossible.
The 100,000 square feet of retail and 115,000 square feet of office development supported by the BCRC is already far too low for a viable mixed-use center.
But even if the project moved forward with this amount of commercial development, the traffic limitations and park acreage increases mean that only 952 total residential units could be built (875 market rate homes and 77 affordable units) — 37% less than they claim to support.
Alternatively, if housing is maximized as proposed by the BCRC, then the BCRC’s proposed traffic limitations would require the developer to reduce both the retail and office portions by an additional 50 percent from the amount that the BCRC claims to support. This would guarantee the elimination of the mixed-use aspects of the project.
Simply put, the BCRC’s latest proposed “amendments” do not add up. These proposed requirements would not "build a better PUD."
Austin is in the midst of a housing crisis — especially affordable and moderately priced housing. Yet, the BCRC amendments proposes either to significantly lower residential density — which would eliminate more than 30 units of affordable housing and many more lower-priced “Missing Middle” housing units — or eliminate the vibrant mixed-use aspects of the project that the community desires.
Either way, these amendments would actually make the The Grove worse and prevent the vision the BCRC supports from becoming a reality.
We look forward to the continuing public discussion of this exciting and important project. These discussions should be based on facts — and the fact is that the BCRC’s math simply doesn’t add up.