Northwest Hills considers mixed-use alternatives for Austin Oaks PUD


Austin Oaks current development

Mixed-use development is popping up all across the Austin region. While many New Urbanists and Smart Growth proponents recommend higher density beyond the urban core, developers have increasingly been looking to central neighborhoods that still consider themselves “suburban.” This has brought out a brand new cast of NIMBY voices trying to keep the urban core (read: mixed-use development) in a sandwich between Mopac (to the west) and IH-35 (to the east).

The most recent scuffle is underway in Northwest Hills where, just south of Spicewood Springs Road, neighbors are working with developers to consider four (4) Design Alternatives for the Austin Oaks Office Complex. The current development was designed in the 1970s and 80s, featuring mid-rise office buildings and acres upon acres of surface parking. The property owner is currently seeking permission to improve the property beyond City of Austin code compliance rules to include parkland, multi-family, townhouse, and office buildings with a decidedly modern mixed-use concept. In the end, neighborhood leadership is trying to balance the need for parkland dedication and new housing with concerns about increased heights and traffic in their area.

Should mixed-used development creep its way into traditionally suburban parts of the central city or should we restrict higher density development only to identified “Activity Centers” as outlined in the Imagine Austin plan? You can weigh in: