More development underway on far South Congress Avenue, local whiskey distiller to open tasting room in Southwest Austin and 5 more things to know this week, Nov. 20-25

The Nine Banded Whiskey tasting room will be located just off the Fitzhugh Road corridor.

The Nine Banded Whiskey tasting room will be located just off the Fitzhugh Road corridor.

Development continues to thrive across South Austin with a whiskey tasting room coming to Fitzhugh Road and two rezoning applications for proposed residential projects on far South Congress Avenue under consideration by the city of Austin. Here's a few more things to know this week:

Austin's 2018 bond package could be as high as $825 million, according to preliminary estimates
With a 2-cent tax rate increase, the 2018 bond package could reach $825 million, according to preliminary estimates put out by the city’s Bond Advisory Task Force last week.

Whether a nearly $1 billion bond package is worth a 2-cent tax rate increase will be up to taxpayers when the bond package goes up for a vote in 2018. Last year, taxpayers approved a 2.25-cent tax rate increase for the $720 million mobility bond.

After last year’s bond focused primarily on mobility issues, City Council directed 2018’s bond to fund projects that not only address issues like flooding, affordable housing, high-capacity transit, parks, libraries and existing infrastructure, but that can be completed within a five-year period as well.

Austin Java's Dripping Springs location now slated to open in January
Final property adjustments are underway for Austin Java's first location in Dripping Springs. Slated to open in January, the new location will feature a full-service restaurant with a brewery, coffee roasting facility, lounge, playscape and a beer garden. Including the lounge and deck, it will seat close to 300 people.

Local whiskey distiller to open tasting room in Southwest Austin early next year
Nine Banded Whiskey, made in the Texas Hill Country, announced Nov. 16 plans to open a tasting room in Southwest Austin in early 2018.

The facility will be located just off the Fitzhugh Road corridor, which is home to many other locally based beverage brands including Jester King Brewery and Argus Cidery.

In addition to tastings, the space will also allow for live music and food trucks. Part of the land will also serve as the company’s new headquarters, with bottling and shipping happening onsite.


Austin's CodeNEXT project will be delayed more than two months
The third draft of CodeNEXT—the ongoing rewrite of Austin’s land development code—will not be released until February 2018, according to a Nov. 16 memo sent by city staff.

Originally scheduled for release later this month on Nov. 28, the move will push back the original April 2018 deadline and represents the first significant delay since the project’s timeline was released at the beginning of this year.

Mental health first-aid classes now offered throughout Central Texas
Integral Care, a mental health and developmental disability authority in Travis County, is now offering free mental health first-aid classes to residents throughout Central Texas.

In a recent press release, Integral Care officials said the holidays can be stressful, causing depression or anxiety. The mental health first-aid class gives people the tools they need to help someone who might be showing signs of these types of mental illnesses.

Since 2009, Integral Care has offered mental health first-aid training to over 3,500 residents in Austin. Class participants will learn about warning signs and symptoms of mental illness, substance-use disorders and more.

Onion Creek residents divided on recommended voluntary buyout program
Onion Creek residents had a chance to give feedback on the watershed protection department’s recommendation of voluntary buyouts for 128 flood-prone homes in their neighborhoods at a community meeting Nov. 14.

In May, the city gave a presentation to residents on six flood-mitigation options that would protect homes and structures in the Pinehurst and Wild Dunes neighborhoods.

Based on the results of the analysis and the project scoring criteria, engineering firm Halff Associates, the group that performed the study, recommended voluntary buyouts as the preferred flood mitigation alternative because it is the quickest and least expensive option.

Residents seemed divided on the proper way to proceed. Some seemed to be in favor of the buyouts, while others expressed desires for a more long-term solution.

Rezoning approvals sought for two proposed residential properties on South Congress Avenue
Rezoning applications have been submitted to the city of Austin for two properties on far South Congress Avenue where developers hope to build multifamily residential projects.

The applications, submitted by the applicants’ attorney Michael Whellan, were processed Oct. 20 by the city’s Development Services department.

The first application refers to a 3.39-acre property at 4515 S. Congress Avenue that currently houses a Life Storage facility. The applicant, Lemco Holdings LLC, is seeking a zoning change that would permit the construction of a residential project exceeding the current vertical building height regulation of 40 feet. If rezoned, Whellan said the maximum height would be 60 feet.

The second rezoning application is in regard to a 0.68-acre property at 4401 S. Congress Avenue. The same vertical mixed-use zoning change is being pursued; however, the 840-square-foot project includes only 30 multifamily units—24 one-bedroom floorplans and six two-bedroom plans.

Members of the area's neighborhood plan contact team say they are worried about continued development in the area displacing longtime residents. They are scheduled to meet with the developers before the end of the month.

By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.