3M Company, an American manufacturing corporation, is requesting that Austin City Council rezone an undeveloped 5.58-acre property located at 11705 Research Blvd.

The rezoning passed on first reading as part of the consent agenda, which requests removing the conditional overlay and effectively rezoning the property to a limited industrial services district. 3M Company owns the undeveloped property and is requesting to add office space on it. The property is surrounded by 3M office parks to the north and south; Research Boulevard and SH 183 to the south; and a pawn shop, single-family housing and another office park to the west. The rezoning is consistent with surrounding uses, according to a letter sent to the housing and planning department from a representative of the applicant.

Conditional overlays enact regulations specific to a certain property, such as decreasing impervious cover requirements, decreasing building heights, requiring specific design features to minimize the effects of traffic and more. Removing the existing conditional overlay removes the building height restriction of 40 feet, multiple prohibited land uses and certain city requirements before obtaining a building permit, according to the zoning change review sheet.

The Summit Oaks neighborhood association, overseeing a neighborhood directly adjacent to the property, supports the development and agrees with the removal of the 40-foot building height restriction as well, neighborhood association President Steven Schrader said.

“Summit Oaks neighborhood association agrees to support this request in exchange for several considerations, including the commitment to maintain a 50-foot undisturbed residential buffer zone between the development and the residential property lines,” Schrader said.

The zoning and platting commission has not sent a recommendation to accept or deny the rezoning request to City Council because commissioners did not come to a unanimous vote July 6, according to the zoning change review sheet. Areas, such as building height and setbacks, need to be cleared up between neighborhood residents and 3M Company before the case moves further, Commissioner Carrie Thompson said.

"It seems like there is still confusion about what the visibility would be and so folks are having to react to some unknowns here that I think [3M Company] can easily clear up," Thompson said.

3M Company's last-minute request for a fifth postponement also failed, therefore the case moved on to City Council. Past requests for postponement were made by staff, neighborhood associations, and 3M Company alike, according to the zoning change review sheet.

At this time there is no information regarding vegetation and areas of steep slope at the site, or if the development meets water quality and code requirements. The site is subject to compatibility standards, which states no building or parking area can be built at least 25 feet within the northwest property line, and a fence, berm or dense vegetation must screen surrounding properties from viewing parking, mechanical equipment, storage and waste collection.

Austin Transportation Department staff said 3M Company is required to conduct a new transportation impact analysis at the site plan stage when the site layout will be known, according to the zoning change review sheet.