Council approved several edits this month to the North Burnet/Gateway Regulating Plan, which governs development in and around the district now labeled as Austin's expanding "second downtown." The planning area is roughly bounded by US 183, MoPac, Walnut Creek and Metric Boulevard, which includes The Domain, Austin FC's Q2 Stadium and The University of Texas at Austin's J.J. Pickle Research Campus.
Council Member Leslie Pool, whose District 7 includes much of that area, began promoting updates to local planning documents last year as new residential, business and transit investments have poured in over recent years. During council's Feb. 7 meeting, she said the latest adjustments could help clear the way for even more additions.
“[The plan amendments are] responsive to the energetic growth in this area of my district. Last year I brought an initiative to perform a comprehensive update for the North Burnet/Gateway plan so that it accurately reflects the vision as our second downtown," Pool said. "I want to signal to our staff that we do still embrace the vision and the greater entitlements that are needed to fulfill it. I look forward to seeing the comprehensive update come before us this spring and to responding to the enthusiasm for development in this area.”
The edits, approved in a 10-0 council vote, bump up maximum building heights and floor-to-area-ratio, or FAR—the comparison of a structure's footprint and the size of the property it sits on—in the North Burnet/Gateway area. The changes apply to two transit-oriented development subdistricts generally north of Braker Lane and east of Burnet Road along Capital Metro's Red Line.
New development in that area can now reach up to 491 feet high, or about 30 stories, and can build to a density of a 12:1 FAR. The subdistricts were previously allowed between 240 and 360 feet of height and FARs of 5:1 and 8:1.
District 4 Council Member Chito Vela, who represents a slice of the North Burnet/Gateway district, also expressed support for further growth in and around The Domain.
“The changes that we see in that area around Austin FC stadium, around The Domain north of Burnet are remarkable and exciting, and I wholeheartedly support this item to continue in that direction," he said.