Planning Commission postpones multifamily development case in South Austin

Representatives of Shelby Lane Development said they are in contact with the gas company in charge of the gas pipeline beneath the property. (Trent Thompson Community Impact Newspaper)
Representatives of Shelby Lane Development said they are in contact with the gas company in charge of the gas pipeline beneath the property. (Trent Thompson Community Impact Newspaper)

Representatives of Shelby Lane Development said they are in contact with the gas company in charge of the gas pipeline beneath the property. (Trent Thompson Community Impact Newspaper)

The Austin Planning Commission unanimously voted Nov. 9 to postpone the Shelby Lane Development's case, citing concerns about a dangerous gas pipeline underneath the property and unclear answers from the developer.

The applicant plans to develop a 520-unit multifamily apartment complex located at 4700 Weidemar Lane. Of those units, 150 will be for sale along Shelby Lane frontage and 370 will be for rent along Weidemar Lane frontage, according to the zoning change review sheet. The 8-acre tract of land is undeveloped and is bordered by the Colonial Trails Subdivision to the west and general commercial services to the east along I-35.

City staff recommends approval of the project because it will provide a buffer between the commercial uses and the Colonial Trails neighborhood and add more housing opportunities for the area.

Development case postponed

The Colonial Trails residents and the South Congress Combined Neighborhood Plan Contact Team oppose the development and put forth their first request to postpone hearing the development case to Dec. 14.


The neighborhood and contact team requested a postponement because they requested information from Shelby Lane Development about a high-pressure gas pipeline beneath the property and traffic mobility at the end of a Sept. 27 meeting, residents Marco Cantu and Lyn Davis said.

Alice Glasco, representative of Shelby Lane Development, promised the neighborhood a follow-up meeting before the Planning Commission hears the case. However, the neighborhood was never contacted to schedule a follow-up meeting, Cantu said.

“At the September meeting you wanted to provide an update; towards the end of that meeting neighbors had very specific questions for you, and you could not provide answers,” Cantu said in an email to Glasco. “We still have unanswered questions that require answers/intent and need a final presentation to the neighborhood and not an update.”

However, Glasco said the developer's team gave residents all necessary information they needed to know.

The first motion to postpone hearing the case failed 6-3-1 with Commission Member Jeffrey Thompson abstaining from voting. However, after further discussion, Planning Commission unanimously approved a second motion to postpone the case to Dec. 14.

Commission Member Todd Shaw said building a multifamily development on top of a gas pipeline is concerning and more concrete answers need to be given from the developer regarding their plan to deal with the gas pipeline.

“We can define the legal definitions of a hazardous liquid, but gas is hazardous,” Shaw said. “If there is an explosion, people are going to get killed.”

Resident concerns

The new zoning change only allows buildings no higher than 60 feet tall. The neighborhood and the contact team are concerned a potential 60-foot multifamily development will tower over their homes.

Additionally, residents are concerned the high-pressure gas pipeline underneath the property is too dangerous to develop on top of or relocate, according to emails sent to the Planning Commission from Colonial Trail residents.

Shelby Lane Development has been in communication with the gas company that owns the pipeline to relocate it during the site development phase, Glasco said. Developments beyond parking lots are typically not developed on top of gas pipelines, city staff said.

City staff reviewing the case learned about the gas pipeline last week.

“The developer will have to reroute both the pipeline and [other nonactive pipeline] and while doing so, there are seven businesses located 200-800 feet of 4700 Weidemar that house hazardous materials,” resident Dacey Long said. “Seventy percent of pipeline and gas line incidents occur due to new construction without the presence of combustible liquids or hazardous materials. Who will be responsible for lives and property if an incident such as destruction of property, injury/bodily harm, and loss of life occur?”
By Trent Thompson

Reporter, Austin Metro

Trent joined Community Impact Newspaper as an intern in May 2021 after graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Texas, Austin in December 2020. In July 2021, he was promoted to Austin Metro reporter. He covers several news beats from education and government to dining, transportation, nonprofits, and healthcare. However, his primary beat is business and development. Before working at CI, Trent wrote for The Daily Texan, UT's daily student newspaper, and worked on many projects of his own for his undergraduate program. In his free time Trent writes poetry, spends time with loved ones, and watches Star Wars for the hundredth time, including other new movies.



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