Dripping Springs City Council tangles with parking solutions for historic downtown

A photo of a sign that reads "Visit Historic Dripping Springs."
In the historic district of Dripping Springs, parking is in high demand. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

In the historic district of Dripping Springs, parking is in high demand. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Dripping Springs City Council met Jan. 14. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
At a Jan. 14 meeting, Dripping Springs City Council voted to permit a variance for a new Mercer Street business to install fewer parking spaces than typically required by city ordinance. The business in question, a bar, will be located at 330 Mercer St. in the Dripping Springs downtown historic district, where space to designate parking spots is limited. The building that will accommodate the new bar was formerly the Mercer Street Dance Hall and has now been partitioned to fit two separate businesses—the bar and Revel Wilde, a retail shop.

Per city ordinance, bars and restaurants are required to have one designated parking spot for every 100 square feet of the business. That rule extends to other businesses in the same building, although separate retail businesses usually only require one parking spot per 250 square feet. Due to space constraints, the business ownership requested a reduction from the 96 spaces that normally would be required for the entire building to 67.

Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds voiced concern that the variance foreshadowed a series of requests to come as Dripping Springs’ downtown is revitalized, he and requested that city staff and council consider permanent solutions for downtown parking in months to come.

“We need to start being proactive and taking care of this stuff and quit kicking the can [down the road],” Foulds said,

Purcell said the difficulties with downtown parking came down to anachronism because downtown had not been built with cars in mind.


“We’re trying to apply today’s parking rules to an area that never had contemplated that there would be parking rules of any kind,” Purcell said of the historic district, pointing out that originally visitors only had horses to contend with. “We have to come up with a solution, and until we do, we’re going to have to make exceptions so that people can open businesses downtown.”

Downtown parking has already been named a priority project of the downtown historic district’s tax increment reinvestment zone, which will support a number of revitalization efforts in the coming decades. However, the city has not yet announced any firm plans for the project.

Council ultimately unanimously approved the requested variance but not before an initial failed vote, with Council Members Taline Manassian and Bill Foulds voting no before Foulds made a motion to reconsider the item to allow for further discussion. With Council Member John Kroll absent, all five present members of the Dripping Springs Board of Adjustment—which includes council and Mayor Todd Purcell—had to vote yes in order for the measure to pass because a supermajority is required on board items.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


MOST RECENT

City Council's April 22 vote decoupled some jobs and services from the Austin Police Department and will provide for the creation of a new emergency communications department to handle city 911 calls. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
City Council OKs shifting hundreds of jobs, range of admin duties out of Austin Police Department

More than 280 full-time employees with responsibilities ranging from handling 911 calls to maintenance and human resources will move out of the APD.

Austin ISD trustees approved a resolution April 22 regarding federal education funding currently being held by the state. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Austin ISD asks state to provide school districts with CARES Act funding earmarked for education spending

Trustee Lynn Boswell said Austin ISD stands to get about $240 million in federal funding if distributed by the state to public districts as intended.

Photo of nurses offering drive-thru vaccines
Appointments no longer needed for drive-thru vaccines at Circuit of the Americas

From April 23-25, people age 16 and up can receive first doses of the Pfizer vaccine without an appointment at COTA.

Austin ISD staff at Pleasant Hill Elementary School distribute meals over the summer in 2020. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD to again offer free lunch to students during 2021-22 school year

Austin ISD has distributed more than 3 million free campus meals and 4.2 million free curbside meals since March 2020.

Q2 Stadium in North Austin
Q2 Stadium to host 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup games this summer

Q2 Stadium has been selected as one of the venues for the upcoming 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.

The Barks for Beers fundraiser will return to Central Texas in May. (Courtesy Divine Canines)
To-do list: Barks for beers returns to Austin and more local events happening through the end of May

Here are nine events taking place between April 24 and May 31 in Austin.

Construction of the new Tom Fazio-designed golf course in Driftwood will be completed by the end of the spring. (Courtesy Discovery Builders)
Driftwood Golf and Ranch Club could open Southwest Austin course this fall

Driftwood Golf and Ranch Club broke ground in 2019 and at build-out will include a golf course, single-family homes and community amenities.

Austin City Council members met for a work session April 20 ahead of the body's regular April 22 session. (Screenshot via city of Austin)
Austin City Hall notebook: Police services decoupling, rental assistance, downtown density bonus fees under consideration

Council will also consider a resolution that would ask state agencies to begin the distribution of about $18 billion in federal aid money aimed at supporting K-12 education.

The DSISD board of trustees heard a presentation on teacher pay at a recent meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Dripping Springs ISD considers teacher compensation ahead of budget-planning process

The DSISD board of trustees heard a presentation on teacher pay at a recent meeting.

Online retailer Wayfair will open a new engineering office in Austin later this year or in early 2022. (Courtesy Wayfair)
Wayfair bringing new engineering office to Austin; beauty studio celebrates opening and more South Austin business news

Wayfair has not yet finalized a space for its new office, but job postings list Southeast Austin as a location.

As part of President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen schools safely nationwide, the department’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option is being expanded beyond the summertime. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
USDA extends free school meals provision through 2021-22 school year

Schools nationwide will be able to serve nutritious meals to all students free of charge regardless of eligibility through June 30, 2022, officials announced.

Austin government, nonprofit and business leaders recently participated in a weeks-long summit centered on unsheltered homelessness in the city. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plan to house 3,000 homeless individuals in Austin in the next three years would cost $515 million

The plan Austin City Council members discussed April 20 emerged from a weekslong community-wide summit on homelessness.