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Dawson Neighborhood

Editorial: 2510 S. Congress Variance Waivers

Image: Street Rendering

Greetings to the Dawson Neighborhood:

It has been a pleasure to meet and get to know the wonderful residents of the Dawson Neighborhood. We couldn’t be happier to call the Dawson Neighborhood home for The Guesthouse Hotel.

The Guesthouse Hotel’s mission is to provide a unique, individual, home-like experience for our Guests. We have designed a hotel that provides spacious, private accommodations with multiple bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms. We recognize that most lodging experiences have remained unchanged in the past half century. The average size hotel room in 1950 was 325 square feet and remains the same today. In contrast, the average size home has increased 144% from 983 square feet in 1950 to over 2400 square feet today. Americans live much differently today than they did 50 years ago and they shouldn’t have to turn back the clock 50 years while on vacation.

Who We Are

The Guesthouse Hotel is a special hotel concept; one that we have modeled and designed to fit the modern traveler. We recognize three groups of travelers who are underserved in the current hospitality world:

  • Family travel- We’ve designed many of our suites for family travel and can accommodate up to eight Guests per 3-bedroom suite. We feel families should be able to travel together and stay in the same suite comfortably. Our family friendly suites have private bedrooms and bathrooms with kid-friendly bathtubs. We offer children’s amenities including, but not limited to: cribs, high chairs, strollers, toys, and dining kits. We also partner with local businesses to facilitate family travel needs, such as babysitting services, children’s museums, retail shops, family-friendly restaurants, and local grocery stores.
  • Group travel- We understand that destination travel is dominated by groups of travelers rather than just a single family or solo traveler. We’ve designed suites to accommodate up to 8 adults (or four couples) traveling together. Our suites have custom designed kitchens and common living spaces, which enable groups to spend time together in their suite and use it as a meeting place.
  • Consultant Business Travel- There has been a huge increase in long-term contract business travel over the past 10-15 years. These road warriors typically spend four – five nights per week on the road in the same city for six to twelve months at a time. We’ve designed suites with amenities and services to ease the travel burden for these long-term Guests. We partner with local dry-cleaning services to help launder shirts and shine their shoes. We also provide use of our meeting rooms and our business center to our Guests.

Permit Status

We started the Site Plan permit process by originally submitting to the City of Austin in August of 2015. We have applied to construct a 79-unit hotel offering one, two, and three-bedroom hotel suites, which will equal any luxury Airbnb listing. Unit sizes will range from 350 square feet for a standard room, up to 1,400 square feet for a three-bedroom suite. The hotel will also have a coffee bar serving locally sourced items, meeting space, exercise room, rooftop deck, private pool, and a landscaped rear garden oasis.

Our parcel of land is located at 2510 S. Congress Avenue, which is a Core Transit Corridor. The Dawson Neighborhood Plan has zoned the front portion of this property, as well as the front portions of the properties on either side of it CS-V-CO-NP. The rear portion of the hotel property is zoned GR-V-CO-NP. The proposed uses are allowed within both zoning districts.

The Church in Austin, our neighbor directly to the south, has split zoning. The front portion of the property is zoned CS-V-CO-NP and the back half of the property is zoned SF-3-NP. All properties along the rear of the site (Euclid Ave.) are zoned SF-3-NP and consist of single family houses. The back portion of the southern property, as well as the single family uses along the west property line trigger compatibility design standards. The property to the north is zoned CS-V-CO-NP throughout the entire property and thus does not trigger any compatibility issues.

Variances

Image: Site Plan

The Guesthouse Hotel has submitted a site plan to the City of Austin with the following variance waivers:

Section 25-2-1067(F) Design Regulations. The first variance is to allow an intensive recreational use be placed within 50’ of properties zoned SF-3-NP. The Guesthouse Hotel proposes to add a small swimming pool and three small cabanas in the rear of the site outside of the 25’ No Build Line, but within 50’ setback. The edge of the pool is approximately 30’ from the closest SF-3-NP lot line.

Mitigating Measures: In addition to a 6’ perimeter privacy fence and landscape berm at the edge of the property, the hotel is proposing to construct a 10’ high acoustic wall around the pool area. This wall will mitigate sound and block any views of the pool and prevent our Guests from seeing any of the surrounding homes. The pool hours will be from 9 am – 10:00 pm to minimize disturbance to the neighbors.

Section 25-2-1067 (H) Design Regulations. The second variance request is to allow for the construction of a fire access lane / driveway within the 15’ code prescribed setback for drives. This 25’ driveway will be located 5’ from the southern property line and within the setback triggered by the church property to the south. Our site is very narrow and contains several heritage trees, which will remain. The proposed hotel has been placed against the north property line to the extent possible to maintain maximum separation from the church property, however the location of heritage trees on both the north and south property lines dictate the location of the building and thus the driveway.

Mitigating Measures: The hotel will construct a 6’ privacy fence and plantings at the edge of the property, to prevent headlights from shining on to the church property. This drive will provide access to underground parking as well as provide emergency access for the fire department. Basement parking will reduce the noise levels and eliminate possible issues with headlights for the adjacent church property. This driveway location will also push the proposed building to the north, 31’ from the church property; 6’ further than required by City Code.

Stormwater Drainage

Dawson residents have approached the development team about storm water drainage concerns. The proposed hotel design should adequately address drainage concerns with these measures:

  • Rain Garden: To help alleviate excess storm water, the hotel will landscape a city approved rain garden used to clean and absorb property site rain runoff.
  • Regional Stormwater Management Program (RSMP): The hotel is applying for participation in RSMP which will connect our property to the regional stormwater system to the south of The Church in Austin. The regional stormwater system was constructed to alleviate excess drainage and prevent flooding.

Closing

We are excited to bring The Guesthouse Hotel to the Dawson Neighborhood. Our Hotel will work in cooperation with local residents and businesses to be an asset to the community. We encourage our Guests to “Live Like a Local” and shop, eat, and drink at local establishments. We plan to partner with as many local businesses as possible to provide a unique lodging experience for our Guests. We hope we will be the first place you think of when a friend or family member is visiting and is looking for a local place to stay.

Editor’s Footnote: City of Austin filing documents are online here.

Dawson Neighborhood Plan Contact Team will hold a vote Monday, June 13 at 6:30 PM, 2508 Durwood St., to decide if the neighborhood opposes or supports the variances.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the variances Tuesday, June 14 at 6 PM. If you live within 500 feet of the construction site at 2510 S. Congress, you can also mail your decision to the Planning Commission. City contact info and form here.

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