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Dawson Neighborhood

Editorial: Opposed to Variances of Guesthouse Hotel on South Congress

The church in Austin was invited by the Dawson Neighborhood Plan Contact Team to the neighborhood meeting on Monday, February 8 to present our views about the variances requested for the proposed Guesthouse Hotel on the property bordering us on the north at 2510 S. Congress Ave. What follows is a summary of our presentation.

The church in Austin is a Christian church established in Austin in 1973. The church has been at its current three-acre location at 2530 S. Congress Ave. for 40 years, the front half of which is zoned CS (commercial) and the back half of which is zoned SF-3 (single-family). The front half has 11 buildings, and the back half has six buildings and a backyard.

We have over 700 adult members and 300 children who use the backyard for meetings, outings, children’s Sunday school classes, and children’s summer Bible Camps. During 2015 we had 17 adults and 7 children living on our property. Most of the back half of our property is used as their backyard for recreation, relaxation, and entertaining guests. The majority of the adults who live on our property are full-time missionaries. Our backyard is our only location for them to “get away” from their hectic schedules to have a quiet time in an unobstructed environment. There is a very special, peaceful atmosphere due to the beauty of our huge live oak trees and open space.

Krug Development has requested the following three variances:

  1. Setback: Waiver to reduce the 25-foot setback to a 5-foot setback along the back half of our property.
  2. Pool: Waiver to place a pool within 50 feet of the back half of our property.
  3. Alcohol: Waiver to sell alcohol within 300 feet of a church.

[Editor note: See permit 2015-080283 SP and 2015-147316 RW]

The back half of our property is more restrictive zoning in order to be protected by city codes and ordinances. We are generally opposed to having a hotel located next to us because of the problems it will bring. Problems that are generally associated with vacation (in contrast to roadside) hotels include parties and late night activity that will be noisy after hours.

Image: Satellite View. Click to enlarge.

Image: Plat View. Click to enlarge.

Setback: We informed Krug Development before they purchased the property that we were opposed to rezoning. Allowing the variances on the back half of our property would have the same effect as rezoning it to commercial. A two-story building up to a height of 30 feet within 5 feet of our property brings the hotel guests too close to our residents and members, would be unsightly, and would physically detract from the openness of the area.

Alternatively, if a driveway is constructed rather than a building, the driveway and adjoining parking will increase the amount of traffic and associated noise of groups of people. Hotel night life will likely be closer to our property since the drive and parking would be on the south side of their property instead of the north side which has no neighboring residents. In addition, garbage trucks typically arrive several times a week around 5:00-7:00am and are quite noisy due to the banging of the receptacle on the truck to empty it and their warning beeping sound in reverse.

Furthermore, there are numerous trees along our property line that could be affected by buildings or a driveway within five feet of our property. The trees we are most concerned about are four large mature live oaks. (Krug Development should be aware of the potential problems since they asked us to protect their three oak trees from traffic due to our parking by roping them off at their drip lines.)

Pool: The objections stated above now get moved to the outdoors, which amplifies the potential problems even more.

Alcohol: Public intoxication creates a generally rowdier and noisier environment in which adherence to rules and regulations is less likely because of reduced self-control. This potentially poses a disturbance and threat to our members, residents, and children.

We hope the Dawson Neighborhood community understands our concerns, and will be supportive, because none of our church members would choose to live next door to a vacation hotel. Please feel free to contact us at churchinaustin@nullgmail.com for more information or comments.

Signed,
The Board of the church in Austin

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