November 3, 2015: P&Z Hearing on McIntosh Project

This Tuesday, a proposal to build a 3-story, 32-unit apartment complex on the old hospital site at 605 E. University Avenue, will come before the Planning & Zoning Commission.

Local residents are opposed to the project, which will present a heavy impact on the neighborhood. Please consider attending to show your support in opposition to this project – you don’t have to speak, your presence will count for a lot.

The public hearing is this Tuesday, November 3, at 6 pm in Council Chambers – that’s 101 E. 7th St, on the Square at 7th & Main.

The site is currently zoned commercial, and the developer is requesting High-Density Multifamily zoning. He’s asking for some very significant exceptions to current code requirements, such as:

  • High-Density Multifamily (MF-2) zoning calls for 50% impervious cover maximum. Developer wants 87%.
  • MF-2 calls for no more than 24 dwelling units per acre. Developer wants 32 units (30% more dense even than high-density, and in the middle of moderate density housing).
  • Building setbacks from the residential district – the UDC says 30 feet, developer wants 5 feet.
  • Building height – the Old Town Overlay says 30 feet maximum. Developer wants 36 feet.


There’s more, but you get the point. There are no reasons given anywhere in the application for these exceptions to be granted. It’s simply that this is the size the architect drew up the plans. This is the size that yields the right profit for the developer. The impact on the neighborhood is never adressed.

Will P&Z grant these exceptions? Undoubtedly – unless residents who care about Old Town protest against the project.

This project is set in the middle of Old Town, a vast residential area that is historic, protected and of moderate density. Every official plan and law in this town contemplates buffer zones between high-density and moderate density, between multifamily and single-family zoning. Against this, the developer wants the favor from the city of being allowed to make a profit here, regardless.

For details and drawings of this project, check the Agenda for P&Z, and click on Item G.

Send your question, comments or objections to:
Mike Elabarger, Senior Planner
(512) 931-7746

HARC already denied this proposal for violating several of the requirements of the Design Guidelines, and council will hear an appeal on November 24. On that same date, council will decide on P&Z’s recommendation for or against this zoning change. What P&Z decides Tuesday evening will have a huge impact on council’s decision.

The fight goes on, and once again, it’s a fight for the property values of Old Town. It’s not about whether apartments are a good idea or not, it’s about the size of a building and whether or not it fits in its location. This project is too big for this piece of land, which is why it requires all the exceptions to the normal restrictions.

Please show up on Tuesday at the public hearing to support your neighbors who are fighting for smart growth in Georgetown.