Imagine Austin: 30-year growth blueprint approved June 19, 2012 6:05 pm


AUSTIN (KXAN) – A plan to shape the city’s growth and development throughout the next 30 years has been set into motion after Austin City Council unanimously approved — very early Friday morning — the comprehensive blueprint for growth.

– Interactive: Austin’s evolving plans for growth

“It’s inspirational in a couple of areas: multimodal transit; vertical mixed-use, transit-oriented development — because I think that type of density is very democratic, and it provides paths to prosperity,” said Austin architect Martin Barrera. “It develops healthy communities. Through walking communities, through biking communities, we can help to overturn decades of car-designed communities — and with that, the obesity trend that is really crippling our state.”

It is called Imagine Austin – a renewed, comprehensive approach to things like:

– Transportation
– Sustainable water resources
– Investment in the workforce, education and entrepreneurs
– Environmental protection and nature
– Creative economy
– Affordable housing

“It’s not a perfect plan,” said Councilwoman Laura Morrison, who was up until nearly 1 a.m. Friday with her fellow council members deciding on this plan. “It doesn’t solve a lot of the challenges we have. We have a lot of work ahead of us … Rewriting the land development code is a carefully reasoned process, but I do believe it’s time to move forward with this.”

As we have been chronicling in our ATXpansion coverage, with the area growing so rapidly, people have been calling for a way to manage growth.

“People need to know: Will there be urban centers plopped down in their neighborhoods, right next to them? Will they be taken out by a transportation center?” said Marcy Hoen, with the Austin Creative Alliance. “So those are the things of great concern.”

At the top of the list: transportation improvements and reliable water resources.

A number of people showed up for public comment Thursday night to talk about how they felt about the plan.

“As a voice for the younger generation, as a voice for Austin as a fit city, a beautiful city, don’t make the mistake of destroying what is the most sacred — our environment, our Mother Earth,” said a girl who was at the late-night meeting.

Austin History Center Manager Mike Miller said many of present concerns are the same as decades past.

A large goal of Imagine Austin is to address the population boom for the that city has outgrown its last development blueprint by far.

Council members did hear comments from people asking that the idea of extending State Highway 45 Southwest from MoPac to FM 1626 not be included in the Imagine Austin plan.

That could end up being written out of the plan on amendment at a later date. Read full story