Groups plan protest of development near Lady Bird Lake


by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist Scott Mckenney

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 6 at 7:19 PM

AUSTIN --  Several groups are coming together to fight a proposed apartment building at South Lamar and Riverside.

They're urging city council not to approve a 96-foot-tall apartment complex that would sit across from Lady Bird Lake. They say the building would be intrusive and illegal.

New developments are popping up left and right in downtown Austin.

"I like that it's a young growing city and there's a lot of fun stuff to do," said Kaley Klasson, who lives in the area.

It's one of the reasons many people are attracted to the city. Klasson says after 14 years here, more development is inevitable.

"I understand that Austin is a growing city, so we do need new developments," she said.

This week council members will vote on another planned development. It's a six-story, 96-foot-tall, 198-unit apartment project  to sit on Riverside and Lamar,  replacing Taco Cabana.

"It doesn't fit with Austin's community values and priorities," said David King, who lives in the nearby Zilker Neighborhood.

King, along with the Zilker Neighborhood Association, Save Town Lake, The Bridges HOA, Zach Theatre, Bouldin Creek NA and several other groups, protested Tuesday morning and urged the council not to support the project.

"We're very concerned about that and about it setting a precedent that other developers will want to go even higher than 96 feet. To let their residents have the view of this beautiful Town Lake here," King said.

King said this isn't just a neighborhood issue. He believes preserving Lady Bird Lake and its surroundings should be a priority for all of Austin.

"While she was alive she didn't really want the lake to be named after her because she said, 'It's the town's lake,'" King explained of Lady Bird Johnson.

The protesters also say the building would require waivers from the city council since it's taller than 60 feet, the limit under the Waterfront Protections Ordinance.

They worry if the council lets this building go up as planned, it's only the beginning.

Council will vote on Thursday. KVUE reached out to the California-based developer, Post Paggi LLC, but we haven't heard back.