Controversy over the relocation of a South Austin Boys & Girls club to Northeast Austin seems to have been resolved at last night's City Council meeting, according to an Austin American-Statesman story. Council voted to approve a zoning change that would allow the nonprofit to build a new center in University Hills.
The nonprofit sold its West Johanna Street location, where it had operated the club since 1967, for $2.75 million to South Austin developer Barton Creek Capital in 2014, the Statesman reported at that time. The Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association did not object to the change after the developer agreed to utilize the existing church building and work around several heritage trees on the property. The Boys & Girls Clubs at the time had 22 locations serving 12,000 local children.
The nonprofit's eventual plans to build a flagship location on 10 acres of Turner Lane property were met with opposition from the surrounding University Hills neighborhood association, the Statesman reported, because the move requires a zoning change from residential and light-office to community commercial.
The neighborhood group's concerns included increased traffic and a change that would allow greater density in the future if the nonprofit sold the land. The association also stressed that the designation was meant for affordable housing, and that there are already eight Boys & Girls clubs within a three-mile radius of the location, as well as a park and recreation center.
After negotiations that didn't leave all parties satisfied, the city Planning Commission approved the zoning change in January. In the protracted process leading up to the Council decision, District 1 Council Member Ora Houston negotiated between parties to enact use restrictions on the property, to create a border between the facility and residential homes in the area, and to build a 40-foot private drive on Turner Lane to serve as an entry point from Manor Road. Attorney Steve Drenner represented the Boys & Girls Club in the matter, the Statesman reported.