Save Our City Austin | Harris Avenue Update
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Harris Avenue Update

Harris Avenue Update

Cutsinger Custom Homes is in the process of completing for Kevin Cutsinger and Ross Cole the first of three planned dorm duplexes on Harris Avenue across from Lee Elementary School.  Each duplex will house a minimum of six unrelated individuals with proposed parking for 18 vehicles in the alley behind what is effectively a small apartment complex masquerading as 3 single-family homes.  At this writing the City has not granted building permits for the other two duplexes at 720 and 722 Harris Avenue. Building permits for the other two lots will not be issued until the City resolves issues involving the critical water quality zone (the 100 year flood plain) which is partially located on the 722 lot and crosses the alley.

Mike Hebert and his wife, Mary Minor Hebert, have filed suits against Kevin and Wanda Cutsinger, Ross Cole, and the City regarding the parking use in the alley behind these proposed Harris Avenue duplexes. The suits are pending in district court.  The City Attorney has been opposing the suit, rather than standing with the neighborhood and the children of Lee Elementary. The lawsuits as well as information on the past hearings before the City’s Environmental Commission and Board of Adjustment Commission can be found here.

Before the commencement of construction of the 718 Harris duplex  parents of Lee Elementary school children met with Cutsinger and Cole  to voice their grave concerns about the child safety and traffic issues that these developments pose to the children of Lee Elementary school.  The parents also appealed to Cutsinger and Cole to revise their plans to make the 718 duplex desirable to families and/or professionals, and to build single-family homes on the other two sites.  Cutsinger and Cole were non-committal.   Lee Elementary PTA also held a meeting with the City’s Safety officer regarding their concerns about the additional traffic that will originate across from the school and will impact not only Harris Avenue but also Carolyn Avenue and Texas Avenue, which are both used by neighborhood children going to school.  To date, the PTA has not heard back from the City on additional steps it will take to  ensure the safety of the children walking and biking to Lee.  At HNA’s March, 2013 regular meeting, approximately 100 HNA members voted against the Harris Avenue duplexes and the further development of dorm duplexes in the neighborhood.

The City requires only 3 on-site parking spaces for 718 Harris. The only reason to build 6 is to accommodate dorm-style occupancy. As of this writing, concrete forms are in place to build 6 parking spaces on the rear of 718 Harris. In previous meetings, Ross Cole has said that nothing is locked in concrete as it relates to parking. Soon, he will need to revise his statement.

Learn more about Stealth Dorms at our Stealth Dorm Q & A, and how Rental Registration works at our Rental Registration Q & A.

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