Feature Photo (above): Google Earth image of the project site for the future Cascade Hilltop affordable housing complex for seniors.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Austin (Travis County) — The Zoning and Platting Commission has approved zoning for a multifamily developer that wants to construct an affordable senior housing apartment community in the Onion Creek area.
At their Aug. 4 session, the commissioners heard from the agent of a nascent company that is already constructing a 264-unit affordable housing community southeast of Interstate 35 at Onion Creek.
Immediately south of this development, Cadence Development LLC is constructing a new road, Mayall Trail, that will service the development under construction and a senior housing project south of that–to be named Cascade Hilltop.
Cascade Hilltop is on an 11.5-acre tract that is behind (east of) St. Alban’s Episcopal Church.
The scope of work as described by agents for the developer is for a 140 to 150-unit complex of three to four-story buildings.
The units will be comprised of one- and two-bedroom units and of mixed income in the range of 30 to 70% of area median income, if the developer is able to secure funds for an affordable housing project.
Curtis Davidson, a partner with Cadence Development, said the company will be seeking either a 4% or 9% housing tax credit award through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and possibly bond financing through city of Austin or Travis County housing authorities.
The new zoning changes the site from single family and low density multifamily to a uniform zoning of MF-4 (a higher density multifamily category).
Land use and entitlements attorney Laci Ehlers, an associate at McLean & Howard, told commissioners the higher density zoning was needed to build mid-rise structures because a large portion of the project site cannot be built upon due to environmental constraints.
There are many heritage trees on site that the developer would prefer not to disturb, and the east boundary of the tracts is encumbered by a tributary creek of Onion Creek.
The Cascade Hilltop project site has a narrow easement that reaches the I-35 South frontage and an address of 11601-11811 South I-35, but it will be accessed from the future Mayall Trail.
Austin Development Services planner Wendy Rhoades, also mentioned that to the south is an undeveloped lot with an approved site plan for 292 multifamily residential units, known as Water Oak Apartments (also referred to as Three Hills Apartments) with MF-4 zoning.
VBX Project ID 2020-5DF9.