Stuck in a Development Slump, Texas Suburb Shrinks Transit District

After plans to create a transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly district in the Austin suburb of Leander fizzled due to the recession, the city has cut back minimum height and density requirements in the hopes of attracting more investment.

"After months of discussion and several tense town hall meetings, the Leander City Council voted Thursday evening to shrink the zone requiring high density development around the town’s MetroRail station to a little more than a third of its original size," reports Esther Robards-Forbes.

"The overall size of the 2,300-acre, transit-oriented development district hasn’t changed, but the zone designated for high-density, pedestrian-friendly shopping and housing developments has shrunk from more than 1,300 acres to just 520 acres."

As for the unmet expectations that preceded the city's recent moves, Robards-Forbes reports: "For a decade…much of the land has sat empty...Landowners said that developers and builders, particularly the big box stores that had shown interest, were being scared off by heavy restrictions such as minimum height and density requirements. In the areas closest the station, buildings had to be a minimum of two stories and residential buildings were limited in favor of commercial and retail."

Full Story: Leander shrinks high-density zone around MetroRail station

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