East Side Debate

City could halt future development on East Cesar Chavez

City could halt future development on East Cesar Chavez

East Side Hotel_Cesar Chavez street_rendering_2015
Developments such as this proposed hotel on East Cesar Chavez are receiving criticism from neighbors. Courtesy of Baldridge Architects

KVUE — On Tuesday, the Austin Planning Commission debated issuing a moratorium on all permits for hotels, lounges, breweries and sound on East Cesar Chavez Street between Interstate 35 and Highway 183.

Much like the rest of Austin, new businesses are opening along East Cesar Chavez Street, but the neighbors aren't necessarily happy about the types of businesses coming in. "Breweries, more taverns and they're seeking 2 am permits," said Gavino Fernandez.

Fernandez grew up in East Austin and now serves as president of El Concilio Mexican-American Neighborhood Association. He said the new businesses are bringing new problems for his neighbors.

"We have a lot of businesses that open and want to have amplified loud music, you know, outside on the patios, as part of the entertainment. And that is causing a nuisance to the neighbors, especially during the week," Fernandez said.

"I feel like this is going to turn into Rainey Street pretty much and nobody wants that," added Cassandra Paff who works on East Cesar Chavez Street.

Both said parking and traffic are other issues. Neighbors complain that customers park in front of their homes because many of the businesses don't have sufficient parking lots. They blame the city since it issues the permits to build.

"I feel like the city is maybe being a little irresponsible and not listening to what actual Austinites care about," Paff said. 

During its meeting, the Planning Commission decided to hold off on issuing the moratorium so the city's law department can weigh in on the issue. A moratorium would also have to be approved by the city council. 

Still, Fernandez thinks a moratorium is a good idea. He said the neighborhood has always had a mix of restaurants and "mom and pop shops" and that's something neighbors welcome, but the association wants the city to create a comprehensive plan for the area, deciding which types of businesses best fit the neighborhood.

"We have experience of co-existing and that's what we want to maintain and make sure that the culture and the richness of this corridor does not disappear," Fernandez said.

The commission is expected to take the issue up again later this month.


To read the full story and watch the video, visit KVUE.