& Helpful Links




   HOME          HISTORY          REVIEW PROCESS          BY-LAWS          MINUTES          CONTACT


History of CANPAC and the Central Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan Contact Team

Neighborhood Planning in the Central
Austin Combined Neighborhood
Planning Area

Edited from the COA Website: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/zoning/downloads/ca_pi_20.pdf

The neighborhood planning areas that comprise the Central Austin Combined Neighborhood Planning Area (CACNPA)-West University, North University, and Hancock-were instructed to engage in a planning process by an Austin City Council Resolution on April 11th, 2002. The resolution grew out of Council frustration with a series of zoning controversies between the mostly-residential neighborhoods and the developers of multi-family projects near the University of Texas campus.

In addition to the three planning areas, Council instructed the Neighborhood Planning staff to engage the following groups in the planning process:

o The University Area Partners (an organization representing business,
    institutions, and property owners in the University of Texas area)
o The University of Texas at Austin's Faculty Master Planning Committee
o A representative from the University of Texas' facility planning staff
o A representative from the University of Texas' student government.

In the late summer of 2002 Neighborhood Planning staff began meeting with the
University Area Partners (UAP) and the neighborhood associations in the combined planning area to inform these groups about the planning process. Representatives from six neighborhood associations and the UAP formed an umbrella group, the Central Austin Neighborhood Policy Advisory Committee (CANPAC). This group served as a liaison between City staff and their respective associations.

Early in the planning process, the two groups that had been wary of working together because of their history of antagonism made the exciting discovery that they could agree on this common vision statement and work together from there.

The planning process involved dozens of meetings and involved hundreds of people over a two-year time span. A detailed account of the extensive planning process that ensued, along with the entire plan that was adopted, is found on the city's website at http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/zoning/central_austin.htm. The plan was adopted by City Council in a series of actions, most of which were final on July 29, 2004. Highlights of that plan are excerpted here:

Vision statement:

The Central Austin Neighborhood Plan shall preserve the historical character and integrity of single-family neighborhoods. It shall allow multifamily development and redevelopment in appropriate areas to reflect the historical nature and residential character of the neighborhood. The plan will address the needs of a diverse, pedestrian-oriented community and provide safe parks and attractive open spaces. The plan will foster and create compatible density in areas that are appropriate for student housing; new development will be appropriately oriented and scaled relative to its neighborhood in the combined planning area

The plan was adopted by City Council in a series of actions, most of which were final on July 29, 2004. Highlights of that plan are excerpted here:


Goal One

Preserve the integrity and character of the single-family neighborhoods.

Goal Two

Preserve the historic character and resources of the Central Austin Combined
Neighborhood Planning Area neighborhoods

Goal Three

Allow mixed-use development along the existing commercial corridors that is pedestrian oriented, neighborhood friendly, neighborhood scaled, and serves neighborhood needs.

Goal Four

West Campus should become a dense, vibrant, mixed-use and pedestrian-oriented community.

Goal Five

Provide a safe environment and opportunities for all modes of transport.

Goal Six

Enhance and preserve existing open space, parks, and the natural environment.

Top Ten Priorities

The top ten priorities for the Central Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan were determined by the results of the Final Survey and the Final Workshop.

1. Rezone multi-family-zoned property that is used as single-family to single-family zoning.

2. The City of Austin should enact an ordinance to create local historic districts to protect and preserve historic neighborhoods through design standards for new construction and significant remodeling projects.

3. Stop the incursion of new commercial and office uses into residential areas.

4. Establish an overlay (University Neighborhood Overlay [UNO]) for the West Campus area that allows denser, pedestrian-oriented commercial and multifamily development.

5. Buffer the predominantly single-family neighborhoods (West University and Shoal Crest) adjoining West Campus by limiting the mass, height, and scale of new multi-family development bordering these neighborhoods.

6. Establish a Neighborhood Conservation Combining District (NCCD) for North University that will foster the preservation of the neighborhood's original development patterns while respecting the different land uses in different parts of the neighborhood.

7. Institute a residential parking permit program throughout the neighborhoods of the combined planning area to address the negative effects of non-resident parking.

8. New houses should be of a similar scale and massing as the existing houses.

9. Identify areas where mixed use would enhance the livability of the neighborhoods and rezone accordingly.

10. New multi-family development outside of West Campus should be compatible with surrounding historic single-family houses by using similar setbacks, roof forms, ridge heights, materials, and colors.

Neighborhood Planning Team

The Neighborhood Planning Team (NPT) is a group of people who have participated in the development of a plan. In the event that a property owner requests a plan amendment, this group will be responsible for determining the sentiment of neighborhood stakeholders and submitting a letter of support or opposition to the plan amendment application before the scheduled Planning Commission hearing. The plan amendment process ordinance states the Neighborhood Planning Team shall include at least one representative from the following groups within a neighborhood plan area:

o Property owners
o Renters
o Business owners
o Neighborhood associations.



Prior to submitting any plan amendment applications or letters of support or opposition for plan amendments, the contact team must adopt by-laws governing their membership and decision-making procedures.


The NPT also has the ability to submit an application to amend a neighborhood plan outside the scheduled time period for plan amendments. The teams can also submit an application on behalf of another person who wishes to apply for a plan amendment outside of the amendment cycle for that planning area.

The Central Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan Contact Team members are members of the Central Austin Neighborhood Planning Advisory Committee (CANPAC).

The current membership of this group consists of representatives from the seven neighborhood associations/neighborhood groups that actively participated throughout the development of the Central Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan:

Eastwoods Neighborhood Association
Hancock Neighborhood Association
Heritage Neighborhood Association
North University Neighborhood Association (NUNA)
Shoal Crest Neighborhood Association
University Area Partners (UAP)
West University Neighborhood Association.

Excerpt From:
Lessons Learned: Central Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan


Interviews and Writing by:

Kelly Beavers
Devin Culbertson
Maggie McGehee
Eli Pearson

  • A Neighborhood Planning committee representing all areas and stakeholders/groups in the planning area helped turn conflict into collaboration.
  • Having representatives from every region of the Neighborhood Planning Area meet with affected property owners to discuss on-the-ground effects of zoning changes created understanding to avoid conflicts later on.
  • Holding regular meetings with City staff and meetings with Council members prior to final hearings served as a reminder of the importance of neighborhood planning.
  • All stakeholders - residents, property owners, businesses, and developers - worked together to understand each others' perspectives and develop a common vision.
  • When neighborhood stakeholders remain involved after plan completion, they can assist in tracking, lobbying for, and even effecting implementation.
  • When neighborhoods seek creative solutions to complicated problems, rather than defend the status quo, more gets accomplished.
  • Training in how to deal with sometimes angry, impolite people help neighborhood planners as well as other stakeholders serve as facilitators.
  • The City rebuilds and maintains trust that Plans will be enforced.
  • Staff hold sessions to be clear on the limitations of what a plan can address and the circumstances under which zoning and other changes might occur.
  • Where the City has larger-scale goals - such as accommodating density, affordable housing, or transportation - making those clear to neighborhoods helps them knowledgeably approach the issues and develop appropriate solutions. Using larger Neighborhood Planning Areas allows plans to address broader problems.
  • Neighborhoods benefit from continual training on planning procedures, terminology, and tools so they may act as informed participants. Technical assistance to produce maps, drawings, and other descriptions of alternatives help residents visualize different options.
  • Allowing for and providing a variety of planning tools allows neighborhoods to tailor plans to their particular circumstances.





HOME          HISTORY          REVIEW PROCESS          BY-LAWS          MINUTES          CONTACT


CANPAC - Central Austin Neighborhood Advisory Committee