Cactus Rose Rezoning Given a Preliminary OK at Council
Last week, the Austin City Council has granted initial approval for new development on the site of the Cactus Rose Mobile Home Park in East Austin. The council’s decision was one of three high-profile zoning cases on the council agenda Thursday.
For decades, the 23-acre site in Montopolis has been home to a community of RVs, trailers and some duplexes. But the property owner is looking to redevelop.
He’s applied for a zoning change with the city, which would allow for new residential and commercial development to go up there. Saul Madero, president of the Cactus Rose Neighborhood Association, told the council that the zoning change would displace residents.
“I guess it’s time to leave, but we want to live together like a community,” Madero said. “For that reason, we want your help.”
Council members also heard from Susana Almanza with the local activist group PODER, or People Organized In Defense of Earth and Her Resources. Her group has been at the forefront of negotiating with the developer Oden Hughes and city leaders, trying to hash out a plan to build a new mobile home park rather than dispersing residents. She asked council members to deny the zoning change.
“Most of the mobile homes were built in the ‘70s and ‘80s and can’t be relocated without falling apart,” Almanza said. “Even though the owner says he has located several companies that will relocate them, there is no liability coverage of the mobile home falls apart.”
Council Member Pio Renteria represents District 3, which includes Cactus Rose. He said even if council didn’t approve this zoning case, it wouldn’t safeguard residents from being displaced by any future development.
“And, I hope y’all can understand that if we turn this down, then we’re not going to be able to help y’all out,” Renteria said. “It’s out of our hands. The developer can just allow y’all to stay there, he can kick y’all out, with not giving y’all anything.”
In the end, council members approved the case on first reading, giving residents and the developer more time to negotiate. The zoning change still needs final approval from the council before being implemented.