Frequently asked questions

What is a PUD (Planned Unit Development)?


A Planned Unit Development, or PUD, is a form of zoning intended as a planning tool for larger tracts of land. For instance, most of us of live in Single Family zoning in which there is only one house on a lot and no apartments or retail or other types of commercial structures are embedded. Single family zoning also specifies a minimum lot size, how tall the home can be, and how far it has to be setback from neighbors.

PUD zoning is different in that it incorporates a variety of land uses, so it becomes a much more integrated property. PUDs are large properties that are setup to as a negotiation between the owner and the City Council. Jonathan Coon’s PUD, is governed under current regulations[1] but since the property was zoned a PUD in 1986[2] it only subject to regulations approved in 1986.

The City of Austin governing regulation explains PUDs as:

"General Intent. This division provides the procedures and minimum requirements for a planned unit development (PUD) zoning district to implement the goals of preserving the natural environment, encouraging high quality development and innovative design, and ensuring adequate public facilities and services. The Council intends PUD district zoning to produce development that achieves these goals to a greater degree, and therefore superior to development under conventional zoning and subdivision regulations”

Where appropriate, PUD development promotes projects greater than 10 acres that:

  • Promote a mixture of both land uses and dwelling types (i.e., a park, single family and townhomes, and restaurant)

  • Comply with the PUD Green Building program and provide for environmental protection, and landscaping

  • Promotes the clustering of land uses in order to provide public and common open space

[1] Division 5. - Planned Unit Developments Subpart A. - General Provisions

https://library.municode.com/tx/austin/codes/land_development_code?nodeId=TIT25LADE_CH252ZO_SUBCHAPTER_BZOPRSPRECEDI_ART2SPRECEDI_DIV5PLUNDE

[2] § 1.5. - PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENTS APPROVED BEFORE DECEMBER 15, 1988. A PUD zoning district approved under regulations applicable before December 15, 1988 is governed by the previous regulations and shall be identified on the zoning map as a PUD district. Source: Ord. 20080618-098.




How is the Camelback PUD related to the Champion Tract 3?


The Camelback plan solves the Champion Tract 3 problem. Jonathan Coon has agreed that, upon approval of the 2018 plan for Camelback prior to October 2018, he will purchase the Champion Tract 3 property, cancel the 300,000-square foot apartment approved, and instead build a significantly smaller senior living center. He has agreed to make this purchase in exchange for adding 150,000 square feet of office space to Camelback and neighborhood support to help make the city’s approval process go faster. He has already invested $1 million into this Champion Tract 3 purchase option.

If this plan fails, the option to purchase Champion Tract 3 will expire, the current Houston-based owner and developer, Slate Real Estate, will start construction on the 300,000 square feet of apartments at City Park Road / 2222, and we’ll see 2,100 trips per day added to a location that cannot handle this traffic. Jonathan would still be able to move forward with his plan for Camelback, minus the extra 150,000 square feet of office space. If he doesn not meet the deadline and does not purchase the Champion Tract 3, the rest of the plan for Camelback would proceed.




Where is the PUD located?


The camelback 145 acre PUD looks like a camel to many , and it is located on the east by 360 and Courtyard by the Pennybacker bridge, on the north by the partially complete Bridge Point Parkway, and to the west City Park Road.




What development is included in the PUD?


The PUD will include 145 acres of the Camelback PUD as well as reference the Champion Tract 3 property and must be approved by September 1, 2018. Otherwise, Slate Real Estate resumes its plans to build the massive apartments on Champion Tract 3 with a primary driveway on City Park Road.

The property was zoned as a PUD in 1986 and continues to be a PUD today. Some people believe it was once zoned Single Family, but that is not true. It has always been zoned as a PUD.

In 1986, the 145-acre Camelback PUD was subdivided into only 70 lots that can have either single family homes and/or 140 duplexes. Tin 1986 there was no public benefit or mixed use. Jonathan has filed for a PUD Amendment that includs mixed use with a public park benefit.

Below are the current plans for the Camelback PUD:

  • 64 residences (24 single family lots, 30 condos by club house, recreation area, 10 town homes). Jonathan Coon and his wife plan to live in one of the residences and be our neighbors
  • Nice, quiet restaurant (with access from lake)
  • Consolidated, non-commercial dock with places for 24 boats with small club house with kitchen
  • 1,500 feet of public park along the lakefront and parking lot by the bluff
  • Two offices buildings
  • Hastened improvements at the Courtyard/360 intersection through a TxDot private/public partnership
  • Extend Bridgepoint Parkway from City Park Road to West Courtyard
  • Mile-long walking trail with trees




Where will the structures be located?





What is the approval process timing?


The PUD will go through a full public review process.

First to the Park Board (in August). The Parks Board met and and gave the first recommendation of "superiority" for the Cliff Park and Preserve Park at the PUD.

Second to the Environmental Commission (EC) and next to Zoning and Platting (ZAP) Commissions for their recommendations, then to City Council for a vote on the PUD Amendment. Usually there are two readings (approval meetings with the public) at City Council.

If the PUD Amendment is approved by City Council, the next step is approval of a Site Plan. Only after that can construction begin. The construction could take up to ten years.




How will the views of neighbors views be protected?


Sophisticated lidar data (which is accurate to 4 inches) has been collected by drones and is being analyzed to make sure building height does not obstruct neighbor views. Structures on the PUD property have been relocated / readjusted so as not to obstruct the downtown views of surrounding neighbors.

Green roofs will be implemented so that people on West Courtyard will look down on green landscaping, not the blinding white reflection off an office roof.

The same technique will be used for Westcliff neighbors.

The image below shows the heights (also called compatability)​. The top of the image (with the pink) is along West Courtyard Drive. Heights will be limited to 60 feet on commercial buildings, which is the height of many of the surrounding office buildings.




How will traffic be impacted?


See the tab on this websited called TRAFFIC MITIGATION




What does it mean that the proposed PUD needs to be “superior” to the old 1986 PUD? Why is that important?


There are distinct benefits for using PUD’s for large tracts of land. Among benefits to the owner, PUD zoning allows flexibility under established maximums for height, mass, impervious cover etc.

The City established guidelines for the comparison of the old to the new to establish superiority. Below are some of the most critical categories comparing the old to the proposed PUD when evaluating superiority.




There are two parks planned, so who will be able to use them? Can we park close by?


See the tab on this website Called PARK INFO




What important environmental features are considered?


  • The PUD has a lighting plan that minimized light pollution and will use “dark sky” design guidelines. For example, light fixtures must not produce an intense glare or direct illumination across the property line, except for boat dock lighting (boat dock lighting is required for safety). Lighting must direct the light down and be fully shielded.
  • Noise is minimized by restricted use of amplified sounds not to exceed 30 days per year and the use of sound equipment beyond the property line is prohibited between 10pm and 10am.
  • One acre of wetland will be restored to protect habitat along the shoreline.
  • Even though the current code only requires a 2 star green rating, the PUD will meet a 3 star or greater rating.
  • The erosion hazard zone will meet current code.
  • 75% off all the heritage trees will be preserved, 25% will be mitigated and meet current code. Tree mitigation is the act of compensating for healthy tree removal by planting a proportionate number of replacement trees on a site based upon the species and size of each existing tree that is lost or taking other actions to restore and biologically enhance existing green-space. For the current code see https://library.municode.com/tx/austin/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT25LADE_CH25-8EN_SUBCHAPTER_BTRNAARPRENSP_ART1TRNAARPR_DIV2PRTR
  • The drainage system will be designed to transport all runoff for a 100 year storm.

Click to see image of Critical Environmental Features




Why is the idea of a consolidated boat dock important? How is it different from a marina?


The PUD proposes a clustered dock with 24 boat docks for the 24 individual homes. It has been incorrectly reported in the Austin American Statesman that the PUD will have a commercial marina, but the PUD will not have a marina. (A marina allows commercial uses such as boat rentals or mooring commercial tourist boats for public use.) The only commercial boat that possibly will be allowed will be owned by the restaurant to transport patrons, but if the City considers this a problem Jonathan will not do it.

The City of Austin Development Services has said boat docks are permitted and the length can be up to 20% of the shoreline, so their length meets current code. 20% of the shoreline is 624 feet for the PUD.

No fuel sales will be permitted.

AFD indicated the boat docks can be serviced by AFD which are moored nearby. More discussions are pending with AFD.




When will the boat dock safety plan be complete?


It is required at Site Plan – last step in the process.




Who will use the boat docks and elevator/tram or funicular?


Only Camelback residents will be able to use the clubhouse planned for the consolidated boat dock area down by the lake.

The elevator or tram or funicular( a mode of transportation up a slope that pulls a cable car) will only be for Camelback residents or restaurant guests with a reservation.

However, Jonathan has agreed to remove public access to the restaurant if the City views it as a problem.




If I want the details who do I contact? And where do I go to find more information?


  • If you want the most recent details, go to Public search https://abc.austintexas.gov/web/permit/public-search-other?reset=true and put the Case Number C814-86-023.01 hit the SUBMIT button in that box. Click on related folders and then the case number.
  • Email the City of Austin case manager Wendy Rhoades wendy.rhoades@austintexas.gov
  • Email linda Bailey lindabailey123@gmail.com or your Neighborhood Association/HOA president.
  • Direct email the owner Jonathan Coon at camelbackaustin@gmail.com




What can I do?


Insist that those making claims about this not being "green" or "noisy" or polluting" back up their claims with facts. Talk to the case manager and get the facts. Read this website and the items listed under RESOURCES for more info. Speak up. Get involve and write letters. Ask your neighborhood association/HOA to write a letter of support to City Council at http://www.austintexas.gov/email/all-council-members. Letters should copy City of Austin case manager Wendy Rhoades at wendy.rhoades@austintexas.gov and Lake Austin Collective President Linda Bailey at lindabailey123@gmail.com. Go to the ENDORSE THE PUD tab on this website and endorse the PUD and encourage your friends as well.




More info about tram/funicular/elevator


An elevator or tram or funicular is planned that will go from the consolidated boat docs to the restaurant — that’s all. It is not in the water - it’s footed on land. It takes people from the boat dock up 200 feet to the restaurant.

The design of the transportation method is only in concept phase and will be finalized during site plan.




What is Open Space? and why does it matter?


The 1986 PUD plan went from 40% open space to 50% open space. There are 27.07 acres of parkland, which is 18% of the entire property. A total of 50% is permanently protected open space. This is in addition to the 12-foot wide, mile-long trail projected alongside Bridgepoint Parkway.

The 1986 plan had noncontiguous pieces of open space with 12 lots on the shore with boat docks.

There is 2,000 feet of permanently protected shoreline along with a commitment to restore the wetland in part of this protected shoreline area and to restore some wetland inside the developed area too. The 2018 plan shows there is better open space and hence on of the many reasons the 2018 plan is superior to the old plan.

Cut and Fill variances are requested due to the topography. This will affect approximately 6% of the site area.




What is the impact on the trees?


A full tree survey will be provided at the subdivision or site plan phase. Compliance with the tree preservation requirements applicable to the PUD will be submitted then. Approximately 51% of the site is Open Space and the net site disturbance will be limited to 24%. The quantities exceed the 1987 entitlements which dedicated approximately 24% open space and allwed site disturbance of up to 34.6%. Jonathan has committed to preserving at least 75% of heritage tree inches (note: this is the way the City measures trees) and agreed to the mitigation rates and fees prescribed by current code.




How to evaluate if the Old PUD was better or worse than the New Amended PUD?


Click for a PDF of the comparison





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