Zoning & Land Use

About the OWANA Zoning Committee

The OWANA Zoning Committee was established to support the goals of the Old West Austin Neighborhood Plan and Design Standards for the OWANA local historic districts — Castle Hill LHD, Harthan Street LHD and Smoot Terrace Park LHD — in order to protect residential properties and the residential core of Old West Austin and Clarksville.

The Zoning Committee meets monthly to review all projects and proposed zoning changes within OWANA’s boundaries, as well as other types of code changes. The Zoning Chair sends out all permit notices received from the City of Austin to OWANA members via the listserv. The Chair contacts permit applicants directly and requests that they attend the Zoning meeting to share their plans. Often, property owners/developers within OWANA boundaries may contact the committee directly to engage in dialogue about future projects or permit applications.

zoning committee at work

A member of the Zoning Committee hard at work.

The committee works with individual permit applicants to provide feedback on projects and inform applicants on the development goals of the neighborhood. The committee acts as an informational source for the applicant and avoids taking adversarial positions on projects whenever possible.

In 2003 OWANA spearheaded the designation of our neighborhood as a National Historic Register District. As part of this effort, all properties within OWANA were researched and classified as either contributing or non-contributing to the Historic District. Therefore, a primary goal of the Zoning Committee in accordance with the Neighborhood Plan is to protect the historic housing stock of contributing properties to ensure that OWANA maintains its National Register Historic District status under federal law.

The Zoning Committee also facilitates interaction among project applicants, nearby property owners, and city staff. The goal of the Zoning Committee is to find workable solutions that respect the historic fabric and streetscape of the neighborhood.

The Zoning Committee meets once a month on Thursday at 8:00am at 505 Powell Street (Miro Rivera Architects). Our members attend a variety of city meetings including the Historic Landmark Commission, the Planning Commission, the Board of Adjustment, and the Austin City Council whenever neighborhood projects are up for review or when the City is considering major land use policy initiatives, such as discussions about rewriting Austin’s land use development code. 

Additional Resources on Historic Preservation and Zoning

The City of Austin requires building permits to be reviewed by the Historic Landmark Commission. All residential and commercial building projects within a National Register Historic District and a Local Historic District are reviewed.  More information can be found here. The City also maintains updated information on all the City’s Historic Districts.

The OWANA Neighborhood Plan provides the principles for development within the neighborhood. The NP is a “zoning overlay” that applies to the properties within OWANA and was approved by the City. The OWANA NP is here: Old West Austin Neighborhood Plan (pdf 1.2mb).

Finally, Preservation Austin has created walking tours of the historic districts within OWANA boundaries.   

For questions regarding permit notices and development rules, or to join the Zoning Committee, residents of OWANA can contact committee members at zoning@owana.org.

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