By Bill Oakey – July 21, 2014
Imagine ONE Austin. Just imagine.
No more weirdness, no more aging hippies or former flower children selling Armadillo music posters. No more riffraff tax protestors fighting for their single family homes, quiet streets, and backyard barbecues.
Just one fully gentrified, hipster, “new urbanist” Austin. With month-long festivals, loud all night parties and no parking anywhere. For the rest of eternity.
But wait. Instead of grumbling about losing the laid back, easy going, affordable Austin that we enjoyed for most of our lives, maybe it’s time to adjust our thinking. Maybe we should all join hands and embrace the changes.
So, let’s just imagine it. Think of the pathway envisioned by the likes of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Project Connect, and Imagine ONE Austin. Here is a smattering of the news headlines that we can expect to see in the coming years.
January 2023 – Austin Installs Cloned City Council
Austin will begin the bright new year with a smooth transition to the new City Council. The bold experiment to clone all seven members of the 2014 City Council and advance their ages to adulthood was a perfect laboratory success.
After eight tumultuous years with Council members elected from ten districts, America’s Chosen City will return to an era of orderly progress. Last night, the Chamber of Commerce and the Real Estate Council of Austin presided over the swearing in of the new Council. Austin will soon be back in business with business as usual.
“I’m ready and eager to get back on track,” Mayor Bluffingwell announced. “I’m grateful that the people listened and they voted exactly the way we told them to. Everyone in the room today recognizes that our namesakes made Austin a booming city. Now we can return to predictable 5-2 votes on every critical issue.”
June 2025 – Music Concerts Cancelled at Condominium Shores
As everyone expected since the renaming of the former Auditorium Shores, the City announced today that all remaining concerts there have been cancelled. Dogs, frisbees and kites will also be permanently banned. Leases for high-density development have been finalized for the last 100 acres of open space. The new revenue from the leases will allow the City to reduce property tax increases from 10% down to 9.8% for most homeowners.
Beginning this September, ACL Fest will be held in the streets, along Congress Ave. from Lady Bird Lake to the Capitol, and along East Sixth Street from I-35 all the way to Lake Austin Boulevard west to Lake Austin.
March 2026 – City Adopts New Slogan, “Keep Austin Cleared”
Today marks the start of one of the most progressive initiatives ever undertaken in Austin. The City Council has voted to have all trees removed from the City. The planning consultants and staff advisers have determined that trees are a serious impediment to high rises and multifamily developments. The new slogan, “Keep Austin Cleared” will be printed on all utility bills, which will include a new “tree removal fee” until the cost to obliterate every tree in Austin is recovered.
October 2028 – Austin to Revise Land Development Code
Octopus Consulting has been hired to guide the City in a new revision of the Land Development Code. To be dubbed CodeLAST, the new zoning system will be streamlined to generate the speediest development permits ever provided by an American city. “We have devised a plan that will accommodate every need,” stated a spokesperson for the Real Estate Council of Austin. “The consultants will be able to formulate it even faster than they did with CodeNEXT.”
The heart of the plan is an innovative zoning category called “Vertical Combined Use (VCU).” It will allow developers to construct multistory towers that completely surround single family homes. In fact, in selected neighborhoods, entire blocks could be reconfigured with interconnected structures that consume almost all of the available space. It has been suggested that some of the old fashioned homes could be turned into tourist attractions. Others could be demolished, and a few could remain for families eager to experience the joys of onsite community living.
February 2030 – Austin to Host Circus of the Americas
The long battle over the fate of Lions Municipal Golf Course in West Austin has finally been resolved. The Governor and the U.T. Board of Regents announced this morning that the site will be the future home of the Circus of the Americas. All state and local taxes for the enterprise will be waived for 25 years.
The mayor has vowed to address any logistical concerns. He acknowledged that international guests may encounter problems with limited neighborhood street parking, but he pledged to accommodate them with 24 hour helicopter service from anywhere in the City.
Once again, Austin has landed an economic development wonder that will be the envy of the nation. It is certain to restore the circus industry to all of its former glory. The owners issued a statement promising to satisfy any potential critics, “It is our firm goal not to abuse the animals any more than necessary to provide a rich and rewarding entertainment experience.”
Imagine what a fabulous place our ONE Austin could become!