Austin Bar Association – 19th Annual Land Development Seminar – Friday, September 2nd

August 7, 2011 by Will Schnier P.E.

[br_10]The Austin Bar Association is hosting their 19th Annual Land Development Seminar Friday September 2nd, 2011. Anticipated discussion topics of interest include: site development permit process, development-related legislative update, and the City of Austin license agreement process, among others.

I will be co-presenting about the License Agreement application process in the City of Austin together with Eric Schultz, Principal with DWG Landscape Architecture.

You can download a copy of the complete white paper “The Book on License Agreements in the City of Austin” which we co-authored and will be published as part of the seminar.

Austin's 2nd Street District - Improvements are in a License Agreement

A License Agreement is a legal document between two parties – a property owner and the City of Austin, and is required for any improvements located within public ROW or easements that will be privately maintained. These items could include, but are not limited to streetscape landscaping, irrigation lines, benches, retaining walls, lights, mailboxes, building awnings, private utility lines, and non-standard sidewalks (such as brick pavers), etc.

Typically, a license agreement is necessary as a result of a project needing to comply with the streetscape requirements outlined in Subchapter E (Commercial Design Standards), the University Neighborhood Overlay (UNO) district, the downtown Great Streets program, a restrictive covenant associated with a zoning ordinance, or other requirements. Other times it is required due to pure engineering constraints, such as the need for a retaining wall within the right-of-way or a wall footing extending into an easement.

Conceptual Great Streets Streetscape Section


The license agreement application implemented by the City of Austin invites a (potentially) complex review process that includes input from various City departments, State agencies, and utility providers. Additionally, detailed engineering plans and a requisite legal review are also necessary prior to recordation of the agreement in the County records.

It is critical for the land development professional working in the City of Austin, be it engineer, attorney, architect, landscape architect, developer, surveyor, or other real estate consultant to be knowledgeable about the license agreement process in order to protect the best interests of those involved.

Private Improvements in the right of way will trigger the need for a license agreement
[br_20] About the Austin Bar Association: The Austin Bar Association was founded in 1893 as a non profit organization for attorneys. Its mission is to promote professionalism and camaraderie within the legal community, to aid in the administration of justice, to enhance the delivery of and access to quality legal services, to educate the public about the legal system, and to actively participate in the success of the community at large.

Visit the website of the Austin Bar Association for more information and to register for the seminar.

Written by Will Schnier P.E.

Will Schnier P.E.

Will Schnier is the Chief Executive Officer of BIG RED DOG Engineering | Consulting. Will received his BSCE from Purdue University and co-founded BIG RED DOG Engineering and Consulting in 2009. Since starting the firm in 2009, BIG RED DOG has grown to over 100 team members with offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. BIG RED DOG has garnered awards for being one of the 50 fastest growing companies in Texas (Business Journal’s Fast 50 in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and an ENR top 100 Design Firm in Texas and Louisiana (2012, 2103, 2014, 2015). Mr. Schnier is very well versed in the project review and development permitting process having worked closely and very successfully with City and County review staff, neighborhood associations, environmental groups, and public boards and councils. He has been responsible for the project management, engineering design, and regulatory permitting of hundreds of single family subdivision projects, mixed use and multifamily residential developments, industrial facilities and oil and gas development projects throughout Texas. He is the author of two publications: “Land Subdivision – A Practical Guide for Central Texas” and “The Book on License Agreements in the City of Austin”. Will was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) in 2014 and served as Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s appointment to the City of Austin Zoning Board of Adjustment from 2011 to 2015.