Developing in Austin's Waterfront Overlay Districts

December 1, 2015 by Thomas Lombardi Jr, P.E.

LamarIn an effort to preserve Lady Bird Lake for all citizens to enjoy, the Waterfront Overlay (WO) District was created to promote balance between nearby urban development and the park land and shoreline of Lady Bird Lake and the Colorado River.

The WO district includes the property that surrounds Lady Bird Lake both on the north and south shores. From the Tom Miller Dam on the west end of the lake to Highway 183 on the east end there are 16 subdistricts within the Waterfront Overlay.

Within the WO district there are additional requirements for review and approval of site plans. The director of the Parks and Recreation Department is required to review the site plan to determine whether the site plan complies with adopted park design guidelines.  In addition, the Land Use Commission may also request recommendations from the Waterfront Planning Advisory Board and the Environmental Board for review of the site plan.

WFOThe Waterfront Overlay has different regulations regarding development compared to downtown development.  A few examples include that parking structures must be placed along roadways, architecturally integrated and screened from all views from Lady Bird Lake/Colorado River, park land, and creeks within the Waterfront Overlay boundary.  Buildings are prohibited from having glare or mirroring construction materials.

The Waterfront Overlay district is divided into subdistricts, which have specific regulations regarding setback lines, impervious cover limits, and maximum heights for proposed structures.


Do you have questions about developing in a Waterfront Overlay District? We’re here to help. Contact our Austin office today to learn how to put our experience to work on your next project.

Written by Thomas Lombardi Jr, P.E.

Thomas Lombardi Jr, P.E.

Thomas Lombardi, Jr is a Site Development Team Leader for our Commercial Services market sector in Austin. Thomas joined the BIG RED DOG team in April, 2014. Thomas graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Civil Engineering and is a registered P.E. in the State of Texas. He brings extensive knowledge in fluid mechanics, stormwater management, hydrology, hydraulics, grading, site plans and permitting. He has completed projects in Austin, Leander, Gonzales, Kyle, San Marcos, Cuero and Kenedy Texas.