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AUSTIN-Late Thursday night, Austin City Council approved an agreement that will allow Stratus Properties Inc. to develop 1,253 acres in southwest Austin. The approval, in a 6-1 vote, came after years of negotiation, several weeks of hearings and about 18 hours of comments from residents.

Stratus, an Austin-based real estate company, may develop 750,000 sf of office space, 250,000 sf of retail space, 830 single-family homes and 900 multifamily units on the property in the Barton Springs watershed. The land is broken up into several parcels along South MoPac Expressway, Slaughter Lane and Texas 45.

That is less than what Stratus could do under state law in effect when the project was first proposed in the 1980s. City officials had wanted Stratus to develop the property under current rules, which are more strict. The final agreement, they say, is a compromise that maintains environmental protection for Barton Springs. Opponents to the deal said the pollution caused by runoff from the development would harm to Barton Springs.

Council members who voted for the agreement said it was the best the city could do under the circumstances. Litigation against Stratus, advocated by environmental groups opposed to the deal, would not gain better results.

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