Conditional Use Permits (CUP) amend zoning classifications on a discretionary and conditional basis. A conditional use permit is governed by Section 25 of the Austin Land Development Code (LDC). According to the LDC, a CUP is required to allow the sale of beer and wine on land zoned as Public (P). When concerning parks and recreation services, the CUP Application process usually takes about 6 months and undergoes a full review within the Development Services Department culminating in review and approval by both the Parks and Recreation Board (PARB) and the Planning Commission. After Planning Commission approval, the area defined for the CUP will then be changed from P zoning to P-Park and Recreation Services (Special).

CUP Process

  1. PARD prepares a site plan, application, and supporting documents and submits them to DSD.
  2. DSD distributes the application materials to 13 reviewers representing various disciplines for review and sends a notice to neighbors that a CUP application has been submitted.
  3. The CUP applicant presents to the Parks and Recreation Board for approval of a CUP.
  4. Once all DSD reviews are complete with satisfactory responses from PARD, the application process is complete. 
  5. DSD schedules an appearance at the next available Planning Commission meeting.
  6. DSD issues a notification of the meeting date to those individuals and groups surrounding the area.

CUP Project: Zilker Café

Zilker Cafe

In early 2015, prior to the solicitation of the Zilker Café, PARD conducted a public survey that included an open-ended question regarding possible menu items. Some respondents requested beer and wine. Based on stakeholder input and feedback from this survey, PARD released a Request for Proposals with language that indicated that the Concessionaire may sell beer and wine with prior written approval from the PARD Director.

The Zilker Café Rehabilitation was completed earlier this year, including a new concrete sidewalk that will connect the Train Depot to the Café to the Bath House. Amidst the construction close-out process, it came to the attention of the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) that a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) would be required in order for the selected food vendor to sell wine and beer for consumption. Special events at Zilker Metropolitan Park often include the sale of wine and beer, such as ACL Music Festival, Blues on the Green, Trail of Lights, among others. However, a CUP is not required for temporary sales of wine and beer.

PARD is now seeking a Conditional Use Permit to amend the zoning of Zilker Café in order to allow for the sale of wine and beer in the defined vendor area. To offer wine and beer at this location, the vendor must apply for and obtain a license through the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) allowing the sale of beer and wine. The vendor area will have a defined perimeter with signage where alcoholic beverages may be sold and consumed, which will be just over 6,500 SF or .04% of Zilker Metro Park. It is PARD’s intention to have the Zilker Café serve not only as a convenience for park users but also as a destination, enhancing the overall park user experience by expanding the Café’s menu items.

Visit the Zilker Café Rehabilitation project website for more information on the Café.

Zilker Cafe CUP Project Schedule (updated Aug. 27, 2021)

  • April 19, 2021: CUP application submitted to DSD
  • June 8, 2021: PARB Contracts & Concessions Committee Presentation (Meeting Canceled)
  • June 17: Community Meeting (view recording)
  • June 22, 2021: PARB Presentation (view PDF)
  • August 2021: DSD reviews complete
  • August 24, 2021: PARB renews June 22, 2021 motion
  • September 28, 2021: PARB Presentation
  • October 26, 2021: Planning Commission: Planning Commission voted to not approve conditional use permit.

Community Engagement Opportunities

PARD hosted a virtual meeting at 6:00 p.m. on June 17, 2021 to inform community members about the CUP and listen to community input around the sale of wine and beer at the Zilker Café. This meeting is not a requirement of the process but will be an opportunity to answer questions and listen to the community.

Community Meeting
June 17, 2021
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Zoom meeting recording

The Develop Services Department will send out a public notice informing of the Planning Commission date, which is tentatively set for October 12, 2021. The public may provide comments at this time by signing up as a speaker at the meeting.

Project Contacts

  • George Maldonado, Project Manager, 512-974-9525, email
  • Christina Bies, Project Coordinator, 512-974-9490, email

Concessionaire Contract Contacts

  • Denisha Cox, Contract Management Specialist IV, 512-974-6718, email
  • Patricia Rossett, Contract Management Supervisor, 512-974-6778, email