SOS ACTIVIST NEWS
TAKE ACTION NOW TO PRESERVE AUSTIN'S ABILITY TO
MANAGE GROWTH AND PROTECT NEIGHBORHOODS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
It looks like Austin is poised to remove
yet another control on rampant development in our neighborhoods by removing
expiration dates from permits. The Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA), has
been pushing this ordinance very hard--to completely eliminate Austin's project
When you file for
project permit with the city there is an expiration date. Say you want to
a retirement home in East Austin, you have to file a permit. This has
expiration date. If you don’t get the project off the ground by the
date, you have to refile the project. Let’s say you had a permit
in 1995 to
build a behemoth house, if the permit never expired, you could
build a house
that was exempt from the McMansion ordinance.
of development projects are now expired due to the
operation of the project
duration ordinance. If the ordinance is abolished,
these projects will be
revived and will not have to be built in compliance
with existing law. That
means they will now be immune from current City
22 on this Thursday, March 21st, Austin City Council agenda calls for a measure
pushed hard by the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA), to completely eliminate
Austin's project duration ordinances. The elimination of project termination
measures will have a major impact on land use within Austin, an impact whose
entire scope and breadth is not even known at this moment.
your help starting now through Thursday to avert this major attack on Austin's
ability to manage growth and protect neighborhoods and the environment. Please
plan to attend Thursday's council meeting, if at all possible. Arrive before
10:00 a.m. and plan to stay for as long as you are able.
then call or email City Council and respectfully urge them to oppose the rush to
throw out City ordinances that expire development permits and projects after a
reasonable period of time
Urge them to refrain from any vote on
staff's request to repeal our project expiration ordinances without a full
accounting of exactly where, how many, and what kind of "zombie projects "would
be revived from being expired under current procedures.
Leffingwell 512-974-2250 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheryl Cole 512-974-2266 email@example.com
Mike Martinez 512-974-2264 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Riley 512-974-2260 email@example.com
Bill Spelman 512-974-2256 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathie Tovo 512-974-2255 email@example.com
Laura Morrison 512-974-2258 firstname.lastname@example.org"
will be posting more information on this very soon, so please stay tuned. This
is an extremely important issue for protecting what we love most about Austin,
including Barton Springs.
The "project duration ordinance" is one
of only two methods the City has to limit the scope of Chapter 245, the state
statute that grandfathers development projects to the ordinances and law that
was in place at the time an original application for the project was filed.
Unknown hundreds of development projects that had been immune from
current City regulations are now expired due to the operation of the project
duration ordinance. If the ordinance is abolished, these projects will be
revived like zombies and will not have to be built out in compliance with
What this means is that many if not all of these
hundreds of projects will never have to comply with the Heritage Tree Ordinance,
the McMansion ordinance, any new zoning classification, great streets
requirements, the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, the latest water quality
protection measures, or any zoning measures including historic preservation
measures or Town Lake Corridor protections that affect lot coverage, building
sizes, and lot sizes, open space regulations, park dedication requirements, etc.
City staff is complaining that a legal opinion by Texas Attorney
General Greg Abbott requires the City to abandon its project duration ordinance.
This is not true on any level. Such opinions are only advisory. They are not
binding on anyone including the courts. Moreover, the city has already taken
steps to comply with state law where there is any conflict with the state
grandfathering statute (known as Chapter 245).
abandoning of our expiration ordinances is a drastic action that will cripple
our ability to manage growth and protect what is special about Austin. Doing so
without a full inventory of the number, location, and type of projects that
would be grandfathered back to old standards would be irresponsible. The City
has a "project-by-project" review process that has been successfully used to
consider grandfather claims under state law and adjust expiration dates where
there is hardship or other circumstances. This careful, case-by-case review