The City of Austin is about three years into re-writing its land development code, and the draft zoning map of the entire city was released April 18th. Check out the comparison map to see how the new draft map measures up against the current map. Attend the Citizens Advisory Group meeting April 19 from 7-9 PM at City Hall to see the mapping presentation.
Unfortunately, the city presentations have been mainly dog and pony shows, with minimal outreach and no real opportunity for dialogue. That is why SOS has joined with several other Austin groups to co-host Code-What's Next? - a community workshop and information exchange. Join local community leaders to talk about equity in Austin and CodeNEXT. Small breakout groups will allow for robust discussions on issues related to the environment, economic development, and neighborhoods, and local leaders of color will help us examine these issues through an equity lens. Together, we'll organize and amplify our voices to put our people and our environment before developer profits. RSVP on Eventbrite and share our Facebook event. Childcare and translation services provided.
Wednesday, March 22nd U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel heard final trial arguments in the Shudde Fath et al v. TxDOT and CTRMA lawsuit challenging the construction of an SH 45 Southwest/Mopac South toll loop project without first preparing a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement. TxDOT and its toll agency partner, CTRMA, instead have divided the project for environmental studies into three smaller pieces—each of which (miraculously) is deemed to have “no significant effects” on the environment.
While chopping up the environmental studies into three small pieces, all of their traffic studies assume all three pieces—SH 45 SW Phase I, Mopac Intersections, and Mopac Express Lanes—will be built together, at the same time.
The court is likely to issue a ruling within the next three weeks. TxDOT has already cleared the SH 45 SW right-of-way and initiated staging for construction. The Mopac Intersections expansion is currently set to begin in September absent a court ordered injunction or further TxDOT delay.
On Monday, February 6th the Shudde Fath et al v. TxDOT plaintiffs filed our trial brief and initial evidence in federal court. Read our brief here, pdf Shudde Fath et al v. TxDOT plaintiffs Brief on Merits (503 KB) and the sworn statements of our experts, Dr. Lauren Ross here folder Legal Documents with attachments here, pdf Lauren Ross Declaration Attachments for Shudde Fath et al v. TxDOT plaintiffs case (7.61 MB) and engineer Todd Busch here. pdf Sworn Statement of Todd Busch in Shudde Fath et al v. TxDOT plaintiffs (756 KB) The trial is set for March 22nd. Dr. Ross shows how TxDOT's promises to protect the aquifer and Barton Springs are already being broken. Mr. Busch, our noise impacts expert, shows how TxDOT's analysis claiming no harm to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is more noise than analysis.
On January 25th a diverse coalition of Austin environmental, neighborhood, and community leaders released a joint statement of benchmarks for the proposed rewrite of Austin's Land Development Code. Known as "CodeNext," the new code is intended to implement community goals set out in the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan while also making Austin's development review process more transparent and consistent. A draft of the comprehensive rewrite will be released by city consultants on Wednesday, February 1st. Our shared statement - pdf Community Priorities for CodeNext: Environment, Equity, & Neighborhoods (168 KB) - provides a set of benchmarks for measuring the draft code's alignment with Imagine Austin and priority community goals. Read our press release here. document Press Release - Priorities for CodeNEXT (23 KB)
Happy 2017 Ya'll!
Check out the New Year's Day Splash Photos HERE.
Read the 2016 SOS Alliance and Hill Country Conservation Highlights here. pdf Extended 2016 SOS & Hill Country Highlights (567 KB)