Read SOS Executive Director Bill Bunch's letter to City Council recounting all items we opposed at the July 20th meeting.
ZILKER, INC. THE PLAN TO MONETIZE A NATURAL TREASURE
Join us for the free premiere of ZILKER, INC. at AFS Cinema on Wednesday, August 2, 2023 @ 7 PM with a panel discussion following the 16 minute documentary. Seats are limited so EACH attendee will need to fill out an RSVP to reserve a seat.
Zilker, Inc. is an examination of the controversial plan to transform Austin’s Zilker Park from a uniquely fragile natural oasis into an outdoor entertainment district serving corporate interests. Directed and edited by Steve Mims. Produced by Bill Bunch and Brian Rodgers.
Q & A discussion after the film with SOS Alliance Executive Director Bill Bunch, sustainability expert and environmentalist Robin Rather, and Tanya Payne from Rewild Zilker.
Watch Zilker, Inc Trailer
RSVP for Zilker, Inc.
City Council Postpones Some, Moves Forward on Citywide Attack on Single Family Zoning
Yesterday, the Austin City Council voted to postpone indefinitely Item 92, the proposal to cut back on the public's right to speak at City Council meetings. Hopefully this terrible idea stays dead. State law and many decades of City Hall practice have allowed and encouraged public participation in council's decision making processes.
Council also postponed action on Item 125, Councilmember Leslie Pool's push to shift City decisions from City Council to staff on if, when, and how we extend city water or sewer service to proposed developments in the Barton Spring watershed. This City Council oversight has been crucial to stopping some of the very worst projects proposed in the Barton Springs watershed while helping modify and assure better water protections on others.
This City Council oversight of utility extensions into the Barton Springs watershed has been a cornerstone of City policies protecting Barton Springs for over 40 years. The only reason to change it is to let the Water Utility expand its customer base at the expense of protecting Barton Springs.
It's bizarre and inexplicable that Councilmember Pool pushed this proposal forward. Even worse, she made several false statements from the dais in advocating for it. She did so even after Mayor Watson said he agreed the existing process works as intended. So the question is: Why?
The only reason we can think of is that the Water Utility very much wants to serve one or more terrible developments that desperately need City services to be viable -- including the nightmarish "Violet Crown" amphitheater proposed for land almost surrounded by City endangered species habitat in the Barton Creek watershed. The matter was postponed until the August 31 meeting -- the same meeting the Zilker Park Vision Plan will be heard. Giant thank yous go out to Councilmember Alison Alter for pushing hard for the postponement, asking all of the right questions, and to Mayor Watson and Councilmember Vela for speaking up early in favor of the postponement. Pool and CM's Ellis, Harper-Madison, and Qadri all voted to rush forward with this terrible move.
The City Council -- all but Councilmembers Alison Alter and Mackenzie Kelly--cast a historic vote directing staff to move forward preparing ordinance changes that would, if adopted, effectively eliminate single family zoning in Austin. Again Councilmember Leslie Pool led the charge. And again she made both false and misleading statements to support the move, denying that it would reduce impervious cover limits and tree protections and thereby worsening the already terrible urban heat island effect and central city flooding.
Read our letter to the City Council on these two important matters HERE. If you haven't already, mark your calendar for a day at City Hall for the critical Thursday, August 31 City Council meeting.
As always, thank you for support and participation.