A Quick Update on the Legal Battle Over Your Right to Protest City Hall’s Rezoning Plan

Fred Lewis

 

As many of you already know, a trial on your right to protest the City of Austin’s controversial rezoning plan was heard on Wednesday, March 11, by Travis County District Court Judge Jan Soifer. Judge Soifer is smart, thorough, and fair.

The plaintiffs’ presentation went very well. Doug Becker of the law firm Gray & Becker did an excellent job of simplifying this complex case and anticipating City Hall’s arguments. He repeatedly cited state law, which gives Texans the unequivocal right to protest local zoning changes.

The city’s lawyer argued that notifying Austinites about the rezoning would be too burdensome on local officials, and she claimed no one has the right to protest the plan because it impacts all residents in the same way. We believe this is untrue and irrelevant. Tellingly, the City of Austin has failed to cite any caselaw directly supporting its position on protest rights.

Judge Soifer has taken both sides’ arguments under advisement and is now reviewing the exhibits, which were extensive. We expect a ruling soon.

For more information, check out news coverage of the trial by The Austin Chronicle, Fox 7 Austin, and the Austin American-Statesman.

 


 

Want to take action? Here’s what we recommend:

 

  1. Make Sure You’ve Filed an Official Rezoning Protest
    If you own property in Austin, go to FileYourProtest.com and file an official rezoning protest. The process is easy, safe, and takes just 30 seconds. Once you’ve filed a protest, our legal team believes the City of Austin will be unable to legally rezone your property without support from a supermajority of the city council (nine of 11 votes).
  2. Consider Donating to Community Not Commodity
    Help us educate and activate Austinites from every corner of our community. Make an online donation today!
  3. Contact Mayor Adler and Your City Council Member
    City Hall must respect the right of local residents to protest the rezoning plan. Reach out to the mayor and council and tell them so! Check this map if you aren’t sure which council member represents you.

Together we can build an Austin for everyone!

 

Mayor Steve Adler:
steve.adler@austintexas.gov | 512-978-2100

Natasha Harper-Madison (District 1):
natasha.madison@austintexas.gov | 512-978-2101

Delia Garza (District 2):
delia.garza@austintexas.gov | 512-978-2102

Sabino Renteria (District 3):
sabino.renteria@austintexas.gov | 512-978-2103

Greg Casar (District 4):
gregorio.casar@austintexas.gov | 512-978-2104

Ann Kitchen (District 5):
ann.kitchen@austintexas.gov | 512-978-2105

Jimmy Flannigan (District 6):
jimmy.flannigan@austintexas.gov | 512-978-2106

Leslie Pool (District 7):
leslie.pool@austintexas.gov | 512-978-2107

Paige Ellis (District 8):
paige.ellis@austintexas.gov | 512-978-2108

Kathie Tovo (District 9):
kathie.tovo@austintexas.gov | 512-978-2109

Alison Alter (District 10):
alison.alter@austintexas.gov | 512-978-2110