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City to limit event permits for SXSW
On Friday, the City of Austin announced it will limit the number of temporary event permits issued in March. In a news release, officials said, "Because of the growing concerns over venue, participant and pedestrian safety during the spring music festival season (concurrent with South by Southwest), the Austin Center for Events expects to reduce the number of temporary event permits issued during the period of March 13 - 22 by 25 percent." To that end, ACE expects to stop accepting applications in early February. This year, the city will also change its policy on amplified sound and music for temporary events, with curfews of 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 11 p.m. on Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday for venues more than 600 feet from zoned residential properties. Venues that are closer than 600 feet will have sound curfews of 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The city statement also warns, "For existing, permitted outdoor music venues, the code allows for extended hours up to 2 a.m. This is not, however, a vested right, and venues interested in an extension must complete a Sound Impact Evaluation that will help determine appropriate cutoff times."
Zimmerman wants manager, attorney off dais
Just before the weekend, District 6 City Council Member Don Zimmerman used the now-somewhat-active City Council Message Board to propose that both the city manager and city attorney be removed from the dais during meetings. The resolution had not been added to Thursday's Council agenda by the time of publication, and no one had responded to Zimmerman's message board post. His request, which is in the form of a resolution, is as follows:
Whereas, the Austin City Council members are directly elected by Austin voters, and are term limited; and
Whereas, the Austin City Manager and City Attorney are not elected, are not directly accountable to voters, and are not term limited; and
Whereas, the new 10-1 Austin City Council is restructuring for a more transparent and accountable way of conducting Council business; and
Whereas, the Travis County Commissioners Court seats only elected members at its dais, while the appointed attorney and other staff is seated off the dais; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Austin: that the Austin City Manager and City Attorney be seated off the dais in the front row before Council.
Double your pleasure with ATXN 1 and 2
With the possibility of 13 City Council committees on the horizon, ATXN, the city's TV station, is set to broadcast two meetings at once, instead of just one as it has in the past. Keith Reeves, manager of the station that many at City Hall still refer to as Channel 6, said he is ready to broadcast one meeting on TV and simultaneously broadcast that plus a second one online. So, it should be possible for viewers to watch two meetings on different screens at the same time. We don't want to admit to being among those viewers, but we think it will be extremely handy for people who are addicted to following their government in minute detail. What about all those other meetings, such as the Planning Commission, Water and Wastewater Commission, Environmental Board and the City View Program? They will also continue to be available anytime you tune in on ATXN 1 or ATXN 2, Reeves said. "We're not sure where they're all going to be," Reeves said of the committee meetings, "but the plan is that we're going to record those like we always have." Reeves noted that ATXN televises more meetings than any city in the country, averaging 40 to 45 meetings a month. "That’s part of the transparency that the City of Austin has always prided itself on," Reeves said.
New Council kicks things off
This week's City Council meeting will feature, prominently, a decision about how Austin's Council meeting procedures and committee structures will change. Though there are details of the changes that no doubt remain to be worked out, all Council members except Council Member Don Zimmerman have signed on as co-sponsors of the agenda item. The ordinance is sponsored by Mayor Steve Adler.
Latest Headlines for Monday, January 26
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