Wednesday, October 22, 2014 by Gene Davis

Speedy BoA won’t indulge no-shows at meeting

Toward the end of what a staff liaison called a historically short meeting, the Board of Adjustment took the uncommon step of denying three variance requests in which the applicants did not show up on time to present their cases.

Board members traditionally postpone cases when applicants do not show up to make their case. However, Chair Jeff Jack, visibly annoyed, led a successful vote to deny the cases at the BoA’s Oct. 13 meeting.

“I think we need to stop postponing these cases for people who don’t show up,” he said.

Before the vote, staff liaison Leane Heldenfels urged board members to instead postpone the cases because at least two of the applicants planned to appear at the meeting. The cases sought variances to allow for an existing attached carport, fenced deck and stairs, and the option to subdivide a property into two lots or build a secondary dwelling.

Heldenfels said the meeting’s rapid pace likely caught the applicants off guard. The meeting, which typically runs until about 11 p.m., finished at 7:30 p.m. after a postage error caused the postponement of several other cases.

“(Applicants) ask a lot of times what time do I think they will get to their item; a lot of times I tell them that new cases (start) around 8 o’clock,” Heldenfels told board members at approximately 7:25 p.m. “I think they are thinking that it’s going to take longer to get to their case.”

In response, Jack said the denied applicants could file a letter within 10 days asking the board to reconsider their cases.

On Oct. 21, Heldenfels said two of the three applicants had filed the letter for reconsideration.


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Key Players & Topics In This Article

City of Austin Board of Adjustment: The city's Board of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial body that decides on variances, special exceptions and can issue interpretations of code.

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