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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Council OKs small change to aid homeowner
Friday, September 4, 2020 by Jo Clifton
City Council approved a small change to the city’s subdivision ordinance Thursday, allowing the owners of a small home in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood to add on to their 486-square-foot home. Only Council Member Jimmy Flannigan voted no. More than two years ago, Elizabeth Carey and her partner purchased the home at the corner of South Fifth and West Gibson streets, not knowing that their house and the house next door were considered to be on just one lot because of actions not taken by a previous owner in 1946. Fast-forward to 2020, when they learned that even with a variance from the Board of Adjustment they would not be allowed to add on to their home. When the matter came up at Council in early August, Flannigan and several other Council members who supported passage of the ill-fated new Land Development Code said they would not be able to approve a small change needed for the subdivision ordinance. They argued that they needed to hear from Judge Jan Soifer on whether such a change would violate her order from last spring. Soifer ruled that Council acted illegally when it voted 7-4 to adopt the new code without allowing property owners to protest individual zoning changes. That case is on appeal and Soifer told the city she no longer has jurisdiction over the matter. Bouldin Creek is in Council Member Kathie Tovo’s district and Tovo was one of the four who voted against adopting the new code.
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