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Injunction against city restored

Friday, May 15, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Judge Jan Soifer has restored the injunction previously issued against the city and its Council members forbidding them from ignoring or violating protest rights of citizens who object to a change in zoning regulations at or near their properties. Fred Lewis, an attorney and one of the plaintiffs who sued the city and got the original injunction stopping Council from enacting a new Land Development Code, told the Austin Monitor that when the city appealed the judge’s decision, the injunction was automatically suspended. However, the plaintiffs filed a motion for reinstatement of the injunction and posted a $500 bond. A spokesman for the city said, “The City is familiar with the recent motion that the Plaintiffs filed. This procedural step applies only when a city or state seeks to appeal a trial court judgment. For this reason, the motion was unopposed and the court authorized Plaintiffs to post a bond. The appeal, which is based upon Judge Soifer’s original ruling, will continue.” The vote on enacting the new land use code was 7-4, with Council Member Leslie Pool on the losing end. Pool said Thursday, “The Council has taken no action that would put it in violation of the injunction.” Council Member Kathie Tovo, who was also one of four opponents of the new code, said she expected the Land Development Code team to return to Council with some proposed changes not related to zoning. The urbanist group AURA has suggested a number of changes it believes Council could still enact without violating the injunction, such as reducing minimum lot sizes, reducing required setbacks and allowing “granny flats” in more areas.

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