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Judge ponders options on CodeNEXT lawsuit

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Judge Orlinda Naranjo is now considering the question of whether City Council must place an item on the November ballot about CodeNEXT, the $8 million rewrite of the city’s land development code. Naranjo heard arguments Monday morning from attorneys Bill Bunch and Fred Lewis, who are representing eight Austinites who sued in June to force Council to put the matter on the ballot. Jane Webre, a partner at Scott, Douglass & McConnico, argued on the city’s behalf. Citizens gathered petitions to try to force an election on CodeNEXT, as well as any future revisions of the code. The city’s lawyers have advised Council that it would be illegal under state law to put the matter on the ballot. Council voted 6-4 not to put the item on the ballot, with the understanding that Lewis and others would file a lawsuit that would ultimately decide the question. Naranjo indicated Monday that she understood that it was important to make a decision quickly. She said she would let the parties know her ruling after the Fourth of July.

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