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Pilot Knob decision affects posting for Grove

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 by Jo Clifton

After Judge Stephen Yelenosky’s Friday ruling in favor of activist Brian Rodgers in his lawsuit against the city, Rodgers’ attorney Bill Aleshire emailed Assistant City Attorney Michael Siegel. Aleshire noted that he is on vacation and that upon his return, he would be filing a motion for award of attorney’s fees and a motion for final judgment. Aleshire also warned Siegel that Rodgers was monitoring “the agenda posting(s) for The Grove (at Shoal Creek) PUD which are structurally identical to the agenda posting” for the agenda item for the Pilot Knob planned unit development. That item was the subject of the City Council vote last December that prompted Rodgers’ lawsuit. Rodgers alleged – and the judge on Friday agreed – that the city violated the Texas Open Meetings Act when Council approved zoning changes and fee waivers for Pilot Knob without posting the fee waivers in the meeting’s agenda. Aleshire’s email continued: “If the Council discusses or acts on The Grove, under the currently worded agenda, we will file suit per TOMA. We believe that if Council proceeds to discuss non-zoning matters and amendments to city code sections other than 25-2 under the current agenda wording, it shows that a permanent injunction is needed to prevent ongoing violation of TOMA notice requirements, and, if Council acts on The Grove, we will seek to have the action declared void, as we did with Pilot Knob.” The Grove’s agenda posting was amended Tuesday to include a statement that the PUD zoning may include “waiver of fees and modification of city regulations.” Rodgers told the Austin Monitor via email, “We made them comply. From now on, they cannot sneak waivers and modifications into a Trojan Horse zoning item. The public will know to watch closer.” For more on the Grove, see today’s story.

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