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Will ‘agent of change’ change?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

It appears City Council will get to vote on the much-debated “agent of change” policy this month, though the Austin Music Commission flirted with the idea Monday of calling for a delay on the matter. The thinking in possibly delaying the vote came about because of letters from a pair of local music stakeholder groups – Austin Music People and the Music Venue Alliance – voicing strong objections to the final 21-page ordinance language that appeared on June 1 and is substantially different than the four-page proposal document that had been the basis for much of the public discussion and debate on the issue. Some commission members advocated for strengthening protections for live music venues by including language requiring soundproofing measures for new hotels and residential developments built near existing venues. City staff from the mayor’s office and Economic Development Department said such measures were voted down by Council in 2013, and that delaying the June 15 vote would make it hard to get the proposal back on Council’s agenda in the midst of work on the city budget and CodeNEXT matters this fall. In the end, the commission voted 6-0 to request a summit with city staff, the mayor’s office and venue owners before this Friday, so the ordinance could be reviewed and possibly given an OK by those parties to proceed to the Council agenda, the deadline for which is this Friday.

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