Reported by John Wiliams
Austin Zoning Commission postpones action on dirty MRF until July 16
Austin Zoning and Platting Commission on June 18 postponed consideration of an appeal in the controversial Republic/Allied proposal to begin grading and removing up to 52 feet of dirt as a first step in building a trash facility at the intersection of US 290 and SH 130. A vote is planned for July 16.
Commission Chair Betty Baker spoke strongly and plainly at the June 18 meeting, saying she had heard the land in question was annexed by the city as a courtesy, and will be leased by the city as a dump. “I can’t deny it, or prove it, but I’ve heard it. And I’m not the only one that has heard it,” said Ms. Baker. “We talk about transparency in government. And if that is the situation, there is no transparency in government. We’re being used or misused.”
Ms. Baker, who has been Chair of the Commission for several years, told her fellow commissioners: “Sometimes you wonder why you are here, and this is one of those times. We know without a doubt, the process for cases coming to us: zoning, subdivision, site plan. This one is coming to us absolutely backwards,” saying she felt the appeal should be granted and the land should go through the process “as we expect and require of other cases.” She added that granting the appeal was the only way to get the case into the land-use public hearing process.
The postponement came after the commission had voted 3-3 not to uphold an appeal to a staff-granted extension for Republic/Allied to submit all required material. One member of the commission was absent. Commissioner Rahm McDaniel, who had voted with Allied/Republic, later voted for reconsideration/postponement, saying “I do think that this issue is important enough, and given the voting history on this issue, that the appellant and the applicant and the commission would benefit from a vote of a full commission, with everyone present. It’s very important we get it right.”
Additional information about the project is available at www.peoplenottrash.com. The location is has been identified in the “Imagine Austin” plan as a “Town Center”. If you OPPOSE the dirty MRF trash plan, you SUPPORT the appeal. You can contact the Austin Zoning and Platting Commission [http://www.austintexas.gov/zpc]. By clicking on the “members” window you can generate an e-mail to express your sentiment.