Cesar Chavez Neighborhood Groups Call For Permit Moratorium

August 8, 2015 by Kate Harrington

East Cesar Chavez Street a hot spot for redevelopment in Austin. For many that redevelopment means smart growth in a fast-growing city, but for some longtime residents, there’s concern that the changes will mean the demise of their longtime working class neighborhoods. That’s one reason a coalition of neighborhood groups along the East Cesar Chavez corridor is asking the City to stop issuing building permits in the area.

El Concillo Mexican-American Neighborhood Associations asked the Planning Commission last week for a moratorium on permits for hotels, bars, breweries, zoning changes, and outdoor amplified music in the area around the corridor.

The area affected by the proposed moratorium would include East Cesar Chavez from IH-35 to U.S. 183.

The group made the request during citizen communications, so no action was required on the part of the Commission. The neighborhood groups asked that the City not issue any new building permits until the neighborhoods can create a master plan for the area that could help guide development in a way that would take the neighborhoods’ interests into account.

Those who spoke at the Commission meeting on behalf of the neighborhood groups said they’re concerned about new development bringing alcohol into the neighborhoods and the loss of older, mom-and-pop type businesses.

The demolition earlier this year of the Jumpolin piñata store took place on that stretch of East Cesar Chavez, and prompted protests over gentrification. The store relocated to a new spot, and the razed site is now slated to be a parking lot for a new café.

“I don’t want my neighborhood to become East Sixth or Rainey Street,” Daniel Llanes, an East Austin resident and chairman of the River Bluff Neighborhood Association, told the Austin American-Statesman.

The group has said it will pursue the idea of a moratorium with a subcommittee of the Planning Commission. Ultimately, City Council would have to approve the proposal for it to have any effect.

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Written by Kate Harrington

Kate is a former reporter, most recently for the Austin Business Journal, where she covered real estate, economic development and transportation. Since 2010 she has been running Thumbtack Communications. Thumbtack provides writing, editing and marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2002 Kate lived in her native New England, which she still visits often to escape the Texas heat.