The Daily Hustle: 8/17/10

Morrison's historic story

Laura Morrison
Laura Morrison (Photo by Jana Birchum)

The historic zoning debate returns to the dais this Thursday with council set to formally adopt some breaks on the property tax slashing program. However, according to Laura Morrison, scaled-back steps may carry the day.

Morrison told the Hustle discussion regarding the tweaks was “first going along pretty directly with what came out of the council resolution” passed earlier this summer, followed by “some attempt to look at Heritage Society recommendations that came through.” Now, she says there's “some sense of moving back towards just the straight shooter kinda approach,” perhaps galvanized by the realization that while the limit is temporary, for the program to continue in the long-run, sustainable changes must be made. To that end, the draft resolution looks pretty straightforward, preserving the three -per-month overall limit on new cases.

Morrison, who's previously been critical of attempts to rein in the program, says “in some ways” the current debate “ feels like a lot of unnecessary brain damage. I think it will work out fine no matter what happens.” To her, again, her biggest question is home and neighborhood preservation, and “How do we ensure that we have a good proactive historic preservation program going on that really does help us capture representations for the city?”

She points to the ongoing work of Michael Holleran, director of the historic preservation program at UT's School of Architecture, who's launched a web-based historical resources survey – “a wiki approach to add information” – as a cost-efficient answer to reboot the city's historic survey, last updated in the 1980s. She notes a recent council action where “the city pitched in $25,000” as a cost-effective step in developing the program, as a traditional survey would cost much more.

In the meantime, the Hustle's looking forward to Thursday to see exactly what shakes out.

What the hell else is happening?

On the city calendar: Council’s Public Health and Human Services Committee meets in the Boards and Commissions Room at City Hall, 301 W. Second, 3pm

The Resource Management Commission meets in the B & C room at City Hall, 6:30pm

The Zoning and Platting Commission meets in Council Chambers at City Hall, 6pm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

The Daily Hustle, City Council, Laura Morrison, Heritage Society of Austin, Historic Zoning

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