Time Bandits! (2018 Edition)

No, not the movie. Just a clever and insightful Medium piece that I think can provide both some levity and context for Austin’s ongoing zoning angst – particularly its example of a project 80 years ago that neighborhood residents thought would result in its doom: Duval Center, the now-revered corner in Hyde Park where Fresh Plus, Hyde Park Bar & Grill, Quack’s, Mother’s Cafe and Asti now sit. (Literally next door to residential housing! Oh, the humanity!)

Sit in on more than one contentious zoning hearing at City Hall, and no matter how materially different or geographically disparate the cases, you are virtually guaranteed to hear the same arguments deployed against them.

“I’m all for density,” they’ll say. “However, I just happen to feel that this one specific area, which coincidentally happens to be proximate to my personal landholdings, is the only place in the universe where density just doesn’t fit. Shucks!”

Or perhaps: “Hell no. This thing is gonna decrease my property values.”

Also: “Hell no. This thing is gonna increase my property values.”

Or sometimes: “Hell no. This thing is gonna both decrease and increase my property values.”

Or the classic: “Our clandestine cabal of homeowning busybodies did not include this in the secret plan we undemocratically drew up 15 years ago and that you the Council officially recognize as the unalterable will of the entire neighborhood forever and ever, amen.”

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