13 arrested after disrupting southeast Austin development council meeting

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, 13 protesters were arrested after demonstrating against a proposed development in south Austin.

The council was set to consider a number of ordinances related to re-zoning land near E. Riverside Drive and S. Pleasant Valley Road. KXAN reported last April that residents in the area were concerned about rezoning applications that would allow developers to build higher buildings and mixed-use developments. They said they were worried about how it would affect affordable housing.

Twelve protesters were escorted out of the meeting and arrested for Disrupting a Public Meeting. They are Katherine Wood, 26; Mary Weaver, 21; Jessica Meza, 21; Jose Cuellar, 25; and Hector Rodriguez, 28; Abby Darrow, 21; Zachary Cunyus, 24; Patricia Herrera, 21; Heran Kidane, 24; Lawrence Taylor, 29; Kathy Tran, 29; and Kai Ybarbo, 24.

Hayley Bishop, 23, was arrested for assault by contact.

In June, after hours of back and forth and interruption by protesters, the city’s Planning Commission voted 7-1 to recommend approving the zoning changes. According to documents filed with the city, a developer is proposing building 4,706 multifamily units (including 400 to 565 income-restricted units); 600 hotel rooms; 4 million square feet of office space; 60,000 square feet of medical and dental space; and about 435,000 square feet of commercial space.

One group of protesters held a banner that said “No Domain on Riverside,” alluding to the mixed-use development in northwest Austin.

“I live in the complex that you want to destroy,” one of the protesters shouted in front of the council as security officers approached, followed by more members of law enforcement. As they were escorted from the building, protesters chanted “the city’s process is a sham. We fight back when you steal our land.”

Around 2 p.m., the city council is expected to conduct public hearings on the proposals and may vote on them. Council must approve the proposals before the developer can start building.

Protesting of the project continued into Thursday evening.

All 13 arrested protesters were in their twenties.

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