On Monday, 9 May 2011, a group of residents from the Walnut Creek
neighborhood met with Councilman Chris Riley, David Douglas (an attorney
from the city’s Legal Department), Commander Crochet from APD, Barksdale
English (an aide to Councilman Spelman), Lewis Leff (an aide to
Councilman Riley), and Jason (last name unknown), a liason to the City
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of an
ordinance that would prohibit panhandling within 750 feet of a
residence. Because of the proximity of the Walnut Creek neighborhood to
the Braker/IH35 intersection, such an ordinance would render the
Braker/IH35 intersection off limits to panhandling.
After some discussion, Mr. Douglas advised that such an ordinance was
constitutionally problematic, although perhaps not entirely out of the
question, and Mr. Douglas did state that he would research the matter
As the discussion proceeded, Councilman Riley proposed a “no public
consumption” ordinance for the Braker/IH35 intersection, or the
extension of an existing “no public consumption” ordinance into North
Austin – I am not clear on this. Commander Crochet then requested that a
larger area be considered for such an ordinance, and that such an area
specifically include the Rutland/Rundberg/IH35 area and the Georgian area.
Mr. Douglas pointed out that the public consumption of alcohol is not a
constitutionally protected activity.
The suggestion was then made to contact NACN to use NACN as a point of
contact for the several affected neighborhood associations. Hence, this
So, the goal is seek input as to what areas should be included in such
an ordinance. A blanket prohibition on public consumption simply north
of 183 and south of Parmer may not be possible. The prohibition must be
sought where there is a reasonable and rational connection with existing
problem spots. Moreover, the map must be very specific.
Would you therefore please forward this email to the various
neighborhood associations, and ask them to contact me, Robert Meadows at
[email protected], with specific suggestions as to where such a ban
would be desired?
Jason, the liason with the City Manager, will work up a map of “public
order” infractions, and this will be used to provide the specific
geographic rationale for the “ban on public consumption” map.
Councilman Riley advised that a 30-day horizon for developing the map
and raising the ordinance with City Council would be a good idea due to
various considerations such as a summer hiatus, competition with the
budget process for Council’s attention, and so forth.
I myself will be on vacation from Noon, Wednesday, 11 May 2011 to
midnight, Monday, 16 May 2011, so I will be unable to respond until next
Thanks to all in advance for their cooperation. The Councilman did seem
to feel that this was politically possible, and Commander Crochet
thought such an ordinance would be a valuable tool for the police.
Robert Meadows, Board Chair, Walnut Creek Neighborhood Association
Robert L. Meadows
dba The R. M. Meadows Company
voice: 512 339 0229
fax: 512 836 2510
email: [email protected]
PO BOX 4779, Austin, Texas 78765 USA