Friday, October 17, 2008

ESPP and the aftermath of the city council meeting

Jason informed us the other day of the Aftermath of the Eastside Pedal Pushers In it was a letter from Simon.

OK, so the update on Lee and his Eastside Pedal Pushers bike shop is that about 30-40 people from the bike community showed up at City Hall for the Board of Adjustments meeting on Monday evening and registered that they were against the granting of a parking variance for Pedal Pusher's landlord that would enable him to evict PP and the other tenant, Julia's, and replace them with tenants who have offered more money to open a coffee shop at that location.

A variance is basically an exemption from a requirement in city code, which in this case was to reduce the car parking requirement for a coffee shop type business from 12 spaces to 0 (zero) spaces. The main reason being that there is very little parking at that location. As a biker I'm normally in favor of waiving parking requirements, which tend to encourage driving, but in this case there are a couple of issues:

1) There is a bus stop in front of Lee's shop which means that there is no way to park in front of that location

2) There is no adequate, alternative parking, so the folks who will suffer are residents, other business owners, pedestrians and road users who have to deal with increased congestion and reduced visibility.

3) There is already an approved plan for a multi-story hotel on the same block (Medina and Waller between E. 6th and 7th) that will increase traffic.

4) There are other available locations in East Austin with adequate parking.

5. There are 2 existing coffee shops within 4-5 blocks of this location (Cafe Mundi and Progress)

So there were good and bad results to last night's solidarity from the bike community. Lee's landlord did not attend the hearing, probably assuming it was certain to pass. Due to the opposition, the variance hearing was postponed to Monday November 10th at 5.30pm, City Hall, Council Chambers, which everyone is again encouraged to attend. The bad part is that Lee's landlord called to say he was angry at his audacity in contesting the variance and gave him a verbal 30 day notice to move out.

According to Lee, he has a strong lead on a new and better location, but that doesn't mean y'all should stop and see him and ask what help he needs with the move.

Cheers, Simon

When I read this, I was sad to hear that Lee was still going to have to move regardless of what happens. It is going to be a sad day when I go to help him move to another spot. From what I understand, he has another place that is not to far and the rent might be cheaper. The only thing is it is in a warehouse on 5th and waller. It isn't to far from where he is now, it just isn't as good of a place.

So I went back and re-read the post and the comments. One of the ladies that was looking to rent out the building said this,

THE REAL STORY of East Side Pedal Pusher Drama
Submitted by East Side Show Room on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 12:55pm.

I would like to set the record straight here since, as you have admitted in most of your blogs about me and my family, you "dont know the legistics" of all this. I was brought to this space, 1100 east 6th St, because it was and is FOR RENT. From what I have understood from Lee, my realtor, and the landlord of this property, both present tenants Julia's Wedding Shop and ESPP have been on month to month for a while and were offered to sign a new lease at a higher rent and they both turned it down. Meanwhile the landlord has tried to show Lee other properties that he has turned down and continues to do so for Julia. The landlord spoke to both tenants letting them know that he will be looking for new tenants and showing the space.
This is where I enter the story. From the hate mail I've recieved from you people, let me make one thing clear. I am a sixth generation Texan, that's right! 6! So dont call me and my family fucking Yankees. I am an East Austin Resident, I work out of East Austin, I am an artist that represents East Austin, I AM EAST AUSTIN!
Lee was at his store when I was shown the space back in August. My realtor who happens to be a mutual friend of Lee's and I, asked him if he did indeed know that the building was for rent and he said YES and even later ask her to help him find a new space. I dont think it would be surprising to you that Lee was extremely kind in an akward situation for both of us and he even let me take measurements.
I had little time to decide if we (my mother, sister, and I) could indeed use this space since there was already a letter of intent for this building. And just for your information, the group trying to get this space before us is the kind of corporate development you seem to confuse us for. I dont have one investor involved, not one bank loan, I am an artist that waits tables on the side, my sister is a bilingual school teacher and my mother works for a lame temp agency. Hardly the "trumps" as you have mentioned. I have been saving for this for at least 5 years, I've been building work for this for at least 4 years, and my only partners is my mother and sister. We have every right to rent a building that is FOR RENT and try to accomplish our dream and we will continue to do so no matter how much hate mail, hasseling and boycott threats you people give us.
I feel very sorry for both ESPP and Julia's for having to move. I can relate for I have been "booted" from many of my rentals because my lease was up and I simply couldn't afford the higher rent, but I have certaintly NEVER thought to villanize the new tenants. Chances are we will not be able to use this space, so we will be back to looking for spaces just like them. I wish both present tenants all the luck and I only hope that the new places they find dont have current renters like them to make what I know all to well a difficult process to accomplish the dream of a small buisness owner.
PS. If you want to continue to write hate mail to my website, have the desantcy to leave a valid email address to hear my side. But I ask that you just leave us alone. Also, we do appreciate the appology from Julia's Wedding shop via the land lord yesterday. Thank You.

I still support Lee and ESPP, but I can see their (future tenants?) side of the story too. I understand not wanting to go to their coffee/gallery. I understand still going to the next city council meeting, because they will inevitability will have automobile traffic. I ride this part of 6th all the time, and it is already a pain in the ass. What I don't understand are all the hate mails. This isn't the answer to the problem. This will not get us (the bike community) anywhere with people who are generally against cyclist. I just want everyone to get along. I know that is corny to say, but it has to start with someone, and it should be us. The cyclist. Some people will always be assholes, but maybe if you do something nice, and not act like a jerk, then maybe it will follow. Saying that makes me think of these commercials.

Be safe and you know what? Go and do something nice for someone today.

til next time



dougmc said...

I am just guessing here -- I haven't seen the emails or the person's web site or anything like that -- but I'm guessing that she probably only got nasty emails/comments from a very small handful of people. Perhaps only one person.

Assuming I'm right, it doesn't make it right, but it would help put it into perspective.

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