License plate readers, development at former Statesman location discussed at Austin City Council meeting

Austin City Council worked through a 141-item agenda.

One of the items of note included potential development on the former Statesman location

Several public commenters expressed concerns about the harm to nature.

"I strongly oppose the plans of the development of the Statesman [Planned Unit Development] currently being considered by the council," one said.

According to documents, the owners and developers envision it as a "high-density, mixed-use development along the southern shoreline of Lady Bird Lake."

It also includes "community benefits" like better infrastructure and affordable housing.

The South Central Waterfront Plan says they'll ensure the habitat for bats is conserved and Bat Conservation International will be a stakeholder.

Another item of note was reinstating license plate readers. Those were cut two years ago during the budget cycle.

"This technology when utilized to further the reach of surveillance in policing cannot be used for anything other than a war on poverty," one public commenter said.

"License plate data collected by the Austin Police Department will not be used for the purpose of collecting traffic fines, warrant round-ups, or any similar purpose of generating revenue or collecting money owed by the public," Council member Mackenzie Kelly said.

The group "Save Austin Now" says license plate readers while help police catch violent criminals.

Council member Chito Vela says targets should only be for certain crimes and data should only be saved for three minutes if it doesn't have to do with a crime.