GE’s Solar-Powered Carousel
& Charging Station at SXSW

Posted in Clients on March 13th, 2011 by Gary Etie – Be the first to comment

It may be an old-fashioned carnival carousel from 1926, but it’s powered by some of GE’s most futuristic ecomagination technology. Visitors to the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference now underway — or anyone passing by the corner of 3rd Street and Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas - can take a ride or charge their iPads and cell phones.

The juice comes from GE’s “thin film” panels, which use a cadmium telluride semiconductor to capture sunlight. More information in this “GE reports” Report

(An Austin City Permits Client)


“We will continue to work through this”

Posted in Clients, Code Compliance, Outdoor Music Venue Permit on June 11th, 2010 by Gary Etie – 1 Comment

Austin City Council Meeting | March 12, 2009
Meeting Video | March 12, 2009
Closed Caption Log | 3/12/2009

From the pledges that were made (see the transcript of the March 12, 2009 Council meeting, linked or, in part, below) Mayor Pro Tem Martinez’s office possibly has, in fact, been working with Guero’s Engineer Sergio Lazano, who, last Wednesday, received approval on the Site Plan Correction required prior to submitting an application for the Building Permit in question.

Brent Lloyd, of the City’s legal department also pledged to put the staff of the both the legal department and the City Manager’s office behind the effort to address Guero’s difficulties, creating, possibly, new Use Categories, (an original suggestion that I made to City Staff, and initiated work on, with the Planning Commission’s Dave Sullivan, in the Codes & Ordinances subcomitte) to accommodate the Use “Outdoor Music” (currently not in the Code), or, possibly, ways to separate the Restaurant Use from the Outdoor Music Use in a way that does not require the very difficult steps involved in getting a Certificate of Occupancy for Cocktail Lounge Use.

If either these possibilities are true, then why wasn’t Code Enforcement, APD, and the other agencies that make up the P.A.C.E team, informed of the fact that Mr. Lippincott, through his Engineer and Code Compliance “team”, assemble to address the issues at hand, had, in fact received Approval of the Site Plan Correction required, prior to applying for the Building Permit at issue, 2 days prior to the Friday night shut-down and Citation, for “No Building Permit”?

Guero’s was complying with all requirements of a remediation project, and was simply in the middle of the “wait time” normally required for that stage of the Permit process to be completed, prior to proceeding to the next stage.

After the Site Plan Correction was approved, on Wednesday, April 6, the original mylar plans must be pulled from the Archives storage facility, the City schedules an appointment for the  Engineer to go in and make the Corrections to the mylars, and finally, after certifying that all is correct, as reviewed and approved, the Site Plan Correction is finally entered into the AMANDA database,

The Site Plan Correction was issued on Wednesday, and the Code Compliance Citation and shut-down occurred, after hours, on Friday. No one on the PACE team was aware of the approve Site Plan Correction, and when Mr. Lippincoot went to his office, to fetch the documentation that the PACE team deemed necessary, to show proof of progress, and returned, document in hand, the PACE team had disappeared.

Stay tuned, or speak up (Register, Log In, and Reply) if you can fill us in on anything that we are not aware of.

Austin City Council Meeting | March 12, 2009
Meeting Video | March 12, 2009
Closed Caption Log | 3/12/2009

From the meeting log (frequent misspellings and grammatical errors common):
“Those are — those are issues that we’re trying to address and continue to address the movement forward, there’s many discussions and many meetings, over a long period of time and I feel like we have — we have not only the music venue owners and — and places that have live music but we have substantial agreement, unanimous agreement at least, consensus with the neighborhood groups as well. I think it’s an important first step to keep moving forward. Then try to address this lipencott is facing.

I should just go on and do it illegally? [Laughter]

Mayor Wynn: Can we turn the cameras off for a couple of minutes. [Laughter]

if you want to that that lipencott, the fact of the matter is that you have been took it illegally, you don’t have an outdoor music permit right now. (Gary’s note: Now Mayor Pro Tem, then Council Member Martinez was incorrect here. Guero’s has, in hand, the Outdoor Music Venue Permit, allowing a sound level of 85 dB, that was valid at the time of this statement.)

Your office, the police offices and city clerk’s –

I’m not asking you a question, mr. lipencott.

I’m telling you. I have been told –

you [multiple voices]

Mayor Wynn: Let’s let the councilmember finish his comments. I hope — I know that you are frustrated. But I hope that the dialogue that you have seen, the comments specifically by councilmember martinez and i and a couple of others will send a signal, I think sending a signal to staff, i think staff is empathetic and wants to figure out how to enable this and appropriate easiest legitimate way. I assure you that I will continue to work to see that that happens. Councilmember martinez?

Martinez: I don’t know how I can offer any more assurances that I want to help mr. lipencott. Not just him but all of the other venues in our community to continue to operate, continue to have live music. You know — I don’t understand — I understand your frustration, but i don’t understand why you don’t seem like you want to help us get to that point. Your comments don’t speak to that. But I’m glad to work with you. My office has been more than open to working with anybody that’s come forward. I don’t know if upper part of the link music task force meetings that took place and brought these concerns forward to dib rate them, but — deliberate them, but again we will continue to work forward and work with you and bring these issues up and try to address all of the concerns laid out.

Mayor Wynn: I will do my best to finish the meeting early tonight, we will all run down to south congress and enjoy some good music we hope at guerrero’s, thank you, we will continue to work through this.”

Charlie Tesar | 1943 – 2010

Posted in Buildings & People, Clients, Design, Family, Good Music, Land and People, Life, Music, People & People, Permit Projects on May 18th, 2010 by Gary Etie – 2 Comments

Buildings and People:

Liberty_Lunch… I don’t even remember who, how, or why I was hired ( $5/hr + beer tab credit), to be the carpenter on the remodel.

Wood from the Armadillo WH demolition site was being trucked across the river to the roofless site of the former Calcasieu Lumber Co. storage yard  that had become, through Charlie’s shear, creative genius, Liberty Lunch. We set about prettying up the place, and making a few things more functional, with Charlie, Mark, J-net and myself designing as we went.

We rebuilt the stage, extended the Bar, and, the front entrance was literally falling apart, so I built it back up, with a proper structural beam, which kicked it into “we need a Permit”, so I went down to the City permit office, and pulled one. That, right there, is, literally, one reason why I do, what I do, today.

El InteriorPeople:

… 5 or six years later, my wife Patricia and I run into Marcia and Charlie at the big, crazy, wild bus station, in Oaxaca. Charlie is with Marcia (I think it was before they were married) on an import trip for El Interior, Marcia’s shop in Clarkesville.

To myself, I recalled our lunch conversations about Morroco, Nicaragua, and points beyond, some of it said to be more than Peace Corps work, and I wondered, “Now just what all is that boy up to?”.

Buildings and People:

Joni Klasson's Liberty Lunch Parrot

… among my first friends in Austin, were David Short and Joni Klasson.

David was a member of Better Than TV Players, which IIRC, were based at Liberty Lunch. I’ll try to dig up a little more, but an immediate search doesn’t turn up much. There should be more on this exceptionally creative group, driven by one member’s urge to create, because she had been kicked out of Esther’s Follie’s, again, IIRC.

Joni did the big, beautiful Parrot on the brick wall, at the back entrance.


No Time To Cry| Kasey Chambers:


Obituary | Michael Corcoran | Austin American Statesman

APD, P.A.C.E & Guero’s Music Garden

Posted in Buildings & People, City Council, City Manager, City of Austin, Clients, Code Compliance, Code Enforcement, Fire Inspections, Food and Drink, Life - Safety, Live Music, Music, Outdoor Music, Outdoor Music Venue Permit, Permit Projects, Public Assembly, Safety, Sound Permit, Temporary Permits, The Code on April 10th, 2010 by Gary Etie – 35 Comments

Update: Michael Corcoran posted the following on the Statesman’s Austin Music Source blog about 3 hours later.
“Police shut down Guero’s outdoor stage”

By Michael Corcoran | Saturday, April 10, 2010, 12:32 PM

“Rob Lipincott of Guero’s Taco Bar said he’s not being defiant, but “trying to keep my empoyees in jobs” by hosting live music today after being shut down last night for not having a building permit for his outdoor stage. Lippincott said the city approved his site plan correction Wednesday, but that data is not yet in the computer. The amendment allows the stage, but Lippincott probably won’t receive his building permit until next week.

The shutdown was enforced by the P.A.C.E. team”

Last night, Friday, April 9th, the Austin PACE team decided to shut down the Outdoor Music Venue area of Guero’s, at the beginning of the biggest event weekend of the year for the South Congress Ave area.

This has occurred in spite of the fact that Friday was exactly one day after Guero’s Engineer, Sergio Lazano, gained approval on the Site Plan Correction, a major step in process required to obtain a Building Permit of SOME type (see “promises”, below), in order to operate the existing outdoor music venue within an 85 dB sound level limit.

The immediate need, and big question is, can Guero’s continue to have music today, as planned?

PACE (Public Assembly Code Enforcement) declared that they were going to “shut down the whole operation” meaning, including the Restaurant, if the music was not turned off immediately. They issued a citation for no Building Permit for the stage.

I am sitting here, reviewing the video of the City Council meeting of March 12, 2009, where the Mayor Will Wynn, City Council members, and attorney Brent Lloyd expressed the various ways (none of which have come to pass) that they would work with Mr. Lippincott, and Guero’s, possibly crafting new Use categories, or figuring out ways of separating Restaurant and Live Music functions into separate Use areas, in search of a solution to the problem that the authors of the proposed ordinance introduced when they DIRECTED the 70 dB limit to be referenced, from the Zoning section of the Code, in the passage of the rushed ordinance.

Guero’s has been applying itself to a solution. Mr. Lippincoot’s engineer, Mr. Lazano, had family emergencies to attend to in Mexico, (Mr. Lazano’s brother was kidnapped, which, understandably, set the project back a number of months!) which understandably interrupted the work that he and his firm were doing on the important first step, the Site Plan Correction.

Now, the day after a Site Plan Approval, a MAJOR step in the process, someone on the PACE team, or at Code Enforcement directing the PACE team, has decided to challenge the agreement that has been in place, at the discretion of the Building Officials involved, while we are all in the midst of trying to figure out a solution to our city’s outdoor music regulatory needs.

The fact is that, the City has not come through on any of the commitments and promises made at that March 12th meeting, yet Guero’s is being expected to navigate a minefield of regulatory difficulty, if it wishes to both comply with the Code, and have live music under the big oaks.

No new Use categories have been created, to address the need for an “Outdoor Music Venue” Use, distinct from Restaurant Use, or Cocktail Lounge Use. No solution has been put in place that does not require a Change of Use to Cocktail Lounge, which Greg Gurnsey points out as not-so-easy, in this same video.