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Lawsuit Challenging Austin's Move To Rename Manchaca Road Is Heading To Trial

Gabriel C. Pérez

A lawsuit challenging the City of Austin's decision to rename Manchaca Road will go to trial. 

The suit, brought by the group Leave Manchaca Alone, alleges the city didn't properly inform residents and businesses ahead of an Austin City Council vote to change the street's name to Menchaca. It also argues changing the name would be burdensome for businesses along the 8-mile South Austin road.

Judge Dustin M. Howell ruled today that the plaintiffs have enough evidence to go to trial and granted a temporary injunction that stops the city from changing street signs while the case is being heard. A date for the trial has yet to be set.

In his ruling, Howell said that the city did a serviceable job of mailing out notice to some of the plaintiffs, but found business owners didn't receive adequate notice before the vote. He also ruled that some of the plantiffs couldn't show they would be injured by the name change, so therefore couldn't sue.

"We would've been happy with even one of [the plaintiffs] being able to proceed with a lawsuit," Roger Borgelt, an attorney for Leave Manchaca Alone, said. "So we're happy."

The city said it would comply with the ruling and that it was "pleased" the judge found some of the plaintiffs  did not have standing to sue.  

"We look forward to the opportunity to further develop the record related to the City’s compliance with its notice requirements and look forward to the court’s final determination on the ordinance," a spokesperson said.

Council Member Pio Renteria sponsored the ordinance, which passed in October. He and other proponents have argued the name represents a historical misspelling of the name of José Antonio Menchaca, a captain in the Texas Army who fought in the Battle of San Jacinto. Proponents say Menchaca frequented the area near Manchaca Springs and that it was named for him. 

Opponents argue there's no historical proof Menchaca frequented the area and it's more likely Manchaca derives from a Choctaw word.

Read the ruling below.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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