Carolyn Bogott: Wallace is part of planning for the future

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Holly Wallace wants to credit the influence that teachers can have. Her high school Art and English teachers, especially, fostered the idea of pursuing a college degree, which led to Holly being the first in her family to attend a four-year college and later earn a law degree.

Currently serving as the Planning and Zoning Administrator for the City of Austin, Holly came to her job with a varied background. She went to college at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point with a strong interest in science and received a bachelor of science degree in biology with an emphasis in water resource management. Following graduation, she did water quality research for four years with the Army Corp of Engineers and two years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the University of Minnesota.

Holly Wallace

Favoring rural living over a metropolitan area, and having the opportunity to be near her sister, Holly took a job with a law firm in Albert Lea. She was with the firm for 12 years as a general practice attorney. She was living in Austin and had served on the planning commission here when she learned about the opportunity to serve in her current job. We are so fortunate to have Holly working in this capacity with her rich background.

Holly’s department covers planning, building, zoning and rental issues. Holly supervises and works collaboratively with four inspectors and administrative staff to cover:

• Commercial and residential code compliance;

• Rental housing inspection and licensing/property maintenance code;

• Owner occupied property maintenance code compliance;

• Hazardous and vacant buildings/nuisance complaints;

• Zoning compliance for pools, fences, sheds, decks, etc.;

• Planning and land use regulation.; and

• Administrative staff are shared with the engineering department.

Holly noted, “A lot of the work we do builds on those who preceded us and contemplates those who follow us. We talk about how we should do things for ‘future us’” and that the following quote summarizes how their department tries to look on their work, “The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade has at least started to understand the meaning of life.” They are working toward making Austin a great place now, as well as into the future.

Holly described a portion of her planning role as, “Work which involves community development, focused more on neighborhoods/residential concerns and quality of life.” Planning encompasses the entire city and I have the pleasure of working with all departments and many agencies within Austin.”

As a result of a previous planning project, a new Culture and Arts Commission has been established for our city.

This entity fills a gap in the already vibrant art community in Austin. A Culture and Arts Commission can access funding and other resources not available to other arts organizations and can activate and connect additional stakeholders for arts and culture initiatives.  Fourth Avenue Fest, a free event for the community, first held in 2018, is one example of the type of thing that will be fostered by this commission.

Austin is fortunate to have Holly Wallace working for our future!

For more information about the Austin Branch of AAUW, contact Sue Grove  or Carolyn Bogott The American Association of University Women, now AAUW, is open to anyone who has completed a two-year degree or beyond.  AAUW welcomes men who support our objectives and there are student memberships available. AAUW has been empowering women since 1881.  We support equity and education for women.  Scholarships are offered, as well as help in litigation in cases dealing with sex discrimination.  We are the most important and highly respected research and lobbying organization dealing with women’s issues such as equal opportunity and job equality.