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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Friday, June 26, 2020 by Jo Clifton
Housing, Planning & Zoning departments to merge
Under a plan proposed by Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales Thursday, the city’s Planning and Zoning Department would be merged with the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department in the 2020-21 fiscal year, which starts in October. The new department’s proposed name is the Housing and Planning Department.
Rosie Truelove, who directs NHCD, would be the director of the new department. Rebecca Giello, who is currently deputy director of the housing department, and Jerry Rusthoven, who has led Planning and Zoning as assistant director since the retirement of Greg Guernsey nearly a year ago, are expected to continue with the new department.
According to a memo from Gonzales, “Merging these two departments will allow for better collaboration to further housing and planning efforts. The merging of the departmental functions positions the city organization to integrate comprehensive planning, zoning and displacement prevention to include all affordable housing program delivery, central to community and Council priorities.”
He said that the merger would allow using resources for displacement prevention. The memo indicates that the effective date of the merger would mirror the budget effective date of Oct. 1.
Rusthoven said that although the Development Services Department was packing to move to the renovated Highland Mall property on Airport Boulevard, most of his staff would continue at One Texas Center for the time being. The Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department is in the Street-Jones Building on East 11th Street.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
City of Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department: This city department provides housing and community development services for Austinites. To that end, they administer programs, provide grant services, and work with non-profit and agencies to provide housing for eligible residents. The department also provides small business development services.
Planning and Zoning Department: Planning, preservation and design services are under the purview of this department.