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Stories by Chad Swiatecki

Monday, March 27, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

CodeNEXT tech talk focuses on familiar topics

Planning consultant Peter Park picked an apt way to describe Austin’s current building code while talking to a room full of technology entrepreneurs and stakeholders at Austin’s Capital Factory.“The (operating system) is kind of broken, and to get the city…

Friday, March 24, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Council seeks more details from long-term housing plan

Some City Council members felt underwhelmed with the latest version of the city’s Strategic Housing Plan, one puzzle piece in an assortment of plans and codes city leaders are hoping will help solve Austin’s affordability and transportation woes over the…

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Examining Austin’s “smart city” bona fides

Austin’s reputation as one of the nation’s smartest cities went under the microscope Sunday, with policy and academic experts examining the technology, educational, housing and transportation components – and the city’s shifting needs as it grows – that combine to…

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Adler: A blue Texas “all but inevitable”

It’s something of an old saw in the political world that progressive cities in otherwise red states are like “a blueberry in a bowl of tomato soup.”Austin Mayor Steve Adler and his mayoral colleagues on Friday’s “America’s Mayors: Holding The…

Monday, March 13, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Austin, UT could play in battle for telecom millions

Austin and the University of Texas have the potential intellectual and research firepower needed to compete for a portion of $100 million in National Science Foundation and private tech industry money and in-kind services aimed at creating city-scale advancements in…

Friday, March 10, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Short-term rentals under scrutiny as SXSW kicks off

The Austin Code Department has started its annual tradition of stepped-up monitoring and enforcement of regulations covering short-term rental businesses, the official policy name for homeowners who rent out extra rooms to tourists visiting for the South by Southwest festival.The…

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Parks conservancies making their case for hotel tax dollars

Local parks advocates are stepping up their efforts to direct revenue from the city’s fast-growing Hotel Occupancy Tax toward the long-term capital needs of parks and recreation facilities throughout Austin.Projects such as a master plan for Barton Springs as well…

Thursday, March 2, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

SXSWTF? Dissecting a music festival’s immigration PR meltdown

In today’s installment of “A Good Rumor Travels Around the World Before the Truth Can Put On Its Shoes,” we watch with fascination as music fans from all over the world make South by Southwest out to be the newest…

Thursday, March 2, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Creatives see little to preserve artist, music spaces in CodeNEXT

A month after the release of the first draft of CodeNEXT, supporters of Austin’s various creative communities have said they’re underwhelmed and expecting more protections for artist spaces in revisions of the city’s new land use code.Whether it be music…

Monday, February 27, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Homelessness in D4 spurs residents looking to marshal housing resources

Residents in the North Austin area focused in District 4 are looking to assemble a network of local service groups and government resources to respond to what’s believed to be an increase in the homeless population there.There’s no official count…

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Seeking $100M, springs supporters target convention center expansion proposal

Fine arts and natural resources advocates are stepping up their involvement with a city task force that will play a large role in shaping how the city allocates the fast-growing pool of revenue from Hotel Occupancy Tax, which totaled about…

Monday, February 20, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Shifting SXSW focus, permitting changes await music head upon return

Returning South by Southwest to its focus on industries and helping to usher components of the city’s plans to help the local music industry are high on the personal to-do list of Don Pitts, until recently the director of Austin’s…

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

When the music stops – Pitts speaks following resignation

The city will have to move forward with one of its most ambitious policy efforts ever for promoting local music without the executive who spent seven years working to shape that agenda.Don Pitts, who served as director of the city’s…

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Middle-class job growth to be focus of Austin’s economic incentives revision

The city appears set to reform its economic incentives policies so they focus squarely on middle-class jobs that economists and local politicos worry aren’t growing fast enough.Last week, Mayor Steve Adler posted a draft resolution created with City Council members…

Monday, February 13, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

More funding, policy work for Waller Creek in 2017

With work slated to begin later this year on the biggest of the park improvement projects along Waller Creek, there is expected to be a semi-regular drumbeat of news of new funding and collaboration throughout the rest of 2017.Peter Mullan,…

Thursday, February 9, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Theater group seeks city lease deal to stay in business

A nonprofit theater group hopes to tap into the city of Austin’s recent focus on preserving creative spaces within the city and get a new home for experimental fine arts in the process.Representatives of the Rude Mechanicals (or “Rude Mechs”)…

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Hotel tax increase would fund most aggressive convention center plan

A 2-percentage-point uptick in the city’s hotel occupancy tax appears to be the most favored method of expanding the Austin Convention Center and turning the area around it into a lifestyle and tourist epicenter.That financing option, which would be a…

Friday, February 3, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Music venues’ ‘agent of change’ proposal faces revisions ahead of spring vote

The city of Austin has concluded its series of public forums on a pair of proposed policy moves that would attempt to draw clear lines of responsibility between new residential developments and creative spaces that are increasingly co-mingling in the…

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Medical school outlines spending, outreach for care in eastern ‘Austin crescent’

With Travis County putting more scrutiny on one of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas’ largest financial contributors – specifically Central Health and the $35 million in taxpayer dollars it provides the school annually – leaders of…

Monday, January 30, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Economic forecast puts focus on transit, housing, jobs for 2017

AngelouEconomics’ annual economic forecast for Austin sees the city’s economy slowing its growth somewhat in 2017 and 2018. But roughly 107,000 new residents in that timespan will add more pressure on the local cost of living and transportation systems.The forecast…

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