Stories by Elizabeth Pagano

Wednesday, July 28, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

City postpones skate shop demolition

A groundswell of support for a beloved Austin skate shop did not fall upon unsympathetic ears at the Historic Landmark Commission. Austin Community College was seeking a permit to demolish No-Comply Skate Shop at 812 W. 12th St. to make…

Monday, July 12, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

West Campus sign variance remains on hold after illuminating discussion

Once again, an accidental ban on illuminated signs has forced developers to seek a variance from an unintentional city statute.  Current city code prohibits illuminated signs in the University Neighborhood Overlay (UNO). While the prohibition was made in error, it…

Monday, July 12, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

BoA postpones parking variance for want of a better hardship

Parking requirements could threaten the affordability of a North Central Austin apartment complex. But finding no hardship – aside from the Land Development Code itself – Board of Adjustment members have asked for more information to better consider a variance…

Friday, July 9, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

City mistakes and heritage tree pave the way for East Austin variance

Unaware that it was prohibited by city code, Daniel Salazar carefully nestled his new home against his back property line. The project was approved by the city and the mistake was not identified until after the structure was built.  As…

Thursday, July 8, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

More height for Lamar Beach property means more access for all

With the help of a variance from the city’s Board of Adjustment, a new development on a puzzle of a downtown parcel will be moving forward, connecting a neighborhood to the lake in the process. Nikelle Meade, representing Pressler RRI,…

Monday, June 7, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council makes plans for City Hall return

In news that will be welcomed by those who have grown tired of staring at digital grids of local officials, City Council members have begun to make plans to hold in-person meetings again. Though there is no firm date, and…

Friday, May 28, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Taking cues from audit, Austin continues to shore up its wildfire prevention strategy

Thanks to climate change, Austinites can expect to see more storms, floods and fires in their future. This week, City Council’s Audit and Finance Committee heard what steps the Fire Department has taken to address the threat of wildfires following…

Thursday, May 20, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Ethics commissioners dismiss complaint against Harper-Madison

An ethics complaint against Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison was automatically dismissed Wednesday, May 12, after the Ethics Review Commission failed to reach a majority six votes on a motion to postpone or a separate motion to dismiss.  The latter…

Thursday, May 13, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

With state change, Board of Adjustment could consider new hardships

A move by the Texas Legislature could change the way the city grants variances to the Land Development Code. The bill, House Bill 1475, would add another type of hardship for the Board of Adjustment to consider – the financial…

Thursday, April 15, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Investigation finds theft and resale at Austin Energy

A city investigation has found that an employee stole and sold more than $130,000 worth of items from Austin Energy. A letter from Rodney Stockton’s attorney, Rick Cofer, clarified that Stockton does not admit responsibility for all of the missing items.…

Friday, April 2, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Libraries set to begin reopening in May, despite City Council resolution

Amid concerns about vaccination rates, City Council has pushed back the day Austin Public Library employees will return to their physical workplaces. The change is not expected to impact a plan to begin reopening public libraries on May 10. “I…

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Winter weather shuts down the city

The storm that brought Austin to a standstill continues to impact city operations this week. Services are closed across the city due to extreme weather with an expectation that more winter is on the way. City officials announced Monday that…

Friday, January 8, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Manager Spencer Cronk: Operating smoothly under extraordinary circumstances

As the person in charge of making sure things run smoothly at the city, City Manager Spencer Cronk has had a year that underscores his gratitude for the people he works with. Cronk attributes a lot of the city’s effectiveness…

Wednesday, January 6, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Mackenzie Kelly: Ready to collaborate and communicate

Speaking to Mackenzie Kelly, it’s clear she’s touched by the early overtures from her new colleagues, who are already helping her adapt to her new post as City Council member for District 6. “They’ve been wonderful and kind and gracious,…

Monday, January 4, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Vanessa Fuentes: Building a pipeline to community power

Vanessa Fuentes, like all of us, had no idea what 2020 would entail when she ran to become the District 2 City Council member. But the issues that the pandemic have exposed were less of a surprise. “I didn’t realize…

Wednesday, December 30, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano

2020: Highlights (and lowlights) of an unforgettable year

It’s not likely that anyone who lived through it will soon forget the year 2020. It’s possible, however, that one might forget the details of local news stories from the year. For that, we offer this review of the year…

Tuesday, December 29, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano

Ann Howard: Creating a place of answers

Ann Howard is looking forward to using her voice to help others make good things happen. Howard, who was elected in November to represent Precinct 3 on the Travis County Commissioners Court, will soon start her term, amid a pandemic…

Tuesday, December 29, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano

Margaret Gómez: Whatever it takes to get things done

Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gómez describes this year as “tumultuous.” “It’s been really up and down and kind of a rough ride,” she told the Austin Monitor. Gómez knows it could have been much rougher if the county didn’t have…

Tuesday, December 29, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano

County Judge Andy Brown: Representing every voice

When asked about his new job, Travis County Judge Andy Brown doesn’t hesitate. “I love it so far,” he says. He summed up his first couple of weeks on the job as very busy and extremely interesting. So far, the…

Monday, December 28, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano

Jeff Travillion: Working to improve opportunities

“It was a really busy year,” Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion says. Giving a quick overview of the past 12 months, he reminded the Austin Monitor that he had been running for office in addition to making sure clinics stayed…

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