Stories by Elizabeth Pagano

Thursday, September 16, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

New supermajority law for historic districts now in effect

The already tough task of creating historic districts in Austin just got a little harder, thanks to new state laws.  In 2019, the Texas Legislature changed the rules governing the designation of historic landmarks by requiring a supermajority of the Historic…

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Fire destroys log cabin and preservation hopes

Plans to reconstruct and relocate a 19th-century log cabin at 5613 Patton Ranch Road are now moot after a fire destroyed the property. “We’ve reviewed the fire report and the cabin is a total loss,” Historic Preservation Officer Steve Sadowsky explained…

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

I-35 plans take center stage at City Council work session

With plans on the table to build a 20-lane road through the heart of the city, Austin City Council took some time during its Tuesday work session to address TxDOT’s vision for the future of Interstate 35. In his presentation…

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Council takes hard look at what went wrong during winter storm

After taking in an extremely critical report about the city’s response to Winter Storm Uri, City Council members stressed the need to prepare for the next inevitable disaster.  “There’s nobody here that didn’t fight long and hard and sleeplessly and…

Thursday, August 19, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Bowie underpass project derailed

After two decades of planning, negotiations to construct the Bowie underpass have come to a halt. The project at Third and Bowie streets is part of the 2001 Seaholm District Master Plan. It would have provided a link between the…

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Austin moves forward with new vaccine incentives for city employees

A plan to pay vaccinated city employees a $100 stipend has been scrapped in favor of a new incentive program for those who work for the city. The incentives, Mayor Steve Adler explained, are designed to promote vaccinations and to…

Thursday, August 12, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council denounces Prop A, approves ballot language revealing its cost

An upcoming proposition that would mandate police staffing could cost the city almost $600 million over the next five years. City Council is trying to drive that reality home with newly adopted ballot language. If approved by voters on Nov.…

Tuesday, August 10, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

AISD requires masks for all, despite Abbott’s order

Facing spiking Covid cases and a fast-approaching fall semester, the Austin Independent School District has made the decision to require face masks in defiance of an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott.  “I am responsible for the safety, the…

Monday, August 2, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Defining Del Valle

When you look at a map, it’s pretty easy to distinguish man-made boundaries from the rivers and oceans that have been codified into borders. The edges of Austin have both kinds of boundary lines. Some lines on the map flow…

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…

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