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Stories by Elizabeth Pagano

Thursday, December 22, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

BoA backs city in ‘structural trellis’ case

A bid to change the way the city allows homes to be attached to each other fell short at the Board of Adjustment’s most recent meeting, despite widespread skepticism toward the central idea that an arbor is a “structural element.”The…

Wednesday, December 21, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Midcentury modern demolition brings dysfunction to the fore at Historic Landmark Commission

Ideological tension at the Historic Landmark Commission bubbled to the surface Monday over the proposed demolition of a midcentury modern home built in the 1950s.Commissioners were evenly split on whether to release the demolition permit for the home at 2506…

Monday, December 12, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Reporter’s Notebook: Kerfuffles big and small

Behold the future… Rejoice, for this Tuesday will at last bring to a close 2016’s relentlessly sadistic cycle of political campaigning. Despair, however, for the events leading up to it may also presage a ghoulish spectacle of local tactics to…

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Legislature makes tax caps a priority, cities respond

Well-worn battle lines between the city and state were retraced Tuesday, as the Texas Legislature made it clear that it would be making property tax caps a priority this session. The response from area cities was just as clear.Sen. Paul…

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Historic zoning debate reaches new heights at BoA

Are brand-new houses just as eligible for historic zoning as older homes? The answer may not surprise you: No, they are not.The fact that this question was the subject of a half-hour discussion at the Board of Adjustment, however, is…

Monday, November 28, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Survey finds a wealth of history in East Austin

At long last, the East Austin Historic Resources Survey is complete and ready for review.The survey covered the area of Austin east of Interstate 35, north of Lady Bird Lake, south of Manor Road and east of Pleasant Valley Road…

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Latest Champions rezoning victorious

As of Thursday, another chapter in the storied history of the Champions tract has been written.The public testimony against the case continued from the previous meeting, where opponents spoke for more than an hour against changing the zoning at 6409…

Thursday, November 3, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

West Line bungalow to be demolished

After almost half-a-dozen trips to the Historic Landmark Commission, an Old West Austin house is officially beyond repair. The 1915 bungalow, which is located at 812 Theresa Ave., was known as the Anderson-Wattinger-Sucke-Naishtat House at the most recent meeting of…

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Something ventured, ‘nothing’ gained at historic commission

At their most recent meeting, Historic Landmark commissioners “accomplished nothing” for a 1932 fourplex known as the Palma Plaza Apartment House.With only seven members present, commissioners were unable to garner an effective number of votes to move forward with historic…

Friday, October 28, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Neon wrong kind of historic for Congress Avenue

At the most recent Historic Landmark Commission meeting, commissioners faced the question of when “historic” was, exactly. One of Austin’s most celebrated new restaurants provoked the question, by proposing installation of a sign that the owners said was historic, though…

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Austin Oaks PUD plods toward Council

Discussion of Austin’s “other” planned unit development – the Austin Oaks PUD – has been postponed to the Nov. 1 meeting of the Zoning and Platting Commission. The postponement came at the request of some of the nearby neighbors, who…

Monday, October 24, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

BoA votes to protect ‘compatibility to nothing’

A recent Board of Adjustment variance case proved that sometimes rules are rules, even absent the reasons they were put in place.William Faust, representing applicant Greg Smith before the board, explained that a small, vacant tract of residentially zoned land…

Monday, October 24, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Reporter’s Notebook: Devolution and exclusion

Mistakesman… As early voting starts on Monday morning, one candidate is facing an uphill battle reaching out to voters thanks to the Austin American-Statesman. David Holmes, the Democrat running for Travis County Commissioners Court Precinct 3, says the Statesman cut…

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

BoA shoots down East Austin variance cluster

At the Board of Adjustment’s most recent meeting, the specters of short-term rentals and the Jumpolin piñata store did no favors for a group seeking variances in East Austin.Chris French, who identified himself as the homeowner’s brother, explained that they…

Monday, October 17, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Jenny Lind Porter home to be demolished

It took several months of deliberation, but in the end members of the Historic Landmark Commission voted unanimously to allow the demolition of Texas poet laureate Jenny Lind Porter’s home.The 1928 home at 1715 Summit View Place is a contributing…

Monday, October 10, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Poll: Austin divided on mobility bond

According to an Austin Monitor poll, the fate of the mobility bond is anyone’s guess. The poll was sponsored by Perry Lorenz and conducted by Public Policy Polling. On Oct. 5 and 6, Public Policy Polling surveyed 585 Austin voters…

Thursday, October 6, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

West Line historic zoning battle extended once again

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, a lack of consensus over a West Line home kicked off the historic zoning process at the Historic Landmark Commission’s most recent meeting.The owner of a 1915 bungalow at 812 Theresa Ave. is…

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

East Austin demolition pause raises questions at Historic Landmark Commission

The Historic Landmark Commission started off with a bang Monday night, when an unorthodox postponement of a group of East Austin demolitions put some commissioners on the defensive, left staff confused and sparked a shouting match in City Council chambers.Commissioner…

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Planning Commission votes to break Rainey Street covenant

It’s one of the most densely populated parts of the city, with nearby access to bike trails, downtown, public transit and Interstate 35, but development fights in the Rainey Street District have a familiar villain: traffic.Last week, the Planning Commission…

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Candidates square off in District 4 debate

Two of the three candidates vying for the District 4 City Council seat faced off Monday in a packed North Austin coffeehouse and answered questions from those they hope to represent.Incumbent Council Member Greg Casar has represented District 4 since…

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