Stories by Jack Craver

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 by Jack Craver

Revenue caps loom over discussion of public defender’s office

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt warmly welcomed a proposal to establish a county public defender’s office, saying it was imperative that Travis County join the vast majority of major urban jurisdictions in providing attorneys to represent criminal defendants who can’t…

Monday, April 1, 2019 by Jack Craver

A big problem for low-income homeowners: septic tanks

For the most part, living in rural Travis County is cheaper than living in the city of Austin. Land values, property taxes and rents are all significantly lower. Sewage, however, often costs significantly more.The problems and costs associated with aging…

Thursday, March 28, 2019 by Jack Craver

Travis County already has a public defender’s office – for juveniles

Amid the contentious public debate over the creation of a public defender’s office in Travis County is an oft-neglected fact: Travis County already has a public defender’s office. It just doesn’t serve adults.The Travis County Juvenile Public Defender, founded in…

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 by Jack Craver

Tense meeting over arrest at library

The Library Commission heard impassioned testimony Monday night over the arrest last month of a 13-year-old girl at the Austin Public Library’s Carver branch.Activists showed up to the meeting at the Terrazas branch on Cesar Chavez Street to urge the…

Monday, March 25, 2019 by Jack Craver

Contractors cry foul over changes to Austin Energy’s weatherization program

Why is Austin Energy spending so much less on its weatherization program than in the past? The answer depends on whom you ask.In the 2017 fiscal year, the utility spent $1.6 million on a long-standing program that offers free weatherization…

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by Jack Craver

Planning commissioners push for more transit-oriented mobility plan

City Council is scheduled to take up the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan at its next meeting on March 28. In recent weeks, various city commissions have offered comments on the plan, which aims to shape city transportation policy over the…

Monday, March 18, 2019 by Jack Craver

City manager presents options for a new land development code

City Manager Spencer Cronk released a memo on Friday proposing the first steps of a new process to rewrite the land development code. The memo comes seven months after City Council voted unanimously to suspend its last land use code rewrite…

Thursday, March 14, 2019 by Jack Craver

Planning Commission OKs taller building in West Campus

The Planning Commission granted near-unanimous approval for a rezoning in West Campus to allow an old student housing complex at 2408 Leon St. to be replaced with a new, larger apartment complex.The property owner, Arlington Capital Austin, wants the lot…

Friday, March 8, 2019 by Jack Craver

Council signals support for row houses over staff objection

City Council signaled support for a project that will bring five row houses to the Blackland neighborhood in East Austin, over the objections of city staff and a vocal contingent of neighborhood residents.Council approved “on first reading” rezoning the property…

Thursday, March 7, 2019 by Jack Craver

Planning Commission rebukes city staff in Blackland rezoning

The Planning Commission voted to endorse five townhouses just south of Manor Road despite a recommendation from city staff against the development.The property at 2107 Alamo St. is currently occupied by an aging duplex. The owner, Anmol Mehra, wants to…

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 by Jack Craver

City begins process of spending $925 million in bonds

Spending money is not always easy. Four months after voters approved $925 million in bonds to fund housing, parks, transportation, fire stations and a wide assortment of other municipal priorities, city staff and City Council are beginning the process of…

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 by Jack Craver

Can Austin get dedicated transit lanes without losing car lanes?

Mayor Steve Adler and Capital Metro Transportation Authority leaders say it is critical that Austin put in place a high-capacity public transit system that runs in a dedicated right-of-way, but that the new system does not have to come at…

Thursday, February 28, 2019 by Jack Craver

Protesters show up late to protest postponed Riverside project

Although there was additional security at Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting, the commission discussed the case without incident, voting to indefinitely postpone action in order to allow city staff to continue evaluating Project Catalyst, a major mixed-use development proposed near East Riverside…

Friday, February 22, 2019 by Jack Craver

Council passes resolution to ease regulations on affordable housing projects

City Council unanimously approved a resolution Thursday aimed at producing more affordable housing units in the city by easing regulations on subsidized developments.The resolution, authored by Council Member Greg Casar, instructs city staff to draft an ordinance that will exempt…

Thursday, February 21, 2019 by Jack Craver

Legal fight over Planning Commission likely to continue

The city of Austin does not appear any closer to resolving a legal challenge from Attorney General Ken Paxton over the composition of its Planning Commission. So far, nobody on City Council has proposed removing any members in response to…

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 by Jack Craver

Casar makes small changes to affordable housing resolution

City Council appears poised to approve a resolution aimed at easing regulations on affordable housing developers.At a Tuesday work session, Council members offered suggestions, but not significant criticism, of the measure drafted by Council Member Greg Casar. The proposal, which…

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 by Jack Craver

Council members agree: Cars are not the solution

If the Thursday meeting was any indication, every member of City Council believes that the key to fixing Austin’s transportation problems is reducing the population’s reliance on automobiles.Council members peppered city transportation staff with questions and critiques in response to…

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 by Jack Craver

City has tough decisions on affordable housing bond

The city’s affordable housing challenges were thrown into sharp relief during a presentation Tuesday morning by the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department to members of City Council.The presentation was before Council’s Housing and Planning Committee, but the chair, Council…

Monday, February 11, 2019 by Jack Craver

Council weighs mixed messages from staff on car dealership

City Council approved a request Thursday to provide water and wastewater service to a car dealership in northwest Travis County over the objections of the city’s Watershed Protection Department.The car lot, 620 Volvo Dealership, is going to be built whether…

Friday, February 8, 2019 by Jack Craver

City Council approves settlement with Austin Country Club

City Council endorsed a settlement Thursday aimed at ending litigation between the city and the Austin Country Club.At issue is whether the club – which is expanding its clubhouse and adding a new dining facility, and likely plans to develop…

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