Stories by Jessi Devenyns

Thursday, September 12, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Should hotel taxes and festival fees contribute to public safety coffers?

Austin’s festivals are most certainly a tourist attraction. But does that mean the public safety costs associated with those events should be financed through money earmarked for arts and tourism?With Council’s vote to raise the Hotel Occupancy Tax by 2…

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends Council include Atlas 14 update in code rewrite

Atlas 14 is a historical rainfall study that alters the city’s flood plains drastically, showing that Austin is projected to receive a 30 percent increase in rainfall. Nevertheless, the study is not something that can change development on its own.To…

Monday, September 9, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission recommends Taco PUD redesign

After a lengthy discussion surrounding the redesign of the South Lamar planned unit development – known as the Taco PUD for its location on the site of the former Taco Cabana at 211 South Lamar Blvd. – the Planning Commission…

Friday, September 6, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission discusses how to make the Heritage Tree Ordinance even more tree-centric

Austin values its trees. According to the city arborist’s office, trees are a $16 billion asset to the community.In 1982, in an effort to better protect its trees, Austin implemented its inaugural tree ordinance, which was unique both then and…

Thursday, September 5, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Rainey Street bungalow bar seeks to expand, HLC expresses concerns

The popular watering hole Clive Bar inhabits a small Craftsman house at 609 Davis St., which is just on the corner of Rainey Street. The owners are looking to reconfigure the property to add a two-story structure with a mezzanine…

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Public Safety Commission questions path forward for EMS providers being assaulted

After reports from EMS personnel raised questions about the frequency of field officer assault by patients, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services conducted an internal survey. The results showed that the majority of Austin EMS personnel say they’ve been assaulted on the…

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Masonic Lodge facelift sent back to the drawing board, again

After the Historic Landmark Commission vetoed designs for a modern addition to the Royal Arch Masonic Lodge on the corner of Seventh and Lavaca for being a “desecration” of a landmark, a new design came before them at their Aug.…

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Despite reduction in size, subdivision still troubles neighbors and ZAP

After failing to get his 82-lot subdivision at 9406 Morninghill Drive approved last fall, David Knapp refiled a subdivision application for his 51-acre ranch late last year. But this time he requested the approval of a plan that would include…

Friday, August 30, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Youth outreach program is cut after city doubled funding

When the city funds grants, should it do so based on achievable objectives or program intent? That question was at the crux of a debate at the July 24 meeting of the Environmental Commission’s Urban Forestry Committee.Last budget cycle, before…

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment seeks more information, postpones adaptive reuse project

In an effort to create market-rate affordable housing in North Austin, a developer is attempting to reuse the existing 281 units of the Austin Suites Motel at 8300 N. Interstate 35.In order to accomplish this goal, the developer came to…

Monday, August 26, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission debates transportation corridors and density

Does an extra 0.05 miles from a transportation corridor make a difference when it comes to deciding the appropriate level of density for a property?The Planning Commission found itself pondering this question at its Aug. 13 meeting while deliberating on…

Friday, August 23, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Toxic algae blooms expected to recur

Algae in Austin’s waterways is nothing new. In the summertime when the water warms up and flows slowly, it’s common to see tendrils of blue-green algae floating in the current.“It’s a very seasonal pattern. A very regular pattern,” Brent Bellinger…

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

North Lamar Mobile Home Park residents protest landlord negligence

The city of Austin has been working to tackle gentrification head-on through stabilizing mobile home parks throughout the city. This is one avenue to ensure that residents are able to stay, but there are other ways besides incongruent zonings and…

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Zoning and Platting Commission weighs in on proposed fire code

As Austin weathers the dog days of summer, wildfire risk is once again a hot topic in the city.A new report this week by the Office of the City Auditor said that the city could be doing a better job…

Friday, August 16, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission unmoved to recommend preservation for East Austin grocery store

After a unanimous recommendation from the Historic Landmark Commission to preserve the 1922-era corner grocery at 220 Comal St., the momentum behind preserving the East Austin structure slowed at the Planning Commission.“I’m getting the sense that the owner can preserve…

Thursday, August 15, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning commissioners say South Lamar development will make Austin a ‘real city’

To bring more commercial and multifamily space to the South Lamar Corridor, Endeavor Real Estate Group, the owner of a 1.8-acre lot on the corner of South Lamar Boulevard and Bluebonnet Lane, requested a zoning change at the Aug. 13…

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Dock variance fails for a second time at the Board of Adjustment

After the Board of Adjustment denied a variance request to extend the width of a dock into the interior setback of a Lake Austin lot and reduce the interior setback to 0 feet, the homeowners returned in August for a…

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

City continues to work toward Vision Zero goals

As of this past weekend, there have been 48 traffic fatalities in Austin since the beginning of the year. The city, according to an ambitious plan passed three years ago, would like to bring the number of annual traffic deaths…

Monday, August 12, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

City outlines displacement mitigation strategy based on People’s Plan

Following a Council directive last year to analyze the recommendations put forth in the People’s Plan, city staffers from a variety of departments have released a Displacement Mitigation Strategy report detailing an approach to contend with gentrification and displacement in…

Friday, August 9, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

AFD under fire for handling of sexual harassment claim despite policy updates

After Austin Fire Department Lieutenant James Baker pleaded guilty to hiding a camera and filming firefighter Kelly Gall in the fire station restroom, AFD revised its harassment policies and implemented the Electronic and Anonymous Reporting System.EARS is intended to bypass…

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