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Stories by Jessi Devenyns

Friday, February 22, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Permanent zebra mussel solution still 18 months out

Following the odorous indication that a zebra mussel infestation had arrived in Austin waterways earlier this month, Austin Water has been working to come up with a solution to prevent a similar instance from recurring.Austin Water is already working to slow the…

Thursday, February 21, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment seeks neighborly consent for variance

There are occasions when even though the Board of Adjustment deems a request reasonable, procedure dictates that it is unable to approve the request.Such a petition came before the BoA at its Feb. 11 meeting, when the homeowner of 7309…

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Despite statute of limitations, ethics commission moves forward with Rodriguez case

More than a year after Austinites and reporters raised questions about Frank Rodriguez’s continued ties to Latino HealthCare Forum, a nonprofit he founded while he was serving as a senior policy adviser for Mayor Steve Adler, the issue came before…

Friday, February 15, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Boat dock variance dredges up concerns at the Board of Adjustment

There are occasions when, regardless of how a homeowner may redesign, reorient or reimagine a site, there is simply no option to make a project code-compliant. That still doesn’t mean that the request for a variance will be supported.This scenario…

Thursday, February 14, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Ethics Review Commission dismisses case against Human Resources director

The city of Austin professes to have a “mother-friendly” work environment that supports new moms and working parents. However, a complaint filed in December by the Office of the City Auditor brings that policy into question.The complaint filed by Brian…

Thursday, February 14, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Scraped lots are not entitled to variances because of tree placement

Generally, when trees are the cause of a variance request, the Board of Adjustment is quite accommodating. After all, considering all the good trees do for the environment and the city’s stringent protections for them, it can be difficult for…

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment changes rules for those seeking appeal

After postponing the vote last month in an effort to ensure that a fair and open appeals process is available to the public, the Board of Adjustment made a decision Monday night that may prove contentious.In a 6-5 vote at…

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Citing density concerns, West Austin lot receives recommendation for subdivision

After purchasing his home in May 2016 under the assumption that the city would permit him to subdivide his 3.2-acre lot into two 1.6-acre lots, Rick Engel, the owner of Ski Shores restaurant, found himself still pleading his case almost three…

Monday, February 11, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Watershed department works with city to clean up homeless camps

The number of people experiencing homelessness is growing in the city of Austin. Last fall, recognizing the crisis on the streets and the pressure on city resources, City Council approved an increased budget to help relieve the situation.In addition to…

Thursday, February 7, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Zoning and Platting Commission discusses validity of previous vote

At the last meeting of the Zoning and Platting Commission on Jan. 29, even with a full dais the commission was unable to muster the supermajority vote needed to approve a request for a flag lot at 11603 Tedford St.Dissatisfied…

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Travis County and its growing number of sexual assault response teams

Sexual assault has become a hot-button topic in Austin over the past several weeks. Of course, this sort of crime is nothing new; sexual violence has been with us for centuries and has always been difficult to deal with.In an…

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

APD Chief Manley addresses sexual assault audit

At the beginning of 2019, Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley called for a third-party audit of the department’s sexual assault cases. State auditors subsequently found that detectives had wrongly “exceptionally cleared” nearly a third of rape cases over a three-month…

Monday, February 4, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

In light of urgent United Nations report, Austin updates climate plan

When Austin developed its Community Climate Plan in 2015, declaring its ambition to become a carbon neutral community by 2050, the plan was heralded as a landmark decision by Council.However, that was before leading United Nations scientists alerted the citizens…

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin looks to engage residents and preserve ‘Old Austin’ through storytelling

From Wooldridge Square, the birthplace of Austin illustrator Jim Franklin’s legendary Keep Austin Weird concert poster, to Interstate 35’s historic past as a cattle driving route, Austin is built upon the stories and memories of generations past. However, as the city’s population…

Monday, January 28, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

John Treviño Metro Park gets development contract

The 330-acre plot of former ranch land that sits 2.5 miles east of Highway 183 has stood vacant since 2003 as it waits to become the future John Treviño Metro Park.This metropolitan park is one of two remaining undeveloped parks…

Friday, January 25, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

American Cities Climate Challenge brings support, not cash

The announcement two weeks ago that Austin was one of 25 U.S. cities to receive Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge award was greeted with much fanfare from the media. The press especially touted the $2.5 million Austin would receive…

Thursday, January 24, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Parks board OKs Givens Park Master Plan

After months of preparation and committee reviews, the Givens District Park Master Plan arrived before the Parks and Recreation Board on Jan. 22 as a consent item, only to be pulled due to members of the public who attended the…

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Historic precedent prompts Board of Adjustment to grant setback variance

With rising rents in Austin, folks looking for an affordable place to live are becoming creative with their housing configurations. Even some who already have homes are looking to subdivide their lots to ease the burden and maybe even benefit…

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment rules rewrite is postponed, again

For over a year the Board of Adjustment has been discussing how to amend its rules in order to ensure that a fair and open appeals process is available to the public. This exercise came about as the board searched…

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

City-approved wellness center project not OK’d by BOA for second time

Sometimes, one commission’s idea of a good project is not supported by another commission, which seemed to be the case for the project at 1800 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.Sharon Shuppert, who owns the property and is a licensed…

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