Stories by Jessi Devenyns

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment debates the value of maintaining area character

Swapping primary and secondary residences is an approach to creating larger living spaces for homeowners that has become a popular tactic for preserving homes that contribute to area character. However, at the Sept. 14 meeting of the Board of Adjustment,…

Friday, September 18, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment offers free advice, grants lot size variance

Small lots are not uncommon in East Austin, so the Board of Adjustment regularly grants variances to allow homeowners to maximize such properties.On Sept. 14, the board once again unanimously granted a variance for small lot amnesty to allow for…

Thursday, September 17, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Combating climate change in Austin to start at Austin Energy

As the Office of Sustainability’s newly revised Climate Equity Plan makes its way through boards and commissions for public comment, its latest stop was the Electric Utility Commission on Sept. 14.Zach Baumer, who is the program manager for the plan,…

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

County works out budget snags with Cap Metro in transportation blueprint

Travis County has nearly finished its second year of partnership with Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority to provide transit operations into unincorporated parts of Travis County. In the process, transportation staff has uncovered a few unanticipated costs that will affect the…

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends increased impervious cover in waterfront overlay

Historically, it is rare for the Environmental Commission to recommend a variance to increase impervious cover in a waterfront overlay. Lately, however, the redevelopment of old, heavily covered lots has the commissioners opting for the lesser of two evils and…

Monday, September 14, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Travis County now has an African American Cultural Heritage Commission

As of Sept. 8, Travis County officially has a commission dedicated to the preservation and celebration of African American cultural heritage.“We see a lot of the African American communities, artifacts and heirlooms being destroyed as we grow in size as…

Friday, September 11, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Mary Baylor House receives recommendation for historic zoning

The house of civil rights activist Mary Freeman Baylor had been run-down for years until new owners bought the Clarksville property in 2014 and began fixing it up, on the heels of a thwarted attempt to demolish the house. The property…

Thursday, September 10, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Public Safety Commission considers a new vision for APD headquarters

A conversation on the future of the Austin Police Department headquarters is following on the heels of City Council’s reformulation of Austin’s police budget last month.On Sept. 9, the Public Safety Commission articulated a new vision for the current headquarters…

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Travis County selects 225 businesses for grant funding, approves waitlist

Nearly five months ago, Travis County approved a $10 million grant allocation from its federal Covid-19 relief dollars to fund small businesses in need. Now, thanks to a unanimous vote from the Commissioners Court on Tuesday, 225 businesses in the…

Thursday, September 3, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Travis County elects not to pursue federal tax deferment for employees

The idea for a federal payroll tax holiday for employees was rolled out in early August, but it was only last Friday that the federal government issued guidance on how employers were expected to execute this economic relief measure.On Aug.…

Wednesday, September 2, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Travis County anticipates spending additional $3M for November elections

From social distancing restrictions to post office controversy, this year’s presidential election is facing unprecedented challenges. Despite the hurdles, Travis County has worked out a plan to ensure that the county’s 833,000 registered voters have access to safe and smoothly…

Tuesday, September 1, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Historic Landmark Commission approves nine-story affordable housing proposal

While towering, multi-floor designs with little relationship to historic facades have been a thorn in the side of the Historic Landmark Commission in recent months, a proposal for an affordable housing tower behind the historic home at 809 E. Ninth…

Friday, August 28, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Central Health proposes raising taxes to fund budget

Central Health has been a critical resource for many during the course of the pandemic; now, the public health authority is looking to accomplish more for its patients in the upcoming year.To provide additional health care options for a larger…

Thursday, August 27, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Historic Landmark Commission vetoes skyscraper design for historic building

In recent months, there have been several cases of developers proposing multi-story buildings as a way to preserve the facades of historic structures while balancing the economics of Austin real estate.On Aug. 24, the Historic Landmark Commission firmly put its…

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Travis County plans for drive-thru voting drop-off for mail-in ballots

November’s presidential election is fast approaching and the Travis County Clerk’s Office is working diligently to ensure county residents have safe and well-functioning access to voting, both in-person and by mail-in ballot.To provide the required safety measures and necessary infrastructure…

Monday, August 24, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Ethics commission discusses transparency in unbroadcast meeting

As Covid-19 has pushed city meetings online, questions about public participation have taken center stage, with community members and commissioners alike struggling with cumbersome web platforms and long waiting times on phone lines.The topic came before the Ethics Review Commission on…

Friday, August 21, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends increased impervious cover for Goodwill

Goodwill of Central Texas is hoping to bring a new secondhand store and drop-off center to 2411 Lake Austin Blvd. In order to do so, the donation retailer will require a variance to allow it to build up to 89…

Thursday, August 20, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

East Austin tank farm site poised to become a PUD

Despite years of remediation efforts and development proposals for the former East Austin tank farm at 1011 and 1017 Springdale Road, the site has remained undeveloped. Then in May, the Jay Paul Company brought the city a new development proposal…

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Travis County budget makes concessions and cuts to achieve balance

After months of rework triggered by the financial ramifications of the pandemic, the Commissioners Court held its first public hearing associated with the 2021 Travis County budget on Aug. 18. As they went through the 120-page, $1.28 billion budget proposal, Planning and…

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin Water aims to bring new conservation ordinances before Council in December

Timelines across the city have been adjusted or paused following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the ongoing limitations imposed by the “new normal” have not stopped Austin Water from developing new conservation ordinances to bring before City Council…

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