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Stories by Jessi Devenyns

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Should natural gas be a required secondary fuel source?

Even as the city strives to reach net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the Energy Code for Austin still, with some exceptions, requires the use of natural gas for water heating when a residential building is constructed adjacent to…

Monday, April 22, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

West Austin housing development claims vested rights, compromises on development regulations

Even if a property remains undeveloped for years, the property’s vested rights can, in some cases, allow a project to be grandfathered into another era’s development regulations. In the case of a project at FM 620 at Storm Drive, that era…

Friday, April 19, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Tree protection outweighs density concerns for Environmental Commission

There are only four reasons a heritage tree can be removed in the city of Austin: it must be dead, diseased, an imminent hazard, or prevent reasonable use of a property.Even if a tree meets one or more of these…

Thursday, April 18, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

City working to align development standards on East 11th Street corridor

Development in Austin is anything but straightforward. That’s especially true on East 11th Street, where efforts to transform blighted neighborhoods into a vibrant downtown gateway are governed both by the Urban Renewal Plan and the Neighborhood Conservation Combining District.According to…

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

City may initiate demolition-by-neglect case in effort to save I.Q. Hurdle House

For several years, one North Texas company has been stealthily purchasing properties along East 12th Street and now owns nearly four dozen properties between Interstate 35 and Walnut Avenue, according to Travis County property records.One of those properties happens to…

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment grants unpermitted carport permission to stay parked

After a bitter neighborhood battle took place last month over a carport, the owner of the unpermitted car shelter was given a verdict to take down the structure that had stood for 16 years.However, the owner gave it one more…

Monday, April 15, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Despite neighborhood objections Planning Commission approves increasing density for East Austin project

On the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Tillery Street, single-family homes meet higher-density residential developments. Although this tenuous balance between property usage has been negotiated for decades, there remains a line between the two districts.Finding that fine…

Friday, April 12, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Family dispute over historic zoning comes to Planning Commission for mediation

Five years ago, the property at 1119 East 11th St. was zoned historic in an effort to preserve both the legacy of the Thomas family and their involvement in the East Austin music scene, and an emblematic example of 20th-century…

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment searches for the line between ‘fraternizing’ and ‘frat’

After purchasing former Texas Governor Ann Richards’ home on 2311 Shoal Creek Boulevard in 2017, the Texas Beta Students Aid Fund, which is the nonprofit arm of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, retained single-family zoning on the property. Yet neighbors…

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Project Catalyst and Country Club Creek Trail: An ‘inopportune’ overlap

At the same meeting of the Environmental Commission where citizens aired their concerns about the Northern Walnut Creek Trail, commissioners had questions about the Country Club Creek Trail off of Riverside Drive.Commissioners wanted to know how plans for the Country…

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

New medical office moves forward with no recommendation from Environmental Commission

Trees are such an essential resource in Central Texas that even the thought of razing them to the ground can rattle the branches of the Environmental Commission.The city of Austin does not have the authority to mandate the preservation of…

Monday, April 8, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Public expresses concern about Urban Trails causing erosion

In 2014, the city of Austin approved an Urban Trails Master Plan that laid out the path forward to construct 300 miles of non-motorized trails throughout the city. Five years later, construction is well underway, but community members have raised…

Thursday, April 4, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Dougherty redevelopment plans to go before Council in May with parks board approval

After voters decided last November to approve $25 million in bond funding to replace the Dougherty Arts Center, the Parks and Recreation Department immediately got to work designing a new facility specifically intended to accommodate the arts.With hundreds of voices from…

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Public safety departments cite $3.5M in unmet needs

At Monday’s Public Safety Commission meeting, commissioners unanimously voted to send a memo to City Council recommending an additional $3.5 million in funding for the 2020 fiscal year. The money would fund initiatives including a $10,000 raise for future police…

Tuesday, April 2, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Effort to historically zone Texas Supreme Court justice’s house narrowly fails at HLC

A debate over the definition of the word “significant” was the topic du jour at the March 25 meeting of the Historic Landmark Commission.The word’s interpretation came into question because, when it comes to determining whether a home is worthy…

Thursday, March 28, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Seven protesters arrested, public expresses opposition at community meeting for Project Catalyst

Anticipating a situation similar to last month’s Planning Commission meeting, Assistant Planning and Zoning Director Jerry Rusthoven opened the March 27 community meeting to discuss Project Catalyst with a word of caution.“It’s important to us that this meeting be conducted in…

Thursday, March 28, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

HLC accepts demolition of West Lynn home for ‘Tudor mansion’

After last month’s revelation of the design plans for 1602 West Lynn St. left members of the Historic Landmark Commission reeling, the four weeks between then and now allowed the commissioners to begrudgingly accept the previously presented plans and comments from…

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Ramshackle 117-year-old house slated for historic zoning against owner’s wishes

Despite what city staff called the “heartbreaking” condition of a historically contributing structure and an owner’s opposition to historic zoning, the Historic Landmark Commission determined Monday that a 117-year-old home was worth saving.In an effort to preserve one of the…

Monday, March 25, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment does not approve variance to ‘preserve neighborhood character’

The desire to build a house is not a sufficient reason to receive a variance, in the eyes of the Board of Adjustment.After having his case postponed at the February meeting of the Board of Adjustment, Joshua Inscoe, who was…

Friday, March 22, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

BoA grants boat dock variance, swayed by trees

After being denied a variance to reconstruct an existing dock to 44 feet instead of the code-compliant 30 feet, the case of 1515 Manana St. returned before the Board of Adjustment at its March 11 meeting.Based on a “substantial” amount…

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