Stories by Jessi Devenyns

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

How heritage tree regulations change under new draft code

Transition zones have proved to be a divisive topic at City Hall during the ongoing discussions about the Land Development Code draft.These zones, which are meant to promote “missing middle” housing options and increase density, are raising eyebrows due to…

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Northwest Austin property prompts questions about impervious cover and flooding

There are times when a rezoning case awakens long-buried neighborhood arguments. Such was the case for the 1-acre tract at 12303 Morris Road, where co-owners and developers were requesting a zoning change from Rural Residence (RR) to a higher-density Townhouse…

Monday, November 18, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Council approves amendments to city code and new floodplain maps

City Council has unanimously approved amendments to the city code redefining what constitutes the 25-year and 100-year floodplains in Austin. The changes also amend floodplain regulations and expand staff’s ability to approve residential redevelopment within the expanded floodplains.The proposed code…

Friday, November 15, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Unconventional Austin campaign finance violation moves to final hearing but could still be withdrawn

November elections have come and gone, but the Ethics Review Commission is still dealing with the ripple effects caused by a purported violation of campaign finance laws.Political consultant Mark Littlefield filed a complaint in late October alleging that Unconventional Austin,…

Thursday, November 14, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment agrees to a lake setback reduction for a family home in West Lake

City records are not infallible archives. This reality was evidenced by a variance case at 1901 Westlake Drive, which was postponed last month by the Board of Adjustment in order to dredge up more information on the history of the…

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment soundly rejects variances over ‘egregious’ code violations

After dedicating nearly a year to the construction of his personal residence at 504 Sunny Lane, StoryBuilt founder Ryan Diepenbrock found his construction choices to be the subject of a case at the Board of Adjustment last Thursday.Diepenbrock, who was…

Thursday, November 7, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

In the midst of preservation push, city permits demolition of church

After the Historic Landmark Commission initiated historic zoning for the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church at 1711 E. Oltorf St. last July, the status of the midcentury, A-frame church became tenuous as its integrity continued to degrade month after month.Finally,…

Thursday, November 7, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Audit: City-owned facilities set to save Austin $330M in 30 years

As the city faces a 3.5 percent tax cap beginning next year, city departments are searching for ways to save their pennies. Staff members have found one such savings opportunity by working to get city employees into city-owned buildings rather…

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

APD updates the Public Safety Commission after a day of homeless camp cleanups

Questions surrounding the city’s revised camping, sitting and resting ordinances were brought to the public’s attention Monday as the state stepped in for cleanup operations and the city of Austin simultaneously conducted an operation to enforce its camping ban outside…

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Rendon House deemed worthy of preservation due to exceptional merit of its prior owner

Edward Rendon Sr.’s contributions to the East Austin community have never been in question. However, whether or not his house is eligible to be zoned historic to commemorate his efforts has become a subject of debate.Rendon was an activist who…

Thursday, October 31, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Historic Landmark Commission hesitantly approves Masonic lodge renovation plans

After months of discussions and tweaks to the original plans for the Royal Arch Masonic Lodge, the Historic Landmark Commission finally came to a compromise with designers for a 30-plus-story addition to the 93-year-old ancestral home of the Masons at…

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Parks board recommends that the Parkland Dedication Ordinance remain untouched

The city of Austin has had a Parkland Dedication Ordinance as part of its Land Development Code since 1985. The ordinance has been updated three times since its institution, with the most recent iteration in 2016, after two years of…

Monday, October 28, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Lake setbacks threaten construction of family home in West Lake

Paris Schindler, owner of the lot at 1901 Westlake Drive, came to the Board of Adjustment seeking a variance to construct a 6,354-square-foot family home.While normally a 2.26-acre property would easily accommodate such a structure, 44,000 square feet of the…

Friday, October 25, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Hays and Travis counties prioritize aquifer conservation

The Trinity Aquifer is the primary groundwater supply for Hill Country residents in both Hays and Travis counties. But as a natural resource, its freshwater supply is limited, even as populations continue to grow.Already, the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District…

Thursday, October 24, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Parks board member ‘completely opposed’ to meters in parks

Last week, the city of Austin changed the prices on its parking meters for the first time in nearly 30 years. Prices jumped from $1.20 inside the city’s downtown core – $1 outside of that core – to $2 an…

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Commission calls air quality motion a ‘vague statement,’ fails to pass it

Despite the philosophical support of commissioners, a motion to improve air quality at construction sites failed at the Oct. 16 meeting of the Environmental Commission.Commissioner Pam Thompson prepared a motion on the fly during a presentation by the Office of…

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment waits for new code to make a decision on a fence

Slow and steady wins the race, and sometimes that requires a case postponement – or two, or three – to successfully acquire a variance.Such was the case at the Oct. 14 meeting of the Board of Adjustment, where Corey Keller…

Friday, October 18, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Developer turns variance process upside-down, asks Environmental Commission for ‘feedback’

In an unusual request, development lawyer Richard Suttle with Armbrust & Brown appeared before the Environmental Commission on Oct. 16 to ask not for a site plan variance, but for feedback on a possible upcoming one.“I’m anticipating needing to come…

Thursday, October 17, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment debates how far is too far to read a sign

The Hill Country Roadway Ordinance mandates that any sign along Highway 360 be less than 12 feet high, smaller than 64 square feet and conceal exterior lighting.However, Ben Robinson, who was representing the applicant for the Nalle Woods apartments at…

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment wants to participate more fully in LDC review

The Land Development Code draft continues to make its way through the city’s boards and commissions, making its latest stop at the Board of Adjustment on Monday night.The Board of Adjustment is tasked with sending feedback to the Planning Commission…

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