Stories by Jessi Devenyns

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

City works out logistics to allow boards and commissions to meet virtually

After nearly a month of meetings being on hold, City Council voted last Thursday to temporarily waive a local ordinance requiring a quorum of board or commission members to be physically present in order for a meeting to take place.The…

Monday, March 30, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin Water reports happier customers and over-budget expenses for first quarter

In a mixed start to the year, Austin Water reported expenses that were 14 percent above budget for the quarter and revenues that were 6.2 percent higher than projections.“We were above our (revenue) budget by $8.79 million,” Christina Romero, Austin…

Friday, March 27, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Council approves update to Resource, Generation and Climate Protection Plan

In spite of a slew of public speakers requesting that City Council postpone a vote on the Austin Energy Resource, Generation and Climate Protection plan due to a lack of public engagement, Council voted to approve the update to the…

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

APD’s curtailed operations could impact equity

Last week, the Austin Police Department announced changes to its daily operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While there will be no change to the department’s response to critical calls where life and safety are jeopardized, smaller offenses and…

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Eckhardt to remain county judge until May 13

In yet another unprecedented decision linked to COVID-19, County Judge Sarah Eckhardt will not be stepping down from county government after all, despite her March 10 resignation.Eckhardt said at a press conference Monday that she could not have foreseen the…

Thursday, March 19, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Parks remain accessible, but playscapes cause community concern

Austin’s public parks are institutions of expansive green space and outdoor recreation that would appear to be prime locations to abide by social distancing policies while offering the chance to get out and about. However, depending on the destination, enjoying…

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

COVID-19 to impact local 2020 U.S. Census effort

This past week in Austin two big initiatives took place nearly simultaneously – the start of the 2020 U.S. Census and the indefinite extension of the emergency disaster declaration in response to COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic is having an impact…

Friday, March 13, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Commissioners Court to facilitate talks in disagreement between ABoR and TCAD

TCAD Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler told the Travis County Commissioners Court on March 10 that despite receiving a cease-and-desist order to stop collecting third-party sales data, her office is still working to acquire the necessary data to accurately appraise home…

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Travis County Commissioners Court extends emergency disaster declaration

Following the local disaster declaration last Friday, the Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously extended the county’s disaster declaration in light of ongoing concerns about public health risks associated with COVID-19. This state of emergency will continue indefinitely or until the…

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Watershed Protection Department debuts new pollution spills map

When the Watershed Protection Department went to renew the city’s permit to discharge under the Texas pollutant discharge elimination system this past year, it found new requirements. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recently changed its rules to require cities…

Monday, March 9, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends city develop holistic resilience plan

In many respects, Austin city officials are striving to create an environmentally sustainable city. However, according to the Environmental Commission, the city is not as resilient as it needs to be.“Right now, we don’t have a resilience plan,” Commissioner Katie…

Friday, March 6, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Public safety departments present preliminary budget requests

Budget season at the city has already begun for the 2021 fiscal year. In preparation for its deep dive into budget requests from the public safety departments, the Public Safety Commission listened to preliminary budget forecasts at its March 2…

Thursday, March 5, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin Police Department sees increase in violent crime

While the Austin Police Department is still finalizing crime numbers for 2019, the end of the last decade and the beginning of this one saw an uptick in violent crime, according to APD Chief of Staff Troy Gay.Gay told the…

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Public Safety Commission previews APD’s critical incident video policy

Following Council’s request in February for a policy governing the automatic public release of videos in critical cases, Farah Muscadin, director of the Office of Police Oversight, presented a draft policy to the Public Safety Commission on March 2.Muscadin, who…

Monday, March 2, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission recommends Austin Green PUD with a laundry list of amendments

The Austin Green planned unit development, which is located just east of the Austin city limits on Harold Green Road, has now received two unanimous commission votes recommending that the 2,122-acre former sand and gravel mine receive PUD rezoning. On…

Friday, February 28, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Council members discuss how Austin Energy’s billing system disproportionally affects vulnerable customers

Austin Energy makes its revenue from customers purchasing energy from the fourth and fifth tiers of its five-tiered residential billing structure. However, with more Austinites living in multifamily units and homes becoming more energy-efficient, 76 percent of residential energy consumption…

Thursday, February 27, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission recommends Imagine Austin amendments but postpones neighborhood request

At Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting, city staff asked commissioners for their recommendations for amending the language of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan.Staff brought two requests to the dais. One was for an endorsement to alter the language of the Imagine…

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission postpones Lantana PCA to encourage compromise

On Feb. 19, the Environmental Commission heard from divided parties arguing their case for whether to recommend implementing a Project Consent Agreement at the Lantana project in Southwest Austin to allow for a mixed-use residential project rather than office space…

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends revising green building standards

Green buildings are intended to be superior constructions built with environmentally sustainable materials and design. While not required, the city encourages this type of construction on a voluntary basis through Austin Energy’s Green Building Program, which rewards builders for green…

Monday, February 24, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

ZAP recommends less density than staff does for South Austin site

At its Feb. 18 meeting, the Zoning and Platting Commission debated how much density is too much for the lot at 6917 Colton Bluff Springs Road.Although the land is intended for a single project, the 23-acre site is divided into…

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