Stories by Jessi Devenyns

Friday, February 21, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

More energy-efficient homes are straining Austin Energy’s revenues

Austin Energy began its year with higher-than-expected revenues thanks to warmer temperatures this fall.“We’re about 5 percent over the forecast for the quarter in consumption,” said Stephanie Koudelka, the utility’s principal accounting manager, at the Feb. 10 meeting of the…

Thursday, February 20, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Waste management emergency contract heads to Council with split recommendations

Austin’s dumpster wars continue. The city’s contract with Waste Management of Texas expires Feb. 28. To avoid a public health crisis, City Council will vote tonight on whether to execute an emergency multi-term contract with the waste collector for up…

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Water and Wastewater Commission learns cause of foamy water

On Jan. 22, residents in South Austin reported foamy water in their taps following the Austin Fire Department’s extinguishing of a church fire.At the Feb. 12 meeting of the Water and Wastewater Commission, Rick Coronado, the assistant director of Austin…

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends a variance for 19 feet of fill

A developer building a commercial storage facility project requiring a variance for 19.5 feet of fill to construct a driveway on slopes steeper than a 15 percent grade received a unanimous recommendation from the Environmental Commission at its Feb. 5…

Thursday, February 13, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

ZAP finds a compromise to bring density and more affordable housing with a unit cap

In an effort to bring more density to the environmentally sensitive area of far Southwest Austin, developers came to the Zoning and Platting Commission on Feb. 4 with a plan to construct 15 condominiums within a small footprint on their…

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

UT professor maps climate vulnerability in Austin

Communities within Austin are disproportionately affected by climate change based on their social vulnerability.Social vulnerability refers to a community’s sensitivity to natural hazards and community members’ capacity to rebound from natural disasters.In a study by Patrick Bixler with the University…

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin firefighters look to California to combat wildfire risk

Outside of California, the Austin metro area is one of the regions in the country most vulnerable to wildfire. According to CoreLogic’s 2019 Wildfire Risk Report, the metropolitan area has the fifth-highest risk in the nation for a major wildfire…

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

HLC debates ‘original character’ in Smoot-Terrace Park

In the city of Austin, a home is considered historic if it meets several criteria, among them being at least 50 years old. Thanks to the timeline associated with its remodeling choices, the home at 607 Oakland Ave. qualified twice…

Monday, February 10, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin EMS union outlines effects of high call volume and sick leave policies

In recent months, Austin Emergency Medical Services has implemented new policies to improve the lives of its medics. The department has adjusted its start times to be on a more natural wake-up schedule and has instated a new code for…

Friday, February 7, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

BoA: We don’t ‘pre-clear’ cases

Obtaining a variance from city code is a multi-step process that can require applicants to visit various boards or commissions that weigh in with their expertise on aspects of a development project. In other cases, an applicant only comes before…

Thursday, February 6, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

HLC discusses when historic zoning should be removed from a property

The Reuter House, a National Register historic home, has perched atop a hill overlooking a substantial lot in Travis Heights since 1934. Seven years ago, the back portion of the lot was subdivided and three lots were sold to new…

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Community reacts to APD racial profiling study at Public Safety Commission

Last week, a report from the city’s Office of Police Oversight, Office of Innovation, and Equity Office showed that black and Hispanic drivers are more likely to be stopped in their vehicles by Austin police than white and Asian drivers.…

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Republic Square Salt & Time sign takes more time

Republic Square is one of the original squares in the city of Austin, but it has long been an underutilized spot in the city center. In an effort to activate the space, the city has worked for the past few…

Thursday, January 30, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission recommends rezoning for half of Castle Hill Graffiti Park

Two projects intending to replace the internationally famous “Graffiti Park” came before the Planning Commission on Jan. 28. However, only the 10-condo Colorfield project at 1006 Baylor St. received the commission’s recommendation.When the Historic Landmark Commission approved the demolition of the…

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

A heated ZAP tackles displacement

Nearly two years to the day citizens debuted the People’s Plan on Martin Luther King Day 2018, the topic of displacement mitigation came before the Zoning and Platting Commission for an update.On Jan. 21, commissioners listened to a report on…

Monday, January 27, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

East Austin 2K-acre PUD gets unanimous seal of approval from Environmental Commission

The future of a decades-old sand and gravel mine just east of the Austin city limits on Harold Green Road is now clearer with the latest set of plans developers presented to the Environmental Commission on Jan. 15.Known as the…

Thursday, January 23, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Monetizing the carbon cycle may lead to ecological solutions

In the very near future, there is a possibility that Texas landowners will be able to reduce carbon emissions while earning money on their unused land.Jim Blackburn, a professor at Rice University and the president of the Trinity-Edwards Springs Protection…

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Commission calls city’s approach to South Austin planning “piecemeal”

Cases that come before the Zoning and Platting Commission are reviewed individually. But when a zoning request change at 12001 S. Interstate 35 came up at the Jan. 7 meeting, it caused the commission to lament the overall process for…

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission supports request for 400-foot buildings in East Austin

There are not many places in the city where buildings tower 400 feet into the sky. However, there is a chance that the areas of Austin where these skyscrapers are permitted are about to expand.In a 9-0-1 vote, the Planning…

Friday, January 17, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

BOA denies a new build designed for a new decade

When the first Lake Austin Watershed Ordinance went into effect in 1980, some properties had development rights curtailed overnight. The property at 2803 Edgewater Drive is one of those cases where the ordinance limited the buildable area on the property’s…

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