Stories by Jessi Devenyns

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Public Safety Commission talks homelessness with APD

Last week brought a new level of scrutiny to the way the city polices individuals experiencing homelessness. The governor declared he would “unleash” state resources if Austin doesn’t address its homelessness issues by Nov. 1. Police Chief Brian Manley suggested…

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Texas’ oldest psychiatric facility faces demolition but is eligible to be a historic landmark

This past legislative session, lawmakers identified the Austin State Hospital as a top health care funding priority and set aside $165 million for its refurbishment. Texas Health and Human Services and the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School…

Monday, October 7, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Pioneer Crossing PUD changes course, adding parkland

Having passed through and received an approval recommendation from the Zoning and Platting Commission on Sept. 17 for its 14th amendment, the Pioneer Crossing planned unit development arrived at the Environmental Commission on Oct. 2.A 376-acre portion of the 1,410-acre…

Friday, October 4, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Developer offers extra parkland to speed construction

Pioneer Crossing at 10930 Defender Trail is an old, undeveloped planned unit development that City Council approved in 1997. A history of foreclosures and bankruptcy has left the 1,410-acre parcel fragmented between various owners. Nevertheless, the site is still beholden…

Thursday, October 3, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission votes in favor of protecting future ears from airport expansion

Generally speaking, residential use is prohibited within the airport overlay zones. The exception is the third zone (AO3) of the airport overlay, which under certain circumstances permits residential development.“We don’t just meet one of the three thresholds, we meet two,”…

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

State law leaves the Historic Landmark Commission in gridlock

Getting a property zoned historic when the owner opposes it requires a supermajority vote at City Council. Yet even getting such a case before Council is an endeavor that requires the support of the Historical Landmark and Planning commissions.Prior to…

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Historic Herrera homestead heads to Council with Planning Commission approval

It’s rare that a structure is zoned historic against an owner’s wishes. According to Preservation Austin, it has happened only three times since 1974; however, that number may be about to grow to four.Following in the footsteps of the Historic…

Friday, September 27, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Historic Landmark Commission contemplates bending rules for influential Mexican American activist

Sometimes a house is more than a home. In the case of Edward Rendon Sr., his home served as a community center that some say is as meaningful to the neighborhood today as it was 40 years ago.Rendon was an…

Thursday, September 26, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Masonic Lodge construction plans may never satisfy Historic Landmark Commission

For three months in a row, the Historic Landmark Commission has made it clear that the design for a modern addition to the Royal Arch Masonic Lodge on the corner of Seventh and Lavaca streets will not easily get its…

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Community concerns with teeth: Council postpones vote on animal-related code changes

Austin is the largest no-kill city in the country and residents would like to keep it that way. Yet some have expressed concern that maintaining the animal shelter’s no-kill status could come at the expense of community safety.Although much of…

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission endorses West Campus density

When the University Neighborhood Overlay (UNO) was established in 2004, the idea spurring its creation was to increase housing opportunities for students in an area close to classrooms and campus life.In the 15 years since, the need for affordable student…

Thursday, September 12, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Should hotel taxes and festival fees contribute to public safety coffers?

Austin’s festivals are most certainly a tourist attraction. But does that mean the public safety costs associated with those events should be financed through money earmarked for arts and tourism?With Council’s vote to raise the Hotel Occupancy Tax by 2…

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends Council include Atlas 14 update in code rewrite

Atlas 14 is a historical rainfall study that alters the city’s flood plains drastically, showing that Austin is projected to receive a 30 percent increase in rainfall. Nevertheless, the study is not something that can change development on its own.To…

Monday, September 9, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission recommends Taco PUD redesign

After a lengthy discussion surrounding the redesign of the South Lamar planned unit development – known as the Taco PUD for its location on the site of the former Taco Cabana at 211 South Lamar Blvd. – the Planning Commission…

Friday, September 6, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission discusses how to make the Heritage Tree Ordinance even more tree-centric

Austin values its trees. According to the city arborist’s office, trees are a $16 billion asset to the community.In 1982, in an effort to better protect its trees, Austin implemented its inaugural tree ordinance, which was unique both then and…

Thursday, September 5, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Rainey Street bungalow bar seeks to expand, HLC expresses concerns

The popular watering hole Clive Bar inhabits a small Craftsman house at 609 Davis St., which is just on the corner of Rainey Street. The owners are looking to reconfigure the property to add a two-story structure with a mezzanine…

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Public Safety Commission questions path forward for EMS providers being assaulted

After reports from EMS personnel raised questions about the frequency of field officer assault by patients, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services conducted an internal survey. The results showed that the majority of Austin EMS personnel say they’ve been assaulted on the…

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Masonic lodge face-lift sent back to the drawing board, again

After the Historic Landmark Commission vetoed designs for a modern addition to the Royal Arch Masonic Lodge on the corner of Seventh and Lavaca for being a “desecration” of a landmark, a new design came before them at their Aug.…

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Despite reduction in size, subdivision still troubles neighbors and ZAP

After failing to get his 82-lot subdivision at 9406 Morninghill Drive approved last fall, David Knapp refiled a subdivision application for his 51-acre ranch late last year. But this time he requested the approval of a plan that would include…

Friday, August 30, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Youth outreach program is cut after city doubled funding

When the city funds grants, should it do so based on achievable objectives or program intent? That question was at the crux of a debate at the July 24 meeting of the Environmental Commission’s Urban Forestry Committee.Last budget cycle, before…

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