Stories by Jessi Devenyns

Monday, May 20, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Despite zebra mussels, Austin’s waterways seeing a recovery trend

The news is full of horror stories about zebra mussels invading intake pipes and sediment causing city water to be of questionable quality. Yet statistics show that, overall, the waterways of Austin are regaining their health.According to Mateo Scoggins of the…

Monday, May 20, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission decides how much office is too much office in a neighborhood

In Central Austin especially, neighborhoods evolve and zonings change. However, change is not always simple.The two owners of the properties at 1804, 1806 and 1808 W. Sixth St. came before the Planning Commission at its May 14 meeting to request…

Friday, May 17, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission fails to recommend zoning change, citing proximity to hazardous materials

Abutting the Cypress Semiconductor manufacturing plant is an undeveloped 1.63-acre tract of land that is currently zoned commercial. This transition property connects the industrial tract to the east with residential developments closer to town.On May 14, Ferris Clements, an associate…

Friday, May 17, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

BoA postpones case to better understand 10-foot setback implications

After combining two plots of land in the West Austin Sweetbrush neighborhood in January and agreeing to conform to city of Austin ordinances in the process, the owners of 2404 Sweetbrush Drive came before the Board of Adjustment on May…

Thursday, May 16, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Mis-measured fence must come down to size, according to BoA

City code considers a swimming pool to be a backyard hazard that should be securely encircled by a solid fence – sometimes a fence that is higher than the 6-foot standard. However, a fence of increased height is only permitted…

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

BoA says expanded parking at Travis County Tax Office is insufficient

For years, the Travis County Clerk’s Office and the Tax Office at 5501 Airport Blvd. have used the vacant lot next door to accommodate the perpetual parking overflow from Austinites seeking a variety of services.Now, as Austin continues to expand,…

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Ethics commission finds Prop J PAC violated campaign finance laws

After hours of politically caustic testimony, the Ethics Review Commission found at its May 8 meeting that the No on Prop J political action committee had violated city ethics codes by failing to disclose a $10,000 donation in a timely…

Monday, May 13, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Mobile home rezoning case raises questions about living arrangements

In an attempt to tackle gentrification head-on, last August City Council directed city staff to begin rezoning mobile home parks that were operating as such but were not appropriately zoned. Six of those rezoning cases came before the Zoning and…

Friday, May 10, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Rodriguez case fails to find agreeable settlement

In a novel solution, the Office of the City Auditor and Frank Rodriguez presented a settlement agreement to the Ethics Review Commission at what should have been the final hearing on the case May 8. However, ethics commissioners felt the…

Thursday, May 9, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Affordability Unlocked gets ZAP approval, with concerns

With a $250 million bond geared toward affordable housing, a goal to preserve 10,000 affordable units over the next 10 years and a City Council resolution seeking ways to increase the number of affordable units, city staff members brought forward…

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Fire and police response times lagging due to low staffing

In an effort to serve citizens as quickly, efficiently and proficiently as possible, Austin public safety departments have response time goals. For the Fire Department, this means response times of eight minutes 90 percent of the time, while police should…

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Commission zeros in on scooter safety

A landmark study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Austin Public Health Department documented that 192 dockless scooter riders were injured between Sept. 5 and Nov. 30 last year.During that time, “There were about two injuries…

Thursday, May 2, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

BoA grants variance to keep heritage trees and affordable housing

In North Central Austin, developers are working with Central Health and the Housing Authority of the City of Austin to combine nine lots to create an affordable housing complex.The 258-unit complex, located at 411 and 601 E. Powell Lane and…

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

BoA debates fences and pool safety

Barring a handful of exceptions, fences in Austin are generally 6 feet tall. A fence may exceed that standardized height, however, if “a structure, including a telephone junction box, exists that is reasonably likely to enable a child to climb…

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment split over gas station lanes

Despite the city’s goal of reducing the number of people driving in single passenger vehicles to 50 percent by 2039, 74 percent of Austin residents currently drive to work alone. With so many vehicles on the road, that means gas…

Monday, April 29, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Eureka Holdings seeks rehabilitation approval for I.Q. Hurdle House

In less than a week, the I.Q. Hurdle House at 1416 E. 12th St. went from a demolition-by-neglect case to a voluntary restoration project.When Dallas-based Eureka Holdings – under the name Poisonous Poinsettia –  bought the home of the celebrated minister…

Friday, April 26, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Parks and Recreation lacks $2.4 million in funding, potentially faces more cuts

As the question of property tax caps continues to loom in the state Legislature, city departments are wrestling to pare down their budgets in anticipation of what management expects to be a $51.7 million gap in funding for the entire…

Friday, April 26, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

West Austin home causes impasse at HLC

City code requires a structure to meet two out of five requirements in order to be designated historic. One of the most often-used requirements is that of historical association with an individual who “contributed significantly to the history of the…

Thursday, April 25, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

East Austin home slated for historic zoning against owner’s wishes

It is rare in Austin that a home is preserved against an owner’s wishes. According to Preservation Austin, the city has disregarded an owner’s wishes in this manner exactly three times since 1974. Now there is a chance it will…

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends rimrock stairwell to lake

Shoreline access from the rimrock cliffs of Lake Austin has been a touchy subject in the past. While mechanized access has not been permissible for nearly a decade and property owners are only allowed to install pedestrian access, there are…

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