Stories by Jessi Devenyns

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Board of Adjustment seeks more information, postpones adaptive reuse project

In an effort to create market-rate affordable housing in North Austin, a developer is attempting to reuse the existing 281 units of the Austin Suites Motel at 8300 N. Interstate 35.In order to accomplish this goal, the developer came to…

Monday, August 26, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission debates transportation corridors and density

Does an extra 0.05 miles from a transportation corridor make a difference when it comes to deciding the appropriate level of density for a property?The Planning Commission found itself pondering this question at its Aug. 13 meeting while deliberating on…

Friday, August 23, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Toxic algae blooms expected to recur

Algae in Austin’s waterways is nothing new. In the summertime when the water warms up and flows slowly, it’s common to see tendrils of blue-green algae floating in the current.“It’s a very seasonal pattern. A very regular pattern,” Brent Bellinger…

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

North Lamar Mobile Home Park residents protest landlord negligence

The city of Austin has been working to tackle gentrification head-on through stabilizing mobile home parks throughout the city. This is one avenue to ensure that residents are able to stay, but there are other ways besides incongruent zonings and…

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Zoning and Platting Commission weighs in on proposed fire code

As Austin weathers the dog days of summer, wildfire risk is once again a hot topic in the city.A new report this week by the Office of the City Auditor said that the city could be doing a better job…

Friday, August 16, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning Commission unmoved to recommend preservation for East Austin grocery store

After a unanimous recommendation from the Historic Landmark Commission to preserve the 1922-era corner grocery at 220 Comal St., the momentum behind preserving the East Austin structure slowed at the Planning Commission.“I’m getting the sense that the owner can preserve…

Thursday, August 15, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Planning commissioners say South Lamar development will make Austin a ‘real city’

To bring more commercial and multifamily space to the South Lamar Corridor, Endeavor Real Estate Group, the owner of a 1.8-acre lot on the corner of South Lamar Boulevard and Bluebonnet Lane, requested a zoning change at the Aug. 13…

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Dock variance fails for a second time at the Board of Adjustment

After the Board of Adjustment denied a variance request to extend the width of a dock into the interior setback of a Lake Austin lot and reduce the interior setback to 0 feet, the homeowners returned in August for a…

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

City continues to work toward Vision Zero goals

As of this past weekend, there have been 48 traffic fatalities in Austin since the beginning of the year. The city, according to an ambitious plan passed three years ago, would like to bring the number of annual traffic deaths…

Monday, August 12, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

City outlines displacement mitigation strategy based on People’s Plan

Following a Council directive last year to analyze the recommendations put forth in the People’s Plan, city staffers from a variety of departments have released a Displacement Mitigation Strategy report detailing an approach to contend with gentrification and displacement in…

Friday, August 9, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

AFD under fire for handling of sexual harassment claim despite policy updates

After Austin Fire Department Lieutenant James Baker pleaded guilty to hiding a camera and filming firefighter Kelly Gall in the fire station restroom, AFD revised its harassment policies and implemented the Electronic and Anonymous Reporting System.EARS is intended to bypass…

Thursday, August 8, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Public Safety Commission recommends increased funding for mental health first responder program

The Austin Police Department is working to revamp its tactics when handling calls related to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Fulfilling that goal starts with training officers so they are equipped to help in these tense situations.Public Safety Commissioner…

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

To save a sculpture, parks department gives Chicano artist an ultimatum

For decades, Big Rock – or Chicano Rock, as it is now called – has stood on the southeast corner of Waterloo Park. Created by artist David Santos and members of LUCHA (League of United Chicano Artists) in 1989, the…

Thursday, August 1, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

HLC recommends design in Old West Austin historic district, sidesteps opposition’s concerns

In Austin, commissions are divided based on their areas of expertise and are required to remain within their purview when addressing the merits of a case.This question of jurisdiction was raised at the July 22 meeting of the Historic Landmark…

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Animal advocates call for redo of animal services officer hiring process

With a nearly $14 million budget and 15,843 animals coming through its doors last year, the Austin Animal Center has worked hard to achieve the title of the nation’s largest “no-kill” shelter.However, animal advocates are worried that the finalist candidates…

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Historic zoning for childhood home of AISD’s first two Hispanic teachers recommended

In a unanimous vote, the Historic Landmark Commission is sending a 100-year-old house that was the home of the Austin Independent School District’s first Hispanic teachers to City Council with a recommendation for historic zoning.When photos failed to depict the…

Monday, July 29, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Historic zoning moves forward for ‘godfather’ of A-frame religious architecture in Austin

Midcentury A-frame churches may be a dime a dozen in Austin, but there is one in particular that caused the now-familiar style to proliferate.The Prince of Peace Church at 1711 E. Oltorf St. is the reason “that form became popular…

Thursday, July 25, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Code compliance citation inspires historic restoration

After years of languishing in disrepair, a circa-1922 grocery store at 220 Comal St. was cited for code compliance issues, prompting the owners to file for a partial demolition permit to make repairs.In order to preserve the neighborhood building and…

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Water drainage fears force postponement at ZAP

Drainage engineering studies are site-specific and don’t always capture the concerns of adjacent properties. However, without addressing those concerns, a study doesn’t always tell the whole story.At the July 16 meeting of the Zoning and Platting Commission, Commissioner David King…

Monday, July 22, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

One year later: The new life of the old Onion Creek flood plain

Since 1999, the city of Austin has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to buy homeowners out of the Onion Creek flood zone. Last year, when the Watershed Protection Department completed the buyout program, 813 houses had…

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