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Stories by Jo Clifton

Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Thornton Road developer nixes zoning request

Developer PSW Real Estate on Wednesday withdrew its request for a change to multifamily (MF-4) zoning for 2413 Thornton Road in South Austin, as well as its application to the neighborhood housing department for participation in the city’s Smart Housing…

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Auditor’s report: Affordability data incomplete

According to a special report from the Office of the City Auditor, information about city programs and initiatives that affect affordability for Austinites is inconsistent, may be unreliable or incomplete and may not be readily accessible. In addition, auditors found…

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Legislation spotlights Austin’s fair chance rules

Members of the Texas House Business & Industry Committee heard lengthy and conflicting testimony Monday on fair chance hiring regulations but did not take a vote on Austin Republican Rep. Paul Workman’s House Bill 577 – which would overturn Austin’s…

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Friday, March 17, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Some seek to protect manager applicants’ names

A group of Austin citizens is urging City Council to do something out of the ordinary when they hire the next city manager – keep the names of the applicants a secret and only reveal the name of the person…

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Thursday, March 16, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council rejects dense project on narrow street

For developer Ross Wilson at PSW Real Estate and lobbyist Glen Coleman, downzoning the junkyard at 2413 Thornton Road from commercial services to Multifamily-4 seemed like a no-brainer. But because of the narrow neighborhood street and the increased traffic a…

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Troxclair, Adler present opposite views on tax bill

City Council Member Ellen Troxclair and Mayor Steve Adler presented diametrically opposite views at Tuesday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing on Senate Bill 2, which would prevent cities and counties from raising taxes by more than 4 percent above the effective…

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Monday, March 13, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Howard files bill to protect Barton Springs

State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) has filed legislation to prevent the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from issuing new permits to authorize discharge of sewage effluent into any creek or other body of water in the contributing or recharge zone…

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Friday, March 10, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Adler speech calls for optimism, hard work ahead

Mayor Steve Adler warned the crowd at the Real Estate Council of Austin luncheon Thursday that the CodeNEXT maps showing all the new zoning classifications for the entire city to be released on April 18 will be “wrong,” but the…

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Thursday, March 9, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Real Estate Council seeks commissioner’s apology

Nick Moulinet, board chair of the Real Estate Council of Austin, was extremely concerned when he heard about some anti-growth comments made by Urban Transportation Commissioner Kelly Davis during a January discussion of a small change to the city’s transportation…

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Bill would stop Austin from protesting pollution

State Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) has filed a bill that appears to threaten to punish the city of Austin for opposing Dripping Springs’ controversial wastewater discharge permit before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The city of Austin has…

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Friday, March 3, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs rules for expedited permitting

Working with advocates for developers and construction workers, City Council Member Greg Casar carefully negotiated the details of an ordinance requiring developers of large commercial projects to pay a living wage and follow other rules set forth in the Better…

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Thursday, March 2, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Hensley appointed interim assistant city manager

Interim City Manager Elaine Hart has named Parks and Recreation Department Director Sara Hensley interim assistant city manager upon the retirement of Sue Edwards on March 17. Hart announced Hensley’s promotion, as well as rearrangement of some staffing assignments, in…

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Democrats urged to join fight against SB 4

Matt Simpson, policy strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, told members of the Central Texas Democratic Forum on Monday that Senate Bill 4, the so-called sanctuary cities bill, throws out policies created by sheriffs and police departments…

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Monday, February 27, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Austin to take over some county firefighting

On Feb. 16, City Council unanimously approved negotiation of a contract with Travis County Emergency Services District 4 to transfer firefighting duties to Austin firefighters within the ESD’s area in eastern Travis County. The parties will have to come back…

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Friday, February 24, 2017 by Jo Clifton

New campaign finance rules in the works

Two City Council members, Ellen Troxclair and Jimmy Flannigan, are collecting campaign funds in anticipation of re-election campaigns that seem far in the future. Troxclair is likely to run for re-election in November 2018 for her District 8 seat, but…

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Developer wins suit against Crestview neighbors

Mark Dawson Homes has won its lawsuit against the residents of the Crestview neighborhood who tried to enforce an expired restrictive covenant against the developer that might have prevented it from building two homes on one lot at 7801 Mullen…

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Friday, February 17, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Immigration sparks Council fight

After a heated exchange between City Council members Ellen Troxclair and Greg Casar, Council voted 10-1 Thursday to approve $200,000 in emergency funding for immigrant legal services. Troxclair, Council’s only Republican, offered the only no vote and the only negative…

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Poll shows progress at Development Services

When Rodney Gonzales took over the Development Services Department in April 2015, the Zucker Report had reported customer survey results showing that 82 percent of respondents felt that the city’s development review and plan check processes were unnecessarily cumbersome or…

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Austin has proposal for Dripping Springs permit

The city of Austin has released a draft proposal for Dripping Springs’ controversial permit to discharge 995,000 gallons of treated wastewater into Onion Creek. The Austin and Dripping Springs city councils must both agree to the terms of the proposal.…

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Friday, February 10, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Tension surrounds Council rules changes

There were some tense moments Thursday as City Council worked through the ramifications of two innocuous-sounding items on its agenda about Council procedures. Two years ago, when everyone on the dais was new to city government except Mayor Pro Tem…

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