Stories by Jo Clifton

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Cooper Lane condo zoning wins initial approval

After a long and contentious day dealing with questions of where the homeless may sit or lie down, and following the final vote on an equally contentious rezoning of property on East Riverside Dr., last Thursday CouncilĀ  gave first round…

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Blythe starts PAC to unseat City Council

Sharon Blythe, best known around City Hall for her activism related to cemeteries, is hoping to unseat every member of City Council not currently slated to be on the ballot in November 2020.Blythe filed a document appointing herself treasurer of…

Friday, October 18, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Pool asks whether city should sell Hilton property

More than 30 members of UNITE HERE Local #23 came to the Council meeting Thursday to show their support for an item on the agenda asking the board of Austin Convention Enterprises to rewrite its agreement with management of the…

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Flannigan attacks, Tovo responds

On Tuesday, in the midst of a lengthy Council work session about how to construct a revised ordinance to prevent homeless people from camping on sidewalks and rights of way, Council Member Jimmy Flannigan launched into an anecdote about how…

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Save Historic Muny District has a board of directors

The Save Historic Muny District, which represents those who wish to preserve the first integrated golf course in the South, now has a board of directors. The board includes Mary Arnold and Ken Tiemann, both longtime advocates for the Lions…

Thursday, October 10, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Affordable housing takes a few steps forward

Housing prices continue to climb in Austin as more people move to the music and tech mecca of Texas. According to Zillow, the median home value in Austin is $372,200, while the median list price is $399,000.In adopting its Strategic…

Friday, October 4, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council nixes appeal, asks staff to work with restaurant

On Thursday City Council rejected an appeal from Casa de Luz, a vegan restaurant on Toomey Road that has had multiple disputes with building officials, the latest one specifically about compliance with requirements of the city fire code. The appeal…

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Casa de Luz continues fight with city

Casa de Luz, a vegan restaurant on Toomey Road, has been involved in an ongoing dispute with city building officials over its compliance with requirements of the Fire Code for the past eight years. City Council will be asked to…

Friday, September 27, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Report faults APD’s handling of information

The Austin Police Department has failed to comply with the federal policy relating to access to criminal justice information maintained by the FBI, according to a special report from the Office of the City Auditor.Assistant City Auditor Andrew Keegan briefly…

Thursday, September 26, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council moves forward with zoning under ‘Byzantine’ Land Development Code

The new owners of a former drive-thru bank at 1900 W. William Cannon Drive were able to get part of what they were seeking on first reading of their zoning case before Council last week. After much conversation, Council voted…

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Taco PUD site marches on, again

Council unanimously gave first-reading approval last week to new planned unit development zoning for the small property known as the Taco PUD just across the street from Lady Bird Lake at Riverside Drive. Although the Taco Cabana has not operated…

Friday, September 20, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Urban Renewal Board extended for just nine months

City Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison expressed serious reservations about the need to continue Austin’s Urban Renewal Agency and its board during Wednesday’s Council work session and again at Thursday’s Council meeting.In the end, she convinced her colleagues to extend the…

Thursday, September 19, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Asian American center plan could include Rutherford Lane campus

At today’s meeting, City Council will likely direct City Manager Spencer Cronk and his staff to come up with a proposal to incorporate the expansion of the Asian American Resource Center into a master plan for the center as well…

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 by Jo Clifton

City facing challenges in changing sidewalks

When Stephanie Hayden, director of Austin Public Health, sent out a memo last Friday explaining improvements the city was making to the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, she underlined one sentence: “Please note the sidewalk construction is scheduled to…

Friday, September 13, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Advocates cheer abortion aid funding; Zimmerman sues city

As city leaders and advocates for reproductive choice gathered for a press conference Thursday morning, most of the conversation focused on how Austin became the first city in the country to allocate funding for logistical support, such as transportation and…

Thursday, September 12, 2019 by Jo Clifton

$7.7 million added to housing trust fund

Council agreed during Tuesday’s budget meeting to more than double the funds in the city’s housing trust fund, by adding $5 million for rental housing development assistance and $2.7 million for a new home repair program. The trust fund now…

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Cronk promises employee pay raises next year

Austin city employees were expecting a 2.5 percent pay raise for Fiscal Year 2020 from the time staff’s proposed budget was revealed. But many of them, after reading about the 3.5 percent tax cap imposed by the state Legislature, were…

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Auditors report on community policing efforts

The Austin Police Department has made considerable progress in implementing recommendations from the 2016 Matrix Consulting Group study on community policing, according to an audit update from the city auditor’s office recently provided to the mayor and City Council.The report…

Friday, September 6, 2019 by Jo Clifton

New rules put pressure on land use commissions

Operating under new rules as a result of the so-called “shot clock bill,” members of the Zoning and Platting Commission and the Planning Commission will be under pressure to rapidly make decisions about whether to approve or reject subdivision development…

Thursday, September 5, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council looks at police, fire department budgets

At Council’s final budget work session on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo told Council members he had learned that the city would have about $2.4 million more than anticipated when staff prepared the original budget of $4.2…

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