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Stories by Jo Clifton

Thursday, May 10, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Met Center apology insufficient for Houston

Council Member Ora Houston raised objections during Tuesday’s work session to an item on Thursday’s Council agenda authorizing staff to enter into a 120-month lease agreement for 96,000 square feet of office space at the Met Center on Montopolis Drive…

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 by Jo Clifton

More horror stories emerge from city program

Since the Austin Monitor published the story last month detailing problems some Austinites have had with contractors hired by the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development department to rehabilitate their homes, more people have come forward with their own horror stories.This…

Thursday, May 3, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Despite staff objection, Slaughter zoning OK’d

Jim Wittliff of Land Answers Inc. represents the owner of two lots on Slaughter Lane, one of which is adjacent to a small residential street. After meeting with members of the Slaughter Lane Neighborhood Association last November, Wittliff told the…

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Home rehab loan saga continues

After the publication of the Austin Monitor story describing problems facing some homeowners who took out loans under the city’s Home Rehabilitation Loan Program, the city responded. Rosie Truelove, the director of the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department, said…

Monday, April 30, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council takes no action on Planning Commission

Faced with no easy or painless options, City Council members decided late Thursday night to put off considering how to get out of their predicament of a development-heavy Planning Commission and a desire to get through the rewrite of the…

Monday, April 30, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Committee fails to endorse lobbying rules changes

The City Council Audit and Finance Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to forward changes to the anti-lobbying ordinance proposed by the city staff to the full Council, but did so without a recommendation. Three members of the committee, Mayor Pro…

Friday, April 27, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Two Confederate street names dropped

After an outpouring of commentary from the community – most of it positive – Council voted unanimously on Thursday to rename two city streets after prominent African-American historical figures and shed the previous names, Robert E. Lee and Jeff Davis.Robert…

Thursday, April 26, 2018 by Jo Clifton

CodeNEXT: The devil is in the details

As the development process for the land use code rewrite known as CodeNEXT has progressed, a common refrain heard from critics is that it will drastically alter Austin’s existing zoning. However, at Tuesday’s work session, Planning and Zoning Department Director…

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Clerk certifies anti-CodeNEXT petition

City Clerk Jannette Goodall on Monday certified that she and her staff had validated enough signatures to require the city to place a referendum on CodeNEXT, the proposed rewrite of the city’s Land Development Code, on the November ballot.According to…

Monday, April 23, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Changes ahead for Planning Commission?

At this week’s meeting, City Council is scheduled to consider changes to how members of the city’s Planning Commission are selected. The city attorney’s office has offered two alternative approaches – one of which could have a radical impact on…

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Some say city’s home rehab loans hurt them

Three Austinites have told the Austin Monitor their homes have suffered serious damage at the hands of a specific contractor hired by the city to improve their homes through the Home Rehabilitation Loan Program. And a fourth homeowner has expressed…

Thursday, April 12, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Who’s minding the store? Alter

With four people absent, today’s City Council meeting is scheduled to start late and end early. Council Member Alison Alter will chair the meeting, which will start at 11:30 a.m.Mayor Steve Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council Member…

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Task force: Bond decisions up to Council

The city’s 2018 Bond Election Advisory Task Force sent a recommendation to City Council for a November bond ballot of $851 million – more than $200 million above the amount recommended by city staff, and one that is estimated to…

Thursday, April 5, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Lack of fire station pushes some insurance rates up

Some Southeast Austin homeowners have been receiving bad news from their insurance companies – the rates on their homeowners insurance are projected to rise as much as $1,000 this year.District 2 Council Member Delia Garza told her colleagues at Wednesday’s…

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 by Jo Clifton

DePalma announces run for District 8

Rich DePalma, a consultant who has worked on numerous environmental efforts, officially threw his hat in the ring Tuesday to represent Austinites who live in District 8. Council Member Ellen Troxclair currently holds the seat and has said she is…

Tuesday, April 3, 2018 by Jo Clifton

‘Snoopy PUD’ wins first-round approval

Council approved a complicated set of Planned Unit Development regulations at their March 22 meeting for the piece of property at Riverside Drive and South First Street currently occupied by a Hooters and a surface parking lot.As Planning and Zoning…

Thursday, March 29, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Neighbors support one Champion rezoning

City Council approved a zoning change for a second Champion tract last week, but this time the developer had support from several neighborhoods that opposed the zoning change on the other one.With Council Member Alison Alter dissenting, Council approved the…

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Judge considers dismissing police union suit

Attorneys for the city sparred with attorneys for the Austin Police Association, its president Ken Casaday and police Sgt. Robert Miljenovich during a court hearing Monday over whether the police union’s suit against various city officials should be dismissed without…

Friday, March 23, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs short-term EMS contract

City Council approved without comment a six-month contract with the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Employee Association on Thursday that essentially duplicates their previous contract. Members of the union approved the contract in voting that ended Wednesday night.Between now and…

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Adding more cops part of APD planning

The Austin Police Department currently has 69 vacancies, Assistant Chief Troy Gay told City Council Tuesday, but with so many officers retiring each month it is nearly impossible to catch up.In addition, the Matrix Consulting Group recommended in 2016 that…

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