Stories by Jonathan Lee

Monday, June 21, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Code amendment would make car booting less of a headache

Getting booted for not obeying parking signage on private property is a huge hassle, involving a fine and a wait of sometimes an hour or more for someone to come and remove the boot. But if City Council passes a…

Thursday, June 17, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

With the help of city subsidies, over 3,000 affordable homes are in the pipeline

The Housing and Planning Department presented an update on the city’s development subsidy programs for affordable housing at Tuesday’s Housing and Planning Committee. “We know that it’s not enough, but we are proud of seeing that pipeline get filled,” said…

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Allow ‘diversity of housing types,’ ABoR tells Council

Representatives from the Austin Board of Realtors offered policy recommendations to City Council for ways to slow down the drastic increase in housing prices since the beginning of the pandemic. The latest housing market statistics are “dramatic,” as Jeni Williams, ABoR’s…

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

500-unit South Lamar project fails to get Planning Commission support

Since the Planning Commission has opposed Multifamily Residence-Highest Density (MF-6) zoning for a 500-unit apartment project at 2700 S. Lamar Blvd., the rezoning will go before Council next month without the commission’s recommendation. The developer for the project hopes to…

Monday, June 14, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council to adopt Project Connect TOD plans by next summer, early code fixes by year’s end

City Council on Thursday laid out its land use planning priorities for areas near Project Connect stations, passing a resolution directing city staff to help with the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (eTOD) studies. The studies will lead…

Friday, June 11, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Planning Commissioners blast unequal treatment of renters

A rezoning case at Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting sparked a conversation among commissioners over the disparate treatment between renters and single-family homeowners in the rezoning process.  A 330-unit multifamily project with 33 income restricted units is slated for a long,…

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

With self-imposed deadline approaching, Council rushes to divide stimulus funds

City Council plans to pass a spending framework for the remaining $143.6 million in American Rescue Plan funds, but the allocations for a variety of services and programs are still in flux as their Thursday meeting approaches.  Because of its…

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council to commit to ‘transformational’ homelessness spending – if others do too

City Council’s plan to spend a majority of the city’s share of American Rescue Plan Act money on homelessness is gaining traction, with a vote scheduled for Thursday to approve a spending framework for the $143.6 million in federal stimulus…

Friday, June 4, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Neighbors delay Council’s recommendation of tax credits for affordable housing project 

Due to neighborhood concerns, Fox Hollow, an affordable housing project at 2117 Brandt Road in Southeast Austin, will have to wait two more months for City Council to recommend the project for the state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.…

Friday, June 4, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

E-bikes, pandemic boost MetroBike ridership

MetroBike, the city’s rebranded bike share service, saw two consecutive months of record ridership this year, driven by a pandemic-era bike boom and a new fleet of e-bikes.  “This year, we hit record numbers for the past few years,” Chad…

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council to increase homestead exemptions, tax rate ceiling

City Council plans to vote this week on three items affecting Austinites’ property taxes. Two measures would give homeowners modest property tax relief through increased homestead exemption rates. The third measure would effectively set a higher maximum property tax rate,…

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Planning Commission supports latest East Austin VMU rezoning

The Planning Commission last Tuesday recommended approval of a rezoning to allow a 126-unit multifamily building at 1200-1208 Springdale Road. The developer requests Vertical Mixed Use (-V) zoning, which would allow more units, on top of the current Community Commercial-Mixed…

Friday, May 28, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

As temporary Healthy Streets close, permanent version prepares to open

As Austin’s Healthy Streets program winds down, with less than four miles of the temporary slow streets remaining, the city is preparing a new pilot program for 10 permanent Healthy Streets. The pilot will “test the application of our Healthy Streets…

Thursday, May 27, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Austin’s music and arts community to receive windfall from American Rescue Plan

The American Rescue Plan spells huge relief for Austin’s music and arts scene. In a resolution passed last Thursday, City Council proposed spending $25 million over a two-year period to revive the city’s creative industry, mostly using money from Austin’s $188.4…

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council members worry water conservation efforts could make development more expensive

City Council advanced several initiatives at last Thursday’s meeting to make the city’s water supply more sustainable and resistant to drought. Some Council members, however, worried that new policies could increase development costs, thereby exacerbating the city’s affordability crisis.  “I’m…

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council OKs Pease Park public-private partnership

City Council on Thursday approved a public-private partnership between Pease Park Conservancy and the Parks and Recreation Department, making the conservancy the official private steward of the park. Initially, the conservancy will oversee event programming, capital improvements and maintenance to…

Monday, May 24, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Central Health PUD passes on first reading

City Council has approved Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning on first reading for the 14-acre Central Health site at 601 E. 15th St., formerly home to Brackenridge Hospital. The zoning, if approved on second and third reading, will allow tall…

Friday, May 21, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council adopts new interim fees for Downtown Density Bonus program

Developers of some downtown towers will have to pay more toward affordable housing after City Council voted 10-0-2 on Thursday to increase the Downtown Density Bonus program’s in-lieu fees. The program offers developers more height and density in exchange for…

Thursday, May 20, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

A neighborhood’s request to build a private park draws concern over policing

Last week the Planning Commission heard a surprisingly controversial debate among neighbors in East Austin’s Senate Hills over whether to allow the construction of a new neighborhood park. Though the commissioners all sided with those in favor of the park,…

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Early list of potential campsites for the homeless causes stir

City Council weighed in Tuesday on an initial list of 45 city-owned properties that could potentially serve as campsites for people experiencing homelessness, embarking on the logistically and politically fraught process of deciding whether to establish a campsite in each…

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