Stories by Jonathan Lee

Friday, March 5, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council bans declawing of cats

City Council has voted unanimously to ban the declawing of cats, a move also adopted by many other cities, states and countries to protect cats from a practice widely seen as damaging to the animals. “Declawing is a painful and…

Thursday, March 4, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Austin Water responds to ‘demoralizing’ water outages

Austin Water gave a presentation to the Water Oversight Committee on Wednesday detailing the timeline of the water outages last month, preparation for future disasters and upcoming utility bill relief measures. City Council members demanded to know how a substantial…

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

APD details cadet academy reforms

The Austin Police Department presented reforms to its cadet academy at Tuesday’s City Council work session, moving Council closer to a vote on restarting the academy after halting it last summer. The changes respond to a preliminary report by consulting…

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Planning Commission recommends making Chalmers Avenue block car-free

The Planning Commission said at its Feb. 9 meeting that the city should allow Chalmers Avenue between East Third and East Fourth streets to become a car-free zone, with pedestrian and bike paths and green space replacing the asphalt. The…

Friday, February 26, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council critiques Uri response – and looks ahead to future disasters

On Thursday, City Council launched a wide-ranging review of the city’s response to the devastation wrought by winter storm Uri, beginning the long, complex work of preparing for the next storm – even as the current crisis persists for many.…

Thursday, February 25, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Design Commission gives feedback on Fiesta Gardens vision

On Monday, the Design Commission reviewed plans for Fiesta Gardens, a city-owned events center in East Austin that is set to receive extensive renovations within the next two years.  The venue, which is on the National Register of Historic Places,…

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Design Commission eyes Dougherty Arts Center plan

The Design Commission on Monday gave feedback on design alternatives for the Dougherty Arts Center redevelopment, setting up a City Council discussion next month. Though commissioners differed on the best alternative, they commended the project as a whole. The “beloved”…

Friday, February 19, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

City says water outages could last for days

Many Austinites remain completely without water Friday as tens of thousands of cold-related leaks riddle water mains and pipes, leaving the city in a water crisis that is set to last days. “We never imagined the day where hospitals wouldn’t…

Thursday, February 18, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Planning Commission recommends rezoning for East Austin townhome project

The Planning Commission last week backed a request to rezone a vacant East Austin tract at 4908 Lott Ave. to allow 62 townhomes – including five income-restricted units. Michael Whellan, who was representing the applicant, said that because the current…

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

South First multifamily project gets Planning Commission support

A 260-unit apartment proposal at 6311 S. First St. moved one step closer to construction after the Planning Commission recommended rezoning the vacant site at its Feb. 9 meeting. The new zoning allows the developer to add more units, including…

Friday, February 12, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Ethics complaint against Voices of Austin will get final hearing

A complaint that nonprofit Voices of Austin violated city code by campaigning against Proposition A will move to a final hearing, the Ethics Review Commission decided. The preliminary hearing at Wednesday’s meeting was a redo of the first preliminary hearing,…

Thursday, February 11, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Planning commissioners: We’re not building enough affordable housing

Planning commissioners expressed concern this week about the lack of progress made toward the city’s affordable housing production goals. The discussion followed a presentation of the recently released Strategic Housing Blueprint Scorecard, which shows how much affordable housing has been…

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

By opposing North Austin rezoning, Kelly sets tone for future zoning cases

At last week’s City Council meeting, new member Mackenzie Kelly offered a first glimpse of her approach to zoning cases: respect for neighborhood opposition. Kelly cast the lone dissenting vote in a request to allow multifamily housing on a North…

Friday, February 5, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council passes HEAL resolution to connect homeless to housing, address camping

Those experiencing homelessness and camping in four areas around Austin may soon find permanent homes. By passing the Housing-Focused Homeless Encampment Assistance Link resolution (HEAL) on Thursday, City Council set in motion a plan to move people from places that…

Thursday, February 4, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council to move forensics department from APD

City Council is set to create a new Forensic Science Department this week as part of its plan to move some civilian operations out of police control. Council members say the reshuffling will make the department more accountable and allow…

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council likely to pass amended HEAL resolution

City Council is almost certain to adopt an updated version of the HEAL resolution, a measure to address homeless camping around the city. Six Council members now sponsor the item after Council Member Alison Alter added her name Friday in…

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Racial inequity at APD front and center at Public Safety Commission

Public Safety commissioners took a closer look at racial issues in the Austin Police Department, diving into a recent report on the subject at their Monday meeting. A survey of over 1,000 APD officers and staff about their attitudes toward…

Monday, February 1, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Planning Commission recommends rezoning Delta Kappa Gamma building to make way for tower

Paving the way for a proposed 31-story residential tower on the site of the historic Delta Kappa Gamma building at 416 W. 12th St., the Planning Commission voted 11-0-1 last Tuesday to recommend the requested Downtown Mixed-Use (DMU) zoning. The…

Thursday, January 28, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council adopts new flood control resolution

In her first move on City Council, new member Vanessa Fuentes authored a resolution directing the city to provide an update on its flood resilience plans. “Often in my community it’s not a matter of if the next big flood…

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

A long time coming, Red Line Parkway could be completed by decade’s end

The City Council Mobility Committee heard an update on the Red Line Parkway last week, one of the city’s most anticipated urban trail projects. Austinites can look for significant progress on the trail this year with new segments under development…

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