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Stories by Joseph Caterine

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Signs fail to point the way at Planning Commission

Though it hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, local sign regulations could drastically change with the implementation of CodeNEXT. While that is still a ways away, that didn’t stop the image of Austin’s homey neighborhoods being overrun by digital billboards…

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission decides mistake made in East Austin plan

Cold case zoning files may not have the same morbid allure as the cold case murders unearthed on late night television, but for the neighborhood and stakeholders involved in these mysteries, justice is still on the line. Last week, the…

Monday, July 17, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission talks reversing institutional racism

Cast out of its usual place in the shadows, racism was put front and center as a topic of discussion during a briefing at the Planning Commission Tuesday night. Eric Tang and Jane Rivera, co-chairs of the Real Estate and…

Friday, July 7, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Recent study reveals benefits of Austin’s historic neighborhoods

Longtime Austin residents and historic preservation advocates have new data to back up their defense of neighborhood character thanks to a report that has made its way into local CodeNEXT discussions. Last week, Council Member Leslie Pool shared a link…

Monday, July 3, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission fights for seat at CodeNEXT table

The Zoning and Platting Commission has been perceived by some as the proverbial “stick in the mud” since the CodeNEXT drafting process began earlier this year, but a resolution passed at City Council’s most recent meeting reiterates the commission’s inability…

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

School board calls for biggest bond in its history

Unprecedented in cost, the $1.05 billion bond package the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees officially approved at its last meeting before summer break is its most ambitious yet. Unlike the 2013 bond election where the package was divided…

Monday, June 26, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Bond doubles down on segregation, trustee says

At last week’s Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees meeting, only one trustee voted against the adoption of the list of projects to be included in this year’s bond election: District 1 representative Edmund Gordon. In a sit-down interview…

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

School board wary of tax rate increase in bond election

Read their lips: no tax increase. With the exception of District 1 Trustee Edmund Gordon, the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees was united in its stance against raising the tax rate with the 2017 Bond Package as it…

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Garage placement tool ignites political blowback from Bouldin Creek

Light shone through the cracks in the contact team model for neighborhood planning during deliberation over a neighborhood plan amendment at the most recent meeting of the Planning Commission. The Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Plan, adopted in 2002, includes voluntary design…

Monday, June 19, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission pushes for more affordable large apartments to increase school enrollment

Problems are rarely solved by doing what’s typical. That was the motto steering the Planning Commission at its most recent meeting, when members chose not to accept a proposal for a multifamily development with the usual shortage of three-bedroom apartments.…

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

City code enforcement suit may eliminate affordable units

For weeks, tenants at Orchard Plaza apartments in Windsor Park have been evacuating the premises following a contempt order against the owners for substandard housing conditions. Meanwhile, the question of whether the property will continue to provide affordable housing is…

Monday, June 12, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Consultants dodge questions on ideology behind CodeNEXT

Making a rare appearance, an elephant was spotted waltzing through the Boards and Commissions Room at City Hall during the May 30 land use joint commission meeting. Supposedly, the large creature has always been in the room during CodeNEXT work…

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

AISD board calls for budget to be more voter-friendly

A budget can be financially sound and make economic sense, but if it doesn’t make sense to the public, it’s worthless. That’s the point that some Austin Independent School District board trustees tried to drive home to district administration and…

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Land use commissions’ collaboration on CodeNEXT shows signs of wear

Months of the land use commissions generally seeing eye-to-eye regarding the CodeNEXT draft text and mapping may be over after tensions flared between members of the Planning and Zoning and Platting commissions during their May 30 joint meeting. Just before…

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Historical use clashes with CodeNEXT future in East Cesar Chavez zoning case

It was another episode of Whose Code Is It Anyway? during the limbo period before CodeNEXT, when it sometimes feels like planning is made up and zoning doesn’t matter. This time, the Planning Commission struggled at its May 23 meeting…

Friday, May 26, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Convention center skybridge earns Planning Commission approval

A proposal for a skybridge connecting the Austin Convention Center to the nearby Hilton Austin hotel will make its way to City Council after a narrow Planning Commission vote approved staff’s recommendation during its May 23 meeting. The applicant, Austin…

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

AISD braces itself for end of legislative session

The Austin Independent School District’s budget has been strained since the city’s rapid growth began in the late 1990s, but this year’s state legislative session has district staff anticipating the worst. Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley Johnson told the AISD…

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission considers flood survivors in CodeNEXT recommendation

CodeNEXT will make floods worse and displace more low-income Austin residents: That was the opinion of several residents and former residents of Dove Springs, a community that bore the brunt of the 2013 and 2015 Onion Creek floods, who spoke…

Monday, May 22, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Zoning and Platting brainstorms for CodeNEXT recommendation

The Good, the Missing and the Unacceptable: not a reboot of the Clint Eastwood classic, but the categories of CodeNEXT criticism established as the foundation of the Zoning and Platting Commission’s letter of recommendation at its May 16 meeting. Like…

Friday, May 19, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Environmental Commission calls for investigation into hidden junkyards

In the same way that it’s hard to pinpoint how many pieces of garbage it takes to make a heap, the Environmental Commission deliberated Wednesday night how many instances of localized dumping in the city would amount to a serious…

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