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Stories by Joseph Caterine

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

CodeNEXT consultants discuss the fate of conditional overlays and PUDs

Like magicians before a skeptical audience, the CodeNEXT consultants asked the land use commissioners at their March 21 joint meeting to suspend their disbelief and envision an Austin with very few planned unit developments and zero conditional overlays. Since they…

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Monday, March 27, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Austin Energy struggles to fill vacancies with outdated hiring process

Facing a wave of retirement over the next three to five years, Austin Energy urgently needs to revamp its hiring approach, staff told the Electric Utility Commission at its March 20 meeting. “We do very passive recruiting here,” said Chief…

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Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

CodeNEXT consultants respond to accusations of dividing city

Two weeks after the Zoning and Platting Commission passed a resolution stating that the CodeNEXT draft text “provides two very different, separate codes,” the CodeNEXT consultants reassured commissioners during the joint land use work session Tuesday night that the draft does in…

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Holly Power Plant to be officially decommissioned in August, staff reports

Remnants of the Holly Street Power Plant still stand in East Austin, bitter reminders of a facility that spread pollution to nearby residents, but Austin Energy staff assured the Electric Utility Commission at its March 20 meeting that the decommissioning…

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Monday, March 20, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Board denies appeal accusing church of being front for multifamily residence

Wading through the gray area between religious assembly and residential uses, the Board of Adjustment decided at its Feb. 13 meeting to deny an appeal to reverse staff’s determination that the property at 2530 South Congress was being used for…

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Friday, March 17, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Form-based considerations inform West Campus variance case

In the haze of CodeNEXT fever, the form-based language of building types and footprints continues to creep into discussions of land use, and those considerations found their way into the Board of Adjustment’s meeting Monday night. For its final item, the board…

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

King upholds neighborhood-first attitude in environmental variances case

Although some considered it off-topic, newly appointed Zoning and Platting Commissioner David King brought a neighborhood-centered perspective to the forefront of an environmental variances case, which the commission voted to recommend at its March 7 meeting. King had requested the…

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Thursday, March 9, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission asks Council to delay CodeNEXT mapping

In an act of defiance to the momentum of the CodeNEXT juggernaut, the Zoning and Platting Commission passed a resolution at the closing of its March 7 meeting calling on City Council to direct Planning and Zoning Department staff and consultants…

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Environmental Commission schedules special meeting on Easton Park

After two hours of debating the urgency of cut and fill variances requested for a residential development in the controversial Pilot Knob planned unit development, the Environmental Commission voted to postpone action until a special called meeting no later than…

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Wider discretionary powers for Board of Adjustment envisioned in CodeNEXT draft

Assistant city attorney Brent Lloyd made a small presentation at the joint meeting of the land use commissions last Tuesday night outlining a possible reconfiguration of the Board of Adjustment’s role in city planning as part of the changes on…

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Monday, February 27, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Planning Commission plays Historic Landmark Commission in demolition appeal case

In the first case of its kind, the Planning Commission, acting in place of the Historic Landmark Commission, denied an appeal of demolition permits released in July. Property owner D & L Rent Properties LP originally filed for demolition of…

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Planning Commission rejects waiver after conversation on racism

Remarks on how institutional racism influences the city’s historic preservation goals prompted the Planning Commission’s indecision to approve or reject a compatibility waiver for a 5-foot setback on the western side of 2724 E 12th St. during its Feb. 14…

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Thursday, February 16, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

ZWAC rejects Republic contract renewal again

In a bit of bureaucratic acrobatics during its Feb. 8 meeting, the Zero Waste Advisory Commission voted to rescind a November recommendation against the proposed renewal of the Republic Services solid waste collection services contract for city facilities, so that…

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Immigrant Affairs commissioners debate legality of Travis County policy

Disagreement broke out at the Feb. 13 meeting of the Commission on Immigrant Affairs as to whether Travis County or the city of Austin would face criminal or civil prosecution for violating federal immigration law as inferred by President Donald…

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Monday, February 13, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

ZWAC approves organics processing contract with lackluster contingency plan

In line with City Council’s plans to expand curbside compost collection, the Zero Waste Advisory Commission voted at its Feb. 8 meeting to approve staff’s recommendation of Organics By Gosh, the only bidder on the request for proposal released by…

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Friday, February 10, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

New ZAP commissioner opposes first rezoning case

Unable to come to a consensus, the Zoning and Platting Commission had no official recommendation in a rezoning case for a property currently zoned Development Reserve in Northwest Austin. Applicant Robert Earl Strobo is seeking Single Family Large Lot (SF-1)…

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Monday, February 6, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Zilker Park could soon see new ADA-compliant restroom

At its Feb. 1 meeting, the Environmental Commission approved staff recommendation to grant an amendment and a variance to city code that would allow an additional restroom facility to be built inside Zilker Park. Gary Gregson, the program coordinator from…

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Friday, February 3, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Planning Commission recommends drive-through at Oltorf intersection

Overruling objections from the East Riverside/Oltorf Neighborhood, the Planning Commission voted during its Jan. 24 meeting to move forward with a change that could bring a drive-through to the area. Applicant 1616 E Oltorf Street, LTD. requested to upzone the…

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Thursday, February 2, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

CodeNEXT draft presented to land use commissions

In the first “fifth Tuesday” meeting of a CodeNEXT-geared 2017 calendar, the city’s land use commissions convened to receive a presentation of the CodeNEXT draft text, which was published online the day before. The release marks a big step in…

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Monday, January 30, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Planning Commission denies request for bank drive-in services on 38th

At the urging of two Zoning and Platting commissioners, the Planning Commission unanimously denied a rezoning request for a conditional overlay for drive-in services at 623 West 38th St. during its Jan. 24 meeting. City staff had supported Pioneer Bank’s…

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