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Stories by Joseph Caterine

Friday, November 17, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission split on CURE rezone east of I-35

A rezoning application for several properties on East Fourth Street is moving forward to City Council with no recommendation after a divided discussion at the Planning Commission’s Nov. 14 meeting on the appropriateness of the central urban redevelopment (CURE) combining…

Thursday, November 16, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

AISD considers charter school option for Mendez Middle School

Facing severe under-enrollment and a below-average educational suitability assessment, Mendez Middle School may be turned over to a community partner in hopes of reversing the campus’ downward trajectory.Austin Independent School District staff shared the project initiative with the board of…

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commissioners question right of appeal under CodeNEXT

In a presentation at the joint land use commission meeting on Nov. 7, city staff claimed that clarifications made to the right to appeal under CodeNEXT draft two would improve the process for the city and appellants alike, but some…

Monday, November 13, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Council reaches settlement in substandard housing case

After a years-long battle between the city and apartment complex owner Walter Olenick, City Council voted unanimously last Thursday to approve a settlement that will compensate the city $150,000 and secure affordable units in the future.As part of the agreement,…

Thursday, November 9, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Five years later, Imagine Austin gets progress report but no update

Despite a long road ahead, the progress report on Imagine Austin presented at the Nov. 7 joint land use commission meeting indicated that the city was on track in its implementation of the comprehensive plan. Still, some commissioners expressed frustration…

Monday, November 6, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission embraces ADUs in CodeNEXT

After months of debate, the Planning Commission at its Nov. 1 meeting directed staff and consultants to make the building of accessory dwelling units less constrained in the final draft of CodeNEXT.The current code places several restrictions on the construction…

Friday, November 3, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Land use commissions diverge ahead of CodeNEXT third draft

Differences of opinion between the Planning Commission and Zoning and Platting Commission are becoming more distinct. The Zoning and Platting Commission managed to submit an official recommendation on Monday, whereas the Planning Commission passed a less formal resolution on Wednesday,…

Friday, October 27, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission experiences déjà vu when previous case returns

Rezoning a property is an arduous and lengthy exercise on its own, but for some, it is not enough to remove cumbersome restrictions. Last week, the Zoning and Platting Commission voted to approve the staff recommendation to terminate a public…

Thursday, October 26, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission plots new CodeNEXT recommendation road map

In hindsight, future historians may interpret the Planning Commission’s Oct. 24 resolution as taking a clever shortcut toward the final destination of an April 2018 CodeNEXT adoption. Or, it may be viewed as a turnaround that strayed off the clear…

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Planning Commission hosts massive CodeNEXT public work session

The Planning Commission opened the doors of City Hall yesterday to a public eager to share its thoughts on the second draft of CodeNEXT. Despite some polarizing opinions on certain topics, the atmosphere remained cordial, and the complex review process…

Monday, October 23, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

AISD seeks environmental flexibility in redevelopment of Barton Springs schools

The Austin Independent School District is one step closer to reaching an agreement with the city that would allow it to redevelop some of its overcrowded campuses in order to accommodate growth in student populations. At its meeting last Wednesday,…

Friday, October 20, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Planning Commission quartet revolts against calls for CodeNEXT delay

In an unconventional maneuver, four Planning Commissioners hosted an impromptu press conference Thursday at City Hall, announcing their opposition to voices critical of the CodeNEXT timeline.Commissioners Chito Vela, Greg Anderson, Jeffrey Thompson and Angela De Hoyos Hart all made statements…

Thursday, October 19, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission vents about CodeNEXT’s momentum

Somewhere, hiding mysteriously in the drafting timeline of the new land use code, there is a point of no return. The Zoning and Platting Commission, a body that has repeatedly called for the CodeNEXT review process to be slowed down,…

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

CodeNEXT density increase could mean parking requirement decrease

The spirit of road rage sometimes goes beyond Austin’s congested highways and injects itself into debates revolving around the city’s transit problems. That angst could be felt at the Oct. 10 Planning Commission meeting, when staff presented how parking requirements…

Friday, October 13, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Council rejects settlement with apartment complex owner in substandard housing case

The plot thickened in an ongoing affordable housing saga as City Council Thursday denied a settlement in the city of Austin’s lawsuit against Orchard Plaza apartments owner Walter Olenick for substandard housing code violations.Council Member Greg Casar, in whose district…

Thursday, October 12, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission casts aside CodeNEXT timeline

A code rewrite is by nature a precarious undertaking, where even an informal conversation can trigger a tectonic shift in the entire process. At its Oct. 10 meeting, the Planning Commission played around with the idea of shifting gears to…

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Travis County sheriff responds to community outcry after ‘sanctuary’ policy reversal

At a town hall meeting on Monday organized by the Commission on Immigrant Affairs, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez faced a crowd of immigrant rights advocates, service providers and undocumented community members, many of whom expressed disbelief at her Sept.…

Monday, October 9, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

The new ‘old code’ zoning category makes waves at commission

If adopted, CodeNEXT will be a total rewrite of the Land Development Code, but as comprehensive as the revisions will be, remnants of the old code will remain. At their Oct. 3 joint meeting, the land use commissions learned about…

Friday, October 6, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

CodeNEXT 2.0 facilitates affordable housing, but where?

The Halloween deadline for CodeNEXT’s third draft recommendations is closing in for the land use commissions, and the sense of urgency that has driven the review process thus far teetered on full-blown panic at Tuesday’s joint meeting. The new land…

Thursday, October 5, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

AISD fails to acquire additional voting sites

Travis County has denied a request from the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees for additional mobile early voting sites during this year’s bond election.In a Sept. 27 memo to County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir explained…

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