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Stories by Joseph Caterine

Thursday, December 21, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission recommends mixed use family-friendly project in East Austin

A mixed use commercial rezone request in the middle of an east side single-family neighborhood met unanimous approval from Planning commissioners at their Dec. 12 meeting. Staff had recommended against placing such intense zoning in a residential area, but the…

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Valid petition helps broker compromise in Montopolis rezone

The Planning Commission recommended to limit the units for a Montopolis condominium project proposed in a rezoning request at its Dec. 12 meeting, largely in response to strong opposition from the neighborhood.“I think this is a testament to you all…

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

School communities to have more say in new facility designs

Following an intensive community engagement process in the drafting of the 2017 bond package, Austin Independent School District staff informed the board of trustees at its Dec. 11 work session that the designs of the new facilities will continue in…

Thursday, December 14, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission votes against rezoning former mobile home park property

Many commission decisions set a precedent, but only some make a statement. At its Dec. 12 meeting, the Planning Commission voted to recommend denying a rezoning application for a Montopolis property in what some commissioners called a clear example of…

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Environmental Commission moves Onion Creek buyout plan forward

Over four years after the 2013 Halloween floods racked the Onion Creek neighborhoods, the Environmental Commission voted unanimously at its Dec. 6 meeting to approve staff’s recommendation to move forward with 128 buyouts of houses at immediate risk of flooding…

Thursday, December 7, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Parks board urges concessions expansion

Taking a walk down one of the many beautiful trails of Butler Park, it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of the scenery and forget that Lady Bird Lake is also one of the city’s financial assets. Parks and…

Friday, December 1, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission demands more precision in CodeNEXT land uses

It’s easy to get lost in the new CodeNEXT zoning categories and their form-based considerations without keeping in mind their underlying purpose: setting the standards for how properties in Austin can be used. At the Nov. 28 joint meeting of…

Thursday, November 30, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

School district announces first-year bond project timelines

The Austin Independent School District is not wasting any time putting the 2017 bond money to use, according to a presentation by Superintendent Paul Cruz at the school board’s Nov. 27 meeting. Cruz emphasized that strict adherence to project timelines…

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Trustees alarmed at exclusion of minority-owned businesses from middle school renovation

In the bidding for 2013 bond improvements to the Dobie Middle School campus, two minority-owned firms were passed over in favor of a company that included a few minority-owned subconsultants as part of its proposal. The Austin Independent School District…

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

CodeNEXT may separate land use commissions from connectivity oversight role

If it seems like there hasn’t been much talk about how CodeNEXT deals with connectivity, it’s because the latest draft has largely sidelined the land use commissions’ participation in that process. Uncomfortable being benched, some commissioners at their Nov. 20…

Monday, November 27, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Rosedale bar expansion elicits neighborhood resistance

For established neighborhood businesses like the Draught House in North Central Austin, it can be an uphill battle to convince those nearby that expansion does not necessarily mean selling out to the new kids on the block. At its Nov.…

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

School board wrestles with large STAAR achievement gaps

Like one wrong note disturbing the harmony of a symphony, one faulty academic indicator can throw off a school district’s sense of which of its schools need the most attention. Some trustees on the Austin Independent School District board voiced…

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…

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