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Stories by Joseph Caterine

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…

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…

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