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Stories by Joseph Caterine

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…

Thursday, September 28, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

AISD board and east side group dispute bond tax rate

The Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees has hedged its bet on passing the largest bond in the district’s history by asserting that it will not raise the tax rate. At its Sept. 25 meeting, however, the board was…

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Will CodeNEXT help protect against the next big flood?

When Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston last month, the city’s flood mitigation deficiencies came under fire. In Austin, the Halloween Floods of 2013 and 2015 raised similar questions about Austin’s infrastructure, so commissioners at the Sept. 19 joint land use meeting…

Monday, September 25, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commissioners poke holes in consultant’s housing capacity predictions

Austinites would like CodeNEXT to solve a lot of the city’s problems, and the housing crisis is chief among those problems.At the Sept. 19 meeting of the joint land use commissions, John Fregonese of Fregonese Associates claimed that the second…

Thursday, September 21, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

CodeNEXT 2.0 is here, but supplemental materials are missing

At the Sept. 19 joint land use commissions meeting, the dazzling presentations detailing the new aspects of the second CodeNEXT draft could not overshadow supplemental information that was missing. Commissioners expressed frustration with city staff and consultants who they said…

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

School district drums up support for upcoming bond package

In its campaign to get inform voters about most expensive school bond in Austin’s history, the school administration has counted on the age-old aphorism that seeing is believing. Last Thursday, the Austin Independent School District hosted a media tour of…

Monday, September 18, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Commission recommends East 12th stay on urban renewal course

No speedometer exists for the vehicle of urban renewal, so the Planning Commission at its Sept. 12 meeting had to rely on guesswork to decide whether sections of the booming East 12th Street corridor should maintain their current pace of…

Friday, September 15, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Rezoning denial may not matter after CodeNEXT

When the world (of the current Land Development Code) is coming to an end, a single property zoning decision can seem insignificant. At the Zoning and Platting Commission’s Sept. 5 meeting, commissioners denied what one Northwest Austin community perceived to…

Thursday, September 14, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Rezoning denial could mean east side showdown

Planning commissioners took a united stand Tuesday night by voting to deny a rezoning application for an east side property that contains the former Montopolis Negro School.The case has drawn controversy as it has moved through other city commissions, thanks…

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Rezoning applicant loses rematch with neighborhood

A property owner expected different results at last Tuesday’s Zoning and Platting Commission meeting when making the same rezoning application for a Northwest Austin property. The zoning had been previously cut down by City Council, and the commission decided to…

Thursday, September 7, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Council gets preview of CodeNEXT 2.0

Many of the answers amounted to “wait another week,” but City Council was able to pry some information about the second draft of CodeNEXT from consultants and staff at a special called meeting Wednesday.One of the main criticisms of the…

Friday, September 1, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Single-family occupancy limits drop back to four in CodeNEXT second draft

There is a two-sided nature of the CodeNEXT drafting process. On the one hand, staff and third-party consultants meticulously work through the details of the new land use code on a daily basis. And, on the other, the land use…

Thursday, August 31, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Harvey revives flooding concerns about CodeNEXT

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the land use commissions questioned staff on how CodeNEXT would address local flooding at their Aug. 29 joint meeting. “Austin came real close to having another catastrophe this (past) weekend. Real close,” Zoning and…

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Trustees cast doubt on success of UT partnership program

At its Aug. 28 meeting, the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees approved an interlocal agreement with the University of Texas at Austin to renew the Literacy First program at 22 Austin schools for the coming school year, but…

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 by Joseph Caterine

Limits of land use code exposed in unique zoning case

An application for commercial zoning at the corner of a North Austin neighborhood elicited a tiresome recommendation from the Zoning and Platting Commission at its Aug. 15 meeting. Commissioners had to go item by item through a list of zoning…

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