Stories by Ryan Thornton

Friday, November 8, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Planning Commission links impervious cover to affordable housing

The Land Development Code draft relies heavily on expanded affordable housing bonus opportunities to reach its nearly 400,000-unit capacity. Altogether, the bonuses would net just under 180,000 units, with about 9,000 of those income-restricted. But site regulations like impervious cover…

Thursday, November 7, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Downtown mobility plan reaches next stage of development

The Austin Transportation Department has kicked off the second and final phase of development for its Austin Core Transportation Plan, a document that will serve as a comprehensive guide for downtown right of way management into the future.Leading up to…

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

CAMPO chooses not to accept Regional Arterials Study

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2045 Regional Arterials Study was renamed and heavily critiqued by the Transportation Policy Board on Monday.The $1.5 million study is a big-picture transportation modeling exercise that was intended to serve as a kind of…

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Milky Way property zoned for single-family condos, with conditions

City Council has taken action on a zoning case at the city’s western edge that some residents and environmental advocates say could result in catastrophe.Before Council approved the request Thursday, Joyce Statz, president of Austin Firewise Alliance, framed the danger…

Thursday, October 31, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

City Council and Capital Metro talk Project Connect capacity and ridership projections

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority has put together some potential outcomes for a public transit overhaul in the coming decade based on months of technical analysis, but regional and city leaders aren’t sure what to think with so many decisions…

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro to get close-up look at neighborhood circulators

In the face of ongoing regional sprawl, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority is taking strides to connect low-density areas outside the city’s public transit network to its fixed-service routes.The transit agency began that effort in June with an app-based pilot…

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro to begin building first electric bus yard

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority is laying the groundwork for an electric bus yard to store and charge the city’s first battery electric buses as early as next fall.The agency’s board of directors unanimously approved a $7.5 million contract with…

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Taco trucks, booze and day care: Commission talks site use in code draft

The current Land Development Code rewrite is usually discussed in either the big-picture abstractions of elected leaders or the detailed, close-up focus of city staffers. Yet more practical questions tend to get little public attention. But at its meeting last…

Friday, October 25, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Commission debates neighborhood planning and housing equity under code rewrite

The Planning Commission is divided over the role existing neighborhood plans should play in the new Land Development Code.Residents who benefit from neighborhood plans defended their merits Tuesday and urged commissioners to do more to help preserve those plans in…

Thursday, October 24, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Atlas 14 flood plain ordinance advances with residential improvements waiver

The Watershed Protection Department has crafted a way to help residents living in the city’s flood plain continue to make improvements to their homes as one component of an ordinance amending city floodplain regulations.The Planning Commission endorsed the proposal Tuesday,…

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Volunteer group calls for more than transit for 2020 ballot with ‘Wheel Deal’

A small group of community activists unveiled an all-volunteer effort Monday that they claim will help free Austin residents from car dependency and its associated costs while fighting climate change.The $4.377 billion plan, named the Wheel Deal, is an ambitious…

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Planning Commission offers solutions to missing-middle housing problem

Transition zones continue to divide the city’s elected and appointed officials in discussions over the Land Development Code.Several City Council members have already taken issue with the way the zones – meant to promote missing-middle housing types in Imagine Austin…

Monday, October 21, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Commission supports energy rebate program change, calls for more information

Austin Energy has long struggled to find enough customers to take part in its multifamily energy efficiency rebate program. The trend continued last fiscal year when more than half of its rebate funds, which don’t carry over into subsequent years,…

Friday, October 18, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council codifies no-kill practices in controversial ordinance

City Council approved a set of controversial amendments to city code Thursday, giving legal weight to certain no-kill practices that many community advocates consider harmful to people and pets alike.Ellen Jefferson, executive director of Austin Pets Alive!, defended the amendments…

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council finds little common ground on camping ordinance

Still divided over the best way to manage camping in public spaces, City Council will consider an ordinance Thursday that aims to create structure around its policy without reverting to a blanket ban on camping in public.“We’d rather have people…

Friday, October 11, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

More walkable Congress Avenue vision gaining traction

An innovative framework meant to help reinvigorate Congress Avenue downtown has earned the favor of the Urban Transportation Commission.The framework was developed by the Pedestrian Advisory Council in May as a way to allow experimentation with pedestrian-friendly policies through trial…

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council responds to code housing capacity and mapping

The city’s Land Development Code draft promises a major increase in housing capacity across the city, falling just shy of City Council’s housing capacity goals in the 2017 Austin Strategic Housing Blueprint.In its current form, the code would push the…

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Chamber pushes ‘all of the above’ regional mobility solution

The Austin Chamber of Commerce pushed three desired outcomes at this year’s mobility summit: resolving traffic congestion on Interstate 35; passing the city’s first high-capacity transit bond; and clarifying the positions and goals of regional elected officials.To fix I-35, Brian…

Monday, October 7, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council advances controversial rezoning, annexation deal

A cul-de-sac property at the western edge of the city’s limited purpose jurisdiction continues to fuel debate over appropriate levels of sprawl in Austin’s Hill Country.Sitting at the end of Milky Way Drive, which is the site’s only access road,…

Thursday, October 3, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

City reaches milestone for cave site restoration plan

City staff members have completed a draft land management plan to protect the city’s natural resources at the William H. Russell Karst Preserve, the 191-acre Southwest Austin site previously known as the Blowing Sink Research Management Area.The natural features of…

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