Stories by Ryan Thornton

Thursday, September 12, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Nearing October, code rewrite team admits difficulty with Council direction

Residents will soon be able to peruse the draft version of the new land use code, scheduled for public release in October, but the Land Development Code revision team says complications in the current code have made it difficult to…

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council adopts $4.2 billion budget

For the second year in a row, City Council has adopted its fiscal year budget in a single meeting of discussing and adopting amendments.With the budget passing 10-1, Council Member Jimmy Flannigan said his vote against the budget came down…

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

CAMPO adopts plan for transportation demand management

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization voted to adopt its regional transportation demand management plan on Monday despite concerns that the plan could end up favoring urban projects to the detriment of rural counties.The plan was created to streamline the…

Friday, September 6, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council tells staff: Get municipal court move done

So far, the process of reviewing plans and preparing for relocation of the Austin Municipal Court has been “very, very extensive,” according to Municipal Court Clerk Mary Jane Grubb. Impatient with the lagging timeline, City Council is pressing staffers to…

Thursday, September 5, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council sets differing expectations for homeless strategy officer

While Lori Pampilo Harris, the city’s newly hired homeless strategy officer, packs her things and prepares for her journey from Orlando to Austin, City Council is making big plans for her first day on the job.The first order of business,…

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Community leverages conundrum over hemp to advocate for marijuana decriminalization

Despite the technical difficulty of distinguishing marijuana from legal industrial hemp, the Austin Police Department told the City Council Judicial Committee on Tuesday that the city cannot afford to let the possession and sale of marijuana go unchecked.However, several members…

Friday, August 30, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council looks beyond the budget

City Manager Spencer Cronk sat down with Council members at a special called work session Thursday to give an overview of four budget-related topics that have come up in recent weeks: the Hotel Occupancy Tax; an emergency-response report by the…

Friday, August 30, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Staff proposes exchanging parking for sidewalks

There is a controversial assumption informing the work of the Land Development Code revision team: That is, shrinking the city’s mode share of motorists driving alone from 74 percent to 50 percent in the next two decades will require, to…

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro talks batteries over electric bus contract

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority is pressing on with its fleet electrification plan despite a number of kinks yet to be fully ironed out.After the agency’s board of directors approved a contract with New Flyer of America on Monday for…

Monday, August 26, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

City prepares for ‘shot clock’ bill with code amendments

Just in time, City Council approved changes to the Land Development Code Thursday intended to buffer the city’s subdivision development application process against House Bill 3167, known as the “shot clock” bill, effective statewide Sept. 1.Council members across the dais…

Friday, August 23, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Riverside development inches closer to approval

The so-called “Domain on Riverside” fell one vote short of the seven needed to pass City Council on both second and third readings. Council members rehashed common concerns about the development’s size and location on Thursday before passing the 4700…

Thursday, August 22, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Mobility Committee advances push for safe railroad crossings

A long-standing concern with pedestrian and bicycle safety at railroad crossings has earned support from some City Council members, but questions about equity and process may temper hopes of swift improvements.Since October 2018, both the Bicycle Advisory Council and Pedestrian…

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Housing supply and demand debate resurfaces over code rewrite

The Land Development Code rewrite team is going far beyond previous efforts in Draft 3 of CodeNEXT with its housing capacity goals. According to staff, aiming for more housing units in general will also help secure affordable housing while addressing…

Monday, August 19, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Shoal Creek trail project gets special attention

To support both the city’s transportation goals and the ongoing work of the Shoal Creek Conservancy, City Council passed a resolution Aug. 9 directing the city manager to consider ways to prioritize the Cypress and Shoal Creek Project, a heavily…

Thursday, August 15, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

City tightens standards for housing development assistance loans

The Austin Housing Finance Corporation plans to be more selective with loan applications and partnerships for its Rental Housing Development Assistance and Ownership Housing Development Assistance programs in the coming years.The programs offer loans to developers promising housing units for…

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Land Development Code team previews compromise

City Manager Spencer Cronk’s Land Development Code rewrite team claims to have struck a balance between respecting the long-term plans of current homeowners while encouraging new density to meet the city’s housing and transit goals.As part of the overall effort…

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro board awards bus operations contract to single firm, MV Transportation

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board of directors voted Monday to combine operations at its two garages under one company, Dallas-based MV Transportation, Inc.The contract includes a base five-year period for $575.1 million with two optional three-year extensions and a…

Friday, August 9, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council OKs ‘Domain on Riverside’ on first reading

City Council sided with the Planning Commission Thursday in approving a first reading of a request to rezone five tracts of land comprising nearly 100 acres to accommodate the mixed-use development project once known as Project Catalyst, now known as…

Thursday, August 8, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council to reconsider changes to Zilker Botanical Garden agreement

Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department released a memo Friday detailing a plan for the future management of Zilker Botanical Garden.The additional detail comes in response to a request last month from Council Member Kathie Tovo…

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council likely to delay vote on street impact fees

City Council will likely allow two more weeks for dialogue before the Austin Transportation Department begins crafting details of its street impact fee program.With Council expected to adopt street impact fees in January 2020, Council Member Ann Kitchen said during…

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