Stories by Sean Saldaña

Thursday, July 29, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Lutheran Church relocation case looks at the nature of historic status

On Monday, the Historic Landmark Commission revisited a case that involves relocating the Dessau Lutheran Church, which was constructed in 1876, to Pioneer Farms, an outdoor museum dedicated to 19th-century Texas history. The church, located at 13300 Dessau Road in…

Thursday, July 22, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Animal Advisory Commission looks to reform operations at city shelter

At last week’s meeting of the Animal Advisory Commission, commissioners voted to form a working group aimed at addressing the ongoing capacity crisis at the Austin Animal Center. The move came after Chief Animal Services Officer Don Bland sent a…

Friday, July 16, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Austin Animal Center contemplates ‘notifications for possible euthanasia’

In a memo last month, Chief Animal Services Officer Don Bland updated City Council and Mayor Steve Adler about the ongoing capacity issues at the Austin Animal Center. The memo included a few lines that made animal lovers around the…

Tuesday, July 13, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Vision plan takes on mobility woes at Zilker Park

Last month, the Parks and Recreation Department held its first community meeting for the Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan, an ambitious effort to develop a framework for the park’s future. The department calls it the “first comprehensive planning effort in…

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Landmark Commission sends West Line case to Architectural Review Committee

Last week, applicants asked the Historic Landmark Commission for permission to demolish a building located in the West Line Historic District and replace it with a one-story cabana and a garage at 1415 W. 10th St. The building, which was…

Thursday, July 1, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Landmark commission reverses course, grants demolition for Scenic Drive home

Last month, a demolition permit request for the property at 2708 Scenic Drive came in front of the Historic Landmark Commission. The home, which was built in 1952, has fallen into disrepair, but instead of granting the permit, city staffers…

Tuesday, June 29, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

PARD continues to work through lifeguard staffing shortages

After a year of lockdown measures and closures aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus, Austinites have entered the summer season ready to interact with the world again. But as people head outdoors, they’re noticing that the city’s aquatics operations…

Thursday, June 24, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

City begins blue-green algae mitigation at Red Bud Isle

Since 2019, dog-lovers in Austin have had to worry about cyanobacteria, more commonly known as blue-green algae, when stories came out of several dogs dying after swimming in Lady Bird Lake during the algae bloom. A particular area of concern…

Friday, June 18, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Austin Animal Center continues to struggle with capacity

Earlier this week at the Animal Advisory Commission’s monthly meeting, commissioners discussed the reopening process of the Austin Animal Center as the risk of coronavirus continues to decline locally. In recent months, the shelter has been running out of kennel space for…

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

ZWAC looks to extend contract for encampment cleanups

Last week, the Zero Waste Advisory Commission voted unanimously to advance a contract extension with Relief Enterprise of Texas Inc., a contractor that has handled homeless encampment trash cleanup for the city around Interstate 35, U.S. Highway 183, Loop 1…

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Former Long Estate granted demolition permit after March fire

Last month, the Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to issue a demolition permit for 2308 Woodlawn Blvd., a property located in the Old West Austin National Register Historic District. Unlike many demolition permit requests that the landmark commission hears, this…

Friday, June 4, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Last residential house on Rainey cleared for demolition by landmark commission

In 2019, a KUT report introduced Austinites to John Contreras, then known as “The Last Man on Rainey Street.” Rainey Street, historically a residential neighborhood, has become one of the city’s most prominent centers for nightlife and large-scale development. Contreras’…

Thursday, May 27, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Jackson-Novy-Kelly-Hoey House gets approval for front-yard pool

This week, the Historic Landmark Commission revisited a case from March in which homeowners at 2406 Harris Blvd. had requested a certificate of appropriateness to put a pool in their front yard. The issue raised concerns among commissioners because the…

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

City devising permanent solution to erosion threat in Guerrero Park

Southeast Austin’s Roy G. Guerrero Park is home to a disc-golf course and baseball fields and is a popular destination for birding. But according to the city, a growing threat poses a risk to the popular park: erosion. The 360-acre park…

Friday, May 21, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Ambitious vision plan for Zilker Park seeks community input

Hosting more than 1.3 million visitors a year, Zilker Park is perhaps the most iconic and beloved public space in Austin. Founded in 1917 with a land donation from Andrew Jackson Zilker, Zilker is the city’s oldest metropolitan park. Eighty years…

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Zero Waste Advisory Commission talks through logistics of Prop B

With the passage of Proposition B earlier this month, Austin residents voted to reinstate local laws establishing prohibitions against sitting, resting and camping in public in certain parts of the city. Opponents of the proposition argued that in addition to having…

Thursday, May 13, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

PARD publishes update on Montopolis Negro School preservation effort

For nearly three decades in the 20th century, the Montopolis Negro School gave Black children an education in an era when they were not welcome in Austin schools. The schoolhouse at 500 Montopolis Drive was not just a place of education,…

Monday, May 10, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Breaking down the Reimagining Public Safety task force’s recommendations

Last month, the city’s newly formed joint city-community Reimagining Public Safety task force released its 2021 mid-year recommendations report. At over 70 pages long, the report’s proposals range from popular police reform policy changes to ideas that would fundamentally reshape the way the…

Thursday, May 6, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

PARD requests budget increase for security, staffing and program expansion

Last week, the Parks and Recreation Board unanimously voted to approve recommendations for budget increases for the 2021-22 fiscal year. According to the recommendation, Austin’s parks system has experienced an increase in off-leash dog violations, illegal parking, notifications of homeless…

Thursday, April 22, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

Austin Resource Recovery reworking Zero Waste Master Plan

When City Council unanimously adopted the Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan in 2011, it was a bold step toward making Austin “the most livable city in the country.” At more than 300 pages, the plan laid out a number of environmental…

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