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The Code

A new Austin Energy rule aims to keep construction workers safe. It could also make homes harder to build.

In response to the death by electrocution of a construction worker and a subsequent lawsuit, Austin Energy has increased the minimum distance between power lines and new buildings, a regulation the utility says will keep workers safer. A jury in…

City issues first notices of intent to suspend in Repeat Offender Program

The city announced last week its first notices of intent to suspend in the Repeat Offender Program, which is designed to ensure that property owners or their agents keep their properties in compliance with Austin city code. The two properties…

Environmental Commission says Public Works project 'flies in the face' of environmental regulations

In order to create easy access and support increased traffic headed to a new Habitat for Humanity development in Southeast Austin, the Public Works Department is working on constructing a road that crosses a “classified waterway.” Under city code, a…

'Shot clock' reviews hit Council's agenda

Under a looming deadline from the state, Council is set on Thursday to pass changes to the way the city reviews and approves subdivision development applications, despite the possibility of “unfortunate and unintended consequences,” in the words of Council Member…

City proposes new demolition rules

In response to an audit last year that identified a number of problems in the city’s demolition permitting process, the Development Services Department has recommended a number of changes aimed at streamlining the process and ensuring safety. The recommendations were…

front of City Hall

Council adopts new rules for subpoenas

On Thursday, City Council adopted regulations that make it clear that the Ethics Review Commission may not seek information identifying whistleblowers or other witnesses in complaints about city officials or employees. In addition, Council designated the Council Audit and Finance…

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Committee fails to endorse lobbying rules changes

The City Council Audit and Finance Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to forward changes to the anti-lobbying ordinance proposed by the city staff to the full Council, but did so without a recommendation. Three members of the committee, Mayor Pro…

Regret an ethics complaint? City may soon allow take-backs

On occasion, a complaint will come to the Ethics Review Commission only to be later followed by a request for withdrawal. However, according to current code, a request of this nature may not be honored. Concerned with the inability of plaintiffs…

homeless people sleeping on the street

City regulations may create more homelessness

City ordinances prohibiting panhandling in certain areas, criminalizing camping in public places, living in a car or tent, or sitting or lying on the sidewalk in parts of downtown are creating barriers that make it more difficult for people to…

Alter: Council is letting garbage company rewrite lobbying rules

City Council Member Alison Alter said Tuesday that her colleagues were allowing one company to rewrite city lobbying rules, suggesting that an ongoing rewrite of the Anti-Lobbying Ordinance was largely the result of bullying by Texas Disposal Systems, a waste…

Possible lobbying ordinance changes headed to Council

The Ethics Review Commission approved a series of recommendations for how to amend the city’s Anti-Lobbying Ordinance, portions of which have been criticized as too vague or unfair by solid waste and other contractors who regularly do business with the…

BoA denies digital billboard end run

Another attempt to legalize digital billboards in Austin was shot down last week. This time, the Board of Adjustment was the arena for a battle that has been going on in Austin for years. Under current city regulations, billboards are…

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