Tag Archives: City of Austin Environmental Commission

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends revising green building standards

Green buildings are intended to be superior constructions built with environmentally sustainable materials and design. While not required, the city encourages this type of construction on a voluntary basis through Austin Energy’s Green Building Program, which rewards builders for green…

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends a variance for 19 feet of fill

A developer building a commercial storage facility project requiring a variance for 19.5 feet of fill to construct a driveway on slopes steeper than a 15 percent grade received a unanimous recommendation from the Environmental Commission at its Feb. 5…

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

UT professor maps climate vulnerability in Austin

Communities within Austin are disproportionately affected by climate change based on their social vulnerability. Social vulnerability refers to a community’s sensitivity to natural hazards and community members’ capacity to rebound from natural disasters. In a study by Patrick Bixler with…

Monday, January 27, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

East Austin 2K-acre PUD gets unanimous seal of approval from Environmental Commission

The future of a decades-old sand and gravel mine just east of the Austin city limits on Harold Green Road is now clearer with the latest set of plans developers presented to the Environmental Commission on Jan. 15. Known as…

Thursday, January 23, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Monetizing the carbon cycle may lead to ecological solutions

In the very near future, there is a possibility that Texas landowners will be able to reduce carbon emissions while earning money on their unused land. Jim Blackburn, a professor at Rice University and the president of the Trinity-Edwards Springs…

Monday, December 16, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission pushes for additional tree protections on Apple campus

Apple Inc. is well on its way to bringing a billion-dollar campus to Austin on a 133-acre parcel of land at 6900 Parmer Lane called Robinson Ranch. In an effort to offer increased protections for the trees on the property,…

Tuesday, November 26, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Land Development Code: Density and impervious cover

With the first reading of the new Land Development Code draft expected by Council in two short weeks, the Watershed Protection Department is working to finalize its recommendations. Despite the tight timeline, Environmental Officer Chris Herrington told the Environmental Commission…

Friday, November 8, 2019 by Katherine Corley

Audubon Society recommends strategies to reduce bird deaths in Austin

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Environmental Commission, Christy Esmahan, a member of the Travis Audubon Board of Directors, reported that nearly 30 percent of North America’s bird population has vanished in the last 50 years, per a September 2019 study…

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Commission calls air quality motion a ‘vague statement,’ fails to pass it

Despite the philosophical support of commissioners, a motion to improve air quality at construction sites failed at the Oct. 16 meeting of the Environmental Commission. Commissioner Pam Thompson prepared a motion on the fly during a presentation by the Office…

Friday, October 18, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Developer turns variance process upside-down, asks Environmental Commission for ‘feedback’

In an unusual request, development lawyer Richard Suttle with Armbrust & Brown appeared before the Environmental Commission on Oct. 16 to ask not for a site plan variance, but for feedback on a possible upcoming one. “I’m anticipating needing to…

Monday, October 7, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Pioneer Crossing PUD changes course, adding parkland

Having passed through and received an approval recommendation from the Zoning and Platting Commission on Sept. 17 for its 14th amendment, the Pioneer Crossing planned unit development arrived at the Environmental Commission on Oct. 2. A 376-acre portion of the…

Monday, October 7, 2019 by Austin Monitor

Reporter’s Notebook: Read all about it

Planting the seeds… Just because water is crystal clear doesn’t mean it is clean. Craig Nazor, a citizen who sits on the Animal Advisory Commission, alerted the Environmental Commission on Oct. 2 that the discharge from the Walnut Creek Water…

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends Council include Atlas 14 update in code rewrite

Atlas 14 is a historical rainfall study that alters the city’s flood plains drastically, showing that Austin is projected to receive a 30 percent increase in rainfall. Nevertheless, the study is not something that can change development on its own.…

Friday, September 6, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission discusses how to make the Heritage Tree Ordinance even more tree-centric

Austin values its trees. According to the city arborist’s office, trees are a $16 billion asset to the community. In 1982, in an effort to better protect its trees, Austin implemented its inaugural tree ordinance, which was unique both then…

Friday, August 30, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Youth outreach program is cut after city doubled funding

When the city funds grants, should it do so based on achievable objectives or program intent? That question was at the crux of a debate at the July 24 meeting of the Environmental Commission’s Urban Forestry Committee. Last budget cycle,…

Friday, August 23, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Toxic algae blooms expected to recur

Algae in Austin’s waterways is nothing new. In the summertime when the water warms up and flows slowly, it’s common to see tendrils of blue-green algae floating in the current. “It’s a very seasonal pattern. A very regular pattern,” Brent…

Monday, July 22, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

One year later: The new life of the old Onion Creek flood plain

Since 1999, the city of Austin has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to buy homeowners out of the Onion Creek flood zone. Last year, when the Watershed Protection Department completed the buyout program, 813 houses had…

Friday, July 19, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission gives Walter E. Long Park plan the green light, with conditions

Following the lead of the Parks and Recreation Board, the Environmental Commission unanimously approved the new master plan for East Austin’s Walter E. Long Park. The vote, however, came with a host of conditions. The commissioners expressed concern that the…

Monday, July 1, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Carbon-reducing concrete could come to Austin

Concrete is the second-largest industrial producer of carbon dioxide in the world, according to the International Energy Agency. Yet it is still one of the most popular building materials. Tom Ennis, the sustainability officer with the Watershed Protection Department, told…

Thursday, June 27, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Environmental Commission recommends SOS amendment for private development

Under the Save Our Springs Ordinance, which was passed in 1992, all land in the Barton Springs Zone is subject to increased development regulation in order to protect the water quality of the springs and the Edwards Aquifer. One of…

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