Austin

News, events, and entertainment happening in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

Council Adopts New Regulations for Short-Term Rentals

Feb 24, 2016
Eva Ruth Moravec/Austin Monitor

From the Austin Monitor: City Council on Tuesday passed, on a 9-2 vote, new regulations governing short-term rentals that aren’t owner-occupied. Council also adopted plans to phase out all of the so-called STR Type 2 properties in residential zones by 2022.

Mike Blizzard via Twitter

When word first broke that a local political action committee calling itself Austin4All had enough signatures to recall City Council Member Ann Kitchen, most of her colleagues came out in force. Standing outside City Hall on Feb. 1, some council members joked they would be next.


Mike Blizzard via Twitter

From the Austin Monitor: Although local political action committee Austin4All turned in a petition to recall City Council Member Ann Kitchen to the city clerk’s office Friday, petitions to recall Council members are far from common. So it’s fair to say that the rules governing this process are little known.

According to a spokesperson for the city, the city clerk has 20 calendar days to certify the signatures. Should roughly 5,000 signatures (10 percent of the number of active voters in Kitchen’s District 5) be deemed valid, the council member has five days to leave her position. But Kitchen has said she will not.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT News

While the music tourism industry is enjoying a boom in Austin’s city limits, the economic impact of the local music industry — the live music supported by locals during the stretches of the year that aren’t festivals — is on the decline, according to a study just released by Austin Music People


amorton via flickr

The City of Austin recently got some backlash for the way it agreed to fund a new MUD – or municipal utility district. The Pilot Knob development will in part be paid for by diverting roughly $80 million from the Austin Water Utility – and by raising customers’ bills.

But let’s back up a bit. What is a municipal utility district, exactly?

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

The Austin City Clerk’s office has confirmed they have received a petition to recall the election of Council member Ann Kitchen. The petition was submitted by a local political action committee calling itself Austin4All

The City Clerk must now certify these signatures within 20 days. Once the signatures are certified, the Council member has five days to resign. If she does not, the recall will go to voters, most likely in November.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

There’s a relatively new neighborhood in Northeast Austin with new homes and new businesses. Someday there may even be a school there. It’s built on land that used to be Austin’s airport – named after a city council member from the 1920s.

Those facts are clear.

What's not so clear is how to properly say the neighborhood’s name.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

The Austin City Council has approved the ballot language for the city-wide election to be held in May on regulating ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft. The language asks voters if they wish to repeal regulations that prohibit fingerprinting requirements for drivers, require distinctive emblems on vehicles, and prohibit drivers from loading and unloading passengers in travel lanes.

Austin History Center, PICA 03597

If you’ve ever lived – or even spent a weekend – in Austin, you know we’ve got a thing about street names – namely, mispronouncing them. There’s GWAD-a-loop. BURN-it, MAY-ner and MAN-chack, or Manchaca.

While there have been plenty of debates on pronunciation, there’s a larger debate on who or what exactly the Austin street’s namesake is – whether it’s a memorial to a San Antonio-born Texas revolutionary or a Bayou in Louisiana.

Sean C. Murphy / JOEY PARSONS HTTP://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/JOEYPARSONS / Matt Largey

For the third installment of ATXplained, we're looking back a bit to explain the history of some of Austin's most recognizable locales. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for KUT News

There have been plenty of critics of the work the Austin City Council’s done over the past year. Tuesday night, Austin Mayor Steve Adler delivered his second State of the City Address – offering a defense of their work.

The Mayor was cautious in summing up the past year’s achievements.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

A few weeks ago we asked you to tell us what you want to know about Austin. It’s a project we’re calling ATXplained. You sent in dozens of questions you wanted us to investigate. We narrowed it down to one by letting the public vote at KUT.org. The story those voters chose is about traffic light synchronization, and when all of Austin’s lights will be synchronized.

KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy looked into it.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT News

Austin Mayor Steve Adler delivers his State of the City address Tuesday evening. Titled “Great Cities Do Big Things,” it’s the second annual address of Adler’s term as mayor. He delivered his first in April of 2015, after the city's new 10-1 council had been active for about 100 days.

Tuesday night's State of the City starts at 7:00 at the Zach Theatre on South Lamar. You can watch a live stream at the city's website here.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

Austin voters will decide on a petition-driven ordinance drawn up by ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft. 

The Austin City Council rejected the ordinance on an 8-2 vote (Council Member Don Zimmerman abstained), which means the ordinance will go to a public referendum on May 7.

The election will cost the city an estimated $500,000 to $800,000.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Given that it’s in a government building, the painting that hangs outside Mayor Steve Adler’s office is a bizarre choice. It’s a portrait of a cat – its head crowned in what looks like a steel headdress, with an ornate keyhole at its center. Behind the cat’s head, canoes full of sushi float atop a body of water. Chopsticks stand in for paddles. If nothing else is clear – and little is – the cat wields enormous power over these pieces of sushi. The canoes carrying them appear to be rowing toward it in an act of obedience.


Screenshot via YouTube

In May, Austin voters will decide the future of ride-hailers Uber and Lyft, putting to rest an escalating debate about how the city should regulate these businesses. 

But the city has seen this fight before – 100 years ago.

Mike Blizzard via Twitter

When you Google image search Rachel Kania and Tori Moreland, you'll find each of them in similarly staged photos, each wearing a collared shirt and pearls, each standing in front of what looks to be a tall wooden fence – as if they're keeping someone out, but in a friendly way, like a genial neighbor would.

The Austin Monitor

From the Austin Monitor: The cost of a large expansion of U.S. Highway 183 in Northwest Austin officially nearly tripled on Monday night.

At its monthly meeting, the Transportation Policy Board of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization voted to amend its long-range plan to increase the price of the 183 North Mobility Project from $225.7 million to $650 million.

UPDATE: After seven days of voting, we have a winner for the next round of ATXplained. We're already hard at work getting the answer to the winning question, so stay tuned!

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT News

It’s been just over a year since the City of Austin’s hands-free ordinance went into effect and, in 2015, Austin Police officers cited more than 5,000 drivers in Austin for using devices while behind the wheel.

While that number may seem steep to some, it’s just the start, as APD plans to diversify enforcement efforts and work to integrate hand-held enforcement efforts into the city’s Vision Zero plan.

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