Planning Commission

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin has endured several legal jabs from the state in the past couple months.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A city statute that governs the makeup of Austin’s Planning Commission is at the center of a legal challenge from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office.

Paxton is taking legal action to remove eight members of the 13-member commission, citing a rule that limits how many commissioners can have some sort of affiliation with real estate or land use interests.

Callie Hernandez for KUT

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is seeking to remove eight of the 13 members of Austin’s Planning Commission. The commission is responsible for making and amending a master city plan, making recommendations to the City Council on proposed zoning changes and weighing in on land use decisions.

Martin do Nascimento for KUT

As Austin’s new land development code, known as CodeNEXT is being written, city staff and the private sector are working to understand how it will shape future development.

flickr.com/honeyroastd

In the past few years, once quaint and quiet Rainey Street has become a haven for the hip, with businesses ubiquitously flipping the neighborhood's historic bungalows into bars.

Tonight, the City of Austin Planning Commission will discuss two possible changes along Rainey Street: one that would encourage the relocation of historic homes, and another measure that would require new bars to seek permits, including public hearings.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

At a marathon meeting that stretched early into Wednesday morning, Austin’s Planning Commission recommended new regulations for short-term rentals – properties that homeowners offer for rent on sites like HomeAway and VRBO.com.

Short-term rentals are increasingly popular over events like South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, with Austin visitors choosing to rent area homes instead of staying in hotels. But the growth in short-term rentals hasn’t been applauded by all.

Those pushing to regulate short-term rentals argue they can be detrimental to neighborhoods, and have considered regulating them as commercial rather than residential properties. Homeowners that rent out their homes and companies that depend on their business – like Austin-based HomeAway – argue too much regulation will drive the market underground, giving aggrieved neighbors even less options for dealing with bad actors.

Image by KUT News

Austin is a long way from achieving a goal set in 2009 of having a park within walking distance of everyone in the city. Fifty-nine percent of inner city residents do not live near those kind of open space amenities, according to the city's Urban Parks Stakeholders Group (UPSG).

The UPSG made this presentation to the City of Austin's Planning Commission last week, and it included some stark comparisons.