City Council approves South Austin affordable housing development with caveats "A proposed apartment building in South Austin that will back up to Beacon Ridge homes is moving ahead despite some pushback from neighbors. City Council voted to approve the first reading of a rezoning request for the proposed property location, but also directed the city manager to look into transportation needs in the area and report back to the council by Jan. 12. ... Developers propose turning the 9-acre property at 8401, 8403, 8405, and 8407 S. 1st St. into an apartment complex with a 45-foot buffer between it and neighboring homes’ backyards. The area combines three vacant lots and one lot with a building." (Maggie Quinlan, Community Impact)

Statesman PUD proposal needs improvement, Environmental Commission says "The planned unit development proposed for the former Austin American-Statesman property is not an environmentally superior project in the eyes of the Watershed Protection Department, but it could achieve superiority if the developer agrees to more than a dozen conditions. Drawing on the department’s opinion, the Environmental Commission took a similar position Wednesday, voting unanimously not to recommend the project and asking staffers and the developer, Endeavor Real Estate Group, to continue negotiating unresolved issues." (Amy Smith, Austin Monitor)

Planning for Austin growth, JPMorgan Chase leases two floors in downtown tower "In a move that it says reflects its commitment to grow along with Central Texas, JPMorgan Chase & Co. has signed a lease for the top two floors of a new 25-story office tower in downtown Austin. The New York-based investment banking giant said it will occupy about 35,000 square feet of space on the 24th and 25th floors of the building, which is called 405 Colorado. (Shonda Novak, Austin American-Statesman)

New study reveals pride-inspiring size of Austin’s LGBTQ community "A new study gives us a clearer rainbow-hued idea of just how large Austin’s LGBTQ community is. The study, released October 11 by the LGBTQ Quality of Life Advisory Commission, estimates the size of the Austin area’s LGBTQ community at 100,000 to 118,000, or roughly 5 percent of the region’s population. The total is just shy of the number of people who live in Round Rock." (John Egan, CultureMap Austin)

Austin City Council votes to extend eviction moratorium to Dec. 31 "People in Austin who may be struggling to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic are getting some relief thanks to the Austin City Council. This week, council members voted to extend the eviction moratorium in Austin. It's now set to end on Dec. 31." (Shawna M. Reding, KVUE)

PARD proposes delaying fee change that would double parkland costs for developers "The Parks and Recreation Department will likely ask City Council to delay a scheduled doubling this budget year of the fees developers pay to fund the acquisition and development of parkland around the city. The dramatic increase is the result of guidelines laid out in the 2016 revision to the Parkland Dedication Ordinance that called for the fees to be based on the average cost of land acquisition over the previous five years." (Chad Swiatecki, Austin Monitor)

APD should follow national best practices on use of force and make guidelines clearer, watchdog says "The Austin Police Department's policies governing when an officer can and can't use force don't align with Austinites' expectations, according to a new report from the city's independent police monitor. The Office of Police Oversight collected feedback from 1,400 Austinites on APD's use-of-force policies and examined how these polices stack up against national standards. Its report will help inform how the department rewrites its guidelines to reduce police violence, which was mandated by Austin City Council last year." (Andrew Weber, KUT)

Austin Pilots New Tactics to Address Toxic Algae Blooms "Toxic algae isn't new to Austin's waterways. In 2019, at least five dogs died as a result of ingesting a toxin produced by certain types of freshwater cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, in Lady Bird Lake, followed by more harmful blooms the following year at Red Bud Isle and Festival Beach. Toxins have also been found across the Highland Lakes, including in Lake Travis and Lake Austin earlier this year. Dogs appear particularly vulnerable to the toxins produced by these algae blooms, but a different type of algae neurotoxin that poses a greater risk to humans has now appeared in Austin." (Lina Fisher, Austin Chronicle)