Syeda Hasan | KUOW News and Information

Syeda Hasan

Syeda Hasan is a general assignment reporter for KUT News. She previously worked as a reporter at Houston Public Media covering county government, immigrant and refugee communities, homelessness and the Sandra Bland case. Her work has been heard nationally on public radio shows such as “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace.”

She got her start in public radio as an intern at KUT while earning her bachelor’s degree in journalism, with a minor in French, at the University of Texas at Austin where she served as a reporter for the Daily Texan student newspaper.

The first residents are beginning to move into new homes in Whisper Valley, a green housing development near Walter E. Long Lake in eastern Travis County.

While this type of eco-friendly housing is usually cost-prohibitive, the homes in Whisper Valley start in the low $200,000s, says Douglas Gilliland, president of the developer, Taurus of Texas.

The Capital Metro board has approved a major overhaul of its bus system, affecting more than half of all routes in the area. The vote was 6 to 2.

While some buses will run more often, other routes will be eliminated. The changes will go into effect June 3. 

The Austin City Council took a step yesterday to streamline the process of building and remodeling homes by approving the Family Homestead Initiative. The resolution calls for the city to identify all the regulations and costs associated with the process.

Voters approved a Travis County bond package totaling almost $185 million Tuesday by a wide margin. More than 73 percent of voters cast a ballot in favor of both bond packages. The funding will go toward capital improvements across the county, as well as extending services to parts of eastern Travis County, Manor and Pflugerville.

Central Health has selected a firm to redevelop Brackenridge Hospital.

The Central Health Board of Managers announced it's chosen Baltimore-based Wexford Science and Technology to revamp the hospital, which closed its doors for good in May after more than a century of service in Austin. 

A popular shopping center in Northwest Austin could be redeveloped to include hundreds of apartments.

The 17-acre site, owned by Great Hills Retail Inc., currently includes a shopping center, restaurants, a movie theater and a bank. It will be up to Austin City Council to decide whether to allow for new types of development there.

It has been more than eight years since the City of Austin bought a 20-acre property near the intersection of I-35 and St. Johns Avenue. The space used to house a Home Depot store. Today, the building sits vacant. 

Residents from across Austin raised concerns at a CodeNEXT meeting earlier this month that the city’s proposed new land development code would scrap their neighborhood plans.

The city's project manager said that's just not true.

Barrett Raven is showing Matthew Weilbacher around a duplex off Cameron Road. Weilbacher is interested in buying one of the units, maybe the entire duplex, but he wrestles with how to make use of the home’s oddly sloping backyard. 

As Austin’s new land development code, CodeNEXT, is being crafted, some residents see the process as a chance to address longstanding issues of racial and economic inequity.

The California-based company hired to help rewrite Austin's land development code is not meeting contractual goals to hire local minority-owned and women-owned firms. 

It may be easier for properties in Austin to be zoned historic now.

Until a few weeks ago, if a property owner filed written opposition to the designation, the city’s Historic Landmark Commission needed a two-thirds vote to override those wishes and recommend the site for historic zoning. An ordinance passed by City Council last month requires a simple majority vote.

Though their reasons may differ, people on all sides of the debate are expressing frustration with the current draft of CodeNEXT, the city’s rewrite of the land development code. The rules, which are still being drafted, will govern what can be built in Austin and where it can go. 

About two dozen visitors attended the city’s first multilingual open house on CodeNEXT, a rewrite of the city's land development code, at Hart Elementary in North Austin on Wednesday.

A development going up in East Austin could provide a more affordable option for home ownership. 

After almost a year of searching, Annette Price is settling into her new apartment in North Central Austin. She lives alone in the one-bedroom unit with her dog, Candy, but she says she doesn’t feel completely at home.

Her apartment complex is one of the few places in Austin where the 52-year-old could get approved for housing, because about 30 years ago, she was convicted of murder.

After much debate over redevelopment, Austin City Council approved a resolution authorizing the city to negotiate the purchase of the Montopolis Negro School in East Austin. The city manager will now work to develop a plan for restoring and maintaining the segregation-era school as a museum.

An effort to reduce crowds loitering outside the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless has made downtown safer, local service providers say. 

The 2020 Census will be the first time Americans can submit questionnaire responses entirely online, but while some are touting the high-tech change, the new approach concerns some advocates.

The upcoming second draft of Austin’s new land development code is expected to eliminate one of its key zoning tools, known as "transect" zones, which focus on a building's form rather than its use.

Austin City Council has voted to sue the state of Texas over a law that blocks the city from enforcing an anti-discrimination housing ordinance.

Expand the Austin Convention Center, a city task force recommended to City Council on Tuesday.  

Service providers are taking a new approach to addressing homelessness in downtown Austin, focusing particularly  on the area around the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH). 

Central Texans are expressing solidarity and concern after Saturday’s deadly white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A bill that would change the way cities and counties collect property taxes is moving forward in the Texas House. On Saturday, lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1 on second reading. The measure would lower the rollback rate, or the annual percent increase in property taxes, from 8 percent to 6 percent. Any increases above that would have to go to the public for a vote.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, repeatedly noted that SB 1 does not aim to save taxpayers any money, but it would allow them to weigh in on some increases.

Public input on the city's proposed new land development code has been anything but equal across the city. A map of online feedback shows the comments have been overwhelmingly focused on the wealthiest parts of the city – namely, Central Austin.

Austin City Council is looking at using city-owned buildings as temporary homeless shelters.

The idea comes from Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, who says overcrowding at downtown shelters has led to harsh conditions for people experiencing homelessness.

Lisa Martinez walks around her newly renovated two-bedroom apartment at Manchaca Village, pointing out her favorite features: the blue accent wall in her living room, a new washer and dryer, and, best of all, a new dishwasher. She says it has made it much easier to clean up after her four kids.

The 33-unit apartment complex in South Austin is the first of 18 public housing properties the housing authority has renovated as part of an ambitious plan announced last year.

Austin's proposed new land development code poses barriers to building what's called "missing-middle" housing, a group of architects and other development experts say.

Austin City Council is set to take up a measure Thursday to encourage affordable housing to be more evenly dispersed throughout the city.

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