Coming off one of the warmest days of the year so far, wintry weather is expected to rain on the almost-springtime parade with possible freezing temperatures Wednesday and Thursday.
Temperatures in Central Texas will plummet from highs in the upper 80s Tuesday afternoon to temperatures 30 to 45+ degrees lower at the same time Wednesday. A Tuesday night cold front will merge into Wednesday morning as temperatures dip to 40 degrees.
Clouds will begin to set in Tuesday night and linger with small chances of rain and isolated thunderstorms through the weekend. Temperatures are expected to fall near freezing Wednesday and Thursday night with highs in the mid-40s.
A strong cold front will move across our area tonight into early Wednesday. Temperatures Wednesday will be 30 to 45+ degrees colder at 5 PM then they will be at 5 PM today. Light mixed precipitation is forecast over northern counties Wednesday night through Saturday. pic.twitter.com/U4mQZzrnq7
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) February 22, 2022
Higher rain chances will come Thursday and Saturday night with near 50% chances of showers. A wintry mix could come into play along and north of US 90 Thursday through Saturday, with a mix of rain and sleet possible in the colder hours of the day.
Low temperatures will rise above the freezing zone Friday night, but highs will remain in the 40s until the sun peeks out once more to bring milder temperatures Sunday.
It seems Punxsutawney Phil may have been right about more winter weather, but spring-loving Austinites can still find solace despite the potential freeze. With average last freeze dates landing in late February to early March for most of the Austin area, this could be the last time to pull on that bulky winter coat.
- Winter storm: Freezing rain, sleet bringing a quarter-inch of ice ... ›
- Winter weather worries Austin residents ahead of February freeze ... ›
- American Airlines cancels flights, citing weather concerns - austonia ›
- How to protect your home and self in freezing weather - austonia ›
- First Freeze of the year hits Austin this weekend - austonia ›
- Traveling Austinites stranded in wintry weather as Austin airport ... ›
- Arctic Austin: how to protect your home in freezing weather - austonia ›
- Large hail, possible chance of tornado expected in Austin - austonia ›
- Austin could see its warmest May in more than 100 years - austonia ›
By Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.
The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'
Historic preservationists, for their part, overwhelmingly support historic zoning, which would preserve the buildings in perpetuity. The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to initiate historic zoning in July, citing architectural significance, landscape features and association to historic figures. City staffers recommend historic zoning, calling both structures one-of-a-kind examples of vernacular architecture.
Tarrytown neighbors have also banded together to stop the demolition. Many have written letters, and a few spoke at the meeting. “How could anyone buy this property with the intent of destroying it?” Ila Falvey said. “I think it’s an architectural treasure.”
Michael Whellan, an attorney representing the property owner, said that the claims made by preservationists are shaky. The buildings are run down, he said, and have had substantial renovations. A structural engineer hired by the owner said any attempt at preservation would involve tearing down and rebuilding – an undertaking Whellan said would likely cost millions.
Whellan also argued that any historical significance derived from the property’s association with Delisle and longtime owner C.H. Slator is dubious. “These men are not noted for any civic, philanthropic or historic impact,” he said.
What’s more, according to Whellan, Slator likely participated in segregation as the owner of the Tavern on North Lamar Boulevard between 1953 and 1960.
A city staffer, however, said she found no evidence to support the claim. “We would never landmark a property where a segregationist lived, or there was a racist person,” Kimberly Collins with the Historic Preservation Office said.
Commissioner Awais Azhar couldn’t support historic zoning in part due to lingering uncertainty about Slator. “Focusing on that factor is not here to disparage an individual or family. It is not about playing the race card. This is an important assertion for us to consider as Planning commissioners,” Azhar said.
Commissioner Carmen Llanes Pulido said that allegations of racism should come as no surprise. “We’re talking about white male property owners in the 1950s, in Austin, on the west side – and of course they were racist,” she said. But she argued that allowing the house to be demolished based on these grounds does nothing to help people of color who have been harmed by racism and segregation.
The question of tax breaks was also controversial. Michael Gaudini, representing the property owner, said that the tax breaks associated with historic zoning would exacerbate inequality by shifting property tax burdens to less affluent communities. City staffers estimate that the property, appraised at $3.5 million, would get either a $8,500 or $16,107 property tax break annually, depending on whether a homestead exemption is applied.
Commissioner Grayson Cox preferred the commission focus not on tax breaks but on whether the structures merit preservation. “To me, nothing in the historic preservation criteria lists, is this person deserving of a tax break or not?”
Azhar, on the other hand, said he plans to propose a code amendment getting rid of city property tax breaks for historic properties.
The commission fell one vote short of recommending historic zoning, with six commissioners in support and three opposed. Azhar and commissioners Claire Hempel and Greg Anderson voted against.
The odds of City Council zoning over an owner’s wishes are slim. Nine out of 11 members must vote in favor, and there have only been a handful of such cases over the past several decades.
What's new in Austin food & drink this week:
- Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
- Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
- Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
- Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
- Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
- Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
- The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
- Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
- P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.