40,000 customers may have received wrong power bills
Glitch with vendor meant out-of-date amounts on emails.
and minutes later the council voted 7-4 to approve the zoning changes sought by Endeavor and Capital Metro.
Council Members Alison Alter, Ora Houston, Leslie Pool and Tovo dissented.
The practical effect of the negotiations and the complex deal: Endeavor will be able to build a 125-foot-high office building, rather than just 70 feet, or four stories, as approved in an earlier vote. Endeavor, Capital Metro and the city would each kick in $540,000 for a fund to subsidize affordable housing in the general Plaza Saltillo area.
Endeavor would also pay about $600,000 toward an affordable housing fund based on the size of the taller office building.
But officials with the developer noted Friday that they still have the option to go with the shorter, 70-foot office building and forgo most of the affordability housing payments. And the economics of the situation could push the company in that direction.
“The council approved the project with four stories but granted Endeavor an option to increase the height of the office building to eight stories (or 125 feet) provided we make additional contributions exceeding $1 million toward enhancing affordabil- ity in the neighborhoods surrounding the project,” said Jason Thumlert, a principal with Endeavor, in a statement Friday afternoon. “In the coming months, we will be making the determina- tion to build either a four- or eight-story building.”
Either way, the 800 apartments planned for the Capi- case told the board Friday that most of the 1,400-plus complaints lodged against Burzynski had been dismissed by the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Burzynski didn’t financially or physically harm patients named in the complaint, the judge had ruled.
The com p laints that weren’t dismissed included accusations that Burzynski didn’t properly inform a patient when he changed the patient’s treatment plan, that he allowed one of his staff members to misrepresent herself to patients as a doctor and that he improp- 11-acre parcel to be developed tal Metro site would include 141 units with below-market rents reserved for people making 50 percent or less of median family income in Austin.
“I don’t think any of us are excited by any of these options,” Council Member Delia Garza, who also serves on the Capital Metro board, said at the meeting Thurs- day night. “I would have preferred that Endeavor contribute more. I wasn’t a big fan of Capital Metro having to put more skin in the game.”
Endeavor, under a 99-year lease with Capital Metro, erly charged patients for treatment.
“The judges found that Dr. Burzynski was not honest with his patients. They found that he did not adequately inform them about the treatments that they were receiving,” said Amy Swanhold, an attorney for the medical board, at the meeting.
She called Burzynski a “potential harm to the pub- lic,” and charged that he is dishonest to patients who come to him “searching for hope.”
Burzynski, a native of Poland, performed research at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in the late 1970s, and, in 1993, won approval from the U.S. Food will build the development’s ground-floor retail and that office building, while Columbus Realty Partners will build the apartments in a trio of four- and five- story mixed-use buildings. Diana McIver & Associates will build a separate 100- unit apartment building near the Plaza Saltillo MetroRail station, with lower, more affordable rents for almost all of the units.
Endeavor officials last month said construction could begin as soon as two months after the zoning matter is resolved. But it was unclear Friday if the poten- tial changes approved early Friday would delay that con- struction.
Building the development should take about two years, said officials with Endeavor, which is separately involved with the American-States- man’s owners to redevelop the site where the newspa- per operates.
The council, because of its power over zoning, found itself as the final arbiter in a dispute that began almost three years ago when the Capital Metro board chose Endeavor and its partners over a competing develop- and Drug Administration to perform a clinical trial of antineoplastons, a drug regimen he says he developed, as a treatment for cancer. Although Burzynski said it cures cancer, the National Cancer Institute says antineo- plastons aren’t approved by the FDA for the prevention or treatment of any disease.
Burzynski uses antineo- plastons as a method of treatment at his Houston clinic, where 95 percent of his cancer patients are terminally ill.
“We try to do our best to provide excellent care for our patients. They rely on our treatment to live,” Burzynski told the American-Statesman. He accused the Texas Medical Board of harassing him and cover- ment group favored by long- time neighborhood activists.
Both developers offered mixed-use developments for the parcel, and both said publicly that 25 percent of the apartment units would have affordable rents.
The losing bidder, headed by Central Austin developers Perry Lorenz and Larry Warshaw, proposed a 125-foothigh hotel. Endeavor’s tall- est building was to be 60 feet high, and its proposal offered a full-size grocery store. Cap- ital Metro board members, in approving Endeavor, said they wanted to maximize Capital Metro’s financial return from the property.
Endeavor, through the zoning before the city, sought permission to build most of the development at 68 to 70 feet high, with the taller office building a block from the highway, rather than the 60-foot maximum available under the site’s existing zon- ing status.
The grocery store, mean- while, has fallen out of the plan because, officials have said, no grocery chain was interested in locating one there.
Endeavor and Capital Metro officials say that in underlying documents from the 2014 bid process, the developer pledged to make just 15 percent of the units affordable, going to 25 per- cent only if the city of Austin subsidized those lower rates.
Capital Metro has declined to release those bids and the draft contract, which, the agency says, would bring it more than $200 million over the 99-year life of the agreement. ing up the cure for cancer.
Many of his supporters showed up Friday, attesting to the lifesaving treatment they and their loved ones received from Burzynski.
Sophia Gettino, 21, flew from New York to Austin to attend Friday’s hear- ing. Doctors found a brain tumor in her when she was 10 months old, and, although she tried other more conventional treatments, nothing worked until she started seeing Burzynski, she said.
“I’ve been in remission since I was 7 years old, and I’m here today” because of Burzynski, Gettino said.
Pay close attention to that online billing notice you just got from Austin Energy: It may be outdated.
The city utility announced Thursday that up to 40,000 customers may have received an email about their bill that includes old data, and therefore an incorrect balance amount.
“Customers who received an email in the past 24 hours notifying them that their online bill is ready should look at the billing date,” Austin Energy said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
“If the billing date is not February or March 2017, they should delete and disregard the email without con- cern,” the statement said. “If the billing date is cur- rent, they should take whatever action they usually take to pay their City of Austin bills.”
Austin Energy emphasized extinguish the flames him- self with fire extinguishers, said Vaughan, and firefighters were notified around 9 a.m.
He said they heard explo- sions during the fire that could have been small cans of propane the owner was storing at the complex.
The blaze didn’t reach the big tanks at the main propane business, Vaughan said.
Fifteen firefighters from Taylor, Rockdale, Cameron and Milano battled the flames for an hour and a half to bring the fire under con- trol, he said.
One of the problems, Vaughan said, was that firefighters had to be cautious battling the blaze because they didn’t know what the business owner had stored on the property.
They couldn’t stop the fire from spreading to the this was not a problem with the billing system.
Rather, the utility said, a vendor had tested an email alert system using old data.
The utility said it is “investigating the vendor error and putting in place safeguards to avoid recurrence. We apologize for inconvenience or confusion.”
So how can customers find their correct balance?
Log into the Online Customer Care portal at austinenergy.com, which will have your current balance. Or call (512) 494-9400. auto upholstery business on a neighboring property because the apartment complex was about 2 feet from the business, he said.
Joe Cavazos, owner of the destroyed auto upholstery East End Trim Shop, said he was outside his business when he saw flames coming from the apartment complex next door.
“The next thing I know,” he said, “there were flames everywhere.”
Cavazos said he didn’t have insurance for the 50-yearold business.
Before the flames charred his shop, however, Cavazos said he managed to save one piece of work. He opened the door to a shed the fire hadn’t reached. Inside was a beautiful set of red-andwhite reupholstered leather car seats.