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Council rejects super majority requirement for lakeside PUDs
Friday, May 22, 2009 by Kimberly Reeves
Election or no election, lawsuit or no lawsuit, incoming or outgoing members, Council refused to take a step towards making large-scale development one step short of impossible on
Neighborhood activist Jeff Jack, questioned by Council Member Laura Morrison, made the pitch: Get rid of PUDs, and the lawsuit was gone. Add a super-majority vote on PUDs, and the lawsuit was gone. It was Council’s choice.
Morrison, former Austin Neighborhoods Council president, made the super-majority motion. And incoming Mayor Lee Leffingwell agreed to second it, rather reluctantly, because he said it might be a good interim stop-gap measure while the reconstituted waterfront overlay advisory board worked to define community benefit bonuses to be exchanged for possible height exceptions. The amendment failed, 2-5.
Early in the process, however, Council Member Mike Martinez jumped in to set the tenor of the Council’s argument, saying he never supported one-size-fits all arguments, nor did he doubt where the Council’s values would lie when it came to protecting the
“Allowing a PUD to be requested is simply that, a request,”
Planning Commission was another tool,
“I think some of those tools and hurdles are in place,”
Council Member Randi Shade expressed her own regret that the bonus provisions were not in place before Council took its vote on the waterfront overlay. In the end, Shade decided it was more important to move the ball forward.
Shade also opened the door to how things might end up being different with a new waterfront advisory group. Many of the changes to
“We still don’t know what we want on
With the super-majority vote out of the way – no one even attempted to get rid of PUDs – the major decision on the waterfront overlay was done. The rest, more often than not, was tweaking of the ordinance passed on first reading:
· Shade added language, in a friendly amendment, that would require the City Manager to work with the waterfront overlay advisory board on bonuses;
· Morrison added language to clarify existing PUDs – yes, current PUDs were exempted but not if there were substantial amendments – which is likely to be reviewed more thoroughly between second and third reading; and
· Shade suggested a staff recommendation on the waterfront overlay advisory board – a requirement to include members of the Design Commission, Parks Board and Downtown Commission – but then withdrew her motion with further clarification from staff and Jack.
The proposals may or may not go through various boards and commissions. That would be based upon policy, a suggestion, rather than mandate.
The final vote on the ordinance was 7-0. The third, and final, reading of the waterfront overlay ordinance is scheduled for June 11.
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