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Reporter’s Notebook: Soccer games

Monday, June 11, 2018 by Austin Monitor

Bound for Cow Town?… Another new wrinkle in Austin’s (never-ending?) professional soccer saga developed slowly last week after ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman opined, during a segment on Sacramento recently losing out on a Major League Soccer expansion bid, that “I still believe Columbus Crew doesn’t end up in Austin, Texas. I think they end up in Sacramento.” Twellman didn’t elaborate on any intel he might have about a relationship between Crew SC owners Precourt Sports Ventures and soccer interests in the California capital city, and he deflected inquiries from soccer fans on Twitter. Soccer Twitter then went to work digging and speculating, and the conventional wisdom of the moment is that PSV may opt to sell the Crew to a new group in Columbus to extract itself from the legal entanglements involved in the relocation effort, and possibly become a lead investor in a future MLS expansion bid in Sacramento. PSV’s public relations representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment on the Sacramento speculation. Via email Omar Gonzalez, communications manager for Sacramento Republic FC said, “Right now, our focus is finalizing a new lead investor to complete our bid to bring MLS here.” Asked further if PSV could sign on as an investor following a sale of the Crew, Gonzalez said, “That’s a whole series of steps that do not involve us, nor is it something we’re thinking about right now.”

Clarification: Following publication, a representative for the developer explained there are no plans to build a hotel on the site.

Austin’s first elevator-access-only PUD?… Although it is not yet on any commission’s agenda for review, Bill Nalle, a former member of the Parks and Recreation Board and resident of Bunny Run, is pre-emptively alerting commissioners about changes made to the 1986 Camel Back PUD, which he refers to as “Six Flags over Lake Austin.” In the last two weeks he has appeared at the Parks and Recreation Board, the Zoning and Platting Commission and the Environmental Commission. The 145-acre planned unit development in question was amended this year to take it from a 64-unit development to a more complex plan that includes a proposed cliffside restaurant, an 80-room hotel, a 624-foot marina, and private clubhouse. The only way to get there, Nalle said, is by elevator, which he displayed a conceptual image of. Since the buildings are set 150 feet back from the cliff, he said that the only access was single 200-foot elevator that takes people up from the lakeshore. Jonathan Coon, the owner of the property, came to the Environmental Commission meeting to correct Nalle and explain that there is also road access from above as well. Coon also defended the amended PUD and said that it is actually an improvement because not only does it do away with the 12 units that were allowed by the original PUD to hover on the edge of the bluff, but he is also planning to take half of the lakefront property and turn it into a park. Coon told the commission that he and his wife “want to live on this property, but we can’t afford to be the only two people that do.” Hence, allowing other residents to inhabit the iconic area with sweeping views of the Pennybacker Bridge is the financially sensible solution. He noted, too, that this project was not meant to distress those who are already residents of the area. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to fight with our neighbors.” he said. “That would be awkward.”

The 0.1 percent… As was widely reported over the weekend, City Manager Spencer Cronk has recommended the sole candidate for Austin police chief for the position of Austin police chief. City Council will now have the opportunity to endorse Interim Police Chief Brian Manley, who has held the interim position since the departure of Art Acevedo and has been with the Police Department for 28 years. In a memo to Council about his decision, Cronk details feedback from the public engagement process which, in the end, amounted to under 1,000 responses in total.

Council will vote on the appointment at its June 14 meeting.

Free to swim… Get ready internet: Jackie Goodman has opinions and she’s not afraid to share them. Shortly after losing her job as an aide to Council Member Delia Garza, the former mayor pro tem jumped into a discussion on the #atxurbanists Facebook group about CodeNEXT, a subject that she and her former boss viewed very differently. Goodman, in her characteristic stream-of-consciousness writing style, said the following in response to a comment by urbanist group AURA: “Agree generally in concept with the first paragraph, & first sentence of the second paragraph. Sorry to comment without having dived in to the depth necessary for opinion of the rest of the second paragraph ~. But now that I’m free to swim in these waters … I am. ( ~~ summer temps = analogy ~~)”

This week’s Reporter’s Notebook comes from the notebooks of Chad Swiatecki, Jessi Devenyns, Elizabeth Pagano and Jack Craver.

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