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Monday, February 11, 2019 by Austin Monitor

Reporter’s Notebook: Clarifications

The devil (or the donut) is in the details… When it comes to zoning and platting, make no mistake that the commissioners who sit on ZAP pay attention to the details of each and every case. In fact, this was never more apparent than at the commission’s Feb. 5 meeting. While reviewing cases for consent agenda, Commissioner Jim Duncan interjected to alert commissioners that one of the properties among the myriad maps in the backup documents was mislabeled. And the map was not even for the property in question. Although a minor correction, he pointed out that “there are two graphics of this (shopping center). I think it should be showing a property on Jollyville (Road) close to the Pizza Hut; it’s showing the Krispy Kreme, which is about half a block along.” It was evident that his concern was minor since after he brought the error to staff’s attention he commented that he did so “Just so sometime in the future you don’t get pizzas for donuts or something.”

A clear view of the budget… Before giving his presentation on the upcoming budget at last week’s work session, Deputy Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo told City Council members to brace themselves for puns aplenty. “I’ll warn you, this is the 2020 budget, so expect a lot of references to ‘bringing things into focus,’ vision, ‘improving the clarity.'” Afterward, Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, who was running the meeting, thanked Van Eenoo “for your sharp presentation.”

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2019 City Council committees… Council reached a consensus Thursday on which members will sit on each of the six Council committees this year, making just a few changes from what was discussed in January. District 8 Council Member Paige Ellis had hoped to join the city’s delegation to the Transportation Policy Board of CAMPO. However, Mayor Steve Adler will be vice chair of the group this year and none of his colleagues wanted to step down. The other members from Austin include Council members Ann Kitchen, Jimmy Flannigan and Alison Alter. Council decided to designate Ellis as the official proxy for any member who is unable to attend a meeting. Council Member Kathie Tovo is the new chair of the Austin Energy committee and Leslie Pool is the vice chair. Pool has been chair but said she was happy to let Tovo do it. Adler said he wants to continue to work on Austin Energy issues as they may come up in the Legislature, and Pool, in particular, agreed that he is in the best position to do so. Alter will become chair of the Audit and Finance Committee, with Pool, Flannigan, Tovo and Adler rounding out that group. District 1 Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison will serve as the new chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. Greg Casar will continue to serve as chair of the Housing and Planning Committee. Council Member Pio Renteria, who has been vice chair of that committee, said he would be happy to let Ellis have the position. Kitchen will continue as chair of the Mobility Committee and Flannigan will continue as chair of the Judicial Committee. Pool will continue to serve on the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan Coordinating Committee. Flannigan, joined by Natasha Harper-Madison, will serve on the Community Action Network Board of Directors. Adler, as required by statute, will continue to serve on the Austin Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund board. Adler and Flannigan will continue to serve on the General Assembly of CAMPO and Ellis will join the board of the Clean Air Coalition, a position previously held by Kitchen.

This week’s Reporter’s Notebook comes from the notebooks of Jessi Devenyns, Jack Craver and Jo Clifton.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

City of Austin Zoning and Platting Commission: The City of Austin's Zoning and Platting Commission addresses issues of land use as assigned to it by Austin's City Code. It has sovereign authority, or the right to make final decisions on certain cases.

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