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TipSheet: Austin City Council, 4.21.22

Thursday, April 21, 2022 by Elizabeth Pagano

Welcome to another edition of the Austin Monitor’s TipSheet! As usual, this is a rough guide to some of the things that will be up at City Council today, with our best guesses at what will be most interesting. Those with trust issues are welcome to read through the entire agenda, or watch the whole thing on Channel 6 or ATXN tomorrow, starting at 10 a.m. (ish). Today marks the debut of the Austin Housing Public Facility Corporation (fka City Council) and the return of proclamations to its in-chamber 5:30 p.m. time slot. Council will also entertain live music once again, following public comment at noon.

As we reported Wednesday, Council members will not be taking up a proposed change to VMU zoning that is aimed at getting more affordable housing around town. Instead, they plan to take it up at their June 9 meeting, probably, and will likely postpone it to that date today. In the meantime, they will be trying to get the word out about the upcoming changes and trying to make sure that they move forward without ending up in court again. So it’s a good time to reach out to your Council member to let them know what you think about the issue. 

Council will also take up a guaranteed income program that will offer $1,000 per month to 85 cash-strapped families over the next year, prioritizing those who are facing housing instability. Council Member Chito Vela is also tackling housing instability by expanding the definition of what constitutes displacement in terms of tenant relocation and notification requirements.

Council will also vote on an initiative to increase food accessibility that was started by St. Edward’s students. As we reported, the plan tries to connect transit users with grocery stores through wayfinding and outreach.

Into the nitty-gritty of planning, a handful of agenda items (31, 53 and 54) would alter the city’s Urban Renewal Plan to align with the 11th and 12th street NCCDs. It’s somewhat complicated, but this message board post from Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison lays it out clearly, and has the results of a survey about the changes, to boot!

Speaking of planning nitty-gritty-ness, a number of familiar zoning cases are on today’s agenda, though who really knows what will be postponed. Council could take up the “Montopolis Acres” rezoning, after being postponed for about a year to work out details with the neighborhood. A case on Kerbey Lane that emphasizes the city’s “inflexible land code could also be heard today. A proposal to build cliffside condos on Spicewood Springs Road could get its day at Council, though the last time it was up, developers got a lecture from Council Member Alison Alter about not talking to her office about the plan or answering questions, so it’s not off to a great start. The Chrysler Air Temp House, which could get historic zoning over the objections of its owner, is also on today’s agenda. And finally, a Menchaca Road project that ZAP deemed too dense is also making an appearance on the agenda.

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