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TipSheet: Austin City Council, 9.29.22

Thursday, September 29, 2022 by Elizabeth Pagano

Unlike the past few meetings, today’s City Council meeting looks almost reasonable. For one thing, Council members aren’t scheduled to disappear into an executive session, which should free up some time. In this TipSheet, we’ve collected the things we’re betting will be worth following. Those who want to decide for themselves can check out the entire agenda.

Optimism aside, Council is once again scheduled to take up the planned unit development slated for the old Statesman site. And while there has already been some consternation about whether a vote will take place with two members of Council absent, we discerned from Tuesday’s work session that we might be in for another long process of working through the details of the massive project regardless. 

Speaking of massive projects, Council is also scheduled to move forward with the HealthSouth project on the old Brackenridge site. As we reported earlier this week, it looks likely that they will move forward with negotiations on a final agreement with Aspen Heights Partners, but shy away from executing a contract just yet. 

Council will also take up (as its alter ego, the Austin Housing Finance Corporation) the allocation of some $20 million in anti-displacement funds associated with Project Connect. (Here’s a memo for those who want to know more.)

With the expansion of I-35 through downtown moving forward, the city is focusing on mitigating the division it could usher in. Today, Council could authorize a resolution that explores using the federal Reconnecting Communities pilot program to keep the east and west sides of town connected through bridges and plazas across the highway. 

A number of interesting agenda items are likely to be postponed. This includes changes to Austin Energy rate charges, which doesn’t have a postponement date yet. New water quality regulations will probably be postponed to the Oct. 13 meeting. And an amendment to the way evictions are conducted will likely be postponed to Oct. 13, with an ordinance about tenant organizing being postponed until Oct. 27.

In terms of zoning, aside from the Statesman PUD, Council could take up a rezoning that could allow the Gemini School of Visual Arts to reopen. A Lancaster Court rezoning could allow affordable housing for domestic violence survivors to move forward. Council members will also take up a plan for more homes in District 5 and on Albert Road and townhomes on Bluff Springs Road.

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