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TipSheet: Austin City Council, 10.13.22

Thursday, October 13, 2022 by Elizabeth Pagano

A discussion about scheduling at Tuesday’s City Council work session made it clear that local officials are acutely aware of the upcoming transition ahead. With at least four new representatives on the way, it’s starting to look like it’s time to wrap up unfinished business. That said, all signs point to the fact that today will be a fairly typical Council meeting – take a look at the full agenda – but we’ve collected the most interesting items in this TipSheet to make it a little easier to skim.

As we reported Wednesday, Council will vote on whether to increase customers’ bills to help cover costs for Austin Energy. This is a separate decision from the rate reviews that are also underway, putting Council members in a tough spot with constituents who don’t particularly like higher bills at a time when the cost of living is soaring.

In terms of housing policy, Council will take up an ordinance officially establishing tenants’ rights to organize and prohibiting retaliation by landlords against tenants who establish or participate in tenant organizations.

In addition, a long-simmering set of environmental regulations finally makes its way back to Council today. The ordinance, which touches on drainage, landscaping and site plan requirements, includes a number of code amendments that were originally part of the Land Development Code revision. (We cover the Planning Commission’s take on these today.)

Council Member Kathie Tovo has brought forward a resolution that aims to standardize the city’s real estate transactions, and Mayor Steve Adler has a resolution that looks to balance development requirements with affordability – his message board post explains it a bit.

And, in small news for man, but giant news for chicken enthusiasts, Council is set to reduce the distance chicken coops need to be from homes and businesses – from 50 to 30 feet.

A resolution that would allow concrete installation outside of normal construction hours for the new South Congress HEB is also up for a vote. Though Tovo seemed concerned about the impact at work session, the resolution is sponsored by Council Member Pio Renteria, who is the representative for the area.

Of course, what would a 2022 meeting be without the Statesman PUD? After a productive discussion (but no vote) at its prior meeting, Council is poised to vote on the massive project at Congress and Lady Bird Lake. (Council approved the project on first reading in April and has since postponed it a number of times.)

In other zoning news, Council could vote on affordable housing for domestic violence survivors and a South Austin townhome project.

Finally, Council Member Tovo has brought forward a resolution that seeks to reduce single-use plastics through public education, work with restaurants and by exploring ways to move away from plastic water bottles. 

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