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TipSheet: Austin City Council, 10.27.22

Thursday, October 27, 2022 by Elizabeth Pagano

With elections underway, a lot of local policy aficionados may be focused on other things. But not us! We’re tuning in to this week’s City Council meeting, as always, and taking a minute to preview the meeting for those who might not want to read through the agenda and backup. In general, today looks to be a fairly standard meeting. Though Council members have called a special meeting to talk about labor negotiations, they’ll do that in a closed executive session, so it doesn’t make much of a practical difference to us. 

After a series of postponements to work out more details, Council is set to take on a pair of ordinances aimed at strengthening tenants’ rights in Austin. The first ordinance requires landlords to provide notice prior to issuing a notice to vacate when evicting tenants, in a permanent law that is similar to emergency measures enacted during the pandemic. The second ordinance protects tenants’ rights to organize and participate in tenant organizations. (Council Member Chito Vela has posted the most recent draft of the ordinance and an explanation of what it will do on the City Council Message Board.)

In other big news, a set of proposed changes to the city’s environmental code is back after a delay at Council’s last meeting. 

After the high-profile and sudden displacement of mobile home residents in South Austin, Council Member Vanessa Fuentes has brought forward a resolution that seeks to increase protections in terms of providing notice and relocation assistance. Significantly, the resolution would change development regulations for mobile home parks to preserve them “as long-term residential uses, such as increasing the minimum number of days for residential stays.” 

In other resolutions sponsored by Council members: Mayor Steve Adler’s resolution that attempts to balance developmental regulations with the need for new housing will be back. The last time around, Council members appeared to be vaguely supportive of it, but needed more time to digest what the resolution actually did. Similarly, Council Member Kathie Tovo’s resolution that looks to regulate the city’s real estate policies and procedures will probably be tackled in some form today, after weeks of postponement. 

We’ll also see the (potential) conclusion of whether to allow the new South Congress HEB to pour concrete outside of regular hours. 

In terms of zoning, the case to preserve the “Rock House” on Scenic Drive has made its way to Council, which should be fun. Council may also take up a bid to build townhomes in District 2 and a plan for vertical mixed-use on Cesar Chavez.

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