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Mike Kanin is the Publisher of the Austin Monitor. As such, he doesn't report on much--aside from the workings of the Monitor--any more. In his previous life as a freelance journalist, Kanin has written for the Washington City Paper, the Washington Post's Express, the Boston Herald, Boston's Weekly Dig, the Austin Chronicle, and the Texas Observer.
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Tip Sheet: Austin City Council, 9.22 & 9.25
Austin City Council meets for a work session Tuesday at 9am and then for its regular meeting on Thursday at 10am.
In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda here. The City Clerk’s office hosts a copy of the full agenda on its web site.
These are items listed as part of the draft Council agenda. It is subject to change.
Items of note this week include:
Item 36. Authorize negotiation and execution of an amendment to a legal services contract with Richards, Rodriguez and Skeith for White Lodging et al v. City of Austin et al, Cause No. 1:13-cv-00825 SS, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. The amount of the increase is $458,000, which brings the total amount of the professional services contract to $515,000.
Item 37. Authorize negotiation and execution of an amendment to a legal services contract with Thompson and Knight for Ronald Gjemre v. City of Austin et al, Cause No. 1:13-cv-729 SS, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. The amount of the increase is $16,500.00, which brings the total amount of the professional services contract to $73,500.00.
Monitor‘s take: These are relatively routine items that reflect an increase in costs for two notable legal cases. The first is the ongoing dispute over the city’s economic incentives agreement with White Lodging for the construction of a downtown Marriott hotel. The second is for a suit brought against the city by Ronnie “Reeferseed” Gjemre over his ejection from a Council meeting–noted simply in backup as “constitutional issues related to the City Council’s rules of decorum.”
Item 54. To consider an ordinance to amend Section 9-2-21 of the City Code to expand the area where permits for concrete installation during non-peak periods are allowed on certain properties with the Central Business District.
Monitor‘s take: According to backup, this item would implement code changes to allow “the issuance of a concrete installation permit for non-peak hours on property zoned Central Business District (CBD) district zoning, Downtown Mixed Use (DMU) combining district zoning and Public (P) district zoning , when these properties are eligible for a density bonus under Section 25-2-586 (Downtown Density Bonus Program.” Staff lists its reason for the request as “to address current methods of multistory building construction that many times require the continuous pouring of concrete when temperatures are cooler (particularly for buildings utilizing a parking garage), the need to reduce traffic conflicts and allow the timely delivery of concrete material during non-daylight hours, and minimize the duration of construction disruption on adjacent residential and commercial properties.” Staff also admits to some opposition here.
Item 78. Approve an ordinance defining transportation network companies and allowing the city to contract with them for peer-to-peer for-hire ground transportation services.
Monitor‘s Take: This, of course, is Council Member Riley’s effort to carve out a set of regulations that would allow firms such as Uber and Lyft to operate normally in the City of Austin. Here’s our take from two weeks ago.
Item 84. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to engage relevant stakeholders and City departments to ensure we are creating a safe and vibrant environment in our downtown entertainment districts and examine issues related to the Downtown Entertainment Districts and reporting back to Council with any necessary code changes.
Monitor‘s take: An item that could, in part, kick off the creation of the Entertainment License described as part of the city’s recent SXSW after-action report.
Item 86. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to analyze the economic and financial viability of the Rainey Street density bonus program, including the need for potential code amendments, and to provide a recommendation to the City Council by October 16, 2014.
Monitor‘s take: Look to the resolution for the pertinent bits. One) “Whereas, it is important to consider the economics of a density bonus program in order for those programs to successfully generate affordable housing;” and two) “Whereas, if an incentive does not create additional value for developers, then the likely outcome could be not only fewer affordable units
built, but also fewer housing units built overall.” This one’ll surely spark some debate.
Item 87. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to develop a recommendation to include 2d mobile response codes on onsite sign postings for Outdoor Music Venue Permits and Multi-day Special Event Permits as required under City Code 9-2-32, to draft an ordinance for consideration by Council to include a definition of “C-weighting” for decibels and its integration into City Code, and to report to Council on the effectiveness of using “C-weighting” decibel measurements as a tool for controlling sound.
Monitor‘s take: This item could lead to the implementation of a new method of evaluating the decibel levels pouring forth from the city’s music venues.
Item 93. Adopt a resolution concerning the City Auditor Integrity Unit report on allegations involving a Zero Waste Advisory Commissioner.
Item 117. C14-2013-0158 – 7th and Congress Hotel – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 619 and 621 Congress Avenue (Lady Bird Lake Watershed) from central business district (CBD) to central business district-central urban redevelopment district (CBD-CURE) combining district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant central business district-central urban redevelopment district (CBD-CURE) combining district zoning, with conditions. Planning Commission Recommendation: To grant central business district-central urban redevelopment district (CBD-CURE) combining district zoning, with conditions. Owner: Finley Company (Tim Finley, VP). Applicant: Matt Frankiewicz. Agent: Armbrust & Brown, PLLC (Lynn Ann Carley). City Staff: Lee Heckman, 512-974-7604.
Monitor‘s take: This would be another downtown hotel. The Planning Commission approved it in July.
Item 123. C14-2014-0095 – Pour House Pints and Pies- Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 11835 Jollyville Road (Walnut Creek Watershed) from limited office (LO) district zoning and family residence (SF-3) district zoning to community commercial-conditional overlay (GR-CO) combining district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant limited office-conditional overlay (LO-CO) combining district zoning for Tract 1 and community commercial-conditional overlay (GR-CO) combining district zoning for Tract 2. Zoning and Platting Commission Recommendation: To grant general office-conditional overlay (GO-CO) combining district zoning for Tract 1 and community commercial-conditional overlay (GR-CO) combining district zoning for Tract 2. Owner: Jollyville Holdings, LLC (Gregg Scott). Applicant/Agent: McLean & Howard (Jeffrey S. Howard). City Staff: Sherri Sirwaitis, 512-974-3057.
Monitor‘s take: Despite some existing code violations, ZAP approved this one in August.
Item 138. NP-2013-0030 – South Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan – Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan by adopting the South Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan. The boundaries for the South Austin Combined Neighborhood Planning Area are Ben White Blvd. on the north, South 1st St. on the east, William Cannon Drive on the south, and the Sunset Valley City Limits on the west. Staff Recommendation: To grant the land use recommendations that implement the South Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan. Planning Commission Recommendation: To forward to Council with no recommendation. Applicant and Agent: City of Austin, Planning and Development Review Department. City Staff: Francis Reilly, 512-974-7657.
Item 146. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance adopting the Urban Trails Master Plan.
Monitor‘s take: The Urban Trails Master Plan has not had an easy go of it thus far. It returns for a public hearing.
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