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TipSheet: Austin City Council 11/18 & 11/20

Sunday, November 16, 2014 by Michael Kanin

The Austin City Council meets in a work session Tuesday and for its regular meeting Thursday. Below is a list of items we’re watching for the upcoming week. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda here. The City Clerk’s office hosts a copy at its website, here.

We’ve posted these in chronological order. Where applicable, however, we’ve paired items that appear similar in nature.

3. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 4-14 (Registration of Rental Property) relating to the requirements to register rental property.

Monitor’s take: Austin City Council members initially okayed a registration program for what it calls bad-actor landlords in June, 2013. Our coverage of that is here. Staff subsequently pushed for two separate programs (Monitor coverage is here). In October, the Monitor reported that the program is off to a slow start. That’s here.

This item would, while also deleting ‘habitability’ and ‘dangerous’ definitions and elimination the requirement that “violations be based on conditions that impair inhabitability or are dangerous,” add a full year to the amount of time that staff go back and search for code violations after a landlord fails to correct an issue. That would extend the search back two years. Staff lists rationale as, “ACD staff has determined that looking back 12 months does
not necessarily account for the cumulative effects of non-compliance at multi-family properties.”

4. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 15-6 relating to requirements for the private solid waste collection program.

5. Approve amendments to administrative rules associated with City Code Chapter 15-6 relating to requirements for the private solid waste collection program.

Monitor’s take: This is approval of changes to the private hauler ordinance. ZWAC unanimously okayed the changes on November 12. Our latest coverage, from the last time it was at Council is here.

14. Approve an ordinance establishing an exemption of 0.01% of the assessed value of residence homesteads resulting in a $5,000 tax exemption for all homesteaded properties.

Monitor’s take:  While not the $20,000 homestead exemption pitched by many candidates for Austin City Council seats on the campaign trail this fall, this item would implement a $5,000 exemption. If approved the cost to the city would be $3.129 million in FY16, $3.132 million in FY17, $3.134 in FY18 and $3.137 in FY19.

49. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 2 relating to the functions and duties of the City Auditor and the Ethics Review Commission.

Monitor’s take: This would finalize the code changes resulting from the very fraught Daniela Ochoa Gonzalez ethics case. Our coverage of this is here, here, here, and here.

56. Approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 9-2 relating to permitting requirements for non-peak hour concrete installation.

Monitor’s take: Final approval of this item. Monitor coverage is here.

72. Authorize negotiation and execution of a 50-year license agreement with DECKER LAKE GOLF, LLC to provide funding, design, development, management, and maintenance services for a golf course at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park.

Monitor’s take: Approval here would allow the construction of two golf courses at Walter E Long Metro Park. Opponents argue that fees for the facility will be too high for area residents, and that it sends the wrong message about water conservation. The pro-side argues that the facility will be a destination, that they’ll be able to set lower fees for residents, and promise to use low-intesity vegetation. Council members have expressed concerns about the numbers used by course officials to project economic impact. Monitor coverage is here and here.

86. Approve a resolution establishing City policy regarding property tax protests by recipients of City economic development incentives and the granting of property tax incentives to certain companies and directing the City Manager to work with Travis County on property tax issues.

Monitor’s take: An item that would, among other actions, formalize rules thatall of the City’s Chapter 380 economic development agreements come with a mandate that prevents companies from protesting property tax valuations for the length of the agreement.

88. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to prepare a report on the City’s living wage policies with respect to social service contracts.

Monitor’s take: Living wage concerns have been a key focus of Council members’ attention in the recent past. This would examine how social service contract providers pay their employees, with a specific emphasis on those making “less than a living wage.”

89. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to adopt the coyote conflict management strategy recommended by the Animal Advisory Commission and the City Council Public Health and Human Services Committee.

Monitor’s take: Just about what it sounds like. Our most recent coverage is here.

90. Approve an ordinance waiving the appointment and selection requirements in City Code Sections 2-3-1 and 2-3-2 to appoint a new City Auditor.

91. Approve a resolution appointing a City Auditor and establishing compensation and benefits.

Monitor’s take: Council looks set to replace retiring City Auditor Ken Mory. According to back-up documents, it will be current Deputy City Auditor Corrie Stokes.

93. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to enter into negotiations with Austin Pets Alive to modify their existing contract for use of space at Lamar Beach Metro Park.

Monitor’s take: As we reported last week, the Town Lake Animal Center has issues. This item would allow Austin Pets Alive to remain there, execute repairs, and extend their stay while they build a new facility. Our most recent coverage is here.

136. NPA-2014-0020.01 – St. Elmo’s Market and Lofts – Approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending the South Congress Combined Neighborhood Plan, an element of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, to change the land use designation on the future land use map (FLUM) on property locally known as 113 Industrial Blvd, 4323 South Congress Ave., & 4300 Block of Willow Springs Rd. (Williamson Creek and Bouldin Creek Watershed) from Industry to Mixed Use land use. First Reading approved on October 23, 2014. Vote: 4-2, Council Member Morrison and Council Member Tovo voted nay. Mayor Leffingwell was off the dais. Owner: JFP Industrial Interests, Inc. (William Levihn-Coon). Applicant: GFD Holdings, LLC (Brandon Bolin). Agent: Alice Glasco Consulting (Alice Glasco). City Staff: Maureen Meredith, (512) 974-2695.

137. C14-2014-0034 – St. Elmo’s Market and Lofts – Approve second/third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 113 Industrial Boulevard, 4323 South Congress Avenue and the 4300 Block of Willow Springs Road (East Bouldin Creek Watershed; Williamson Creek Watershed) from general commercial services-mixed use-neighborhood plan (CS-MU-NP) combining district zoning, limited industrial services-neighborhood plan (LI-NP) combining district zoning and limited industrial services-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (LI-CO-NP) combining district zoning to limited industrial services-planned development area-neighborhood plan (LI-PDA-NP) combining district zoning, with conditions. First Reading approved on October 23, 2014. Vote: 4-2, Council Member Morrison and Council Member Tovo voted nay. Mayor Leffingwell was off the dais. Owner: JFP Industrial Interests, Inc. (William Levihn-Coon). Applicant: GFD Holdings, LLC (Brandon Bolin). Agent: Alice Glasco Consulting (Alice Glasco). City Staff: Wendy Rhoades, 512-974-7719.

Monitor’s take: The St. Elmo’s lofts case posed an interesting twist on the standard not-in-my-back yard roles as existing small industrial users argued that an incoming residential project might lead to future conflict. Council gave the project a skeptical first-reading okay two weeks ago. Monitor coverage is here and here.

182. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance on second and third readings amending City Code Title 25 related to the development of multifamily units that are 500 square feet or less.

Monitor’s take: Micro-units. Back for what could be final approval. Recent Monitor coverage is here, here, here, and here.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2015, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and as of 2015, 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

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