About the Author
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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TipSheet: Austin City Council 12.9 and 12.11
This one is a whopper, even for this Council. It’s quite possible that staff, worried about a potential civic slowdown as a an entirely new body takes office, is doing its level best to move things through before the change. At the same time, most Council members are making policy decisions for what could be the final time. On top of it all, it’s the last Council meeting before the new year, and the last Council meeting before late January. It’s all combined to produce a 201-item agenda–and that’s before what is rumored to be a monster addendum. We’ve heard that the final list could be as long as 234 items.
As always, 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.
17. Authorize the use of the design-build procurement method in accordance with Texas Government Code Chapter 2269 for design and construction services for the Animal Center Kennel Addition and Campus Infrastructure Project.
Monitor’s take: The poor physical condition of the former Town Lake Animal Center was first reported in the Monitor back in November. This item would select a design-build procurement process for “a new building (or buildings) with 100 kennels, additional impervious cover, and additional parking and improvements” to the Austin Animal Center campus.
50. Approve third reading of an ordinance amending the City Code to prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s source of income.
55. Authorize the negotiation and execution of all documents, instruments and agreements necessary or desirable to purchase in fee simple a tract of land totaling approximately 49 acres in Travis County, located along State Highway 45 and MoPac South Expressway from SLAUGHTER 100, LTD. for a total amount not to exceed $500,000.
Monitor’s take: From the RCA: “The tract is south of the Wildflower Center located along the proposed State Highway (SH) 45 South and represents a significant missing link in the existing land holdings of the Water Quality Protection Lands (WQPL)…By bringing this property into the WQPL, the karst features and almost three contiguous miles on the east side of proposed SH 45 Southwest will be protected in perpetuity to benefit Barton Springs.”
A Travis County Commissioners Court vote earlier this year put Council members and Commissioners at odds over the construction of SH45 Southwest.
89. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 13-2 to end a moratorium on pedicab permits, set a cap on available operating permits, and prohibit the use of trailer-type pedicabs as vehicles for hire.
Monitor’s take: This item would lift a moratorium on pedicab permits that has been in place since 2012. The RCA reports that, after stakeholder input, staff recommends a pedicab permit cab be set at 300. The current permit count is 503. Monitor coverage from 2012 is here.
106. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to explore the creation of an innovation zone, generally located in the northeast quadrant of downtown, to negotiate and execute interlocal agreements, as necessary, and to work with Central Health to confirm land uses permitted on the Central Health Downtown Campus and initiating a Code amendment to establish land use regulations for the zone.
Monitor’s take: This, of course, is directly related to the coming UT Dell Medical School, and an innovation district around that facility that State Senator Kirk Watson and Mayor Lee Leffingwell have championed.
114. Approve a resolution adopting a funding metric policy to be used in preparing future proposed budgets for the Health and Human Services Department (HHSD) and social service contracts, and adopting a three to five year goal and implementation plan for increasing the funding of HHSD and social service contracts.
Monitor’s take: This comes forward after recent consternation from city social service contractors over the amount of funding available for social services. Monitor coverage is here.
120. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to evaluate all possible funding sources to implement the Colony Park Master Plan.
Monitor’s take: This comes as Colony Park residents express concerns over their ability to impact development plans for their neighborhood. Monitor coverage is here.
127. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to dedicate $24 million in funding from the Capital Metro quarter cent funds to pay for infrastructure improvements on Airport Boulevard.
Monitor’s take: This item would direct City Manager Marc Ott to “dedicate $24 million from the Capital Metro quarter cent fund to pay for infrastructure improvements on Airport Boulevard.” According to the resolution, from Council members Chris Riley and Mike Martinez as well as Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, that figure could fund “short- and mid-term improvements to Airport Boulevard, from Lamar Boulevard to Levander Loop.”
131. Approve a resolution authorizing the negotiation and execution of an amendment to the interlocal cooperation agreement between the City and Lone Star Rail District to set the City’s increment participation level for the Transportation Infrastructure Zone funding at 50% and extending the “Two Year Timeline” viability measure.
Monitor’s take: This item would initiate changes to an interlocal agreement between the City and the Lone Star Rail District request by the LSRD in the wake of specifics it unveiled last week about a potential Georgetown-San Antonio passenger rail line. Monitor coverage is here.
134. 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. (THE PUBLIC COMMENT FOR THIS ITEM WAS HELD AND CLOSED ON NOVEMBER 20, 2014).
Monitor’s take: This could be the end of the lingering saga over a potential set of golf courses proposed for Long Park. Monitor coverage is here, here, and here. In related news, an anti-lobbying complaint over the proposal was filed last week.
147. C14-2014-0123 – Springdale Farm – Approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 755 Springdale Road (Boggy Creek Watershed) from general commercial services-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (CS-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning to general commercial services-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (CS-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning, to change a condition of zoning, with conditions. First reading approved on November 20, 2014. Vote: 5-1, Council Member Morrison voted nay. Council Member Spelman was off the dais. Owner/Applicant: Glenn M. & Paula W. Foore. City Staff: Heather Chaffin, 512-974-2122. A valid petition has been filed in opposition to this rezoning request.
153. C14-99-2061(RCT) – Springdale Farm – Conduct a public hearing and approve a restrictive covenant termination on property locally known as 755 Springdale Road (Boggy Creek Watershed). Staff Recommendation: To grant the restrictive covenant termination. Planning Commission Recommendation: To grant the restrictive covenant termination. Owner/Applicant: Glenn M. & Paula W. Foore. City Staff: Heather Chaffin, 512-974-2122.
Monitor’s take: Action that would grant Springdale Farm the ability to ask for wider license to hold on-site events is back. Monitor coverage is here.
151. C14H-2014-0007 – Red River International House – Approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 3805 Red River Street (Waller Creek Watershed) from family residence-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (SF-3-CO-NP) combining district zoning to family residence-historic landmark-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (SF-3-H-CO-NP) combining district zoning. First reading approved on October 16, 2014. Vote: 6-1, Council Member Martinez voted nay. Applicant: Historic Landmark Commission. City Staff: Steve Sadowsky, 512-974-6454. A valid petition has been filed in opposition to this rezoning request.
176. C14-2014-0184 – Austin [re]Manufacturing Hub and Closed FM 812 Landfill – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by zoning property locally known as 10108 FM 812 Road (Onion Creek Watershed; Cottonmouth Creek Watershed; North Fork Dry Creek Watershed) from interim-rural residence (I-RR) district zoning to limited industrial services (LI) district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant limited industrial services (LI) district zoning. Zoning and Platting Commission Recommendation: To grant limited industrial services (LI) district zoning. Owner/Applicant: City of Austin, Austin Resource Recovery (Bob Gedert). Agent: City of Austin, Austin Resource Recovery (Natalie Betts). City Staff: Wendy Rhoades, 512-974-7719.
Monitor’s take: This item would help pave the way for the [re]Manufacturing hub. Monitor coverage is here.
184. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 changing regulations for secondary dwellings.
Monitor’s take: This is the Accessory Dwelling Units item. According to backup, staff will request a postponement until January. Monitor coverage is here.
189. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan.
Monitor’s take: This item would conduct a host of revisions to the city’s comprehensive plan. Among them is one that would remove a the phrase “compact and connected” from the plan. According to backup from staff, that action would help “address concerns and perceptions that CodeNEXT is overly focused on compact and connected and that it seeks to address the other major goals of Imagine Austin.” Some activists and groups are opposed to the idea and have indicated that they will be there to fight it.
194. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-6 to allow metered parking spaces to be counted towards the minimum off-street parking required for non-residential uses.
Monitor’s take: This item allows projects to count metered parking spaces toward parking requirements set out in the city code. Monitor coverage is 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 2012, 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 now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.