Sections

About Us

 
Make a Donation
Fully-Local • Non-Partisan • Public-Service Journalism
 

TipSheet: Austin City Council, 2.24 & 2.26

Monday, February 23, 2015 by Michael Kanin

Another light agenda by previous Council standards. Still, a revamped staffing proposal from Mayor Adler, the return — again –of the Garza tract, the proposed Decker Lake golf facility, and much more seem to point to what could be, at the least, a long day.

As always, the Austin City Council meets in an agenda 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.

2. Authorize the use of the construction manager-at-risk method of contracting for construction of the new Parking Garage with Administration Offices Project at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Monitor’s Take: A construction manager at risk is an alternate procurement method afforded Council by state statute. It allows municipalities to contract with one fulfilling agency that is then responsible for all design and construction subcontracting. Colloquially, some have referred to this as the ‘one throat to strangle’ method of doing business. The new central library and Water Treatment Plant 4 were both constructed via this method. Council frustration over the CMAR process for WTP 4 was palpable.

At stake is what ABIA officials have circled as a $120 million set of further airport expansion projects, including another parking garage, administrative offices, and — maybe — some work on the mezzanine level of the airport itself.

7. Authorize negotiation and execution of a legal services agreement with Webb & Webb, Attorneys at Law, for legal representation, advice, and counsel relating to the administrative appeal to the Public Utility Commission of Texas of retail water and wastewater rates charged to customers within River Place, for a total contract amount not to exceed $777,000.

Monitor’s Take: This is related to the River Place PUC challenge of Austin’s Water and Wastewater rates. Law reports that they are looking for specialized external counsel to mount a proper defense. Council Member Don Zimmerman has indicated he’ll “pull the item for the work session” and that he “intend[s] to have River Place constituents speak on this crucial issue” at the Thursday meeting.

12. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 13-6 to authorize contracting with a private vendor to manage tow truck responses to accident scenes and other police requests for towing, and amending Ordinance No. 20140908-003, relating to nonconsent towing fees. Related to Item #17.

17. Authorize award, negotiation, and execution of a 36-month revenue contract with TEGSO, LLC DBA AUTORETURN, or another qualified offeror to RFP EAD0119REBID, for total management of dispatch, towing, and impound services for the Austin Police Department for estimated revenue of $2,400,000, with three 12-month extension options with an estimated revenue of $800,000 for each extension option, for a total estimated revenue amount of $4,800,000. Related to Item #12.

Monitor’s Take: This would shift the way that the Austin Police department manages its towing needs. According to backup, APD believes that the change would improve efficiency, its ability to clear wrecks from “high speed roadways,” free up dispatching resources, and effect “a significant reduction in wait time for officers in [the] field and improvements in customer service.”

34. Approve an ordinance amending the fee schedule for temporary food permits.

Monitor’s Take: A holdover from the previous Council, this item would reduce temporary food permit fees to the tune of a $1.95 million projected revenue loss over 5 fiscal years, including FY2015. In a December 2014 memo to Council, then-director Carlos Rivera did not seem thrilled about the prospect. “The revenue projected in FY15 was to wholly offset costs of increased staffing to meet service demands for food inspections ($0.9m),” he wrote. “This fee reduction would put FY15 revenue below the increased staffing costs approved for FY15.”

35. Approve a resolution authorizing the City Manager to negotiate and execute an agreement with The Mayor’s Better Austin Foundation Inc. to accept donated staff for the public purpose of assisting the new council committees and providing other policy support.

40. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to identify funding options from the current budget for five full-time equivalent staff positions for the Mayor’s Office and $25,000 for each council office for the purpose of providing enhanced constituent services.

Monitor’s Take: Mayor Adler told the Monitor on Friday that he plans to reconfigure the request in number 35 to remove the notion of funding positions in his office via the (c)3, and look for more dough to add staffing in the offices of his colleagues. This he does with number 40. However, at least one Council Member–D2’s Delia Garza, who’s been vocal in her opposition to the first incarnation of the Mayor’s plan–raised questions about one detail of the second on Council’s message board: “Quick question – how many staff positions are currently assigned to your office? Is it 5? With the additional 5, you would have a total staff of 10?,” she asked. Stay tuned.

41. 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, of course, is the much-debated proposal to build a golf facility along the shores of Decker Lake. The latest here is a proposal to pump brackish water from a section of the Trinity Aquifer for use with plantings at the facility, and city staff might just be okay with the idea. More Monitor coverage of the issue is here and here.

42. Approve second and third readings of 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. (THE PUBLIC HEARING FOR THIS ITEM WAS HELD AND CLOSED ON DECEMBER 11, 2014).

Monitor’s Take: This is as it sounds. It’s back for it’s second and third readings after the previous Council approved it  on first reading in December. The item is not without some controversy.

50. C14-2014-0011A – Garza Ranch – (District 8) – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 3800 Ben Garza Lane (Williamson Creek Watershed-Barton Springs Zone) from community commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning to community commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning, to change a condition of zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant community commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning, to change a condition of zoning, with conditions. Planning Commission Recommendation: To forward to Council without a recommendation. Owner/Applicant: Rancho Garza, Ltd. (Ron White). Agent: Cunningham-Allen, Inc. (Jana Rice). City Staff: Wendy Rhoades, 512-974-7719.

51. C14-2014-0011B – Garza Ranch – (District 8) – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 3510 and 4003 Ben Garza Lane (Williamson Creek Watershed-Barton Springs Zone) from community commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning to community commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning, to change a condition of zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant community commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning, to change a condition of zoning, with conditions. Planning Commission Recommendation: To forward to Council without a recommendation. Owner/Applicant: Rancho Garza, Ltd. (Ron White). Agent: Cunningham-Allen, Inc. (Jana Rice). City Staff: Wendy Rhoades, 512-974-7719.

Monitor’s Take: This is the Garza tract. You know the drill.

52. C14-2014-0111 – 4500 Speedway – (District 9) – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 4500 Speedway (Waller Creek Watershed) from family residence-neighborhood conservation combining district-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NCCD-NP) combining district zoning to neighborhood office-neighborhood conservation combining district-neighborhood plan (NO-NCCD-NP) combining district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant neighborhood office-neighborhood conservation combining district-neighborhood plan (NO-NCCD-NP) combining district zoning, with conditions. Planning Commission Recommendation: To be reviewed on February 24, 2015. Owner: Navid Hoomanrad. Applicant/Agent: Husch Blackwell, LLP (Alexandra Jashinsky). City Staff: Sherri Sirwaitis, 512-974-3057.

Monitor’s Take: The last Council saw this one, too. This request is slightly different. It’s headed for the Planning Commission Tuesday.

54. C14-2014-0175A – Scott Airport Parking – (District 2) – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by zoning property locally known as 2426 Cardinal Loop (Colorado River Watershed) from interim-rural residence (I-RR) district zoning to aviation services (AV) district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant aviation services (AV) district zoning. Zoning and Platting Commission Recommendation: To grant aviation services (AV) district zoning. Owner/Applicant: City of Austin-Aviation Department (Jim Smith). Agent: Scott Airport Parking, LLC (Chris Von Dohlen). City Staff: Wendy Rhoades, 512-974-7719.

55. C14-2014-0175B – Scott Airport Parking – (District 2) – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 2411 and 2419 Cardinal Loop, and 2525 East State Highway 71 Westbound (Colorado River Watershed) from rural residence (RR) district zoning and community commercial-conditional overlay (GR-CO) combining district zoning to aviation services (AV) district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant aviation services (AV) district zoning. Zoning and Platting Commission Recommendation: To grant aviation services (AV) district zoning. Owner/Applicant: City of Austin-Aviation Department (Jim Smith). Agent: Scott Airport Parking, LLC (Chris Von Dohlen). City Staff: Wendy Rhoades, 512-974-7719.

Monitor’s take: This was postponed at Council’s last meeting after a very brief discussion. Scott Family Parking competitors Fast Park submitted a letter Feb. 10 asking for a 30-day postponement. Fast Parking owner Manuel Chavez III writes that he was “surprised to learn…that Scott Airport Parking was awarded a bid to lease public property that is part of the Airport Master Development Plan,” and that Fast Park “was not invited to bid.” Further, Chavez suggests that the current proposal would “exempt the property from site development regulations” and implies environmental concerns for “sites next to the Colorado River.”

62. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending City Code Section 8-5-42 related to fishing in Lady Bird Lake and creating an offense.

Monitor’s take: This item would redefine no-fishing zones on Lady Bird Lake, and would include the new Boardwalk Trail as a portion of the restricted area.

Premium Content

Do you like this story?

There are so many important stories we don't get to write. As a nonprofit journalism source, every contributed dollar helps us provide you more coverage. Do your part by joining our subscribers in supporting our reporters' work.

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.

Austin City Council Public Utility Committee: A City Council committee that reviews issues related to water and drainage utilities.

Decker Lake: Also known as Walter E. Long lake, Decker Lake is actually a power plant cooling reservoir managed by the city of Austin and located in East Austin.

Water Treatment Plant 4: Austin’s newest water treatment plant off of Ranch Road 620.

Back to Top