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TipSheet: Austin City Council, 4.7.16

Thursday, April 7, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council will hold its regular meeting Thursday. Below is a list of items we’re watching. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda. The Office of the City Clerk posts a copy on its website, here.

6. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 2-2 relating to revision of campaign finance forms.

Monitor’s take: At its last meeting, City Council opted to postpone this item. With the mayor present today, it will most likely take it up. As a reminder: The city clerk has rounded up a list of amendments to the current city code that are intended to make electronic campaign filing a little easier for candidates and (thankfully) for those interested in reading through reports. Currently, reports are posted online but as scanned PDF documents that can’t be searched and are often handwritten.

17. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 13-2 relating to ground transportation passenger services.

Monitor’s take: This issue has been somewhat lost in the noise of the grand transportation network company debate (about regulations for companies like Uber and Lyft) that has consumed our hearts and minds these past few months. Basically, at the same time that debate was taking shape, this item moved forward in a parallel process. If approved, it would amend current code to require a nationwide fingerprint-based background check to obtain a chauffeur’s permit and stipulate which criminal offenses would disqualify a driver from obtaining a chauffeur’s permit.

19. Approve an ordinance amending the process for public comment at city council and committee meetings.

Monitor’s take: Though originally on the March 24 agenda, this item was postponed to today’s meeting. Essentially, it is the second (tricky) half of the proposed reforms to the City Council committee system. The bulk of those reforms were approved in early March, but in the interest of efficiency (?) Council opted to save this piece, which will define when public comment takes place at committee and when it takes place in front of the full Council. There seems to be a difference of opinion on the issue, so this sure could be interesting.

23. Approve a resolution to create an administrative adjustment policy for Austin Water customers who experience an unexplained increase in water and wastewater usage.

Monitor’s take: As we reported yesterday, this Troxclair proposal would give water utility customers an alternate path for appealing suspiciously high water bills.

24. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to explore the feasibility of increasing the use of bond funds for permanent affordable housing and develop recommendations for increasing home ownership opportunities.

Monitor’s take: This resolution, which comes out of Council Member Delia Garza’s office, will direct the city manager to “explore the feasibility of using a portion of unallocated 2013 Affordable Housing General Obligation bond funds for geographically dispersed permanent affordable housing throughout the City, at or below 80% (median family income), included but not limited to community land trusts.” It will also convene a working group to look at affordable housing financing and bonds, with the ambitious deadline of returning a report to a Council work session by June 14 and a final report by Aug. 2 of this year.

28. C14-91-0038(RCA) – 507 W 23rd Street – District 9 – Amend a restrictive covenant as it relates to property locally known as 507 West 23rd Street (Shoal Creek Watershed). Staff Recommendation: To grant the restrictive covenant amendment. Planning Commission Recommendation: To grant the restrictive covenant amendment. Owner/Applicant: Austin City Realty LLC (David Kanne). Agent: Mike McHone Real Estate (Mike McHone). City Staff: Victoria Haase, 512-974-7691.

29. C14H-2015-0007 – Clyde and Henrietta Littlefield House – District 9 – Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 903 Shoal Cliff Court from multifamily residence-moderate-high density-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (MF-4-CO-NP) combining district zoning to multifamily residence-moderate-high density-historic landmark-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (MF-4-H-CO-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s take: This case is also a postponement (which you can read about over at the Austin American-Statesman). As we explained in a previous tip sheet: We’ve covered both of these cases – now related – before. The property at 507 W. 23rd St. is also known as the Dabney-Horne house, and a plan to allow the University Co-op to move that historic home has been in and out of the city’s land-use commissions for the better part of three years. There is also the Clyde-Littlefield house, which could be historic and is definitely the former home of a celebrated UT Austin coach. Now, City Council will consider a plan that binds the two together, in the hopes of preserving them both.

35. NPA-2015-0023.01 – Boys & Girls Club Legacy Club – District 1 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20070809-55 of the University Hills/Windsor Park Combined Neighborhood Plan, an element of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, to change the future land use designation on the future land use map (FLUM) on property locally known as 4717 Turner Lane (Walnut Creek Watershed; Little Walnut Creek Watershed) from Higher Density Single Family, Transportation, and Commercial land uses to Civic land use.

36. C14-2015-0086 – Boys and Girls – Legacy Club – District 1 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 4717 Turner Lane (Walnut Creek Watershed; Little Walnut Creek Watersheds) from family residence-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning, townhouse and condominium residence-neighborhood plan (SF-6-NP) combining district zoning, and neighborhood commercial-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (LR-CO-NP) combining district zoning to community commercial-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (GR-CO-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s take: In our experience, when a press conference has been called, a fight will follow. And a press conference has been called for this Thursday by those in support of building this, the first brick-and-mortar Boys & Girls Club in Austin. Of course, there are also those opposed to the proposal, and you can read about that opposition in our previous coverage.

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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.

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