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TipSheet: Austin City Council 6.11.15

Thursday, June 11, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

The Austin City Council will have 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. The City Clerk’s office posts a copy on its Web site, here.

4. Approve an ordinance authorizing the negotiation and execution of all documents and instruments necessary or desirable to purchase in fee simple the property located at 11701 Charing Cross Road, in the Barrington Oaks Subdivision, from Dolores Firth and Rodney Firth, in an amount not to exceed $328,000, subject to the guidelines of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 and related federal regulations, and waiving the requirements of City Code Chapter 14-3.

Monitor’s take: We covered this stand-alone flood buyout earlier this year. At the time, it was postponed due to the ever-pending comprehensive flood buyout policy. At Tuesday’s work session, and since approving most of the Williamson Creek buyouts, Council has indicated they might as well proceed with this case.

10. Approve a resolution creating an Austin-Travis County Intergovernmental Working Group to make recommendations regarding a location, governance structure and funding plan for a sobering center and directing the City Manager to return to Council for approval of funding to be incorporated in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget sufficient to advance progress toward establishing a sobriety center.

Monitor’s take: Here is the latest chapter in the city’s attempt at a proposed sobriety center. We’ve covered this issue plenty, most recently here, here and here.

11. Approve a resolution relating to increased funding in the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget for programs that benefit lower-income Austinites.

Monitor’s take: Once part of the 5 percent Homestead Exemption proposition, this item to increase funding for the city’s tenant rental assistance program is now coming forward as a stand-alone item, after the 6 percent Homestead Exemption passed last week.

12. Approve a resolution relating to City positions that have remained vacant more than 12 months.

Monitor’s take: This resolution from Council Member Ellen Troxclair’s office asks the City Manager “to bring a budget amendment to the City Council that de-appropriates funds allocated for non-sworn positions, which have been vacant for at least 12 months, to each regular City Council meeting” and ” provide a report with each recommended annual budget that includes each vacant non-sworn position; how long each position has been vacant; how much funding, including salary and benefits, has been allocated for each position; and an explanation for continuing funding for that position in the next budget cycle, if part of the City Manager’s recommended budget.” Troxclair has indicated that she is interested in eliminating the vacant positions in order to provide more savings for taxpayers.

13. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to take the necessary steps to allow council to implement a freeze on the taxable value of homesteads, based on the 2015 tax roll valuation, for seniors and people with disabilities as authorized by the Texas Tax Code.

Monitor’s take: As we reported in our Wednesday Whispers, this resolution is headed for re-tooling before it comes up for a vote.

15. NPA-2014-0016.03 – Morotito’s Plan – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 030327-12, the Govalle/Johnston Terrace 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 2901 East 5th Street

16. C14-2014-0194 – Morotito’s Plan – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 2901 East 5th Street (Colorado River Watershed) from family residence-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning to community commercial-mixed use-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s take: This case, which we reported on in May, now has a valid petition against it and will require a City Council super-majority to pass.

23. C14-2014-0136 – Cameron Apartments – District 1 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 9201 Cameron Road (Little Walnut Creek Watershed) from limited industrial services (LI) district zoning to general commercial services-mixed use (CS-MU) combining district zoning, as amended.

Monitor’s take: Like the St. Elmo Lofts before them, this zoning case is opposed by staff because the developer is proposing to build apartments in the middle of industrial zoning. We’ll see if this zoning case fares any differently than that one.

24. C14-2014-0150 – Whiddon .85 – District 5 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 4102 Manchaca Road (West Bouldin Creek Watershed) from family residence (SF-3) district zoning to limited office-mixed use (LO-MU) combining district zoning, as amended.

Monitor’s take: At the Planning Commission, this case didn’t fare well. Commissioners voted not to recommend the rezoning over traffic concerns, as we reported here. Traffic, and whether the property should have access to Gathright Cove, remains a sticking point.

43. C14H-2014-0014 – Bluebonnet Hills Historic District – District 9 –

Monitor’s take: We’ve reported on the attempt to create a historic preservation district in Travis Heights at length before (most recently here and here). It’s finally made its way to Council, and staff will ask for a postponement.

49. Conduct a public hearing and consider an appeal by Daniel Llanes, regarding the Planning Commission’s approval of a variance from City Code Section 25-2-721(B)(1), which prohibits the construction of a building or parking area within the primary setback of the Waterfront Overlay in the Red Bluff Subdistrict (District 3).

Monitor’s Take: We expect this will be postponed again, but here’s the recap: Although the variance question was officially settled at the Planning Commission twice, neighbor and contact team member Daniel Llanes has now appealed the decision to allow construction in the Waterfront Overlay himself. Though fairly unusual, this isn’t a huge surprise, as neighborhood opposition to the hotel has been consistent.

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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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