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TipSheet: City Council, 10.13.16

Thursday, October 13, 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.

5. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to explore partnership opportunities between the City of Austin, Austin Independent School District, and Travis County for affordable housing and other development projects.

Monitor’s take: This is essentially a first (or second or third) step designed to help our local entities work together to create affordable housing. There are more pieces that still need to fall into place to make cooperation a reality – unlike with state properties, local governmental entities don’t get a right of first refusal on one another’s surplus properties – but a joint subcommittee has been exploring things like land trust models for affordable and workforce housing that could make the 10 AISD properties currently up for bid part of a larger conversation that has been going on for quite some time.

6. Approve a resolution regarding the hiring and public input process for the selection of a new City Manager.

Monitor’s take: Oh, cool, looks like we are getting a new group of people to do things! With City Manager Marc Ott officially leaving at the end of this month, the search is on for a permanent replacement, who will be appointed by City Council. This 11-member group will also be appointed by Council and will be tasked with using public input to give recommendations on the timing and process for the search, criteria to be used by the professional search firm, and a pool of semifinalists, among other things. The group will also work with the search firm to help pick the ultimate new city manager. In addition, this resolution galvanizes the public process and the fact that Austinites will be a part of the process wherever legally feasible. Because it’s been so long since the city has looked for a new city manager (not even taking into account the lack of institutional knowledge currently on the dais), this item make prove to be unexpectedly thorny as Council members work through the hiring process and how, exactly, that should go.

7. Approve a resolution relating to amenities in mobile home parks.

Monitor’s take: This resolution, which comes from Council Member Pio Renteria, would change the zoning requirements for the city’s mobile home parks. Specifically, it would require new parks to include playgrounds (or recreation areas) and open space for things like community gardens. Existing parks would be required to provide “areas where park residents can grow fruit and vegetables.” In addition, the resolution would “limit the ability of a mobile home park owner or licensee to charge a fee for residents to use the playground, recreation facility or area.” This all sounds really pleasant, but it also sounds like something that could impact the bottom line for owners, so we wouldn’t be surprised if there were some pushback. In addition, Mayor Steve Adler indicated at Tuesday’s work session that he would be making an amendment so that the resolution would be a little less “prescriptive” and more open-ended, with specifics to come from public and staff input prior to its Council return. See our story in today’s edition for more details!

8. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to identify properties within the City’s real estate portfolio suitable for development as affordable housing, mixed use housing developments, and emergency shelter.

Monitor’s take: Reading through this resolution makes it clear that it is much less abstract than it might initially appear. In addition to addressing the viability of the legendary Winnebago Lane tract once destined for parkland, then destined for sale and development, and now destined for a live/work artist space, it specifically lists a number of other tracts as possibilities for affordable, mixed-use developments. It’s essentially the city’s end of Item No. 5 – these are the properties owned by the city that could be a part of a plan to build more affordable housing.

13. NPA-2016-0025.01 – Lantana Tract 33 – District 8 – Approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20081211-096, the Oak Hill 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 6701, 6825-½, and 7045-½ Rialto Boulevard (Barton Creek Watershed; Williamson Creek Watershed-Barton Springs Zone) from Office land use to Multifamily land use.

14. C14-2016-0011 – Lantana Tract 33 – District 8 – Approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 6701, 6825-½, and 7045-½ Rialto Boulevard (Barton Creek Watershed; Williamson Creek Watershed-Barton Springs Zone) from general office-neighborhood plan (GO-NP) combining district zoning to multifamily residence-moderate-high density-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (MF-4-CO-NP) combining district zoning.

17. C14-85-288.8 (RCA3) – Lantana Tract 33 – District 8 – Conduct a public hearing to amend a restrictive covenant on property locally known as 6701, 6825-½, and 7045-½ Rialto Boulevard (Barton Creek Watershed; Williamson Creek Watershed-Barton Springs Zone).

Monitor’s take: Though most of the zoning cases on this week’s agenda are likely to be postponed or passed without much conversation, this case is slated for discussion over lingering environmental concerns. It goes without saying that our interest is piqued.

37. C14-79-065(RCT) – Earl M. McClure – District 9 – Conduct a public hearing to amend a restrictive covenant on property locally known as 80 Red River Street (Waller Creek Watershed). Staff Recommendation: To grant termination of the restrictive covenant. Planning Commission Recommendation: To grant termination of the restrictive covenant.

Monitor’s take: When this issue came before the Planning Commission, commissioners unanimously recommended that the restrictive covenant on this Rainey Street property be terminated, given that it is in an area where the city is actively courting density. However, that does not mean this case is without controversy. Look to our past coverage to see what you might expect at today’s meeting. (Spoiler: It’s lots of people mad at each other, and traffic.)

38. C814-2014-0120 – Austin Oaks PUD – District 10 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 3409, 3420, 3429, 3445, 3520, 3636, 3701, 3721, 3724, and 3737 Executive Center Drive and 7601, 7718 and 7719 Wood Hollow Drive (Shoal Creek Watershed) from community commercial (GR) district zoning, neighborhood commercial (LR) district zoning, limited office (LO) district zoning and family residence (SF-3) district zoning to planned unit development (PUD) district zoning.

Monitor’s take: There is no way that Council will take up this case – it hasn’t been to the Planning Commission, yet. However, solely because it’s the Austin Oaks PUD, we are noting it here. History tells us that there’s always something to fight about where this one is concerned. (But really, it will be postponed.)

47. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 to require Historic Landmark Commission review of demolition applications for structures that are fifty years or older and dedicated to certain civic uses.

Monitor’s take: This item is interesting enough, but it will most likely be postponed until Nov. 10 at the request of city staff.

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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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