Sections

About Us

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

TipSheet: City Council, 10.17.19

Thursday, October 17, 2019 by Elizabeth Pagano

This week’s TipSheet is deceptively short. Though there are only a few items we have our eye on, among those few are three items related to homelessness that could go on for quite a long time, given public interest and an odd, looming November deadline regarding state intervention from our governor. While homelessness will unquestionably take up the bulk of the meeting, there are a few other things worth noting. As always, the full agenda and backup can be found on the city’s website, here.

Item 10: Approve an ordinance setting the council meeting schedule for calendar year 2020 and setting the budget and tax rate hearings for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 (Suggested dates: July 23, 2020, July 30, 2020, and September 12, 2020)

Monitor’s Take: OK, it’s not the most exciting item, but if you coordinate your travel in order to make sure you miss/don’t miss City Council meetings, you might want to pay attention to this. Of particular note this year is an earlier budget season, which in turn has pushed the traditional summer break from July to mid-June.

Item 22: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 6-6 (Coal Tar Pavement Products) to regulate additional high polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon pavement products and creating offenses for the use and sale of these additional products.

Monitor’s Take: Reading through the agenda, this caught our eye, though it’s unlikely to attract much discussion at today’s meeting. In 2005, the city banned the sale and use of coal tar products, which were contributing to toxic contamination in streams and creeks. According to the backup, “Since 2005, there has been a 58% reduction in PAH values in Lady Bird Lake. However, City studies show some ‘hot-spots’ of PAH contamination remain in Austin’s streams. The contamination could be from a variety of new and old sources, but contamination from pavement sealcoats can be addressed by City Code. In recent years, a new ingredient in asphalt pavement sealers has come on the market that uses high-PAH materials but contains no coal tar. It uses a by-product of plastic manufacturing known as ‘heavy pyrolysis oil’ or ‘steam cracked asphalt.’ The proposed ordinance amends City Code to regulate the use and sale of new, high PAH materials above 0.1%. There are alternative pavement sealant products available that contain PAH well below the threshold proposed in the ordinance.”

Item 24: Approve a resolution requesting the Board of Directors of Austin Convention Enterprises, Inc. to consider a resolution concerning employee organizing at the Austin Hilton Hotel, directing that Board to present agreements for the operation of the hotel to the Council for approval, and establishing the City’s policy to approve operating agreements for the hotel only if such agreements protect the City from the effects of labor disputes by requiring a labor peace agreement.

Monitor’s Take: This resolution, which comes out of Casar’s office, is an attempt to secure labor protections at the Austin Hilton Hotel. Specifically, this resolution objects to a provision that prevents union organizing and reads, “Manager will not voluntarily allow a union to organize the Hotel’s employees,” reasoning that it “is not in the best interests of the City or in the best interests of ACE because that language removes the discretion of the hotel operator to respond to union organizing in a manner designed to respect federal labor law.”

Item 25: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 3 and City Code Section 2-1-102 relating to: (a) impounded animal regulations – adding definitions, requiring core immunizations, mandating sterilization, addressing fee waivers, requiring notice to rescue organizations and revising reporting requirements; and (b) expanding advisory scope of the Animal Advisory Commission, respectively.

Monitor’s Take: The last time this was up, there was a lot of back-and-forth about whether this ordinance was long overdue or the result of a rushed process. Read our previous coverage to catch up and make up your own mind on the matter.

Item 29: Discuss and take possible action on an ordinance related to City Code Sections 9-4-11 (Camping in Public Area Prohibited) and 9-4-14 (Obstruction in the Downtown Austin Community Court Area Prohibited); and creating offenses.

Item 30: Approve a resolution related to camping and other related issues frequently faced by people experiencing homelessness in the City of Austin.

Item 32: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to assess additional opportunities and make recommendations for immediate and short-term actions to engage and assist individuals experiencing homelessness.

Monitor’s Take: Oh, boy. Well, first of all, on a programming note, the mayor aims to take up these discussions early in the day. The rest … well. In June, Council decriminalized homelessness and everyone lost their minds. Since then, Council has been chipping away at the issue on a number of fronts, but an attempt to further define June’s action has so far resulted in a stalemate. In the meantime, public opinion has seemingly spiraled. To complicate matters further, Gov. Greg Abbott has jumped in, saying that the state will intervene if the city does not reinstate the camping ban. So. Today, Council will attempt to solve all of those issues and is likely to hear from a number of people, again. If Tuesday’s work session is any indication, it could get heated.

Item 31: Discuss and potentially take action regarding an ordinance creating the Rainey Street District Special Revenue Fund funded with right-of-way fees, alley vacation sales payments, and license agreement fees for developments within the Rainey Street Historic District and Subdistrict for Improvements within the Rainey Street Historic District and Subdistrict.

Monitor’s Take: Last time it was up, this plan to fund Rainey Street projects through Rainey Street things proved divisive. Here’s a now-annotated article that can catch you up on why.

Item 35: Adopt the fiscal year 2020 Proposed Audit Plan.

Monitor’s Take: This annual item is always a bit like Christmas for City Hall reporters. The backup shows a list of audits that will be conducted in the new year, giving us a glimpse into the dysfunctions of lobbyist registration compliance, police data reporting and cost-saving measures, for example.

Item 39: Conduct a public hearing in accordance with Section 26.001 et seq. of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code to consider a resolution authorizing a change of use of dedicated parkland, known as Dove Springs District Park, for the Austin Public Health Department to construct, occupy and operate the Dove Springs District Health Facility, at 5801 Ainez Drive.

Item 70: Approve a resolution authorizing a change of use of dedicated parkland, known as Dove Springs District Park, for the Austin Public Health Department to construct, occupy and operate the Dove Springs District Health Facility, at 5801 Ainez Drive.

Monitor’s Take: It seems like this plan is all but resolved, but we’re watching just in case.

Item 46: C14-2018-0026 E. Riverside Dr. and S. Pleasant Valley Rd. Tract 4 – Approve third reading of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1600 Wickersham Lane (Country Club West Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from East Riverside Corridor (ERC) district zoning to East Riverside Corridor (ERC) district zoning, to change the subdistrict from neighborhood mixed use (NMU) to corridor mixed use (CMU), with conditions.

Item 47: C14-2018-0027 E. Riverside Dr. and S. Pleasant Valley Rd. Tracts 3 & 5 – Approve third reading of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 4700 East Riverside Drive and 1515 Wickersham Lane (Country Club West Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from East Riverside Corridor (ERC) district zoning to East Riverside Corridor (ERC) district zoning, to change the subdistrict from neighborhood mixed use (NMU) and urban residential (UR) to corridor mixed use (CMU), with conditions.

Item 48: C14-2018-0028 – E. Riverside Dr. and S. Pleasant Valley Rd. Tracts 1 & 2 – Approve third reading of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1109 and 1225 South Pleasant Valley Road (Country Club West Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from East Riverside Corridor (ERC) district zoning to East Riverside Corridor (ERC) district zoning, to change the subdistrict from urban residential (UR) to corridor mixed use (CMU), with conditions.

Item 51: C14-97-0010 (RCT) E. Riverside Dr. and S. Pleasant Valley Rd. Tract 4 – Conduct a public hearing and approve a restrictive covenant termination on a property locally known as 1600 Wickersham Lane (Country Club West Watershed). Applicant request: To terminate the public restrictive covenant associated with zoning case C14-2018-0026.

Item 52: C14-72-204(RCA5) E. Riverside Dr. and S. Pleasant Valley Rd. Tracts 1-5- Conduct a public hearing and approve a restrictive covenant amendment on a property locally known as 1109 and 1225 South Pleasant Valley Road, 4700 East Riverside Drive, 1515 and 1600 Wickersham Lane (Country Club West Watershed). Applicant request: To amend the public restrictive covenant associated with zoning cases C14-2018-0026, C14-2018-0027, and C14-2018-0028.

Monitor’s Take: Could this be the final hearing for the so-called “Domain on Riverside”? Yesterday, developers announced a plan to house the homeless. That, in addition to little opposition on the dais or at the actual public hearings, would suggest yes. However, there are the largely ineffectual protests by a handful of people that have been taking place outside City Hall, after the hearings, at Council members’ houses. So far these have not seemed to change any minds … but they exist?

Item 58: C14-2019-0007 – Comfort Mobile Home Park – Conduct a public hearing and approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 7303, 7311, 7401, and 7403 East Riverside Drive (Carson Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from East Riverside Corridor (ERC) district zoning to mobile home residence (MH) district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: This is the last of the mobile home rezonings from this summer. This one, unlike the others, could be destined for mixed-use development.

The Austin Monitor’s work is made possible by donations from the community. Though our reporting covers donors from time to time, we are careful to keep business and editorial efforts separate while maintaining transparency. A complete list of donors is available here, and our code of ethics is explained here.

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.

Back to Top