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TipSheet: City Council, 10.19.17

Thursday, October 19, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council will hold its regular meeting again today, and here are the things we have our eye on. 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.

Item 7: Approve an ordinance relating to the use of sound equipment by certain businesses located on Red River Street.

Monitor’s Take: As we’ve reported, a pilot program extending the noise curfew on Red River seems to have been a success, with venues and performers earning more money with no apparent sound impact on neighborhoods (or crime!). The proposal on the table now would extend the pilot program another six months. Otherwise, it would expire on Nov. 1.

Item 17: Authorize negotiation and execution of a contract with The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, to provide deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) consulting services, for a term of one year in an amount not to exceed $400,000.

Monitor’s Take: If you are one of the many keeping an eye on the ongoing saga (sagas?) of the Austin Police Department DNA lab, here’s another item. It doesn’t necessarily represent a huge change in the current policy of outsourcing while the local lab remains shut, but it is a new consultant.

Item 18: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 2-7, Article 6 relating to anti-lobbying and procurement.

Monitor’s Take: We reported on this change last week, when it was before the Ethics Review Commission. It should be much of the same here at Council, though we note that the rewrite has taken long enough that a biosolids contract may have to move forward without the ordinance in place, which has more than a few people peeved.

Item 21: Approve issuance of a street closure permit and waiver of the signature requirements under Code Sections 14-8-3 and 14-8-15(B) for the Austin Marathon, to be held on Sunday, February 18, 2018, from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Monitor’s Take: Short notice on a new marathon route is the reason for this item, which would prevent people from tying up approval of the new route if it was too close to their house (or whatever). This seems reasonable – why even live here if you aren’t willing to be inconvenienced by an event or two every year? It’s kind of part of the deal.

Item 23: Approve a resolution initiating a code amendment relating to the Central Urban Redevelopment (CURE) combining district to improve its alignment with Imagine Austin and eliminate its applicability east of IH-35 and East Avenue.

Monitor’s Take: Though the city did away with most CURE zoning in 2013, a few “fingers” remain outstretched into East Austin. When implemented, the zoning was a way to encourage a development, but tides have changed in a major way since then. While District 3 Council Member Pio Renteria is OK with the fat finger that reaches to Chicon from Fourth Street to Seventh Street, District 1 Council Member Ora Houston is decidedly not OK with a similar reach into her district along 11th and 12th streets and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. There wasn’t much fight among Council members during the work session, but we’re braced for detractors at the public meeting.

Item 25: Approve a resolution relating to the compensation and benefits for the City Manager.

Item 26: Approve a resolution relating to the compensation and benefits for the City Auditor.

Item 27: Approve a resolution relating to the compensation and benefits for the City Clerk.

Item 28: Approve an ordinance relating to the compensation and benefits for the Municipal Court Clerk.

Monitor’s Take: Admittedly, there are usually few fireworks when it comes time to review Council’s direct hires. However, there’s always a chance, so we’re hedging our bets and making note that it’s that time of year again.

Item 46: NPA-2016-0016.01 – 3212 E. Cesar Chavez Street – District 3 – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20030327-12, 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 3212 East Cesar Chavez Street and 111 Tillery Street (Colorado River Watershed) from Commercial and Industry land uses to Multifamily and Mixed Use land uses.

Item 47: C14-2016-0079 – 3212 E. Cesar Chavez Street – District 3 -Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 3212 East Cesar Chavez Street and 111 Tillery Street (Colorado River Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from limited industrial services-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (LI-CO-NP) combining district zoning and general commercial services-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (CS-CO-NP) combining district zoning to multifamily residence- highest density-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (MF-6-CO-NP) combining district zoning and general commercial services-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (CS-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: Though this case is emblematic of east side gentrification (junkyard to mixed use) and drew quite a bit of heat at the Planning Commission, things appear to have settled down quite a bit since then. (It’s been on the agenda while the sides hash out the details.) Come, though, let’s remember fightier days together.

Item 49: C14-2017-0042 – 12602 Blackfoot Trail – District 6 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 6610 McNeil Drive/12602 Blackfoot Trail (Rattan Creek Watershed) from neighborhood commercial-conditional overlay (LR-CO) combining district zoning and single family residence-standard lot (SF-2) district zoning to general commercial-mixed use (CS-MU) combining district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant neighborhood commercial-mixed use (LR-MU) combining district zoning, with conditions. Zoning and Platting Commission Recommendation: To grant single family residence-standard lot (SF-2) district zoning for Tract 1 and community commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay combining (GR-MU-CO) district zoning for Tract 2. Owner/Applicant: Abraham Birgani. Agent: Shaw Hamilton Consultants (Shaw Hamilton). City Staff: Sherri Sirwaitis, 512-974-3057.

Monitor’s Take: We’ve been assured that this District 6 case is “a mess” and here’s a recap that is guaranteed to make District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan’s blood pressure rise. (Spoiler alert: It involves a long, customized list of prohibited uses.)

Item 50: Conduct a public hearing and approve a resolution designating service areas and land use assumptions for street impact fees as required by Chapter 395 of Texas Local Government Code.

Monitor’s Take: This item is dry, but potentially pretty important to development in the city. So we covered it, naturally.

Item 62: Approve an audit plan for the City Auditor for Fiscal Year 2018.

Monitor’s Take: OK, so, this is the list of audits that will take place in the upcoming year. It’s pretty fun, in that it gives us all a preview of what city oddities will be exposed in the upcoming year. Recently, Council Member Alison Alter has taken a keen issue in the plan, and the work session discussion that she steered on Tuesday about her preferences is likely to continue today.

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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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