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TipSheet: City Council, 11.14.19

Thursday, November 14, 2019 by Elizabeth Pagano

It’s time for another City Council meeting! This week’s meeting has a few items we are keeping an eye on (see below for more about that), but is blessedly free of any one item that will obviously draw hours of public comment. We might be wrong, though, so read the entire agenda for yourself.

Item 8: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 4-16 (Commercial Facilities) to add regulations for diaper changing stations.

Monitor’s Take: This change would impact new construction and “major renovations of non-City facilities containing mercantile and assembly uses” by requiring changing stations in restrooms in general, not just women’s restrooms. While the city contemplated making the requirement for all restrooms, they opted for this compromise, as a brand-new, sweeping requirement could pose a financial burden for business owners.

Item 16: Approve negotiation and execution of an automatic aid agreement with Travis County Emergency Service Districts (ESDs), Williamson County ESDs, and the cities of Leander, Cedar Park, Round Rock, and Georgetown to provide services that are mutually beneficial to the fire service agencies and residents in their respective jurisdictions, for an initial term of one year with up to nine additional one-year terms.

Monitor’s Take: This agreement would determine how emergency service providers would interact when there are multiple jurisdictions on the scene. It looks like the details of these rules aren’t quite worked out yet – according to a post on the City Council Message Board.

Item 50: 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: This is not the first time this item has been before Council, but at Tuesday’s work session, Council Member Kathie Tovo indicated that she has some specific projects – and a financial cap – in mind after talking with stakeholders. That new information might be enough to forward this plan, which would allocate funds raised in Rainey Street back into the district.

Item 55: Approve a resolution relating to funds, procurement policies, and expenditures involving Austin Convention Enterprises, Inc.

Monitor’s Take: The past couple of years have put the focus on the finances of the convention center and associated entities. This resolution furthers that scrutiny with an ask to the city manager to write a memo before the end of the year that details how ACE gets money, spends money, and whether Council can be more involved. It is set to be taken up at 4 p.m. or later.

Item 56: Approve a resolution opposing the practice of anti-LGBTQ+ conversion therapy in the City of Austin and directing the City Manager to prohibit direct and indirect City support for the practice of conversion therapy.

Monitor’s Take: It’s unclear whether the city has ever supported (even indirectly) “therapy” that seeks to convert people out of homosexuality, but this resolution would make it explicitly forbidden. Though it’s not likely to see any opposition on the dais, it is worth noting.

Item 57: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to explore a partnership with the Red Line Parkway Initiative for the creation of a Red Line Parkway Plan and a strategy for the development, management, and operation of the plan.

Monitor’s Take: Here is a step toward making a 32-mile stretch of hike and bike trails near the city’s Red Line a reality. A separate resolution that would add stations to the Red Line is also forthcoming.

Item 63: Conduct a public hearing to gather feedback about the State required non-radioactive hazardous materials route designation study and its draft recommended route through Austin and approve a resolution approving the recommended route.

Monitor’s Take: Curious about the route hazardous materials take through the city? Here you go. Turns out that hazmats, like most Austinites, avoid Interstate 35 as much as possible.

Item 64: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance to amending City Code Chapters 25-2, 25-7, 25-8, 25-12, 30-4, and 30-5 relating to regulation of development within the 25-year and 100-year floodplains.

Monitor’s Take: Though it’s unlikely to garner a lot of public comment, this item is a big deal. Atlas 14 changes the city’s flood plains, given the likelihood that Central Texas is going to experience larger storms and more floods. Get caught up through our coverage, or the city’s website.

Item 65: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance regarding floodplain variances for the construction of a new single-family residence and secondary apartment at 1130 Spur Street within the 100-year floodplain of Tannehill Branch.

Monitor’s Take: Speaking of flood plains, this variance for construction already completed in the flood plain is not likely to be very popular – the Watershed Protection Department is already recommending against it, given that the buildings were not built as they were permitted.

Item 67: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 relating to allowable uses, building heights, parking requirements, and sign regulations in the University Neighborhood Overlay (UNO) district.

Monitor’s Take: This item, which is set to be taken up at 6 p.m. or later, would increase the allowed density and reduce parking requirements near UT Austin. As we reported earlier this year, the Planning Commission would like to see the changes go even further.

Item 69: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan by adopting the Parks and Recreation Long Range Plan for Land, Facilities and Programs.

Monitor’s Take: What’s the future of Austin’s parks? That will be somewhat determined by this plan, which lays out the priorities and goals for city parks, as we reported yesterday.

Item 81: NPA-2019-0027.02- 2410 Winsted Lane – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20100923-102, the Central West Austin 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 2401 Winsted Lane (Johnson Creek Watershed) from Single Family to Neighborhood Mixed land use.

Item 82: C14-2018-0049 – 2401 Winsted – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 2401 Winsted Lane (Johnson Creek Watershed) Applicant Request: To rezone from multifamily residence low density-neighborhood plan (MF-2-NP) combining district zoning to neighborhood commercial-mixed use-neighborhood plan (LR-MU-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: We’re expecting a reprise of the conversation at the Planning Commission for this plan that will put a food truck in Tarrytown.

Item 84: C14-2019-0078 – All Points Construction Services – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 4507 and 4511 Vinson Drive (Williamson Creek Watershed). Applicant’s Request: To rezone from family residence-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning to townhouse and condominium residence-neighborhood plan (SF-6-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: This case has a valid petition against it, which means the change will have to be supported by nine Council members instead of the usual six in order for it to pass. Get caught up on it through our previous coverage here.

Item 92: C14H-2019-0112 – Herrera House, 1805 E. 3rd Street – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1805 E. 3rd Street. Applicant request: To rezone from family residence-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning to family residence – historic landmark – neighborhood plan (SF-3-H-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: After a bit of debate at the Historic Landmark Commission, both the HLC and the Planning Commission have backed making this home a historic landmark. If Council members agree that the cultural significance is such that the house should be preserved, they will be doing it against the wishes of the owner, who says the home is unsound.

Item 96: Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Office of Real Estate Services Capital Budget (Ordinance No. 20190910-001) to increase appropriations by $8,000,000 to acquire and renovate a building to provide shelter and support services to those experiencing homelessness.

Item 97: Approve a resolution declaring the City of Austin’s official intent to reimburse itself from proceeds of certificates of obligation to be issued for expenditures in the total amount of $8,000,000 to acquire and renovate a building to provide shelter and support services to those experiencing homelessness.

Monitor’s Take: As we reported, Council has moved away from a planned South Austin shelter to this new plan of buying a hotel that will act as an emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness. Though the plan has yet to be vetted by public comment, we expect it to be far less controversial than similar items over the past few months, as Council has refined its homelessness strategy.

Item 99: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to provide Austin Duck Adventures temporary and limited access to Lady Bird Lake.

Monitor’s Take: Oh, apparently there are going to be duck boat tours on Town Lake now. The boats will be entering at Festival Beach while the Walsh Boat Landing is closed for repairs.

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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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