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TipSheet: City Council, 11.15.18

Thursday, November 15, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Welcome to this week’s TipSheet. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire City Council agenda, but here are the items we have our eye on today. The Office of the City Clerk posts a copy on its website, here.

Item 6. Authorize negotiation and execution of a design-build agreement with JE Dunn Construction, for design and construction services for new fire/EMS stations project in an amount not to exceed $60,000,000. (Districts 2, 6, 8, and 10). [Note: This contract will be awarded in compliance with City Code Chapter 2-9B (Minority Owned and Women Owned Business Enterprise Procurement Program) by meeting the goals 28.90% MBE and 18.50% WBE participation.]

Monitor’s Take: People living in Districts 2, 6, 8 and 10 are well aware of the need for new fire stations. Council Member Delia Garza, a former firefighter, led the charge in getting these stations on the calendar, even though it will be some time before they are all completed.

Item 17: Approve a resolution confirming the city manager’s appointment of Joel Baker as chief of the Austin Fire Department in accordance with Section 143.013 of the Texas Local Government Code.

Monitor’s Take: Council seems likely to approve Baker without dissent or controversy. He has 30 years of experience as a firefighter and most recently as chief of the Atlanta Fire Department. Baker comes to Austin with an impressive resume that includes implementation of that city’s first outreach to LGBT communities, among numerous other highlights. His resume is here.

Item 16: Approve an ordinance amending the City Code to add a new Chapter 2-15 to create the Office of Police Oversight.

Item 74: Discuss and take appropriate action regarding the proposed Meet and Confer Agreement between the City of Austin and the Austin Police Association relating to wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment for police officers employed by the Austin Police Department.

Monitor’s Take: Item 16 goes along with the approval of the meet-and-confer contract between the city and the Austin Police Association, Item 74, although Council will not consider Item 74 until the afternoon. Activists have pushed for more transparency and accountability in police oversight. Item 16’s ordinance will enable creation of the new Office of Police Oversight by shifting employees who currently work in the Office of the Police Monitor and giving them additional responsibilities. Item 74 will be taken up in the afternoon because Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo will be traveling on city business during the morning session and Mayor Steve Adler will be attending a Big City Mayors meeting in San Antonio during the evening portion of the meeting. Officers are scheduled to vote on whether to accept the new proposed contract Thursday morning and are expected to approve it. Because the city is saving a considerable amount of money and getting a higher level of transparency, it seems very likely that this item will win unanimous approval. Some activists may show up to say they didn’t get everything they wanted and others may thank Council for rejecting the previous proposal. This memo explains the proposal.

Item 20: Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Schedule of Fees, Fines, and Other Charges to be set or charged by the City (Ordinance No. 20180911-002) to revise the Parks and Recreation Department’s Cemetery Operations fees to fund increased contract fees from the vendor for interment services.

Item 22: Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Parks and Recreation Department Operating Budget (Ordinance No. 20180911-001) for increased expenses and revenue associated with the amended contract for burial services at city cemeteries.

Item 36: Authorize an amendment to an existing contract with Interment Services, Inc., for continued interment and burial services at city cemeteries, to increase the amount by $4,650,000 and to extend the term for up to five years, for a total revised contract amount not to exceed $8,584,000. (Note: This contract amendment will be awarded in compliance with City Code Chapter 2-9C Minority Owned and Women Owned Business Enterprise Procurement Program).

Monitor’s Take: Items 20, 22 and 36 are all related to city cemetery operations. Even though the Parks and Recreation Board disapproved of the proposed contract, there really are very few companies interested in this job. A few citizens may show up to discuss the items.

Item 58: NPA-2018-0023.01 – Berkman Terraces – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20070809-55, the University Hills/Windsor Park 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 6203, 6205, 6207 Berkman Drive & 6210 Hickman Avenue (Fort Branch Watershed) from Higher Density Single Family to Mixed Use land use. Staff recommendation: To approve an alternative recommendation of Neighborhood Mixed Use land use. Planning Commission Recommendation: To grant Mixed Use land use. Owner/Applicant: Berkman Terraces, LLC (Pierre Fay, Manager). Agent: Keepers Consulting (Ricca Keepers). City Staff: Maureen Meredith (512) 974-2695.

Item 59: C14-2018-0037 – Berkman Terraces – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 6203, 6205, and 6207 Berkman Drive and 6210 Hickman Avenue (Boggy Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from neighborhood commercial-mixed use-neighborhood plan (LR-MU-NP) combining district zoning and townhouse and condominium residence-neighborhood plan (SF-6-NP) combining district to community commercial-mixed use-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-NP) combining district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant neighborhood commercial-mixed use-neighborhood plan (LR-MU-NP) combining district zoning. Planning Commission Recommendation: To grant community commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning. Owner/Applicant: Berkman Terraces, LLC (Pierre Fay). Agent: Keepers Consulting (Ricca Keepers). City Staff: Heather Chaffin, 512 974-2122. District(s): District 1.

Monitor’s Take: Staff and the Planning Commission disagree about the intensity of use for this property, with staff proposing conditional overlays that the applicant does not want. Council Member Jimmy Flannigan pulled this for discussion at work session as part of his ongoing fight against conditional overlays. It’s not clear who will win this battle.

Item 65: C14-2018-0077 Damac Commercial – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 7712 FM 969 Road (Walnut Creek Watershed) from single family residence-standard lot (SF-2) district zoning to community commercial -mixed use (GR-MU) combining district zoning on Tract 1 and townhouse and condominium residence (SF-6) district zoning on Tract 2. Staff Recommendation: To grant neighborhood commercial-mixed use (LR-MU) combining district zoning on a portion of the property and townhouse and condominium residence (SF-6) district zoning on the remainder of the property. Zoning and Platting Commission Recommendation: To grant neighborhood commercial -mixed use (LR-MU) combining district zoning on a portion of the property and single family residence-standard lot (SF-2) district zoning on the remainder of the property. Owner/Applicant: Damac Real Estate Investment Group (Saqib Ali). Agent: Ausland Architects (Kennedy Whiteley). City Staff: Heather Chaffin, 512-974-2122. A Valid Petition has been filed in opposition to this request.

Monitor’s Take: With the valid petition filed to stop this, and considerable neighborhood opposition, it is not clear what it would take to convince Council to approve the requested change. A lot may depend on who shows up to discuss the matter.

Item 66: C14-2018-0094 – 2432 W Ben White Blvd Service Road Westbound – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by zoning property locally known as 2432 West Ben White Boulevard Service Road Westbound (Barton Creek-Barton Springs Zone). Applicant’s Request: To zone from unzoned to general commercial services (CS) district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant general commercial services (CS) district zoning. Planning Commission Recommendation: To grant general commercial services (CS) district zoning. Owner/Applicant: Vaquero Austin Lamar Partners, LP (W.A. Landreth, III). Agent: Coats Rose (John M. Joseph). City Staff: Scott Grantham, 512-974-3574.

Monitor’s Take: Council discussed this at work session after Council Member Jimmy Flannigan pulled it for discussion. The owner wants to have a drive-through coffee shop on the property. Council Member Ann Kitchen explained that there are not many uses available to the owner because it is over the Barton Springs aquifer, which limits the amount of impervious cover allowed.

Item 69: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance regarding Texas Gas Service’s revised Conservation Adjustment Clause Tariff and its proposal to change customer gas rates and the complaint of an affected person under the Texas Utilities Code.

Monitor’s Take: Council Member Alison Alter said during Tuesday’s work session that she would like to postpone this hearing for two weeks. None of her colleagues objected, but Texas Gas Service probably will object. The person complaining is Paul Robbins, a well-known consumer and energy efficiency advocate. Robbins’ information shows that the company’s proposed energy conservation plan is not cost-effective for consumers, although the company would no doubt argue otherwise.

Item 70: Conduct a public hearing and consider a resolution relating to an application by AMTEX Multi-Housing, LLC, or an affiliated entity, to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for Low Income Housing Tax Credits for the construction of an affordable multi-family development to be known as the Limestone Ridge Senior Apartments, located at 6907 & 7011 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin, Texas 78744, which is in the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Monitor’s Take: In order for the applicant to receive the tax credits it is seeking to build the low-income units, it must have a letter from the city indicating no objection. Council Member Delia Garza had expressed reservations about the project because it is not close to any bus line and is being built for senior citizens. However, on Tuesday she told her colleagues she would not object to this project.

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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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