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TipSheet: City Council, 11.9.17

Thursday, November 9, 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 3: Approve Service Extension Request No. 3953 for water service to a 32.2-acre tract located at 10304 Circle Dr. within the Drinking Water Protection Zone.

Monitor’s Take: This one might take a bit of time staff is recommending against the water extension because of environmental concerns (and the Save Our Springs Alliance, unsurprisingly, concurs.) If approved, it would allow for the development of 19 homes. We’ll see how that goes.

Item 11: Authorize negotiation and execution of an amendment to a parking agreement with UP Schneider, L.P., related to parking privileges for retail patrons and employees of 401 West 2nd Street parking in the City Hall garage.

Item 12: Authorize negotiation and execution of a parking agreement with AMLI Austin Retail, L.P., AMLI Downtown Austin, L.P., and PPF AMLI 421 West 3rd Street, L.P. related to parking privileges for retail patrons, employees, and valet operations connected with 2nd Street retail businesses, in parking garages owned by the City and AMLI entities.

Monitor’s Take: Not the world’s most glamorous topic, but the last time this parking deal came up, there was a bit of consternation about whether or not it was time to kill the deal that allows Second Street District businesses to use the City Hall parking garage. So there’s certainly a chance that discussion will continue today.

Item 17: Approve an ordinance setting the council meeting schedule for calendar year 2018.

Monitor’s Take: Though fairly routine, this is just the type of housekeeping that can consume a City Council morning. Council Member Alison Alter has proposed changing up the fall budget hearings to allow for earlier public feedback. So, yeah, stuff like that.

Item 18: Approve third reading of an ordinance relating to special events and high capacity event venues, repealing and replacing City Code Chapter 14-8 relating to right-of-way closures for special events and neighborhood block parties, amending requirements for temporary food establishments during a special event, repealing City Code Section 14-6-3 relating to closures for a street festivity, amending City Code Chapter 9-2 relating to 24-hour live music and multi-day special event permits; and creating offenses and establishing penalties.

Monitor’s Take: This is going to be postponed. Yet again. Just pointing that out.

Item 19: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 2-10 (Municipal Court) to revise and add provisions regarding indigency, fines, alternative sentencing, and commitment.

Monitor’s Take: Hammering out the details on this ordinance has taken a while. But, judging by the press release from Texas Appleseed, the time may have been worth it. Basically, this is a measure that would stop overly harsh punishments (like jail time!) for those unable to pay fines, and instead allow for fines to be partially waived or restitution to be made through community service.

Item 24: Approve an ordinance vacating approximately 8,470 square feet of right-of-way, being that unconstructed portion of Viola Street, also known as Christopher Street, located north of Copeland Street, east of Christopher Street and west of the 900 block of South 2nd Street, to 1st Street Highlands, LP.

Monitor’s Take: Apparently, the appraised market value of an 8,470-square-foot lot in Bouldin Creek is $27,987. The Austin Monitor would like to formally request access to the time machine that appraisers are using. We would also like to purchase this lot. Thank you.

Item 26: C7a-2017-0003 – Mooreland Addition – Approve an ordinance to annex the Mooreland Addition annexation area for full purposes (approximately 34 acres in southwestern Travis County east of the intersection of Manchaca Road and Mooreland Drive; contiguous to District 5).

Monitor’s Take: As we reported previously, residents of this “doughnut hole” surrounded by Austin are none too pleased by the prospect of annexation and the higher taxes that go along with that. However, Council made the point that residents are already benefiting from city services, so… Anyway, the big push here is that after Dec. 1, residents will have to vote to approve the annexation, due to a new state law. So expect to see this resolved one way or the other.

Item 42: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 2-7, Article 6 relating to anti-lobbying and procurement.

Item 50: Approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20170406-023, which waived chapter 2-7, article 6 (anti-lobbying and procurement) of the City Code regarding solicitations for the collection, processing, resale, reuse, and/or disposal of municipal solid waste, refuse, biosolids, compost, organics, special waste, and recyclables.

Monitor’s Take: Ay, this is a bit of a mess. The new Anti-Lobbying Ordinance has been withdrawn for the time being, but the drama is moving over to Item 50, which is intended as a stop-gap measure while the ordinance continues to be hashed out. (It’s going to be a really similar conversation, though!)

Item 45: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Section 15-9-142 relating to billing adjustments for utility bills indicating excess water consumption by single-family residential customers.

Monitor’s Take: If you are a fan of local television news, you probably know that “mysteriously high” city water bills persist. This here is the latest measure to try and address those situations, and help homeowners who are suddenly on the wrong side of the utility and lacking recourse.

Item 46: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to identify City-owned sites that could be used by a Major League Soccer team, as well as community benefits that could be generated by such a use.

Monitor’s Take: Is Major League Soccer coming to Austin? Maybe, but only after a number of amendments to this resolution, which is intended to help find a home for the sport.

Item 48: Approve a resolution relating to expanding, remodeling, or constructing residential properties.

Monitor’s Take: This resolution, which comes out of Council Member Delia Garza’s office, is intended to make building ADUs and remodeling homes easier (and cheaper) for Austin homeowners. Though this seems a relatively uncontroversial move, in the Time of CodeNEXT, where ADUs are a particular pressure point, it will be interesting to see where the conversation goes.

Item 62: C14-2016-0096 – 7901 Ranch Road 2222 – District 10 – Approve third reading of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by zoning property locally known as 7901 Ranch to Market Road 2222 (West Bull Creek Watershed). Applicant’s Request: To rezone from limited office-conditional overlay (LO-CO) combining district zoning to general office-mixed use (GO-MU) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: Here’s the background on this case, which raised questions about “spot zoning” at the Zoning and Platting Commission.

Item 63: C14-2017-0085 – Charles Ford Rezoning – District 6 – Approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 12101 ½ Conrad Road (Walnut Creek Watershed). Applicant’s Request: To rezone from single family residence-standard lot (SF-2) district zoning to family residence (SF-3) district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: At the Zoning and Platting Commission, this case raised existential questions about CodeNEXT. So, naturally, we wrote about it then.

Item 79: C14-2017-0072 -12611 Hymeadow Rezoning – District 6 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 12611 Hymeadow Drive (Lake Creek Watershed). Applicant’s Request: To rezone from community commercial-conditional overlay (GR-CO) combining district zoning to commercial-liquor sales (CS-1) district zoning.

Monitor’s take: Weird case. After a denial that was due, in part, to several absences on the dais, Council Member Jimmy Flannigan brought the case back, and it’s now being reconsidered with (hopefully) a full Council. We’ll see how that goes.

Item 85: Conduct a public hearing and consider a resolution regarding an application to be submitted to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs by Elysium Grand, LP, or an affiliated entity, for the new construction of an affordable multi-family development to be known as the Elysium Grand, located at 3300 Oak Creek Drive.

Monitor’s Take: So, this affordable housing project was once the focus of a few stories about neighborhood opposition to affordable housing and questions about why federal tax credits never materialized. However, that was for the Elysium *Park* project. The Monitor is confident that the new name represents big changes for the property.

Item 88: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to maintain current working conditions for employees in the Emergency Medical Services Department, and to resume labor contract negotiations with the bargaining representative for employees in the Emergency Medical Services Department.

Monitor’s Take: As we (and others) have reported, contract negotiations over a new EMS contract broke down before a new deal could be struck. While we still have an EMS department, some fix is obviously needed, and this is a first swing at the new process.

Item 89: Approve a resolution relating to the expenditure of the Downtown Density Bonus Program’s funds for low-barrier permanent supportive housing vouchers.

Monitor’s Take: As part of the city’s ongoing push to tackle homelessness, this resolution out of Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo’s office would work toward using density bonus funds for shelter low-barrier permanent supportive housing vouchers. It also directs the city manager to look for other money that could be used to this end, and report back on Dec. 5.

Item 91: Briefing and Discussion on City Manager Search Process

Monitor’s Take: Yes, please, update us.

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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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