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TipSheet: City Council, 12.15.16

Thursday, December 15, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

Hey, remember last year’s last meeting of the year? The one with the TNCs? This meeting might be a little like that, but sub “The Grove” for “Uber/Lyft.” Below is a list of items we’re watching. 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.

16. Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Austin Transportation Department Capital Budget (Ordinance No. 20160914-002) to increase appropriations by $8,000,000 for corridor mobility, bikeways, and safety, including the City’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic-related fatalities; and amending the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Public Works Department Capital Budget (Ordinance No. 20160914-002) to increase appropriations by $20,000,000 for sidewalks, safe routes to schools, urban trails, and capital renewal projects. (Related to Item 17)

17. Approve a resolution declaring the City of Austin’s official intent to reimburse itself from proceeds of general obligation bonds to be issued for transportation and mobility-related expenditures in the total amount of $28,000,000. (Related to Item 16)

Monitor’s take: In November, Austin voted in favor of the mobility bond, and here are the first couple of items related to that package. However, as clarified at the work session, this is just a first step towards allocating funding. The official approval is expected to be in February or thereabouts.

29. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to identify and return to Council a recommendation on how to fund off-site sidewalk and traffic calming improvements associated with the Grove Planned Unit Development. (Related to Items 30, 31, and 75)

30. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 8-1 relating to permits for use of sound equipment on parkland within the Grove Planned Unit Development, generally located at the intersection of Bull Creek Road and West 45th Street. (Related to Items 29, 31, 75)

31. Approve a resolution authorizing the City Manager to fund a pilot program for employer-assisted housing. (Related to Items 29, 30, 75)

75. C814-2015-0074 – The Grove at Shoal Creek PUD – District 10 – Approve third reading of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 4205 Bull Creek Road (Shoal Creek Watershed) from unzoned (UNZ) district zoning to planned unit development (PUD) district zoning.

Monitor’s take: This is exactly what we mean. As if the actual rezoning wasn’t enough, the Grove PUD has spawned three more items on this week’s agenda, in an attempt to address affordable housing, traffic calming and parkland concerns raised by the neighborhood. And then there is the rezoning itself. Though today was supposed to represent the third and final reading, there are more than a few indications that the case may be pushed into the new year. First, there is the fact that Council Member Greg Casar has a new plan for more affordable housing that has riled up the already-riled who had hoped that their mediation would be the final word. Then there is the matter of Tuesday’s District 10 election. The Grove is in District 10, which will soon be represented by Alison Alter. Combine the fact that Alter has a much different stance on development than current D10 rep Sheri Gallo, and the fact that Alter planned to meet with Council Member Leslie Pool the day after the election, we are expecting a push for postponement.

32. Authorize negotiation and execution of an interlocal agreement with the Austin-Travis County Sobriety Center Local Government Corporation for initial actions necessary to establish a sobriety center, including but not limited to the hiring of an executive director, administrative support personnel, and legal counsel, in the amount not to exceed $380,000.

Monitor’s take: Sobriety center is moving forward, y’all! (This doesn’t look very controversial, we are just noting that.)

52. Approve an ordinance waiving Chapter 2-7, Article 6 (Anti-lobbying and Procurement) of the City Code regarding past and future solicitations of Austin Water for the sale and removal of compost materials and the management of biosolids reuse and regarding contracts.

Monitor’s take: This mess has been lingering on the outskirts of City Council for a spell. Basically, a new contract for managing the city’s compost has been a long time coming, and everyone is hoping that nothing happens in the meantime?

59. Authorize negotiation and execution of an interlocal agreement with the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the establishment of a public plaza and a permanent downtown rail station on 4th Street, between Red River Street and Trinity Street, and to conduct the necessary process to establish two-way traffic on 5th Street between IH 35 and Brazos Street.

Monitor’s take: No one seems to care much that the new downtown rail station will mean two-way traffic for Fifth Street, but we will probably keep writing about it anyway. It’s who we are.

62. Approve an ordinance waiving and modifying certain City Code requirements for the City South by Southwest conferences and festival to be held March 10-19, 2017.

Monitor’s take: To be totally honest, there is no indication that this Spring Festival Item will stir up City Hall. But, you know, there’s always the chance that someone will get mad that the festival is getting license to temporarily bypass neighborhood objections to right of way or whatever. People are fundamentally unknowable, and all that.

65. Approve a resolution supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s work toward finalizing methane pollution standards.

66. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to identify emergency funding for immigrant legal services.

Monitor’s take: Wondering about the local impact of national politics? Here are a couple examples from this week’s agenda. The first, which comes out of Council Member Pool’s office, asks the EPA to move forward with methane pollution standards posthaste. The second, which is from Council Member Greg Casar, begins work on establishing “emergency funding for immigrant legal services and outreach with a goal of assisting with the cases of 100 additional Austinites per month than are currently being served.”

91. Briefing on the Project Assessment Report for the 425 W. Riverside Drive Planned Unit Development, located at 425 W. Riverside Drive, within the Lady Bird Lake Watershed (CD-2016-0010) (District 9).

Monitor’s take: Oh look, another PUD! This one is on the site of what former Council Member Chris Riley once called “our beloved Hooters.” We’ll miss the wings, but are glad for the job security.

80. C14-2016-0039 – Thornton II – District 5 – Conduct a public hearing and approve second reading of an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 2413 Thornton Road (West Bouldin Creek Watershed) from general commercial services (CS) district zoning to multifamily moderate-high density-conditional overlay (MF-4-CO) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s take: With a time certain of 6:00 p.m., this zoning case is likely to be taken up kind of late as well. Here’s some background for the eternally curious.

89. C814-2014-0120 – Austin Oaks PUD – District 10 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 3409, 3420, 3429, 3445, 3520, 3636, 3701, 3721, 3724, and 3737 Executive Center Drive and 7601, 7718 and 7719 Wood Hollow Drive (Shoal Creek Watershed) from community commercial (GR) district zoning, neighborhood commercial (LR) district zoning, limited office (LO) district zoning and family residence (SF-3) district zoning to planned unit development (PUD) district zoning.

Monitor’s take: This is how the agenda ends. Not with a whimper, but with a PUD. Though it’s gotten less press than the Grove (what hasn’t), we expect plenty of talk about this PUD. It has a time certain of 6:30, which means it will probably be late in the night, after everyone is all warmed up from talking about the Grove.

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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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