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TipSheet: City Council, 12.3.20

Thursday, December 3, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano

Today City Council will once again convene virtually for its regular Thursday meeting. As has been the practice throughout the pandemic, Council will take public comment on the main agenda at the beginning of the meeting, followed by zoning speakers around 2 p.m. As usual, we’ve highlighted the items on the agenda that we found interesting, and the entire agenda can be found online. As a bonus, updates and amendments will be posted to the City Council Message Board, so head over there if you’re looking to stay on top of things in real time.

Item 7: Approve an ordinance reauthorizing and modifying the pilot program adopted by Ordinance No. 20200604-047 that authorized specific businesses to use private parking lots and public right-of-way for expanded business operations.

Monitor’s Take: This item will expand the Shop the Block pilot program aimed at allowing businesses to keep operating, outside, during the pandemic, and allow the pilot to run through June. A city memo explains that staffers recommend the program now allow the use of some sound equipment and extension of the permit from 30 to 180 days. To date, 51 permits have been issued under the program, 26 of which are renewals.

Item 9: Authorize negotiation and execution of an exclusive negotiation agreement with Aspen Heights Partners, for terms governing a master developer contract for the redevelopment of 1215 Red River and 606 East 12th, the former HealthSouth tract. MBE/WBE: This solicitation was reviewed for subcontracting opportunities in accordance with City Code Chapter 2-9B Minority Owned and Women Owned Business Enterprise Procurement Program. For the services required for this solicitation, there were no subcontracting opportunities; therefore, no subcontracting goals were established in this solicitation phase, but will be negotiated in the contracting phase.

Monitor’s Take: With this item, Council will consider a master development contract for the proposed HealthSouth project. More details, and some renderings of the ambitious project can be found here.

Item 11: Approve a resolution authorizing the creation of temporary Chapter 380 programs that support tenants operating a childcare business, live-music venue, arts venue, or restaurant/bar and exempting these temporary Chapter 380 programs from the requirements of Resolution No. 20180830-056.

Item 12 Approve a resolution to establish enhanced program guidelines for the Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant, a $5,000,000 program to help support Austin-based live music venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Item 13: Approve a resolution to establish enhanced program guidelines for the Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund, a $5,000,000 program to help support Austin-based live music venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Item 46: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to establish an Iconic Venue Fund that provides seed funding to allow the Austin Economic Development Corporation to implement as a project, historical restoration and preservation projects, and/or visitor information centers as provided for under Texas Tax Code Sections 351.001(8) and 351.101.

Monitor’s Take: Once again, we expect these SAVES and SAVES-related items to take up the most time in today’s meeting (though as usual, who knows?). Though Council approved the $15 million SAVES ordinance in October, hammering out the details, including guidelines, funding and the mechanisms to help venues, child care facilities, restaurants and bars has taken some time. Ladies and gentlemen: We present the details, which hopefully will be straightened out in time to get money to those who need it after being shut down since March.

Item 16: Approve a resolution initiating zoning and rezoning and necessary neighborhood plan amendments for properties owned by the University of Texas System known as the Brackenridge tracts, generally located along Lake Austin Boulevard west of Hearn Street, including Lions Municipal Golf Course; the Pickle Research Campus West, generally located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Braker Lane and North MoPac Expressway; the Gateway tract, generally located at 1624 West 6th Street; and the Sematech tract, generally located at the northwest corner of the intersection of E Oltorf Street and Montopolis Drive.

Monitor’s Take: Here’s a complicated plan that has long been in the works. For a basic overview of the current state of affairs, check out this article from Jo Clifton, written about one million years ago in February.

Item 18: Authorize negotiation and execution of all documents and instruments necessary to acquire in fee simple approximately 3.1719 acres, more or less, situated in the Thomas Anderson Survey No. 90, Abstract No.28, Travis County, Texas, save and except those portions of said tract which were conveyed to the State of Texas in those deeds recorded under Document Nos. 2000147487 and 2019170519 of the Official Public Records of Travis County, Texas, located at 6901 Pasture Road, Austin, Texas from Cindee J. Schieffer and Marilyne Cox, for a total amount not to exceed $425,000.00, including closing costs.

Item 19: Authorize negotiation and execution of all documents and instruments necessary to acquire in fee simple Lot 1, Harry Terrio Subdivision, a subdivision in Travis County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 14, Page 64 of the Plat Records of Travis County, Texas, located at 5613 Joe Sayers Avenue, Austin, Texas from William Robin Whiteside and Patricia Ann Whiteside, for a total amount not to exceed $113,000.00 including closing costs.

Item 20: Authorize negotiation and execution of all documents and instruments necessary to acquire in fee simple approximately 5.001 acres, more or less, situated in the William Cannon League, Abstract No. 6, being a portion of Lot 3, J.G. and Henry Fitzhugh Subdivision, a subdivision of record in Volume 1, Page 57 of the Plat Records of Travis County, Texas, located at 7410 Cooper Lane, Austin, Texas from Scott Thomas Branyon and Kathryne Ann Stienke, for a total amount not to exceed $2,195,000.00 including closing costs.

Item 21: Authorize negotiation and execution of all documents and instruments necessary to acquire in fee simple Lots 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Block ‘G’, College Heights Addition, a subdivision in Travis County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 3, Page 4 of the Plat Records of Travis County, Texas, located at 1901, 1903, and 1907 E 11th Street as well as 1904 and 1908 College Row, Austin, Texas from Renaissance Family Properties LP, a Texas Limited Partnership, for a total amount not to exceed $2,220,000.00 including closing costs.

Monitor’s Take: Parks, parks, parks. As usual, these aren’t expected to be controversial items, but we do like noting new parkland coming into the city (and the relative costs of said parkland across the city).

Item 23: Authorize the negotiation and execution of a lease agreement with an option to purchase with 3423 Holdings, LLC, a Texas limited liability company, for approximately 30,000 square feet of office space for the Downtown Austin Community Court, located at 1719 East 2nd Street, for a 120 month lease with one ten-year extension option, in an amount not to exceed $21,562,500.

Monitor’s Take: As we reported today, the plan to build a new community court in East Austin has been scrapped, after Council Member Pio Renteria expressed concern that it had not been discussed with the neighborhood and wasn’t even downtown. What now? Stay tuned!

Item 44: Approve a resolution supporting House Bill 84, authored by Representative Gina Hinojosa, related to repealing the prohibition on inclusionary zoning.

Monitor’s Take: OK, this resolution will do very little, but we still reported on it because inclusionary zoning would be a complete game-changer in terms of affordable housing in Austin. And, it’s a friendly reminder that the Legislature is coming back. Soon.

Item 45: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to eliminate barriers to parking while participating in an election.

Monitor’s Take: This seems like a weird resolution at first, but reading through, it looks like the parking barriers to be removed are those that would apply to poll workers, who are at polling locations for much longer periods of time than people voting.

Item 51: Conduct a public hearing and consider second and third readings of an ordinance adopting the street impact fee land use assumptions, street impact fee capacity improvements plan, street impact fee service area boundaries, and street impact fees. Related to item #52

Item 52: Conduct a public hearing and consider second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 (Land Development) to include a street impact fee program. Related to item #51.

Monitor’s Take: Though it has taken a long time to get here, it looks like today might be the day that the city approves street impact fees. The fees are designed to “make development pay for itself” by paying for new roadways needed because of the development.

Item 74: NPA-2019-0015.01-5010 & 5102 Heflin Lane – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No.021107-Z-11, the East MLK 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 5010 and 5102 Heflin Lane, (Fort Branch Watershed) from Single Family to Higher Density Single Family land use.

Item 75: C14-2020-0022 5010 & 5102 Heflin Lane- Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 5010 and 5102 Heflin Lane (Fort Branch Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from single family residence small lot-neighborhood plan (SF-4A-NP) combining district zoning to townhouse and condominium residence-neighborhood plan (SF-6-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: Reading through the backup on this infill zoning case reads like a classic back-and-forth about density. Some welcome the added housing, others are concerned the neighborhood and roads can’t handle it. Worth noting the neighborhood association took a neutral stance based on a lack of involvement due to the pandemic, not because of the project itself.

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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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