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TipSheet: City Council, 2.1.18

Thursday, February 1, 2018 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council will hold its first regular meeting of this year 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 12: Approve an ordinance on third reading authorizing execution of the first amendment to a settlement agreement relating to the development of property located at 6409 City Park Road (Champion Tract); amending Ordinance No. 960613-J; modifying provisions of the Lake Austin Watershed regulations in Ordinance No. 840301-F; and modifying provisions of the Hill Country Roadway regulations in City Code Chapter 25-2.

Monitor’s Take: Oh, yeah, Champion is back again. First of all, despite its appearance early in the agenda, this won’t be taken up until after 2 p.m., per a discussion at Tuesday’s work session. Second of all, despite a trip to court and the Environmental Commission since the last time Council made a decision about this tract, it’s pretty safe money to guess that this decades-old case will continue its streak of messiness. We are expecting this to go long, and we have no idea whether Council will reaffirm its earlier decision to approve amending the development agreement or follow the Environmental Commission’s lead and reject it.

Item 13: Discussion and possible action regarding Attorney General letter ruling No. OR2018-00740 concerning public information requests related to search for City Manager.

Monitor’s Take: So, the Texas attorney general didn’t back City Council’s choice to keep the city manager search under wraps. (Or, you know, try to keep it under wraps.) At this point, we don’t think anyone is going to fight against releasing the documents, but there is a question of what all will be released, and when.

Item 14: 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: You’ll never believe it, but the special events ordinance is going to be postponed. This time, it will be postponed until May.

Item 42: Approve adoption of the Aquatic Master Plan as developed by the Parks and Recreation Department.

Monitor’s Take: At long last, and one task force later, the Aquatic Master Plan is set to be adopted by Council. Basically, this just lays out a strategy for managing the various pools and splash pads across the city things like bonds and funding will be part of other conversations. One point of interest that came up at the work session Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo is planning to add a safeguard that would put any decisions about closing pools before City Council.

Item 57: Approve a resolution authorizing the City Manager to provide funds in an amount not to exceed $200,000 to the Texas Department of Transportation as a match to a Transportation Alternatives Program federal grant, to expand Austin’s B-Cycle bike share program.

Item 58: Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 City of Austin Fee Schedule (Ordinance No. 20170913-002) to set administrative fees and use rent fees for monitoring, enforcement, parking infrastructure and overall management of the Shared Bike program and for the use of the right-of-way and transportation infrastructure for potential on-going privatized dockless bike share operations.

Item 59: Approve a resolution authorizing the City Manager to establish a dockless bike share pilot demonstration program and the development of a permit process for permanent privatized dockless bike share operations.

Monitor’s Take: Are dockless bike shares coming to Austin? Or, rather, will the dockless bike shares in Austin soon be legal? Maybe! As we reported today (and previously), other cities have faced some problems with bikes being piled up and flung about without the structure of stations. It should be an interesting conversation, particularly given the city’s previous investment in docked B-cycles (which are also scheduled to expand today).

Item 63: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to create a plan to periodically assess existing City regulations and rules.

Monitor’s Take: Essentially, this is a resolution that would take a look at how the city is being run. It’s a hilariously bureaucratic take on making things less bureaucratic, and we wish it the best.

Item 66: Approve a resolution appointing Spencer Cronk as the City Manager and establishing compensation and benefits.

Monitor’s Take: Hey, look at that. After more than a year, Austin is set to get a new city manager. Welcome! As we reported yesterday, Council is prepped to offer Cronk a salary of $325,000.

Item 68: Approve a resolution initiating a benchmarking study comparing Austin Water and Austin Resource Recovery to other Texas utilities and developing recommendations concerning Affordability Standards for both city-owned utilities.

Monitor’s Take: This resolution, sponsored by Council Member Ellen Troxclair, would let us know how our water and trash bills compare to other city’s services. It got a bit of pushback at the Tuesday work session, but we’re hard-pressed to see this not passing. Stay tuned!

Item 97: NPA-2017-0005.03 – Affordable Dream Homes – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20010927-05, the Montopolis 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 2404 Thrasher Lane (Country Club East & Carson Creek Watershed) from Commercial to Higher Density Single Family land use.

Item 98: C14-2017-0098 – Affordable Dream Homes – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 2404 Thrasher Lane (Carson Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from Commercial Services – Neighborhood Plan (CS-NP) combining district zoning to Urban Family Residence – Conditional Overlay – Neighborhood Plan (SF-5-CO-NP) combining district zoning.

Item 111: C14-2017-0126 – 2110 Thrasher Lane – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 2110 Thrasher Lane (Carson Creek Watershed). Applicant 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: We’re going to just lump these all together, which might not be fair, but they are both up for discussion, and they will both spark discussion about gentrification in Montopolis. In particular, we are expecting sparks to fly over Item 111, which is a bid to build condos on the site of a former trailer park. The other case is also a bit of a mess.

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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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