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TipSheet: City Council, 2.16.17

Thursday, February 16, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council will hold its regular meeting again today, and 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.

5. Authorize negotiation and execution of a professional services agreement with HALFF ASSOCIATES, INC., (staff recommendation) or one of the other qualified responders for Request for Qualifications Solicitation No. CLMP209 to provide planning and design services for the Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park Master Plan Project in an amount not to exceed $350,000.

Monitor’s Take: This is a fairly simple matter of choosing a firm to create the Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park and approving the money to fund a plan. However, it’s important to remember that whole Decker Golf Course thing was never truly resolved. While the issue of building a golf course may not come up during this particular meeting, focusing on the future of the park is sure to bring golf back to the fore at some point. (Golf pun intended.)

6. Authorize negotiation and execution of a competitive sealed proposal agreement with GADBERRY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., for the construction improvements of a multi-purpose meeting space and associated tasting kitchen in the Convention Center in an amount not to exceed $2,475,000. (District 1)

Monitor’s Take: Curious about whether this is something that could be addressed through the proposed expansion of the city’s convention center? So was Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council Member Ellen Troxclair, who were told in this week’s backup that the project is a capital improvement from a 2011 request for proposal process. The answer to their question further explains that, when completed, “the renovated space will include a reception area, think tank, design studio, culinary studio and client tasting kitchen. In addition, the space will be a rentable space that utilizes innovation, technology and other high-end strategies that will generate additional revenue and pay for itself in 3-5 years.”

14. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 2 relating to City Council committees.

Monitor’s Take: At its last meeting, Council agreed to pare down the number of committees, but it still has to decide who serves on what, and how that should be determined. There is also a bigger discussion on hand about what committees should do, but that may be put off for a discussion at a later date.

18. Approve negotiation and execution of Amendment No. 1 to a contract with CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF CENTRAL TEXAS to increase funding for legal and counseling services to immigrants in an amount not to exceed $200,000 for the period April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, for a total contract amount not to exceed $800,000.

Monitor’s Take: With a press conference scheduled on this topic for the morning and ongoing federal and state heat, this emergency action to increase funding for local immigrants promises to be a significant item, as the city wrestles to find ways to forward local priorities in a climate increasingly hostile to those values.

27. Authorize negotiation and execution of a contract with SIGNATURE SCIENCE LLC, for forensic serological and DNA analysis of biological evidence, in an amount not to exceed $2,000,000.

Monitor’s Take: More fallout from the DNA lab fiasco here. According to the agenda backup, this contract will allow for testing of 60 more cases a month and, because this lab is located in Austin, will have lower shipping costs. All good news, since no one really knows when (and if!) the APD lab will reopen.

29. Authorize negotiation and execution of a 36-month contract with REPUBLIC SERVICES, or one of the other qualified offerors to Request For Proposals SLW0514, to provide citywide refuse, recycling, organics and special waste collections for City facilities, in an amount not to exceed $7,725,000, with three 12-month extension options in an amount not to exceed $3,090,000 per extension option, for a total contract amount not to exceed $16,995,000.

Monitor’s Take: As we reported today, this contract received the rare “double reject” from the Zero Waste Advisory Commission. That’s sure to factor in to Council’s deliberations, but they also have the option of extending the contract while they figure out what they are going to do.

30. Authorize negotiation and execution of a 12-month contract through the LOCAL GOVERNMENT PURCHASING COOPERATIVE, administered by TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL BOARDS (BUYBOARD) with TASER INTERNATIONAL, to provide body worn cameras with software, storage, and support, in an estimated amount of $925,000, with four 12-month extension options for cloud storage, licenses, and equipment maintenance and support in an estimated amount of $665,500 for the first extension option, $800,000 for the second extension option, $800,000 for the third extension option, and $815,000 for the final extension option, for a total contract amount not to exceed $4,005,500.

Monitor’s Take: On Tuesday, a judge barred Austin from moving forward with this newest attempt to buy body cameras for APD, so we will just call this one “tabled” for the time being.

32. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to develop recommendations to extend Capitol View Corridor protections to areas of east Austin.

Monitor’s Take: Oh boy, as we reported with KUT today, the proposal to expand the city’s Capitol view corridors east has already riled up a lot of people. It makes sense that downtown development interests (including those hoping to develop the Brackenridge Hospital land) would not be crazy about stricter height limits on downtown buildings. However, Council Member Ora Houston is supporting the expansion in an attempt to bring view equity to historically marginalized communities on the east side of town, which could carry some ideological weight with politicians.

33. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to develop recommendations for reforming the City’s economic development incentives policies.

Monitor’s Take: As we reported on Wednesday, the city is looking to revamp its economic development incentives in a way that encourages middle-class job creation and things like job training (and jobs!) in places that are sorely lacking such resources. This is just a resolution, of course, but nonetheless is looking at a postponement to March 2.

40. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to bring forward a specific proposal or proposals for creating an entity or entities capable of structuring public-private partnerships to assist in accomplishing the priority projects and goals of the City.

Monitor’s Take: This resolution, which is sponsored by Tovo, would look into creating an office to handle public-private partnerships to further such city goals as “development of affordable housing, redevelopment, revitalization and other priority projects.”

45. C14-2016-0023.SH – Elysium Park – District 7 – Approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 3300 Oak Creek Drive (Walnut Creek Watershed) from industrial park-conditional overlay (IP-CO) combining district zoning and rural residence (RR) district zoning to multifamily residence-moderate-high density-conditional overlay (MF-4-CO) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: This would finish off the deal that won unanimous support from Council on its first reading, despite a huge amount of neighborhood opposition. Council Member Leslie Pool noted that some of the more specific details were still being worked out at Tuesday’s work session, but we expect that the prospect of truly affordable housing west of MoPac will remain popular with Council this go around as well.

56. 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: Yes, folks, this case is still around and is set for a time certain of 4 p.m. today. If you need a refresher, here’s some background.

57. C14-2016-0050 – Plaza Saltillo Tract 1/2/3 – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve second reading of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 901, 1011, and 1109 E. 5th Street (Waller Creek Watershed) from transit oriented development-neighborhood plan (TOD-NP) combining district zoning to transit oriented development-central urban redevelopment-neighborhood plan (TOD-CURE-NP) combining district zoning.

58. C14-2016-0049 – Plaza Saltillo Tract 4/5 – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve second reading of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1211 and 1301 E. 5th Street (Waller Creek Watershed; Lady Bird Lake Watershed) from transit oriented development-neighborhood plan (TOD-NP) combining district zoning to transit oriented development-central urban redevelopment-neighborhood plan (TOD-CURE-NP) combining district zoning.

59. C14-2016-0051 – Plaza Saltillo Tract 6 – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve second reading of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 413 Navasota Street (Lady Bird Lake Watershed) from transit oriented development-neighborhood plan (TOD-NP) combining district zoning to transit oriented development-central urban redevelopment-neighborhood plan (TOD-CURE-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: Yeah, so, last week this was approved on first reading, but there are still some major details to be worked out for this huge east side development. Neighbors who opposed the development seemed willing to compromise on the 125-foot height if developers upped the level of affordable housing, but we are curious to see whether Council members have taken this past week to really figure out what Endeavor Real Estate Group’s promise was way back in 2014 when it won the right to develop the 11-odd acres from the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Developers (and Capital Metro) said that it was clear at the time that there would be 15 percent affordable housing, with an extra 10 percent contingent on city participation. However, all media reports from the time and most everyone else’s recollection have the promise at 25 percent.

60. C14-2016-0063.SH – Villas at Vinson Oak Rezone – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 4507 and 4511 Vinson Drive (Williamson Creek Watershed) 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: Last week, a hella-long discussion on this case, which also has a valid petition against it, resulted in a postponement. Despite that, this could be another long one.

63. C814-2014-0120 – Austin Oaks PUD – District 10 – Conduct a public hearing and approve second reading of an ordinance amending 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: Even with the Plaza Saltillo item, this rezoning promises to be the biggest battle on the agenda. A few weeks ago, neighbors submitted a valid petition, which means that a supermajority of Council (or nine votes) will have to approve the rezoning for it to take. That might be tough, especially given the recent election of Council Member Alison Alter, who was elected in no small part due to her stance on this particular case. For context, this PUD case has historically been pretty heated, and just yesterday NW Austin Neighbors put out a call to have people show up that included this warning, “WE EXPECT SURPRISE CHANGES TO THIS PUD APPLICATION by the applicant & their agent. WE NEED YOU TO ATTEND to witness and speak up.” There is also a time certain of 6:30 p.m. set for this, which means it will not be taken up before then.

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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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