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TipSheet: City Council, 3.28.19

Thursday, March 28, 2019 by Elizabeth Pagano

Welcome to this week’s TipSheet. Austin City Council is back again for its regular Thursday meeting and we’ve taken a stab at the items that might garner the most discussion. For the rest, the Office of the City Clerk posts a copy on its website, here.

Item 12: Approve an ordinance authorizing negotiation and execution of all documents and instruments necessary or desirable to purchase in fee simple approximately 87 properties at high risk of flooding within the Onion Creek Watershed in a total amount not to exceed $45,000,000, establishing acquisition and relocation guidelines, and waiving requirements of City Code Chapter 14-3.

Monitor’s Take: In response to the 2013 Halloween flood, Council began the process of flood buyouts. This item represents phases two and three of the buyouts, which will encompass 146 properties when all is said and done.

Item 15: Approve adoption of the Brush Square Master Plan.

Monitor’s Take: Of particular note here, addressed during work session, is the fact that while the first phase of the project will mostly just spruce up the downtown park, according to the backup: “Phase 2 may be implemented when the fire and emergency operations functions are relocated to a new state of the art facility in downtown. In this next phase, the historic 1930s Art Moderne Fire Station would be adapted into a new Downtown Visitor Center and café with indoor and outdoor seating.” We expect more discussion about this today.

Item 16: Authorize negotiation and execution of an agreement with Payor Alliance for AT Home LLC, for a Pay for Success project delivering permanent supportive housing services for a 60-month period, for a total agreement amount not to exceed $6,000,000.

Item 17: Approve an ordinance amending the fiscal year 2018-2019 Pay for Success Reserve Fund Operating Budget (Ordinance No. 20180911-001) to appropriate $1,200,000 for a project delivering permanent supportive housing services. Related to item 19-1172.

Monitor’s Take: In this, the Year of Homelessness, City Council is full of plans, some more complicated than others. This one is definitely on the more complicated end of things, and so we direct you to Jo Clifton’s whisper, published today, for a better explanation.

Item 30: Authorize negotiation and execution of a multi-term contract with WorkQuest, to provide cleanup services for overpasses and under bridges, for up to four years for a total contract amount not to exceed $1,560,000.

Monitor’s Take: Council is pretty irritated that the Texas Department of Transportation will no longer be cleaning under bridges and overpasses in Austin – leaving the city with this pricey bill and an unfunded mandate – but there’s probably not much they can do about it.

Item 32: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Section 12-1 (Traffic Regulation and Administration) and 12-2 (Bicycles) relating to the safe operation of micro-mobility devices.

Monitor’s Take: New scooter regulations that would also raise fines for cyclists in the city have caught the attention of quite a few people, but that fight will likely take place at another meeting; this item is probably going to be postponed. (There might be a fight about that postponement, though.)

Item 34: Approve a resolution reaffirming the City Council’s commitment to Austin’s No Kill animal-sheltering policy and supporting Austin Animal Center’s goal of a 95% or greater live-release rate.

Monitor’s Take: Don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything, Austin has remained no-kill. This resolution merely reiterates that status and goal, and thanks the shelter staff for exceeding the goal of a 95 percent live-release rate in 2018 – the highest of any large city animal shelter in the U.S. with a rate of 98 percent – and continuing “to improve and thrive under interim leadership despite challenges including the shelter having been designed prior to the City’s commitment to No Kill sheltering.”

Item 39: Approve a resolution supporting legislation that would repeal Subchapter D, Chapter 212 of the Local Government Code.

Item 41: Approve a resolution amending the City’s legislative agenda to include support for legislation related to inclusionary zoning.

Item 42: Approve a resolution amending the City’s legislative agenda to include support for legislation that would allow to-go retail sales at Texas breweries.

Monitor’s Take: These three items are an insight into city action up the road at the state Capitol.

Item 39 is pretty interesting. Back in 1995, when the city was annexing land around what is now 183 and 620, state legislation was passed to prohibit the city from requiring a transportation impact analysis or collecting transportation impact fees, which was a boon for the developer of Lakeline Mall. In the ensuing decades, however, it has meant missed opportunities for the city. According to the resolution from Council Member Jimmy Flannigan’s office, “more than 124 individual site plans have been filed for this area within the City of Austin, representing 124 missed opportunities to require proportional traffic mitigation from developments that have an impact on our communities’ infrastructure.” That could be changed if House Bill 1272 from Rep. John Bucy III’s office passes, repealing Subchapter D, Chapter 212, Local Government Code. Flannigan’s resolution would throw city support behind that effort.

Item 41 is another shot at one of the ways the state most effectively hamstrings development of affordable housing in Austin. Currently, the state prevents the city from requiring affordable housing in new development – this is called “inclusionary zoning.” Council Member Leslie Pool’s resolution would support HB 3050, filed by state Rep. Gina Hinojosa, which would repeal that ban.

And Item 42 is another chapter in the ongoing fight over what can and cannot be sold at Texas breweries.

Item 50: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan (Ordinance No. 20120614-058) by adopting the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan.

Monitor’s Take: The ASMP has been all over City Hall the past month, and today it lands before City Council. Given the extensive recommendations from the city’s various boards and commissions, we aren’t expecting any Council action today (there’s a lot to read, including a lengthy list from the Planning Commission, passed two days ago). However, Council will probably at least take public testimony, which could be an opportunity to take the public’s temperature on transportation concerns.

Item 54: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance on second and third readings regarding floodplain variances for the construction of a new single-family residence at 4515 Avenue D within the 25-year and 100-year floodplains of Waller Creek.

Monitor’s Take: The last time this was before Council, it split the dais fairly evenly. This time around we expect the same sorts of questions to be raised about building in such a flood-prone area; catch up here to see where things currently stand.

Item 62: C14H-2018-0151 – Cisco’s Bakery and Restaurant- Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1511 E. 6th Street. Applicant’s Request: To rezone from transit oriented development-neighborhood plan (TOD-NP) combining district zoning to transit oriented development-historic landmark- neighborhood plan (TOD-H-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: Not controversial, but neat, Cisco’s is now set to get historic zoning from the city. A vote to preserve the restaurant passed unanimously earlier this year at the Historic Landmark Commission.

Item 73: NPA-2017-0016.02 – Flats on Shady – Conduct a public hearing and approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 030327-12, the Govalle/Johnston Terrace 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 1125 Shady Lane (Boggy Creek Watershed) from Single Family to Multifamily land use.

Item 74: C14-2017-0094 Flats on Shady – Conduct a public meeting and approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1125 Shady Lane (Boggy Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from family residence-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning to multifamily residence-moderate-high density-neighborhood plan (MF-4-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: This one has been lingering since being approved on first reading in August. We’re not entirely sure what’s changed since then, but at the time the main concerns were over traffic and density.

Item 77: C14-2018-0065 – Town Lake Circle I – Conduct a public hearing and approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 2215 and 2315 Town Lake Circle (Lady Bird Lake Watershed)

Item 78: C14-2018-0064 – Town Lake Circle II – Conduct a public hearing and approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 2423 and 2439 Town Lake Circle, and 2425 Elmont Drive (Lady Bird Lake and Country Club West Watersheds). Applicant Request: To rezone from East Riverside Corridor (ERC) district zoning to East Riverside Corridor (ERC) district zoning, to change the subdistrict from neighborhood mixed use (NMU) to corridor mixed use (CMU).

Monitor’s Take: Though it sailed through the Planning Commission, this case continues to attract a lot of attention. Last night, opponents gathered to protest the “East Riverside Domain,” and that’s likely to be the case again today (though protesters were less than effective at the Planning Commission). On first reading, Council Member Greg Casar was the only person to vote against the zoning, but political pressure seems to have increased since then, so that might not be the case this time around.

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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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