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TipSheet: City Council, 4.11.19

Thursday, April 11, 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. A few programming notes: Council does not have an executive session planned today, which means the noon lunch break will likely be shorter than normal. Also, Item 27 will be taken up at or after 4 p.m. The land development code and Austin Strategic Mobility Plan items won’t be discussed until the afternoon, though public testimony may be taken earlier. And Council may break to check in on the Texas State Legislature, which is scheduled to take up revenue caps today. For the rest, the Office of the City Clerk posts a copy on its website, here.

Item 5: Discuss and take possible action regarding the Land Development Code Revision memorandum dated March 15, 2019, including the ‘Land Development Code Revision Policy Guidance’ attached to the memorandum.

Monitor’s Take: Today is everyone’s chance to comment on what is currently known as “CodeCronk”– a memo from our city manager about the land development code rewrite that asks five key questions. We got a preview of Council’s answers on Tuesday. Today Council members will take public testimony – they have vowed to keep testimony open until after dinner – but it’s unclear whether Council will make any final decisions on how the rewrite will proceed tomorrow. (The safe money is on their taking it up at the next meeting for a vote.)

Item 7: Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department Operating Budget (Ordinance No. 20180911-001) to add four full-time equivalent positions to implement the 2018 Affordable Housing Bond Program.

Monitor’s Take: In November, voters approved the biggest-ever affordable housing bond. Distributing that $250 million is going to be a lot of work, enough to hire four full-time staff members with $277,805 in funds provided by public improvement bonds, according to the agenda backup.

Item 20: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to provide council a report that provides a timeline for implementing the remaining recommendations from the High Quality Child Care and Pre-K3 Report.

Monitor’s Take: Every year, Council tends to focus on a few key issues, and this year one of those issues is definitely child care (get caught up on what-all is going on by listening to our recent radio show on the topic). This resolution, which comes out of the mayor pro tem’s office, is a roundup of sorts. It asks the city manager to compile existing recommendations, with either a timeline for implementation or an explanation for what is needed for implementation, essentially.

Item 26: Approve a resolution relating to funding for the Salvation Army’s shelters and case management activities.

Monitor’s Take: Another topic that Council is concentrating on this year is homelessness. In response to a need for more shelters, the Salvation Army has constructed a shelter for families at 4612 Tannehill Lane (the Rathgeber Center for Women and Children). That center will soon be ready to house 212 people – with a little more money. This resolution directs the city manager to find said money by June 1.

Item 33: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance on second and third readings amending the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan (Ordinance No. 20120614-058) by adopting the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan.

Monitor’s Take: We’ve already heard a lot about the ASMP – today is the day Council might take action. Council has promised to hear speakers after the lunch break, but once that’s done, we are expecting a lot of amendments, hashing out of details and at least an initial vote on this guiding document for our city’s multimodal plans.

Item 43: C814-01-0038.03 – Parmer-Walnut Creek PUD Amendment #3 – APC Towers TX – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1210 West Parmer Lane (Walnut Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from Planned Unit Development (PUD) district zoning to Planned Unit Development (PUD) district zoning, to change a condition of zoning. The ordinance may include waiver of fees, alternative funding methods, modifications of City regulations, and acquisition of property.

Monitor’s Take: This amendment, which would allow for construction of a cell phone tower, currently has a valid petition against it. That means a supermajority (nine votes) of Council members will have to support it. We have no earthly reason to suspect any of these protests will bring out the conspiracy theorists, but stranger things have happened. And could be, at least, a change after hours of combined testimony on comprehensive planning.

Item 44: NPA-2018-0012.02.SH – 2107 Alamo Street – Conduct a public hearing and approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 020801-91, the Upper Boggy Creek 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 2107 Alamo Street (Boggy Creek Watershed) from Single Family to Multifamily land use.

Item 45: C14-2018-0100.SH 2107- Alamo Street – Conduct a public hearing and approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 2107 Alamo Street (Boggy Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from family residence-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning to multifamily residence moderate-high density-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (MF-4-CO-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: Remember the Alamo? It’s this case, noted for its support by the Blackland CDC and opposition by neighbor Ora Houston.

Item 46: C14-2018-0065 – Town Lake Circle I – Conduct a public hearing and approve third reading of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 2215 and 2315 Town Lake Circle (Lady Bird Lake Watershed). 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).

Item 47: C14-2018-0064 – Town Lake Circle II – Conduct a public hearing and approve third reading 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: Remember the Town Lake Circle? We do! This will be the third time before City Council – both times the rezoning passed 10-1, with Council Member Greg Casar voting in opposition, and we don’t see why this will change for the third reading.

Item 48: Approve a resolution in opposition to a cap on property taxes that reduces City revenue and results in legislative interference with essential local services.

Monitor’s Take: Of course City Council opposes a reduced cap on property taxes it could drastically impact the city budget in a way that would make it very hard for the city to function. This resolution is a timely reiteration of that opposition. Just to the north, the state Legislature is set to consider Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2, which would impose a 2.5 percent cap on revenue raised by local governments from property taxes, and Council may break to watch those proceedings.

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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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