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TipSheet: City Council, 4.12.18

Thursday, April 12, 2018 by Elizabeth Pagano

Welcome to this week’s abbreviated TipSheet for what promises to be a very abbreviated meeting. Mayor Steve Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council members Delia Garza and Ellen Troxclair are all out today, leaving Council Member Alison Alter to chair the meeting. Because of the large number of absences, Council has agreed to postpone most of the “fun stuff” and start at 11:30 a.m. instead of the usual 10 a.m. After citizen communication at noon, there are a couple of things that might be worth watching, though. Here are the items 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 25: Approve appointments and certain related waivers to citizen boards and commissions, to Council committees and other intergovernmental bodies and removal and replacement of members; and amendments to board and commission bylaws.

Item 28: Approve an ordinance waiving city code section 2-5-102 (Membership of Council Committees) related to the number of members per committee.

Monitor’s Take: At its April 26 meeting, City Council is set to tackle committee setup in a more comprehensive way. (Now that the committees have been pared down after being pared up, the Council members would like to discuss and possibly change how they are appointed to committees, and how many of them can serve on the various committees that remain.) This is not that. This is a very narrowly focused effort to appoint Council Member Alison Alter to the Audit and Finance Committee while Council Member Ellen Troxclair is on maternity leave. Otherwise, the committee could not do business because it is only four members, and it kind of needs to.

Item 38: C14-2016-0136 – Broadmoor – District 7 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 11501 Burnet Road (Walnut Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from north burnet/gateway-commercial mixed use-neighborhood plan (NBG-CMU-NP) combining district zoning to north burnet/gateway-transit oriented development- -neighborhood plan (NBG-TOD-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: At Tuesday’s work session, Council Member Leslie Pool made no bones about her support for this rezoning which, despite being a big project, has sailed through the process thus far. Though we aren’t expecting it to encounter huge obstacles at the meeting today, it’s one of the few cases that won’t be postponed, so why not mention it? Also worth mentioning: The case will be up for first reading only.

Item 50: C14H-2018-0014 – West Sixth Street Bridge over Shoal Creek – District 9 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as the West Sixth Street Bridge over Shoal Creek in the 800 block of W. 6th Street from public (P) district to public – historic landmark (P-H) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: Again, no huge controversy here. But did you know that the Sixth Street bridge over Shoal Creek is historic? Council is poised to make that official today based on the fact that the bridge, built in 1887, replaced the very first bridge in Austin. According to the backup material, “The width of the bridge matched the width of the street as laid out in Edwin Waller’s 1839 plan of Austin, and was spacious enough to accommodate wagons traveling in both directions as well as providing tracks for mule-drawn street cars. The bridge was crucial to the development of the areas to the west as residential districts, and its width allowed for the necessary vehicular traffic.” Now you know.

Item 51: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending the Regulating Plan for the North Burnet Gateway Zoning District to create a new Commercial Mixed Use-Gateway Zone subdistrict.

Monitor’s Take: This is the only public hearing scheduled for today, meaning it must be taken up today, no earlier than 4 p.m. This ordinance would create a new subdistrict to the North Burnet/Gateway Zoning District, extending floor area ratio, height and sign standards of the Domain to three new parcels. According to the backup: “The proposed CMU-Gateway Zone will grant a base entitlement of 140 feet. Development in the proposed subdistrict will be entitled to seek a FAR of 8:1 and a height of 308 feet with a development bonus.”

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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 2015, 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 as of 2015, 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

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