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TipSheet: City Council, 5.10.18

Thursday, May 10, 2018 by Elizabeth Pagano

Welcome to this week’s TipSheet. 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 14: Approve an ordinance amending Chapter 2-7 (Ethics and Financial Disclosure) related to the subpoena authority and complaint process of the Ethics Review Commission.

Monitor’s Take: After getting the power of subpoena, the city’s Ethics Review Commission promptly tested its bounds by asking after a whistleblower, causing a bit of scramble. Here, now, are the revised subpoena powers, which make things a little more clear.

Item 16: Approve a resolution to clarify membership requirements applicable to the Planning Commission under the City Charter.

Monitor’s Take: This week, it looks like Council will finally take up the issue of the Planning Commission’s composition. The city charter stipulates that two-thirds of commissioners not be “directly or indirectly connected with real estate and land development.” That requirement is clearly too vague – and it’s now up to Council to either narrow that definition, or broaden it, making its current makeup explicitly OK or definitively not-OK, essentially.

Item 18: 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: Six years in the making, this could be the final hearing for the special events ordinance. However, there are murmurings of a postponement, and given its track record, it’s hard to imagine that another delay is totally out of the question.

Item 19: Approve an ordinance amending City Code chapter 2-5 relating to council committees.

Monitor’s Take: Essentially, Council is looking at changing the way that committee appointments are made. Tuesday’s work session revealed a difference of opinion on the matter – which means hashing out the details could be a bit of a hassle.

Item 22: Approve a resolution declaring a need for Texas Housing Foundation, a regional housing authority, to operate an affordable multi-family development to be known as the Oaks on Lamar, located at 8071 North Lamar Boulevard (currently known as Santa Maria Village) within the city limits of Austin, Texas, and authorizing a cooperation agreement between the City and Texas Housing Foundation.

Item 23: Approve a resolution declaring a need for the Marble Falls Housing Authority, a Texas municipal housing authority, to provide project-based housing vouchers to the Oaks on Lamar (currently known as Santa Maria Village), located at 8071 North Lamar Boulevard within the city limits of Austin, Texas, and authorizing a cooperation agreement between the City and Marble Falls Housing Authority.

Item 24: Approve a resolution declaring a need for the Texas Housing Foundation, a regional housing authority, to operate an affordable multi-family development to be known as the Riverside Townhomes, located at 6118 Fairway Street (currently known as Fairway Village) within the city limits of Austin, Texas, and authorizing a cooperation agreement between the City and the Texas Housing Foundation.

Item 88: Conduct a public hearing and consider a resolution to be submitted to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs by THF Oaks on Lamar, LP, or an affiliated entity, supporting an allocation of low income housing tax credits for the proposed rehabilitation of an affordable multi-family development to be known as Oaks on Lamar located at 8071 North Lamar Boulevard (currently known as Santa Maria Village), and acknowledging that the City of Austin has more than twice the state average of units per capita supported by low income housing tax credits or private activity bonds at the time of application.

Item 89: Conduct a public hearing and consider a resolution for an application to be submitted to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs by THF Riverside Townhomes, LP, or an affiliated entity, for the rehabilitation of an affordable multi-family development to be known as the Riverside Townhomes, located at 6118 Fairway Street (currently known as Fairway Village); and acknowledging that the City has more than twice the state average of units per capita supported by low income housing tax credits or private activity bonds at the time of application.

Monitor’s Take: Though these entities have been around for a while, these five items represent a new tactic in the city’s multifaceted affordable housing strategy. Basically, if approved, the city will get some help in the management and repairs of some properties in need. Expect these all to be heard together sometime after 7 p.m.

Item 46: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to review and analyze the ‘People’s Plan’ recommendations and provide an analysis to Council and the Anti-Displacement Task Force.

Monitor’s Take: The People’s Plan has come to Council! This plan is about a dozen different ways to combat gentrification through various programs intended to create and retain low-income housing. So far, discussion of the plan has taken place at very welcoming commissions, and it should be interesting to see how the points can be practically implemented by the city.

Item 47: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to refrain from exercising or including certain provisions in City contracts related to the sale or trade-in of firearms or firearm accessories.

Monitor’s Take: As we reported on Wednesday, this resolution is aimed at reducing the flow of guns between the city and private market.

Item 48: Approve a resolution supporting sanctuary for three individuals living at houses of worship in Austin, and urging federal officials to prevent their deportation.

Monitor’s Take: This very specific resolution is aimed at protecting a Guatemalan family from deportation. Read their story here.

Item 56: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 2-1-206 relating to the Joint Sustainability Committee bylaws.

Monitor’s Take: This bit of housekeeping took up a surprising amount of air at City Council’s last meeting. Basically, some Council members seem awfully concerned that the committee does not have adequate district representation, and the puzzle of how to ensure that diversity exists proved to be quite the puzzle indeed. Maybe things will be clearer this time around, but who really knows.

Item 69: C14-2017-0123 – South Chisholm Professional Offices – District 5 – Approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1109 West Slaughter Lane (Slaughter Creek Watershed). Applicant’s Request: To rezone from single family residence-standard lot (SF-2) district zoning to limited office-mixed use (LO-MU) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: The main point of contention in this zoning case is whether this development should access Chisholm Trail or Slaughter Lane. The neighborhood is firmly against accessing the smaller Chisholm Trail, and the developer doesn’t necessarily disagree with that plan, but city staff sure does. We recapped this the first time it was at Council, for those who want to catch up on all the twists and turns.

Item 75: C14-01-0046.02 – The Baker School – District 9 – Conduct a public hearing and approve second and third readings of an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by zoning property locally known as 3908 Avenue B (Waller Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To zone from Unzoned (UNZ) district to community commercial – historic district – neighborhood conservation combining district – neighborhood plan (GR-HD-NCCD-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: As you may have read, AISD sold its Baker School to the Alamo Drafthouse in a move that may not have gotten the district the most money, but did promise much-needed affordable housing in Hyde Park. The details of that affordable housing component are likely to be discussed today, and questions about the residential component in general.

Item 78: C14H-2018-0013 – Smoot/Terrace Park Historic District – District 9 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property within the proposed boundaries of the Smoot/Terrace Park Historic District, roughly bounded by Pressler Street on the east, including the parcels on both sides of the street; W. 9th Street on the north, including the parcels on both sides of the street; W. 6th Street on the south, including only the parcels on the north side of the street; and Highland Avenue on the west, including the parcels on both sides of the street by adding historic area (HD) combining district overlay to all existing base zoning, but making no other zoning changes.

Monitor’s Take: Well, it looks like there is a valid petition against this historic district, which means that there is certainly a fight ahead. This district did not get a recommendation from the Planning Commission, and faces opposition from some residents within the proposed borders, so it’s likely to be a long discussion, at the very least.

Item 79: C14H-2018-0015 – Mary Street Historic District – District 9 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property within the proposed boundaries of the Mary Street Historic District on both sides of the 500 block of E. Mary Street by adding historic area (HD) combining district overlay to all existing base zoning, but making no other zoning changes.

Monitor’s Take: This tiny local historic district is much less likely to cause angst at today’s meeting. The district is a whittled-down version of a Travis Heights district, and though there is some opposition to its creation, opponents have barely registered their complaints at public hearings.

Item 83: C814-2017-0001 – 425 W. Riverside PUD – District 9 – Conduct a public hearing and approve on third reading an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 425 W. Riverside Drive (Lady Bird Lake Watershed) from Commercial-Liquor Sales – Vertical Mixed Use Building – Neighborhood Plan (CS-1-V-NP) combining district zoning to Planned Unit Development – Neighborhood Plan (PUD-NP). The ordinance may include waiver of fees, alternative funding methods, modifications of City regulations, and acquisition of property.

Item 90: Conduct a public hearing and consider a resolution to expand the Austin Downtown Public Improvement District by adding one parcel of land, at 425 West Riverside Drive, as requested by the property owner.

Monitor’s Take: This could be the last hearing for the “Snoopy PUD” (which could also be added to the downtown PID in one fell swoop). Though there isn’t necessarily opposition to this development, there are a lot of details to hammer out. Here’s our story from the first time it was before Council, which gets at some of the moving parts in play.

Item 91: Authorize negotiation and execution of a 120-month lease agreement with one option to extend for an additional ten years, for approximately 96,000 square feet of office space for Municipal Court with Met Center Partners-11, Ltd., a Texas Limited Partnership, located at Met Center II, Building 3, 7000 Metropolis Drive, in an amount not to exceed $31,278,785.

Monitor’s Take: Though this will probably pass, it’s doubtful that Council Member Ora Houston will vote for it. She made it clear on Tuesday that she was unhappy with the Met Center’s display of a satirical map of Austin that included a reference to “Tortilla Canyon,” but her objection did not seem like it had enough momentum to derail the lease.

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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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