TipSheet: City Council, 6.15.17
City Council will hold its regular meeting again today. 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.
15. Authorize execution of a service agreement compensating the City for providing fire services within Travis County Emergency Service District #4.
Monitor’s Take: This consolidation has been in process for about a year. With this step, the Austin Fire Department will move forward with covering the ESD 4 area and transitioning ESD 4 firefighters into Austin’s fire department this summer, making them official employees on October 1, with the agreement to renew annually on that date in the future.
16. Approve second and 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; creating offenses and establishing penalties.
23. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 8-1 related to park use, enforcement, amplified sound, parking, motor vehicles, penalties, and limits on special event days at Zilker Metropolitan Park, Auditorium and Vic Mathias Shores at Town Lake Metropolitan Park, and Fiesta Garden/Edward Rendon Senior Metropolitan Park at Festival Beach; and amending City Code Chapter 12-5 related to parking at park facilities and property, and creating offenses and establishing penalties.
Monitor’s Take: Take a gander at Item 16 now, if you want, but judging from the tone of the work session, it will most likely be postponed. Item 23, however, was already postponed to allow Council Member Ann Kitchen to weigh in, and will likely be moved forward in some capacity today. This ordinance, if you recall, comes out of the recommendations of the Parkland Events Task Force, and would cap events in downtown parks as well as establish some baselines for things like noise and parking during park-held events.
20. Authorize negotiation and execution of an encroachment agreement with Austin Convention Enterprises, Inc. for an aerial walkway bridge and subsurface pier within the 4th Street right-of-way located at 400 1/2 Neches Street (District 9).
Monitor’s Take: Hey! It’s skybridge day at Council! We’ve covered this item extensively – it will connect the Hilton to the Austin Convention Center and was recently recommended by the Planning Commission. It will most likely pass Council as well, but we enjoy discussions about skybridges, so we are keeping our eye on this regardless.
24. Approve up to 20 days that Republic Square Park may be closed to the general public per fiscal year.
Monitor’s Take: While this item is intended to be kind of vague to give room for planning the Republic Square revamp, it was postponed last week for being a little too vague. Council Member Greg Casar, in particular, was concerned that the original language would have allowed the square to be closed for things like private weddings and seemed none-too-keen about the prospect.
25. Authorize purchase of postage from the United States Postal Services for notices related to CodeNEXT in an amount not to exceed $200,000.
Monitor’s Take: Yeah, so it turns out that noticing the whole city is kind of expensive.
56. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Section 12-3-5(B) to extend metered parking hours on Wednesday nights.
Monitor’s Take: Remember when we used to fight about paying for parking downtown? There’s been virtually no ruckus (and no virtual ruckus) about extending paid parking times to Wednesdays, so apparently those days are long gone.
61. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to develop recommendations addressing how the City of Austin and Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority can cooperate to ensure that staff reports for zoning cases and site plan applications include information regarding the impact on public transit.
Monitor’s Take: This resolution, which comes out of Council Member Delia Garza’s office, is small, but significant. We are mostly including it in this TipSheet to marvel at how transit is not included in (most) zoning cases already.
62. Approve a resolution establishing a 2018 Charter Review Commission to align the City Charter with changes to municipal ordinances and to make recommendations on improving other functions of city government.
Monitor’s Take: The last time a Charter Review Commission was convened, we ended up with a whole new City Council (in a roundabout way). This time, the intention is a lot less dramatic – with a focus on mostly cleanup and campaign finance. However! Don’t stop rumbling about “switch to strong mayor” and “other hysteria” on our account! We will just be over here, hoping for drama.
64. Approve a resolution directing the City Auditor to amend the City Auditor’s Fiscal Year 2017 Audit Plan to include an audit of Austin Fire Department overtime.
Monitor’s Take: The recent approval of $3.5 million in firefighter overtime stuck in the craw of most City Council members – even those who voted in favor of the emergency funding. Here, now, is the search for answers (with those answers to come after an audit is completed).
69. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to make recommendations on non-criminal policies or practices the City could implement to address violations of the Juvenile Curfew Ordinance.
99. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance that continues and readopts City Code Chapter 9-3, relating to juvenile day and night time curfews.
Monitor’s Take: The current curfew ordinance is set to expire, and Casar, for one, thinks that is a good thing. Let’s see if everyone agrees!
70. Approve a resolution relating to children’s neighborhood beverage stands.
Monitor’s Take: Council Member Ellen Troxclair has been blowing up social media with memes about this resolution, which seeks to eliminate the red tape for children trying to sell lemonade. We can’t imagine this will actually be controversial, but it’s pretty fun.
71. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to take actions regarding green infrastructure and green stormwater infrastructure.
Monitor’s Take: This resolution, which comes out of Kitchen’s office, directs the city manager to develop an “integrated green infrastructure plan.” That includes things like rain gardens, green roofs and rainwater harvesting. Though these are things that the city has supported in the past in theory, the resolution would link this scattered support together in more of a cohesive plan.
72. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to identify funding for childcare services for participants in the Passages Program.
Monitor’s Take: Though there isn’t opposition to this funding per se (the program offers child care for those experiencing homelessness), there is some concern with funding this program out of the normal budget cycle. And with funding running out at the end of September, options are limited.
80. Approve the appointment of Julie Oliver to the Central Health Board of Managers.
Monitor’s Take: As we have reported, there seems to be mounting concern with Oliver’s appointment to the Central Health board. This opposition is in two camps. There are those that think her appointment should be denied in the name of diversity and more Latino representation on the board. There is also a loud outcry about Oliver’s employment at St. David’s HealthCare and whether or not that association is, essentially, in conflict with the role of a Central Health board member.
87. C14-2016-0125 – 13007 Cantarra – District 1 -Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 13007 Cantarra Drive (Harris Branch Watershed) from neighborhood commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay (LR-MU-CO) combining district zoning to neighborhood commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay (LR-MU-CO) combining district zoning, to change a condition of zoning.
Monitor’s Take: At the Zoning and Platting Commission, this case provoked a discussion about reasonable use and gas stations. I guess we shall see if that will continue at Council.
94. C14-2017-0043 – Onion Creek Greenbelt – District 2 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as the west side of South Pleasant Valley Road near the intersection of Springdale Lane (Onion Creek Watershed) from single family residence-standard lot (SF-2) district zoning to public (P) district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant public (P) district zoning. Zoning and Platting Commission Recommendation: To grant public (P) district zoning. Owner/Applicant: City of Austin. Agent: Parks and Recreation Department (Gregory Montes). City Staff: Wendy Rhoades, 512-974-7719.
95. C14-2017-0044 – Onion Creek Metro Park – Greenbelt – District 2 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by zoning and rezoning property locally known 7004 Onion Creek Drive and 8652 Nuckols Crossing Road (Onion Creek Watershed; South Boggy Creek Watershed) from interim-rural residence (I-RR) district zoning, family residence (SF-3) district zoning, mobile home residence (MH) district zoning, mobile home residence-conditional overlay (MH-CO) combining district zoning, community commercial (GR) district zoning, warehouse/limited office- conditional overlay (W/LO-CO) combining district zoning and public (P) district zoning to public (P) district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant public (P) district zoning. Zoning and Platting Commission Recommendation: To grant public (P) district zoning. Owner/Applicant: City of Austin. Agent: Parks and Recreation Department (Gregory Montes). City Staff: Wendy Rhoades, 512-974-7719.
Monitor’s Take: In case you missed the news, a huge new park is officially on the way to Southeast Austin.
100. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending Article 12 of City Code Chapter 25-12, the Energy Code, to require that new residential and commercial buildings are constructed to reserve roof top space to more easily accommodate solar equipment.
104. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance adopting plumbing requirements consistent with the 2015 International Residential Code and/or the 2015 Uniform Plumbing Code; and adopting specific amendments to the codes. (THE PUBLIC HEARING FOR THIS ITEM WAS HELD AND CLOSED ON JUNE 8, 2017)
Monitor’s Take: Trust us when we say that these things are related. Also, trust us when we say the plumbing code stuff is complicated – we were right with Council Member Ora Houston’s exploding head last week. This week, Council members will deliberate on the different codes, and the discussion will hopefully be a bit more on our level…
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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.