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TipSheet: City Council, 6.20.19

Thursday, June 20, 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. This meeting is the last before Council’s summer break, and in order to tackle the 191-item agenda, it has been divided into meetings today and yesterday (Wednesday), with an option to reconvene Friday. Most of the contentious items will be taken up today (and potentially Friday), so we’ve focused on those. In terms of time-certain items, Council has intimated it will take up the Lake Austin items first, vote on the homelessness items after the dinner break at 5:30, and take up the zoning case that is Item 132 at 6 p.m. As always, the Office of the City Clerk posts a copy on its website, here.

Item 69: Authorize negotiation and execution of a multi-term revenue contract with Pecan Grove Golf Partners, to provide management and operation of the Butler Pitch and Putt golf course, for up to 20 years for a total estimated revenue contract amount of $2,500,000. (Note: Revenue contracts are exempt from the City Code Chapter 2-9C Minority Owned and Women Owned Business Enterprise Procurement Program; therefore, no subcontracting goals were established) (Public comment was received on June 6, 2019. No public comment will be taken).

Monitor’s Take: At its last meeting, Council took public testimony on this controversial item, but put off a decision until today. Butler Pitch and Putt has been operated by the same family for more than 70 years, but that could come to an end today due to the lack of a signature on a form and the city’s requirements for bidding on concessions. About five years back, Council cut the family a break despite city process, but this incarnation of Council doesn’t seem so inclined. But will that inclination stand up to public scrutiny and the well-established Austin narrative around “losing” local treasures? We’ll find out today.

Item 87: Approve an ordinance repealing Ordinance No. 860130-A, relating to certain properties located along Lake Austin.

Item 89: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to provide options regarding use of City property taxes to fund initiatives regarding homelessness, permanent supportive housing, mental health and addiction issues, child care, and early childhood education, after Council repeals Ordinance No. 860130-A related to property tax collection for certain properties along Lake Austin.

Monitor’s Take: Recently, the Austin-American Statesman brought to light the fact that some (fancy!) properties on Lake Austin weren’t paying taxes like the rest of the city. The reaction was almost immediate, with Council members calling a press conference to denounce the exemptions. It seems hard to envision a world in which this ordinance will not be repealed, but we are looking forward to hearing from those who have promised to show up to oppose the change. For some reason, their time has been treasured above others this meeting, and this is expected to be taken up first thing Thursday.

Item 91: Approve a resolution requiring the City of Austin’s third party development agreements to include more robust labor protections and sustainability requirements.

Monitor’s Take: Just like it says on the box: This item tweaks the city’s public-private partnerships to put terms in line with existing city policies, in terms of things like living wages and LEED certifications.

Item 126: NPA-2019-0029.01 – Patton Courts Mobile Home Park – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20120426-100 the St. John/Coronado Hills 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 7100 East U.S. 290 Hwy SVRD WB (Little Walnut Creek Watershed) from Mixed Use to Higher Density Single Family land use.

Item 127: C14-2019-0011- Patton Court Mobile Home Park-Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 7100 E US 290 Highway Service Road Westbound (Little Walnut Creek Watershed) from community commercial-neighborhood plan (GR-NP) combining district zoning, general commercial services-neighborhood plan (CS-NP) combining district zoning and townhouse and condominium residence-neighborhood plan (SF-6-NP) combining district zoning to mobile home residence-neighborhood plan (MH-NP) combining district zoning.

Item 132: NPA-2019-0020.03 – Congress Mobile Home & RV Park-Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20050818-Z001 the South Congress 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 6111 South Congress Avenue (Williamson Creek Watershed) from Mixed Use to Higher Density Single Family land use.

Item 133: C14-2019-0027 – Congress Mobile Home & RV Park – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 6111 South Congress Avenue (Williamson Creek Watershed). Applicant’s Request: To rezone from community commercial-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (GR-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning and mobile home residence-neighborhood plan (MH-NP) combining district zoning to mobile home residence-neighborhood plan (MH-NP) combining district zoning.

Item 136: NPA-2019-0020.01- Villa Denese – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20050818-Z001 the South Congress 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 4511 Lucksinger Lane (Williamson Creek Watershed) from Mixed Use to Higher Density Single Family land use.

Item 137: C14-2019-0018 – Villa Denese – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 4511 Lucksinger Lane (Williamson Creek Watershed). Applicant’s Request: To rezone from general commercial services-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (CS-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning to mobile home residence-neighborhood plan (MH-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: These are the handful of controversial rezonings that are part of a larger effort to rezone land with the “mobile home” designation in line with their use. We rounded up the conversation when it was at the Planning Commission, if you need a quick refresher.

Item 153: C14-2019-0067 – Lucy Read Pre-Kindergarten School Rezoning – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property known as 2608 Richcreek Road (Shoal Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from single family-standard lot (SF-2) district zoning to general office-conditional overlay (GO-CO) combining district zoning. Staff Recommendation and Zoning and Platting Commission Recommendation: To grant general office-conditional overlay (GO-CO) combining district zoning. Owner/Applicant: Austin Independent School District (AISD). Agent: Drenner Group (Leah Bojo). City Staff: Kate Clark, 512-974-1237.

Monitor’s Take: Though some Council members seemed a little grumpy about the complicated nature of this zoning case, and the fact that it is time-sensitive, there was also a sense of resignation in the air and a general sense that no one wanted to hold up the actual project, just a wish that there was a smoother way to do it.

Item 157: C14H-2019-0077 – Gruber-Trevino House – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1603 Willow Street. Applicant’s Request: To rezone from family residence-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning to family residence – historic landmark – neighborhood plan (SF-3-H-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: Despite the owner’s (and preservation staff’s) wishes, the Historic Landmark Commission pushed for historic zoning for this east side house. In order for that to move forward today, a supermajority (nine members) of Council will have to support the historic zoning – a step rarely taken by the city and a long shot in this case for sure.

Item 177: Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Office of Real Estate Services Capital Budget (Ordinance No. 20180911-001) to increase appropriations by $8,600,000 to acquire a building to provide shelter and support services to those experiencing homelessness. Related to Items #178 and #179.

Item 178: Approve a resolution declaring the City of Austin’s official intent to reimburse itself from proceeds of certificates of obligation to be issued for expenditures in the total amount of $8,600,000 to acquire a building to provide shelter and support services to those experiencing homelessness. Related to Items #177 and #179.

Item 179: Authorize the negotiation and execution of all documents and instruments necessary to purchase in fee simple approximately 1.66 acres of land and a building containing approximately 26,594 square feet at 1112 West Ben White Boulevard from Alma Tierra Ventures, LLC for a total amount not to exceed $8,600,000. Related to Items #178 and #179.

Monitor’s Take: This is the first of two bundles of items aimed at addressing homelessness in the city. This one clears the way to open a new homeless shelter in South Austin, which has attracted some unsurprising opposition from surrounding neighbors. Given the advanced nature of the plan and the dedication Council members have shown to solving the problem, it seems unlikely that they will be swayed by neighborhood opinion on this one. A new homeless shelter is needed, and it needs to go somewhere, after all.

Item 184: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to assess opportunities and make recommendations for immediate and short-term actions to engage and assist individuals experiencing homelessness.

Item 185: Discuss and take possible action related to City Code Sections 9-4-11 (Camping in Public Area Prohibited), 9-4-13 (Solicitation Prohibited) and 9-4-14 (Sitting or Lying Down on Public Sidewalks or Sleeping in the Downtown Austin Community Court Area Prohibited) and creating offenses.

Monitor’s Take: These items that address homelessness from another angle have, so far, proved to be more controversial than the shelter resolutions. Item 184, which comes from the mayor, has the support of downtown interests. However, 185, which would help to decriminalize homelessness, has proven more divisive. Council postponed it last meeting, after asking a lot of pointed questions in an attempt to illustrate whether the change would make things more dangerous or not more dangerous. We’re expecting at least half of that scenario to repeat again today.

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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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