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TipSheet: City Council, 6.6.19

Thursday, June 6, 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 week, Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison will be absent for the 105-item agenda. In terms of time-certain items, Council has vowed to vote on No. 39 no earlier than 2 p.m. and No. 49 no earlier than 4 p.m. As always, the Office of the City Clerk posts a copy on its website, here.

Item 8: Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Management Services Operating Budget Special Revenue Fund (Ordinance No. 20180911-001) to accept and appropriate grant funds in an amount not to exceed $400,900 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for Pioneering Ideas in Technology, Infrastructure, and Health.

Monitor’s Take: It’s not immediately apparent from reading the agenda, but this is funding for a project that will use blockchain technology to help provide services to Austin’s homeless population.

Item 39: 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).

Monitor’s Take: Oh boy. The last time this contract was up for renewal (in 2014), Council opted to circumvent the normal concessions contract process in order to preserve the working relationship with the Kinser family, the current operators of Butler Park Pitch & Putt who have run the course for 70 years. This time around, a missed signature threatens to open up the bidding again. While some Council members (and boards) agree that should be the case, sentiment is running high, and it’s unclear whether a majority of Council will want to stand up to a roomful of emotional speakers. Council has promised not to vote on this item until 2 p.m. at the earliest.

Item 45: Approve an ordinance amending City Code Section 9-4-11 (Camping in Public Area Prohibited), repealing City Code Section 9-4-13 (Solicitation Prohibited), and amending City Code Section 9-4-14 (Sitting or Lying Down on Public Sidewalks or Sleeping Outdoors in the Downtown Austin Community Court Area Prohibited).

Monitor’s Take: Though Council is not going to vote today on this bundle of changes that would help decriminalize homelessness in Austin, they will listen to speakers and have some discussion. Unlike a lot of other Council actions targeting homelessness this year, this one has met with community pushback and fearmongering – at least online. It will be interesting to see who shows up to speak and how that dialogue is weighed in the time leading up to an actual vote on the changes (which is now scheduled for June 20).

Item 49: Approve a resolution relating to implementing the responses directed in Council Resolution No. 20190131-078, including taking all actions necessary to implement the provision of immediate shelter structure(s) and services.

Monitor’s Take: In the meantime, Council continues to move forward with its somewhat scattershot approach to eliminating homelessness in the city with this item, which looks to provide more housing via a shelter pilot. This one won’t get a vote until 4 p.m. at the earliest.

Item 64: Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending Austin City Code Section 25-2-1205 (Site Development Regulations for Mobile Home Parks) to allow recreational vehicles in mobile home parks.

Monitor’s Take: Council is also looking at the issue of mobile home parks in the city, in the form of a mass rezoning to preserve and reflect the use. This item would allow RVs in the parks. (Currently, there are several mobile home parks where residents mostly live in RVs, and this would make that practice official.)

Item 74: C14-2018-0141 – 1907 Inverness Zoning Change – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1907 Inverness Boulevard (Williamson Creek Watershed). Applicant’s Request: To rezone from family residence-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning to neighborhood office-mixed use-neighborhood plan (NO-MU-NP) combining district zoning, as amended.

Monitor’s Take: As noted in an earlier TipSheet: “Monitor’s Take: A valid petition has been filed against this rezoning, which means it will have to win over nine Council members, not six, in order to pass. The petition says that those opposed to the project are worried that the neighborhood, which has been recently reinvigorated with an influx of families, would be defined by whatever businesses that come into the new development if the zoning is granted.”

Item 75: NPA-2019-0027.01- Twin Liquors Maudie’s -Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20100923-102 the Central West Austin 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 2608 West 7th Street (Johnson Creek Watershed) from Neighborhood Commercial to Mixed Use land use.

Item 76: C14-2019-0043 – Twin Liquors Maudie’s – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 2606, 2608, and 2610 W 7th Street and 703 Newman Drive (Johnson Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from general commercial services – neighborhood plan (CS-NP) combining district zoning to commercial liquor sales – neighborhood plan (CS-1-NP) combining district zoning on tract 1 and from commercial liquor sales – neighborhood plan (CS-1-NP) combining district zoning to general commercial services – neighborhood plan (CS-NP) combining district zoning on tract 2

Monitor’s Take: Even the West Austin Neighborhood Group acknowledges that they appreciate Twin Liquors and Maudie’s in a letter to the city about the change. Yet, it was a letter of protest about the change, which they oppose. Definitely expect some discussion on this one.

Item 84: C14-2018-0150 – 1804/1806/1808 W 6th St Rezoning – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 1804, 1806, and 1808 W 6th Street (Johnson Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from family residence – neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning to limited office – mixed use – neighborhood plan (LO-MU-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: Again, there is some disagreement from neighbors about this proposed change.

Items 81, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, and 96

Monitor’s Take: All of these items are part of a mass rezoning that will enshrine mobile home zoning for existing mobile home parks. It appears that today’s agenda does not include the more controversial cases that were recently at the Planning Commission; look for those on a future agenda.

Item 97: C14-2019-0055 – Austin FC -Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by zoning property locally known as 10414 McKalla Place and 10617 ½ Burnet Road (Little Walnut Creek Watershed). Applicant Request: To rezone from limited industrial services-neighborhood plan (LI-NP) combining district zoning and north burnet/gateway-neighborhood plan (NBG-NP) combining district zoning to limited industrial services-planned development area-neighborhood plan (LI-PDA-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: While there is sure to be some discussion about this rezoning for the new soccer stadium, it seems highly (highly!) unlikely that this will be the piece of the puzzle that doesn’t fall into place. Still, it will probably not pass silently.

Item 100: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to determine the potential impact of a boycott by the City of Austin, a boycott by individuals, or the use of other strategies to indicate opposition to the State of Alabama’s (and other states’) further restrictions on access to abortion and to support reproductive healthcare.

Monitor’s Take: Finally, Council will take up this item that looks into a potential boycott of Alabama, Georgia, and other states that have recently passed laws restricting abortion. Noted here because it will garner at least some discussion, though it’s unlikely it will provoke much inter-dais conflict.

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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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