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TipSheet: City Council, 8.17.17

Thursday, August 17, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council will hold its regular meeting again today, and here are the things 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.

14. 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; and creating offenses and establishing penalties.

Monitor’s Take: No, it’s not a ghost. The Special Events Ordinance is alive and walks among us, four years later. If you need a refresher on where things stand, here’s our recap of the rundown given to Council earlier this month.

16. Approve an ordinance amending the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Office of Real Estate Services Capital Budget (Ordinance No. 20160914-002) to increase appropriations by $121,850,000 for the Planning and Development Center acquisition, for a total appropriation of $122,500,000. Related to Items #16 and #17.

17. Authorize negotiation and execution of all documents and instruments necessary or desirable to purchase in fee simple 5.164 acres and improvements out of Lot 3F Austin Mall located at the southwest corner of Middle Fiskville Road and Highland Mall Boulevard at the Austin Community College Highland Mall Campus in Austin, Travis County, Texas, from Highland PDC, LLC, in an amount not to exceed $122,500,000, including closing costs (District 4). Related to Items #16 and #18.

18. 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 $121,850,000 for the Planning and Development Center acquisition. Related to Items #16 and #17.

Monitor’s Take: Sure, $122 million is a lot of money. But that’s how much the city might spend to build a new home for the Planning and Development Center (the land is currently a five-acre Highland Mall parking lot). According to the Austin-American Statesman, the fiscally conservative Council Member Ellen Troxclair supports the buy, so, despite the hefty price tag, this seems like it might be fairly uncontroversial?

19. Approve a resolution approving the 2018 list of proposed events and number of days requiring full closure of Republic Square Park to the general public, as required under the Parkland Improvement, Management, and Operations Agreement.

Monitor’s Take: Republic Square is getting a revamp, and we’re here for the newly info-rich presentation about what that entails. At the moment the city is asking the park be closed to the public for 20 days for private or ticketed events.

51. Approve a resolution relating to housing cooperatives.

Monitor’s Take: This resolution would allow cooperatives to be official affordable housing, making them eligible for the Down Payment Assistance Program, the Rental Housing and Development Assistance Program and the Acquisitions and Development Homeownership Program and allow co-ops to be candidates for any “city resources and funding sources available to affordable housing developments.”

52. Approve a resolution creating a task force to analyze and provide recommendations on the Aquatic Master Plan.

Monitor’s Take: That was quick! Last week, Council voted to postpone the fairly controversial Aquatic Master Plan and form this task force to take a look at the report and offer up some recommendations. The master plan was in the works for a long time, so it will be interesting to see what new blood makes of it.

53. Approve a resolution relating to a citizens’ task force on displacement issues.

55. Approve a resolution relating to a gentrification, displacement, and mapping community vulnerability study.

Monitor’s Take: So, these two items would theoretically work in concert to address the issue of displacement in the city due to gentrification. Skeptical that this is something that a task force or study can fix? You aren’t the only one.

54. Approve a resolution relating to legal actions that concern housing discrimination based on source of income.

Monitor’s Take: Once again, Austin is poised to sue the state of Texas. This time, it’s over a state law that invalidates our 2014 source-of-income ordinance. According to the resolution, sponsored by Council Member Greg Casar, the state legislation “interferes with the City’s moral and legal responsibility to protect our residents from housing discrimination.”

56. Approve a resolution initiating amendments to the regulating plan for the Plaza Saltillo Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Station Area relating to the density bonus program and directing the City Manager to process the amendments and to explore the feasibility of creating a new affordability density bonus program category in all TOD station areas.

Monitor’s Take: However, the state did not manage to pass anything that bans density bonus programs, so here’s a new idea that would expand them to TODs, which are planning areas that encourage density anyway.

59. Discussion regarding the City’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2017-2018.

60. Discussion and possible action on the Council Budget Concept Menu.

69. Conduct a public hearing to receive public comment on growth-related projects within the Drinking Water Protection Zone to be included in the FY 2017-2018 Capital Budget.

70. Conduct a public hearing to receive public comment on the proposed rate and fee changes for Austin Water as part of the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Proposed Budget.

71. Conduct a public hearing to receive public comment on the proposed rate and fee changes for Austin Resource Recovery as part of the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Proposed Budget.

69. Conduct a public hearing to receive public comment on growth-related projects within the Drinking Water Protection Zone to be included in the FY 2017-2018 Capital Budget.

70. Conduct a public hearing to receive public comment on the proposed rate and fee changes for Austin Water as part of the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Proposed Budget.

71. Conduct a public hearing to receive public comment on the proposed rate and fee changes for Austin Resource Recovery as part of the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Proposed Budget.

Monitor’s Take: Yo. Anyone want to talk about the budget? If so, here’s your chance! This seems like a big deal, especially with a complicated tax swap with AISD on the table. It could be! But if these gazillion public hearings follow tradition they actually may not take up that much time. (Or that could be “budgets seen through the veil of nostalgia” speaking.)

61. Consider a resolution adopting the recommendations of the Electric Utility Commission Resource Planning Working Group for the Austin Energy Resource, Generation and Climate Protection Plan, including long-range planning through 2027.

Monitor’s Take: Speaking of long public hearings … this one is over. All that’s left is the vote. Last week was host to the long public hearing side of things, and you can catch up on the conversation on the energy plan here.

65. NPA-2016-0016.01 – 3212 E. Cesar Chavez Street – District 3 – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20030327-12, the Govalle/Johnston Terrace 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 3212 East Cesar Chavez Street and 111 Tillery Street (Colorado River Watershed) from Commercial and Industry land uses to Multifamily and Mixed Use land uses.

66. C14-2016-0079 – 3212 E. Cesar Chavez Street – District 3 -Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Title 25 by rezoning property locally known as 3212 East Cesar Chavez Street and 111 Tillery Street (Colorado River Watershed) from limited industrial services-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (LI-CO-NP) combining district zoning and general commercial services-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (CS-CO-NP) combining district zoning to multifamily residence- highest density-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (MF-6-CO-NP) combining district zoning and general commercial services-mixed use-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (CS-MU-CO-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s Take: The debate over whether a zoning change that would allow a mixed-use project on a property that is currently home to a junkyard was surprisingly heated (and complicated) at the Planning Commission’s last meeting. The gist, though, is pretty simple: the east side is kind of sick of new upmarket condos. I hear there’s even a whole task force about it.

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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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