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TipSheet: City Council, 9.22.16

Thursday, September 22, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Council will hold its regular meeting Thursday. 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.

Though we’ve all become accustomed to the 10:30-ish start time of City Council, tomorrow Mayor Steve Adler has promised a reason to show up on time. According to a brief statement from his office, “immediately prior to gaveling in the Council meeting, Mayor Adler will make an important announcement from the dais regarding progress on the Music & Creative Ecosystem Omnibus Resolution. Other Council members may make brief comments as well.”

4. Authorize negotiation and execution of an amendment to the professional services agreement with OPTICOS DESIGN, INC., for additional architectural, urban design, planning, and engineering services for Phase III of the CodeNEXT, the Land Development Code revision project, in the amount of $1,296,858 for a total contract amount not to exceed $4,621,858.

Monitor’s take: Don’t panic! These funds were already allocated, so it’s not a new cost. Save your panic, instead, for the storm brewing over the actual code rewrite, and keep this figure at your fingertips if you want to lob some accurate complaints into the Internet or whatever.

5. Approve second and third readings of an ordinance repealing and replacing City Code Chapter 4-8 relating to the regulation of lobbyists, setting fees related to the regulation of lobbyists, amending City Code Chapter 2-7 relating to the Ethics Review Commission, and amending City Code Section 2-2-62 relating to funding for the Austin Fair Campaign Finance Fund.

Monitor’s take: As we reported in our Whispers today, this once-controversial item is now likely to get a smooth City Council approval, though there are still some details about the fees being worked out (mostly to make sure that the city isn’t cashing in on lobbyist registrations, which would be a Charter violation).

9. Approve a resolution authorizing the City Manager to award, negotiate and execute cultural arts services contracts for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 in an amount not to exceed $7,906,244, and authorizing payment in the amount of $60,000 for Zachary Scott Theatre Center maintenance required under a separate operations agreement.

Monitor’s take: Perhaps you read our earlier story about a tense labor situation at ZACH Theatre that found its way over to City Hall this month. Those protests appear to have gotten the attention of some Council members as well. In the backup, Council members Ora Houston, Ellen Troxclair and Ann Kitchen all had questions about the contract with the theater. Given the fact that the operations contract with the theater has been in place since 1987, this could maybe get interesting?

20. Approve a resolution creating the Austin/Travis County Sobriety Center Local Government Corporation under Subchapter D, Chapter 431, Texas Transportation Code; approving and adopting the corporation’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws; and appointing initial directors.

Monitor’s take: After seemingly endless planning and talking and whatnot, this sobriety center thing is really happening. For the insatiably curious, the initial directors will be: Stephen Strakowski, Nancy Hohengarten, Christopher Ziebell, Craig Moore, Douglas Smith, Jana Ortega, Deborah Hiser, William Brice, Andy Brown, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gómez.

31. Authorize negotiation and execution of a 3-year interlocal agreement with Austin Community College for equipment maintenance, and buildout of up to 7,500 square feet of facility space and small business services for a fashion incubator, located at 6101 Airport Boulevard, Austin, Travis County, Texas, in an amount not to exceed $355,000. (District 4)

Monitor’s take: We wrote about this whole thing in today’s edition. Catch up here for all the details, but this one pretty much speaks for itself – the city is pitching in to help start a “fashion incubator” at ACC.

38. Approve a resolution initiating an amendment to City Code Title 25 regarding out-of-cycle neighborhood plan amendments.

Monitor’s take: This is one of those cases where it’s hard not to ask for a “thank you” for reading through and deciphering what’s going on. But, carrying on like a professional: Essentially, this resolution is looking for a code amendment that would shift out-of-cycle code amendment costs to property owners, instead of the city, for areas that don’t have Neighborhood Plan Contact Teams. Boiled further down, this is something that Council does at the request of those owners, but because of the way the law is currently written, that has meant the city picks up application fees.

39. Approve a resolution extending the due date in Resolution No. 20160609-047 for the City Manager to present options for the preservation of the historical significance of Rosewood Courts.

Monitor’s take: Though it was pretty exciting to see Rosewood Courts back on the agenda, further investigation revealed that this is just an extension of the June resolution that was originally scheduled to return in August. This resolution extends that date to February 2017. Anyway, here’s a story about the whole thing for the nostalgic among us.

45. Discussion and action on the compensation, benefits and transition plan for the interim City Manager and City Manager.

Monitor’s take: Friendly reminder: City Manager Marc Ott will be leaving in juuuuuust over a month.

53. NPA-2015-0005.04 – Lenox Oaks – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20010927-05, the Montopolis Neighborhood Plan, an element of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, to change the land use designation on the future land use map (FLUM)

54. C14-2015-0104 – Lenox Oaks – District 3 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 434-500 Bastrop Highway Southbound and 6705-6709 Ponca Street (Carson Creek Watershed; Colorado River Watershed)

Monitor’s take: On any other agenda this would be the big case of the day. It may not be obvious at first glance, but this, folks, is the Cactus Rose Mobile Home Park rezoning that, in part, helped move along the newly passed Tenant Relocation Ordinance. Make no mistake: Tenants and advocates are still fighting the rezoning, and this promises to be a contentious, complicated item.

65. C14-2016-0025 – St. James Missionary Baptist Church – District 1 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 3417 East Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard (Tannehill Branch Watershed) from family residence-neighborhood plan (SF-3-NP) combining district zoning to townhouse and condominium residence-neighborhood plan (SF-6-NP) combining district zoning.

Monitor’s take: This case also has some fight behind it. Though the Planning Commission approved the rezoning, there is a group of vocal opponents who argue that the threat of gentrification and increased traffic make it a poor fit for the area.

73. C814-2015-0074 – The Grove at Shoal Creek PUD – District 10 – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by zoning property locally known as 4205 Bull Creek Road (Shoal Creek Watershed) from unzoned (UNZ) district zoning to planned unit development (PUD) district zoning.

Monitor’s take: OK, honestly, this is going to be most of the meeting. During Council’s Tuesday work session, Council members hatched a plan to hear this massive case in three chunks, starting at 2 p.m., for various reasons. We expect this to last into the wee hours, given its commission history and the fact that our inbox is currently filled with emails about the case. See you there!

78. Conduct a public hearing and consider an appeal of an Outdoor Music Venue permit, approved by the Development Services Department, for the Scoot Inn at 1308 E. 4th Street.

Monitor’s take: This annual complaint from one neighbor is unlikely to go anywhere, and it’s also likely to be postponed. However, it’s a good opportunity to wish the venue a happy 145th birthday and note that tomorrow the Scoot is opening a new indoor bar and donating a portion of its proceeds to local nonprofits. What? Did you have somewhere else to be?

80. Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 to require properties zoned historic landmark (H) combining district or historic area (HD) combining district to comply with the City’s compatibility standards.

Monitor’s take: This small amendment has been in the works for a while now, after a bit of fussing about how the city code left everyone no reasonable choice in the Steck house case. There hasn’t been a groundswell of opposition or anything, but it is a fun follow-up to all of the grumbling.

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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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