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TipSheet: Council meetings Oct 14 & 16

Monday, October 13, 2014 by Michael Kanin

The Austin City Council meets in a work session Tuesday and for its regular meeting Thursday.

In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda here. The City Clerk’s office hosts a copy at its web site, here.

We’ve posted these in chronological order. Where applicable, however, we’ve paired items that appear similar in nature.

Items of interest for both the Tuesday and Thursday work sessions include:

3. Approve an ordinance repealing Exhibits A, B, D, E, and F of Ordinance No. 20140807-017 ordering the November 2014 general and special municipal election, and replacing them with new Exhibits A, B, D, E, F, and G that adopt changes to election day and early voting polling places, list election day judges, central counting station staff, and early voting ballot board, and attach executed joint election agreements; and declaring an emergency.

Monitor‘s take: Yikes. Actually, this is really just a formality. With its passage, the item will specifically name polling spots, election judges, and more logistical items that will allow the city to carry out the November election. No substantive changes to what’s on the ballot here.

9. Authorize the City Manager to explore all available options to obtain community benefits from the development of the property located at the intersection of Bull Creek Road and 45th Street, Austin, Texas.

Monitor‘s take: The Bull Creek tract is, of course, a long-running local issue. On the table is a deal that would cost the city $28.5 million. According to the documents posted with Council’s agenda, staff has now completed its due diligence with regard to that purchase. Read our most recent coverage here and here.

28. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to conduct negotiations with LCRA on an amended participation agreement so that the city can obtain ownership and control of a unit 1 and 2 at the Fayette power project and report back to council in 90 days.

Monitor‘s take: This would start the city’s march to a potential mothballing of the coal-fired Fayette power plant. In the wake of a simmering back-and-forth between Council, the utility, the most recent generation plan task force, and advocates on all sides, this seems to be conceded ground from all. Monitor coverage can be found here, here, here, and here.

30. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to create a targeted landlord outreach and coordination program that connects scattered-site affordable housing to those in need and provides property manager education on relevant city programs, opportunities and requirements.

Monitor‘s take: No back-up posted on this one yet. However, you’ll remember that Council members recently passed a ban on discrimination based on source of income. Our coverage of that item is here and here.

31. Adopt a resolution concerning the City Auditor Integrity Unit report on allegations involving a Zero Waste Advisory Commissioner.

Monitor‘s take: This, you’ll remember is all about a questionable ethics case and a report from the Office of the City Auditor that kicked it off. Coverage is here, here, and here.

36. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to report to the City Council with legal options to address Council concerns regarding proposed road projects located within the Barton Springs Zone of the Edwards Aquifer.

Monitor‘s take: This looks to be squarely aimed at SH45. Our most recent coverage of that project is here.

37. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to develop a timeline and budget for improvements to Brodie Lane and report back to Council by November 20, 2014.

Monitor‘s take: Brodie Lane is one of the roads that SH45 supporters argue could see traffic reductions with the construction of that project.

40. Approve a resolution initiating Code amendments relating to the powers, duties, and functions of the City Auditor and the Ethics Review Commission.

Monitor‘s take: Seems like an attempt to clarify the Auditor’s role in the wake of the Ochoa issue (see above).

Approve a resolution establishing a City living wage policy that ties the living wage to an index consistent with a cost of living adjustment for non-sworn personnel on an annual basis during the budget process, directing the City Manager to ensure the City’s Purchasing policies reflect the annual increase in the City’s living wage rate, and initiating a staff supported stakeholder process to evaluate the City’s living wage rate.

Monitor‘s take: The city is somewhat limited–at least in the opinion of its legal department; one that’s been contested by at least one advocacy group (scroll down to September 23)–in how it can go about mandating living wage requirements for CIP contractors. Still, it looks like there is broader action coming.

60.C14-2013-0158 – 7th and Congress Hotel – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 619 and 621 Congress Avenue (Lady Bird Lake Watershed) from central business district (CBD) district zoning to central business district-central urban redevelopment (CBD-CURE) combining district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant central business district-central urban redevelopment (CBD-CURE) combining district zoning, with conditions. Planning Commission Recommendation: To grant central business district-central urban redevelopment (CBD-CURE) combining district zoning, with conditions. Owner: Finley Company (Tim Finley, VP). Applicant: Matt Frankiewicz. Agent: Armbrust & Brown, PLLC (Lynn Ann Carley). City Staff: Lee Heckman, 512-974-7604. A valid petition has been filed in opposition to this rezoning request.

Monitor‘s take: This new downtown hotel is back. Planning Commissioners signed off in July.

66. C14H-2014-0007 – Red River International House – Conduct a public hearing and approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 25-2 by rezoning property locally known as 3805 Red River Street (Waller Creek Watershed) from family residence-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (SF-3-CO-NP) combining district zoning to family residence-historic landmark-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (SF-3-H-CO-NP) combining district zoning. Staff Recommendation: To grant family residence-historic landmark-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (SF-3-H-CO-NP) combining district zoning. Historic Landmark Commission Recommendation: To grant family residence-historic landmark-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (SF-3-H-CO-NP) combining district zoning. Planning Commission Recommendation: To deny family residence-historic landmark-conditional overlay-neighborhood plan (SF-3-H-CO-NP) combining district zoning. Applicant: Historic Landmark Commission. City Staff: Steve Sadowsky, 512-974-6454.

Monitor‘s take: This one’s been bouncing around for a bit. In short: The owner wants to demo the house; city staff and Austin’s Historic Landmark Commission want it preserved.

68. Conduct a public hearing to approve the Pease Park Master Plan, developed in conjunction with the Parks and Recreation Department, Pease Park Conservancy, and Wallace Roberts & Todd.

Monitor‘s take: We could see some lingering pain over disc golf. Our coverage is here.

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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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