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Threat Level Orange

From whom are we under attack this week? Uh-oh; the calls are coming from inside the house.

By Nick Barbaro, Fri., June 29, 2012

• City Planning and Development Review Dept. staff has recommended approval of seven different zoning changes and neighborhood plan amendments for a condo development off North Lamar near McCallum High: The adopted Brentwood/High­land Combined Neigh­bor­hood Plan would allow for a mixed-use complex on the site with more living units than the Austonian, plus offices and commercial spaces on the ground floor; the developers are insisting on almost twice as many units, with no mixed use, and also no ready pedestrian or bike access to the building, the main entrance of which would be inside a parking garage. In the backup materials sent to Planning Commission, staff writes that the requested amendments would support the goals to "preserve and enhance the single-family residential areas ... encourage a mixture of compatible and appropriately scaled business and residential land uses," and incentivize "creative, aesthetically pleasing, pedestrian-friendly redevelopment."

• City Aviation Department staff is asking council today for $5.4 million to build a temporary customs facility to handle international charter flights arriving for Formula One. Staff say they've been told to expect about 200 international charter flight arrivals, including six to 10 jumbo jets and 10-30 other full-size commercial planes, even though Indianapolis, the last U.S. city to host F1, reported six to 11 total charter arrivals a year from 2001 to 2007, with "relatively few" direct international arrivals.

Speaking to the Travis County Commissioners Court about the county's economic incentives policies, Gary Farmer, who handles business recruiting for the Greater Austin Chamber of Com­merce, complained that all the "stipulations" on the funding make it "too complicated," and that requiring a living wage could have a "chilling­ effect" on companies asking for a public handout.

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