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Council Stoked for Last Meeting of Year

By Amy Smith, December 14, 2012, News

You've waited all year for this: City Coun­cil's last regular meeting of 2012 is today, Thursday, Dec. 13, and its agenda bears sundry gift items that promise to keep on giving, one way or another, in the new year.

Several Council-generated resolutions are on tap for consideration, including:

A proposal directing the city manager to scare up $10 million in potential resources for "near-term" affordable housing projects and programs in the wake of the November election defeat of a bond proposition that would have created more housing opportunities for low-income residents. (Item 61; sponsors: Council Members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo).

A resolution directing the implementation of recommendations designed to boost the city's support of small local businesses (Item 64; CMs Chris Riley, Bill Spelman, and Mayor Lee Leffingwell).

A direction to staff to craft amendments to the "redevelopment exception" in the Barton Springs Zone to "improve water quality and redevelopment opportunities" in the affected zone and other areas of the city (Item 66; Leffingwell, Riley, and Mike Martinez).

A resolution calling for a policy agreement that would prevent apartment complex owners from increasing rents "for a specified period" after receiving energy efficiency rebates (Item 68; Tovo and Sheryl Cole).

Additionally, Council will hear a morning briefing on the Austin Water Utility Con­ser­vation Plan and an afternoon briefing on a development assessment of a Planned Unit Development at 211 S. Lamar and 1211 W. Riverside.

A month after Austin's first Formula One race, Circuit of the Americas returns to Council seeking the city's endorsement of four more motor races, which would let COTA again seek financial benefits from the public trough known as the Texas Event Trust Fund (Item 95).

And finally, three public hearings with possible action are scheduled, including on proposed City Code amendments to make outdoor amphitheatres and the like a "conditional use" in all zoning districts (action that grew out of staff approval of construction of a church amphitheatre near three Oak Hill subdivisions); a hearing on a code amendment to create the Central Austin-Univer­si­ty Area Zoning Overlay District; and a hearing on whether to grant a waiver to Wheatsville Food Co-op to sell beer and wine at its new store at 4001 S. Lamar. Council has received several letters in support of the waiver, but because the store is less than 100 feet from the Ann Richards School, the Austin Independent School District stands opposed, saying the sale of alcoholic beverages near the school isn't conducive to a "positive and safe learning environment." On this decision, Council members will need to ask themselves, what would Ann Richards do?

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