The Daily Hustle: 9/20/10

Unpacking items from council

The Daily Hustle: 9/20/10

We've got a City Council meeting coming up. A great big, honkin', 136-item council meeting coming up.

In order to break the pain into manageable, bite-size portions, today we'll focus on the items from council, the resolutions proposed by the council members themselves that often prove most interesting.

Item 86: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager not to approve any site plan or building permit for municipal buildings that includes elements approved via Alternative Equivalent Compliance under Section 1.5 of City Code Chapter 25-2, Subchapter E (Design Standards and Mixed Use) until after the Design Commission reviews the proposed project in accordance with Resolution No. 20071129-046. (Council Member Chris Riley Council Member Laura Morrison )
This speaks to the commercial design standards council passed a while back. The section on Alternative Equivalent Compliance, according to backup, was drafted “to accommodate certain projects where the particular site conditions or the proposed use prevent strict compliance but still meet the intent of the Subchapter.” (We're thinking this means if it's too narrow to add an “Great Street” sidewalk on one side, for example, you make up for it through other design elements.) This item would ensure any city building would comply with the alternate compliance, via Design Commission review.
Item 87: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to develop a recommended eco-friendly program that provides year-round pharmaceutical take back services across Austin. (Council Member Laura Morrison Council Member Sheryl Cole Council Member Chris Riley)
This item seemingly would make the upcoming DEA drug take-back (happening this Saturday, Sept. 25) a local, ongoing thing rather than an annual one. But really, giving back your drugs? That's kind of a hard sell here.
Item 88: Approve a resolution directing the City Manager, when posting certain items for the procurement of goods or services on council meeting agendas, to use notice language that allows Council to authorize negotiation and execution of an agreement with the qualified responder recommended by staff, or to select another qualified responder or responders, when appropriate, to provide the goods or services. (Council Member William Spelman Mayor Lee Leffingwell Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez)
Narrow posting language has been the bane of many a council member. The most recent example of this was when Chris Riley wanted to select the runner-up artist for design of the Seaholm Wall, but the agenda item was drafted only to allow for selection of another, staff-recommended pick. This would insure greater flexibility for council.
Item 89: Approve a resolution amending Resolution 20070412-015 to increase the number of Waller Creek Citizen Advisory Committee members. (Council Member Sheryl Cole Council Member Chris Riley Council Member Randi Shade)
The city's 18 of 19 seats on the board (the other one's picked by the county) would include one member recommended by each of the following groups: the Planning Commission; the Parks Board; the Environmental Board; the Austin Rowing Club; the Downtown Austin Alliance; the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association; Liveable City; the Pecan Street Owners Association; the Hotel Lodging Association; Clean Water Action; the Mexican American Cultural Center Advisory Board; the Music Commission; and six people from the community at large.
Item 90: Approve a resolution directing the city manager to explore a public-private partnership for the development, management, and operation of the Waller Creek District including Waterloo and Palm Park with the Waller Creek Conservancy and bring back to Council a recommendation for the structure of this partnership, potential roles and responsibilities, and an implementation schedule within 90 days. (Council Member Sheryl Cole Council Member Chris Riley Council Member Randi Shade)
This language from the backup material lays out the issue well:
WHEREAS, there is limited funding currently identified to implement the [Waller Creek] master plan or for further design work for the district to create a premier amenity with a high level of design excellence for the entire community; and

WHEREAS, cities throughout the country have revitalized and created urban parks through active partnerships with private conservancy groups including Discovery Green, Houston; Campus Martius Park, Detroit; Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, Oregon; Millennium Park, Chicago; the Museum Reach of the San Antonio River; and The Park, Dallas

No duh the city wants assistance in getting the project off the ground.

We'll continue out tour through the agenda tomorrow.

What the hell else is happening?

On the city calendar: The Comprehensive Planning and Transportation Committee meets in the Board and Commission room at City Hall, 310 W. Second, 2:30pm.

The Arts Commission meets in City Hall's Council Chambers, 5:30pm.

The Urban Renewal Agency meets in the Street-Jones Building, Room 400A, 1000 E. 11th, 6pm.

The Joint Committee of Environmental Board and Parks Board meets in the Parks and Recreation Department building, Board Room, 200 S. Lamar, 6:15pm

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The Daily Hustle, City Council, Waller Creek, drug take back, commercial design standards

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