The Daily Hustle: 10/12/10

City council's gypsy agenda

Chances are, there's a Chron staffer eating at this Airport institution this very moment
Chances are, there's a Chron staffer eating at this Airport institution this very moment (Photo by John Anderson)

City Council returns to City Hall for a meeting this Thursday, October 14. On the agenda: controversial changes to their employee pension system, the return of The Domain's zoning requests, and lots more. Oh, did we mention all the food trailers, too?

Agenda highlights for City Council's meeting Thursday, October 14:

Item 3: Accepting $30 million in FAA, TSA and other federal grants for Austin-Bergstom International Airport.

Item 12: Naming a firm for the form-based code zoning project for Airport Boulevard. Gateway Planning Group is the staff recommendation, while Design Workshop is listed as an alternate firm. The $453,000 contract is to develop FBC for Airport – basically, land zoning based on design compatibility rather than land use – with the hopes it can be extrapolated to future zoning across the entire city.

Items 13-14: Inking a Master Development Agreement between the city and developers Constructive Ventures (working on behalf of Trammel Crow) for redevelopment of the Austin Energy Control Center Downtown, between Second Street and Seaholm. Goals in the agreement include a $2.7 million affordable housing fund payment; a $250,000 Art in Public Places match; paying the “prevailing wage” to construction workers; making all buildings LEED-Gold Certified, and more. The agreement's sure to raise hackles from some AE hawks, possibly Paul Robbins, who's chimed in on the agreement before.

Item 15: The city’s controversial changes to its Employees Retirement System. To head off future insolvency, instead of qualifying for normal retirement benefits at age 62, age 55 with 20 years of service, or any age with 23 years of service, new employees must reach age 62 with 30 years service, or age 65 with 5 years of creditable service. Retiring at 55 with 10 years service is possible, but brings reduced benefits. The changes must also be approved by the state legislature.

Item 29: A $259,940 contract with Volatility Managers to act as a Residential Rate Advisor in Austin Energy's rate review process, leading up to a rate change in 2012. The two phase contract initially analyzes rates and cost of service, with an optional Phase II portion where the contractor will issue final recommendations and participating in ratemaking hearings.

Item 32: A $100,000 contract with one of two finalists to develop a cost of service study for the Planning and Development Review Department; during the recently concluded budget season one complaint held that development fees don't represent the true cost of staff time.

Item 34: Waiving fees for the “Gypsy Picnic” Austin Trailer Food Festival, Nov. 6, at Auditorium Shores.

Items 43, 44: Two 10:30am presentations: one by the ETC Institute on results of the 2010 City of Austin Citizen Survey; and another from the Parks and Recreation Department on their Long Range Plan. (Items 43, 44)

Items 46-48: The thee oft-delayed zoning items related to The Domain: Item 46, the restrictive covenant lengthening the time the center has to dedicate nine acres of private parkland (until nearby residential units are completed, a dicey proposition in this economy); Item 47, Endeavor’s request to bypass the Big Box ordinance for development over 100,000 square feet (requiring neighborhood notification and public hearing); and Item 48, Simon’s agreement to Endeavor to swap greenspace so Simon can exceed the 80% impervious cover limit by 3%.

Items 49-50: What the hell is Gagaland? Just a zoning swap, sadly.

This goes out to my archivists: 5:30am proclamations include … Archives Week! Hooray!

What the hell else is happening?

On the city calendar: The Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise & Small Business Council Committee meets in the Boards and Commissions room at City Hall, 301 W. Second, 3pm.

The Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Task Force meets at One Texas Center, Conference Room, 3rd Floor, 505 Barton Springs, 5:30pm.

The Planning Commission meets in City Hall’s Council Chambers, 6pm.

The Urban Transportation Commission meets in the B&C room at 6pm.

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