The Daily Hustle: 10/28/10 (Updated)

Green roofs and water plants at City Council

The greenery, roof and all, at City Hall
The greenery, roof and all, at City Hall (Photo courtesy City of Austin, via American Hydrotech)

Update: We had our suspicions, looking at the City Council agenda, that there wouldn't be much to today's meeting.

Our suspicions were borne out.

Below, highlights (as they are) from this morning's council action.

Everything pulled from the consent agenda (except an item relating to food vendors at farmers markets, which requires some executive session confab) sailed through this morning. However, a Water Treatment Plant No. 4-related item, spending $2.2 million on a land acquisition for the plant's Jollyville transmission main proved interesting. Spicewood Springs neighbor Sharon Blythe spoke in opposition, as did the Save Our Springs Alliance's Bill Bunch. Noting biological diversity in the area, he said “you're buying to tear it up.” However, the buy was approved on familiar lines: 4-3, with Laura Morrison, Chris Riley and Bill Spelman voting no.

There were a few interesting moments after the speakers but before the vote, with Morrison pressing Austin Water director Greg Meszaros on what exactly were the additional environmental studies the Parks and Recreation board wanted to see before recommending further WTP4 construction (and not getting the clearest answer). Spelman hit upon a point raised by Spicewood neighbors – that firms doing preliminary work at the Spicewood Springs shaft site had covered their company IDs with bags while they worked. He asked Meszaros, “Why on earth are there plastic bags over the names on the drilling companies on the site?” Meszaros replied that some companies had felt “harassed by surrounding people calling their home offices, reporting them as doing illegal work to the police and authorities.” Spelman, citing folks who believe in “black helicopters” and “surreptitious government action” as not needing any more paranoid provocations, implored Meszaros to right the situation.

In addition to some wrinkles surrounding a northwest annexation (primarily a resident's possession of a horse, used for hippotherapy for their autistic son; council waived a 10-year phase-out of equestrian ownership) and passage of the four MBE/WBE subcontracting tweaks we wrote about in print this week, the morning also saw a presentation on green roof policy by the city's Green Roof Advisory Group, delving into different types of roofs, proposing density bonus options for builders using them, and more. Check out the city's presentation below.

52. Green Roof Briefing to Council

You can learn more about the roof report here.

Remaining items include what's left of the zoning agenda, riddled with several likely postponements. Next week could prove a little more exciting, with the universal recycling ordinance currently sitting on the draft agenda.

Original post: City Council assembles at 10am, but judging from this agenda, there's not a terrible lot to pique the municipal interest. Still, the Hustle will keep an eye on the proceedings and report back this afternoon.


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The Daily Hustle, City Council, Water Treament Plant 4, Water Utility, Environment, Greg Meszaros, green Roof, Spicewood Springs, Shron Blythe, Green Roofs

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