Urban Renewal, Sustainable Development, and ... Fluoride?

Preview Pt. One of a crowded Council agenda

Urban Renewal, Sustainable Development, and ... Fluoride?
Photo by John Anderson

City Council is closing out the year with a bang, with tons packed into their final meeting of 2011: water fluoridation, the Urban Renewal Board, the Austin Resource Recovery master plan, and more. Check out part one of our agenda preview below the fold.

Agenda highlights for December 15, 2011 (Part the First):

Item 3: Removing deteriorated pool water supply and drain lines at the Rosewood Neighborhood Pool and installing new ones, at a cost of $425K.

Item 9: Signing up to sponsor KLRU's storied Austin City Limits program through 2016, at a cost of $250,000 annually.

10: Procuring art for Austin's new central library from L.A. artist Christian Moeller, at a cost of $385K.

Item 11: The latest volley in the ongoing fluoride follies, this resolution approves recommendations from the Health and Human Services Department regarding fluoridation and calls for the City Manager to implement the recos. They are as follows:

- Continue to keep Austin water fluoridated because fluoridation of public drinking waters is good, population based public health practice according to the Centers for Disease Control and the City’s Health and Human Services Department.

- Post information about fluoride and infants on the City’s website and at the City’s Health and Human Services Department Neighborhood Centers and WIC Stations, in both English and Spanish.

- Mail information to Austin Water Utility customers highlighting fluoride and infant information from the City’s website.

As local fluoridation opponents' recent calls for a warning label on water bills regarding fluoride were recently and resoundingly objected by council's Public Health and Human Services Committee, it's unlikely these steps go far enough to assuage their concerns. Expect to hear all about it on Thursday (if not during the next council election).

Item 12: This contract extends the interim agreement the city inked with the Urban Renewal Agency through the end of next fiscal year, with five year-long extension options afterward. Looks like the URA, its board, and its mission to improve East 11th and East 12th street aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Item 14: Accepting $3 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds for the Colony Park Sustainable Community Pilot Project “to plan a model sustainable and livable mixed-use, mixed-income community.” According to backup, the Project is

a proposed Master Planned, 208-acre development that will incorporate best practice strategies for energy-efficient building design, water conservation and zero-waste technology and standards to create a model sustainable and livable mixed-use, mixed-income community in the Austin, Texas. The project will include completion of a Master Plan, resulting in Planned Unit Development (PUD) rezoning; engineering for subdivision and site planning for review and approval by the City of Austin; infrastructure construction plans and architectural design guidelines for new sustainable residential and commercial development. The initiative will be led by the City of Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Office (NHCD), in partnership with the Austin Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC). The AHFC will serve as the master developer of the site And as builder for a portion of the housing. The AHFC will also partner with private sector builders for development of both single-family and multi-family housing.

Items 15, 17: Purchasing two tracts for future parkland, with funds coming from our 2006 bond election. Item 15 buys 68 acres near the intersection of Bolm and the US 183 frontage road at a cost of $1.7 million; Item 17 buys 3.5 acres at 2100 Parker Lane, near Oltorf and I-35 for $1.1 million.

Item 19: Third and final reading on the parks smoking ban. Council punted (or, should we say, putted) on passing the item on all three reads last week following uncertainty on how to address he question of smoking on golf courses.

Item 47: Adopting of the Austin Resource Recovery (aka the department formerly known as Solid Waste Services) Master Plan.

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