All This and TNC’s Too!

First 2016 Council meeting promises plenty of action

All This and TNC’s Too!

The first City Council meeting of 2016 is not until Jan. 28, but the draft agenda suggests there will be plenty of contentious business: health care contracts, EMS staffing, transportation projects, PUD regs, neighborhood plan contact teams, short-term rentals, and (probably) transportation network companies. Should be fun!

The draft agenda doesn’t yet include most Council-sponsored items, but even without them it’s a burgeoning 86-Item list, suggesting the total might break 100 once again when the official agenda is posted (generally by Friday). A couple of proposals said to be in the pipeline – most notably, a continued discussion of how best to “incentivize” public safety measures for ride-hailing companies (e.g., Uber and Lyft) – haven’t hit the agenda yet, and the existing schedule is already daunting.

Selected highlights:

EMS Staffing: discussion of adjustments to administrative ranks are continued from an earlier meeting, with the hope that management and the staff union (ATCEMSEA) would come to a consensus about the changes.

Transportation projects: Council members have submitted their project priorities for the remaining $21.8 million in Capital Metro “Quarter-Cent” sales tax funding – staff is expected to bring the full list to the dais for final approval.

PUD zoning: Previously unzoned lands (e.g., the state land underlying the Grove PUD) need only a Council majority to approve a PUD plan rejected by the Planning Commission; Grove neighbors are pushing for a super-majority (the standard for land already zoned).

NPCT regs: Neighborhood plan contact teams – with official authority to speak for neighborhoods – are embattled in some areas, with few established procedures to allow oversight or enforcement. Here’s an attempt to write some.

• If they get through all that (and plenty more), short-term rentals are currently the final agenda item (that could change). These are the revised regs, limiting STR's, that seem to have a (wobbly) Council consensus.

TNC’s (aka “ridesharing”) companies don’t currently appear on the agenda, but there’s plenty going on behind the scenes: Uber and Lyft are underwriting an extensive petition campaign to block any stronger ordinance, and Mayor Steve Adler is scrambling to find a middle ground that will accommodate the companies while satisfying a Council majority that voted to include fingerprinting for drivers – under rules still to be written. Council members have been reluctant to sign on to the mayor’s compromises – we’ll see if that changes by next week.

For more, follow the Daily News and this week’s print edition.

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City Council 2016

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