Point Austin: Beside the Point

Council notes

Burton Wilson
Burton Wilson (Photo By John Anderson)

Today's meeting (Thursday, April 28) promises to be a busy one, with the long-awaited commercial design standards on tap for a public hearing; a projected decision (perhaps) on the sale of City Hall's neighboring Block 21 (early handicapping still points to Stratus), but probably not yet the more perplexing Seaholm tract; and the return of several other previously delayed items.

But before we get to all that, the evening's live music performance is none other than the legendary Shiva's Headband, performing on this occasion in honor of acclaimed octogenarian music photographer Burton Wilson, who is up for a proclamation. In characteristic understatement, the band's Web site reports, "Describing Shiva's music is kind of like talking about God." So we suggest you get your butts on down there, or at least tune in to Channel 6 'long about 5:30pm, and don't blink.

On the morning's consent agenda, the Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance (Items 18 and 19) is scheduled for third reading, after much intermittent tinkering, and with a separate resolution "to establish goals for affordable housing" in TOD districts and station area plans. That is, the community campaign for percentage set-asides for affordable housing – as opposed to "goals" – appears to have fallen on fallow ground.

Solar voltaic panels are apparently sprouting all over the city, and there are a handful of items (7-10) to authorize rebates from Austin Energy for companies installing the panels: $100,000 to IBM, $98,700 to Hines Pool and Spa, $100,000 to Centex Beverage, $100,000 to American Youthworks. On the electrical agenda, Item 37 might raise a few more eyebrows: the return of the postponed authorization to buy another 90 Tasers for the APD ($75,291). The council was apparently persuaded by the rose-colored APD report a couple of meetings ago that Tasers are just keen and peachy. That will no doubt raise spirits in Phoenix, at Taser International.

The Community and Preservation and Revitalization Zone report, sponsored by Raul Alvarez and Danny Thomas, and glimpsed in a brief presentation a couple of weeks ago, reappears for a resolution, also in the morning. And Downtown revitalization should come up as well – Block 21 and Seaholm are scheduled for executive session, but also potentially from the dais in motions (Items 57-58) for contract negotiation and (in theory) execution – but look for the council to hold its fire on Seaholm, and perhaps on Block 21 as well. Major assets require careful handling.

Folks from the Galindo Neighborhood are not about to let the council forget their opposition to the South Austin Tennis Center renovations and expansion scheduled for their neighborhood park, and several have signed up for Citizen Communications to give the members another earful. The 2pm briefing promises to be less impertinent: an update on the city's financial forecast, which, judging from the reports coming out the state comptroller's office, continues for the moment on the upswing.

Later in the day, there is the customary brace of Old West Austin zoning cases, along with a number of others, and the compromise between St. Stephen's School and the neighborhood on the Gables at Westlake apartment proposal – postponed some weeks ago – returns under what appears to be brighter prospects. If we survive all that, the 6pm public hearing is to "provide direction regarding proposed design standards for commercial and retail development." Go thou and provide direction.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Austin City Council
Lawsuit Seeks to Block Converting Microtel for Permanent Supportive Housing for City's Homeless
Lawsuit Seeks to Block Converting Microtel for Permanent Supportive Housing for City's Homeless
One project stalls, another moves along

Austin Sanders, Jan. 3, 2020

Council to Consider Launching New Investigation Into APD Following Allegations of Racism
Council to Consider Launching New Investigation Into APD Following Allegations of Racism
Multiple reviews and a "sense of urgency"

Austin Sanders, Dec. 6, 2019

More Point Austin
Point Austin: So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Ya
Point Austin: So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Ya
After a couple of decades … bidding farewell

Michael King, March 27, 2020

Point Austin: Future Outcomes Not Assured
Point Austin: Future Outcomes Not Assured
Super Tuesday’s first-round results leave plenty of unanswered questions

Michael King, March 13, 2020


Austin City Council, City Council, Shiva's Headband, Burton Wilson, Transit Oriented Development, Taser, Seaholm, Block 21, Gables at Westlake

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle