Council: Not Speed-Readers
Council Members punt on the Grove, face 87 items this week
City Council's agenda last week was full of Items that might've caused a ruckus, but because of the absence of CM Leslie Pool "on city business," several prickly issues, notably the Grove at Shoal Creek Planned Unit Development and short-term rental regulations, were postponed until another time.
Council punted indefinitely on the Grove, pausing briefly for a plea from the Austin Neighborhoods Council's David King to keep holding on the issue of baseline zoning until Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo's proposed resolution on tweaked PUD rules came back to Council in December. A representative of Grove developer ARG Bull Creek, Ltd., had no issue with waiting, requesting only that ARG have the ability to bring it back up when they're ready.
There was some discussion of sending the STR debate back until November, but instead it's on the agenda for this week, where they'll set a public hearing to consider suspending new Type 2 STR licenses.
The interlocal agreement between the city and Travis County for access to its central booking facility expired in September, and while they're still processing APD's arrests, the new agreement will have to be approved. Council Member Greg Casar added an additional clause that will send the agreement back to the county for review. CM Ellen Troxclair abstained from the vote, saying she "wish[ed] we had more time." Her colleague Ora Houston echoed the sentiment, saying, without irony: "Some of us are not speed-readers."
Due to a bill that passed the Lege this summer, Council also approved a change in city code related to food handlers' permits. The city is no longer allowed to charge a fee for the permits, although – as staff was quick to point out – the old training is still mandatory. Mobile vending units (food trucks) will be required to have bigger water and wastewater tanks, a common reason for shutdowns.
The reprieve from Pool's absence won't last much longer; Council has 87 Items to wade through today, Oct. 15, including a return to solar energy, density bonuses, a number of proposed amendments to the STR regs, and several controversial updates to the interim rules regarding Transportation Network Companies (see "Mobility Committee," Oct. 16), plus the second and third readings of new rules regarding secondary dwelling units (ADUs). Council will also vote on a resolution from CM Delia Garza expressing support for Planned Parenthood in the face of federal cuts to the women's health care clinic. Mayor Steve Adler admitted he's a donor, and the resolution has received support from other CMs. Troxclair, however, expressed concern about the resolution's wording, and Don Zimmerman has already said he'll oppose it.
CM Pio Renteria will present a proclamation honoring the Austin Tejano Music Coalition, it's the 10th anniversary of Adopt-a-Creek, and Pool will recognize Arbor Day. It's also Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is especially relevant as our students and university professors mobilize against campus carry.