Public Notice: And on the Seventh Day ...
Council takes a breather; planning continues
City Council passed a pretty progressive budget last month (see "Follow the Money," Oct. 23), and then last week dealt with some major hot-button issues that had been sitting on the back burner – STRs, TNCs, a solar buy – in a deliberative, yet decisive way (see "Let the Sun Shine In!," Oct. 23). So they're taking a bit of a breather this week, before diving back into the fray in committee and full council meetings the next. But meanwhile, continuing last week's theme of civic planning opportunities:
CodeNEXT Process Kicks Off at an Ambulatory Pace
By the time you read this, CodeNEXT staff will have conducted three of their seven Community Walks; four more are coming up in the next couple of weeks, leading up to the "CodeNEXT: SOUND CHECK" Nov. 16-21, the first real unveiling, testing, and feedback venue for the massive rewrite of the city's Land Development Code. If you're at all interested in zoning issues, these walks are a good way to meet some of the decision-makers and get a glimpse of the issues they're looking at. (And if you're more than a little interested in zoning issues, they might be a way to get a word in someone's ear before the first draft is finalized.) Upcoming:
• Sunday, Oct. 25, 11am at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex, 1156 Hargrave
• Tuesday, Oct. 27, 5:30pm in front of Sonic Drive-In, 5105 E. Stassney
• Wednesday, Nov. 4, 6pm in front of China Dynasty, 2110 W. Slaughter
• Saturday, Nov. 7, 9am in front of Fair Bean Coffee, 2210 S. First
Better Streets Last a Full Week
The city of Austin has organized an ambitious program – Better Streets Week – to complement the National Association of City Transportation Officials annual conference, Designing Cities 2015, taking place in Austin Oct. 28-31 (www.nacto.org), and to let the public hear from some of the experts, even if they're not attending the conference. There are 15 different "talks, tours, and socials co-hosted by over two dozen community nonprofits, professional groups, and City departments," spread over seven days, on the topic of "Complete Streets" that provide "safe, comfortable, and convenient travel routes" for cars, buses, pedestrians, and bicycles. See the whole schedule at www.austintexas.gov/complete-streets. It's all free, but advance registration and ticketing is required, because event seating and tour spots are limited. It starts on Sunday, Oct. 25 with walking and cycling tours of Downtown streets, and continues through Austin Bike Fest on Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 31.
What Do You Mean They're Changing Barton Springs?!
The city of Austin Parks and Recreation Department is holding the first public engagement meeting for Zilker Park Improvement Projects at Barton Springs – potential park improvements within the Barton Springs Bathhouse Zone, including a Bathhouse renovation, pedestrian connectivity, playscape improvement/replacement, parking, and roadway improvements, irrigation and landscape renovation, improvements to the Pecan Grove Picnic Area, and extension of rainwater irrigation. The meeting is Tue., Oct. 27, 6-9pm at Zilker Botanical Gardens, and/or take an online survey by Friday, Oct. 30 at www.austintexas.gov/department/zilker-park-improvement-projects-barton-springs.
This just in: The city of Portland filed a $2.5 million lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court against Austin-based HomeAway.com and its affiliate VRBO.com, "for failing to comply with city taxation, permitting, and inspection requirements," and "has sent warning letters and assessed fines totaling more than $1 million to eight other short-term rental websites," according to the Portland Tribune.
For those keeping tabs: Richard Suttle (Chronicle Halloween Mask 2007) is now registered with the city of Austin as a lobbyist for HomeAway.