Public Notice: Out of the Frying Pan ...
Council resumes regular schedule next week
As we go to press Wednesday evening, City Council is still fumbling their way toward adopting a 2017 city budget. It's been a more painful process than usual (see "Council: Don't Say I Told You So" for the latest on how that story is turning out), but the bad news for council members is, things don't really get any easier from here. By this time next week, Council will be back to their regular schedule, and the meeting Thursday, Sept. 22, is not shaping up to be an easy one.
The "consent" agenda alone includes several issues on which there has not yet been any demonstrated consent – notably a $2 million increase in the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau budget, and defining new regulations for lobbyists – not to mention CM Ora Houston's proposal to create a Department of Neighborhoods. And there are scheduled public hearings on complaints about Scoot Inn's Outdoor Music Venue permit, and a couple of issues relating to the Historic Landmark Commission. But it's the zoning agenda that will draw the most keen attention over the next week.
There are 21 zoning items posted for public hearings and possible action, and they're seriously front- and back-loaded – starting with the controversial Lenox Oaks development, which is asking to amend the Montopolis Neighborhood Plan and the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan in order to build a mixed-use development where the Cactus Rose mobile home park currently sits – and ending with the even more controversial Grove at Shoal Creek PUD proposal, finally making its first appearance at Council, with neighbors pushing for a heavily residential development along the lines of Central Market or the Triangle, and ARG Bull Creek asking for a much denser commercial and retail mix (see "Conservancy Groups Split on Flood Control"). In between are the East Sixth Street Village, the Lantana Tract 33 in Oak Hill, and several other proposed zoning changes which have drawn mixed recommendations from staff and the Planning and Zoning & Platting Commissions. Expect some postponements, but also expect some serious engagement from various members regarding the Grove especially – and especially from the members who are up for re-election in November.
Speaking of those council races: It's a busy season for council candidate forums. Last week I listed the League of Women Voters series that's ongoing (District 6 tonight, Thu., Sept. 15; D10 Tue., Sept. 20; D2 Fri., Sept. 23; info at www.austintexas.gov/10-one). There's also the Monitor/KUT series, which resumes next week with forums in District 4 (Mon., Sept. 19, 7-9pm, Kick Butt Coffee, 5775 Airport) and District 6 (Tue., Sept. 20, 7-9pm, Alamo Lakeline, 14028 Hwy. 183 N.).
And this Saturday, there's an opportunity to see almost all the candidates (11 of 14 citywide) in one sitting, at an Affordable Housing Forum for Council Candidates hosted by Austin Women in Housing and the Austin Housing Coalition on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 12:45-4pm, at the First United Methodist Church Family Life Center Garrison Chapel, at 1300 Lavaca. The tentative schedule allows 20 minutes per council seat, starting with D7 at 1:10pm, D2 at 1:40pm, D4 at 2:10pm, D6 at 2:40pm, and D10 at 3:10pm.
If you've been wondering about the road construction at MLK and I-35 this week, that's the first step in an Austin Transportation Department initiative to make safety improvements at the top five high-priority intersections in the city. Work there will continue through mid-October; the schedule for starting the other four projects is:
• Cameron Road & U.S. 183 Frontage Road: Oct. 2016
• Lamar Boulevard & Rundberg Lane: Nov. 2016
• Lamar Boulevard & Parmer Lane: Jan. 2017
• Slaughter Lane & Manchaca Road: Spring 2017
And lastly, here's a cool thing (just trust me): 30 Bydee: A Retrospective of Bryan Joseph's Art.A show, reception, and celebration of 30 years of Bydee Art. Sat., Sept. 17, 4-7pm, at the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, 912 E. 11th.