Note: Since these log files are derived from the Closed Captions created during the Channel 6 live cablecasts, there are occasional spelling and grammatical errors. These Closed Caption logs are not official records of Council Meetings and cannot be relied on for official purposes. For official records, please contact the City Clerk at 974-2210.
Mayor Leffingwell: I'm austin mayor lee leffingwell. We'll begin today with an invocation by reverend bud john neumann catholic church. Please rise.
Let us pray. All mighty, ever living god, in whose hand lies every human heart and the rights of peoples. Graciously receive the prayers we offer for the citizens of austin and her elected leaders. Grant us wisdom and integrity that we may enjoy harmony, justice and peace. Endowed with your gifts, may we as citizens and leaders strive to build a community committed to the common good, a community in which all are valued and honored. May our sense of rugged individualism never obscure or obligation to care for the least among us. Help us all to make our city a better one than when we began our stewardship. May we shine as examples of your goodness that others may emulate. We ask that in christ our lord. Amen.
Mayor Leffingwell: Amen. Please be seated. Four of us are present, so I'll call this meeting of the austin city council meeting to order on thursday, december 8, 2011 , meeting in the austin city council chambers, 301 first street, austin, texas. We'll begin with the changes and corrections to today's agenda. Item 24, add the phrase recommended by the parks and recreation board. Item 31 is withdrawn. Item number 73, add as a co-sponsor, councilmember william spelman. Item 75, add as co-sponsor councilmember riley and councilmember spelman. Item 82, strike the date january 12th, insert the date january 26th. Item 92 is withdrawn. Time certain items for 30 morning briefing will first be a briefing on guiding principles and funding criteria for the bond development process. And second will be a staff presentation regarding a proposal to create an economic development program for us fair corporation and public comment is permitted on this item. At 12 noon we'll have general citizens communication. we'll make take up our zoning cases. 00 we will convene a meeting -- we'll recess the austin city council meeting and have a meeting of the austin housing finance corporation board of directors. we'll have our public hearings. 30 we'll have live music and proclamations. The musician for today is brennan lee. The consent agenda for today is items 1 through 81, with several exceptions which I'll go through in just a moment. Item number 72 remains on the consent agenda. Board and commission nominations and waivers, and I will read those into the record. First to the austin music commission, joe stallone councilmember spelman's nominee. To the design commission, evan councilmember tovo's nominee. To intergovernmental bodies to the central health board of managers, coopwood is a council nominee. To the travis central appraisal district board of directors, approving a resolution appointing blanca zamora garcia and chris to forelands to the travis central appraisal district board of directors. We'll approve a waiver of the attendance requirement in section 2126 of the city code for andrew ramirez's service on the mbe/wbe small business enterprise committee. This waiver includes absences through today's date. Again, the consent agenda is items 1 through 81, with the following items pulled off the consent agenda. Items: 2, 5, 24, 40, 63. Are pulled off by suspect. Councilmember spelman. Item 15 will be pulled off consent for discussion after we receive the staff briefing on that topic. Item 23 is pulled by councilmember riley. And item 32 is proposed for postponement by councilmember riley until january 12th, 2012.
Martinez: Mayor, on item 32 I would prefer that we pull it, have a brief discussion and then entertain that motion to postpone.
Mayor Leffingwell: Item 32 is pulled off the consent agenda by councilmember martinez.
Martinez: And can we pull item 54 as well?
Mayor Leffingwell: Item 54 is pulled by councilmember martinez. Councilmember tovo in addition is pulling items 61 and 69.
Tovo: Mayor, have you also read number 5 to be pulled from the consent?
Mayor Leffingwell: Number 5 has already been pulled by councilmember spelman.
Tovo: And I would say on 61 and 69, I have very quick questions, especially with regard to 69. I really just have one remaining question.
Mayor Leffingwell: Got it. Are there any further items to be pulled by councilmembers?
Cole: Mayor, I want to pull --
Mayor Leffingwell: Mayor pro tem cole.
Cole: I would like to pull item 54. I'm not sure if it was pulled previously.
Mayor Leffingwell: 54 has not been pulled. Oh. Councilmember martinez just pulled it.
Morrison: Mayor? I'd like to pull item 73, 74 and 76.
Mayor Leffingwell: Items 73, 74, 76 are pulled by councilmember morrison. Items pulled off consent due to a number of speakers signed up are items 8, 16, 26 and 65. And correction, the consent agenda includes items 1 through 85. That's a typo, instead of items 1 through 81. So I think I better go over this one more time since there were several last minute additions. Items pulled off of consent, items 2, 5, 24, 40, 63, 68, 15, 23, 32, 54, 61, 69, 73, 74, 76, 65, 8, 16, 26 and 31.
[Inaudible - no mic].
Mayor Leffingwell: 8, 16, 26, 31. 31 Is -- item 31 is withdrawn. Correction. Are there any further items to be pulled off the consent agenda? With that I'll entertain a motion to approve the consent agenda.
Cole: So move.
Mayor Leffingwell: Mayor pro tem cole moves approval. Seconded by councilmember spelman. Discussion? All in favor say aye? Opposed say no. It passes on a vote of seven to zero. Councilmember tovo.
Tovo: I would like the record to reflect that I'm abstaining on item 18.
Mayor Leffingwell: City clerk, reflect that in approval of the consent agenda, councilmember tovo is abstaining, abstaining as opposed to recusing.
Tovo: That's correct.
Mayor Leffingwell: On item 18. So councilmember tovo, you said you had a brief question on item 61 and 69?
Tovo: Yes, thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: If there's no objection, council, we'll take up those items. Item 61, do you have a question of staff?
Tovo: I do have a question of staff and i appreciate the answers that we received in our question/answer packet, but I do have just some follow-up questions. So this is for the contract for bottled water from nestle's, and I had asked some questions about how it broke down for the four departments that are involved in receiving water. Could you talk me through the austin fountain issue at the austin convention center since they are the largest part of that contract at 3,426. I asked a question of whether or not it would be more cost effective to install water fountains in the convention center to offer that option. I wonder if you could explain to me the rationale? The response that I received is that the project was estimated to cost over 100,000, and I wanted to get a sense of what scale are we talking about in terms of the number of fountains that would be included at 100,000. And also the additional part of that response is it would have a negative effect on the corporation center's schedule. It would be my assumption that you wouldn't have to close down the whole convention center when construction was done, but if you could talk me through some of that rationale, please.
Byron johnson. I can do part of that. We'll see if somebody from the convention center is available to answer the second piece. We may have to see if we can answer the question after the fact on all of the break down. There are two pieces to the convention center. One would be that there aren't sufficient fountains in some places and you would then have to run new piping and you would have to run new lines that aren't currently in existence to do that. So in order to do that you would need to shut down those places for that period of time. And the department has advised us that there is quite a process to be able to do that, so the biggest piece is there aren't fountains in all places to do it. And the second need, there are times where people, as a customer, would like to have the bottled water and they would like to offer that as part of their rental agreement. And so there are times when you have customers that want to have people to have the ability to have the five-gallon containers where they can go up and just use a cup at times or to have bottled water where they would provide as part of either their rental contract or part of the services that they offer to people. So there's two pieces to the contract. One, the piece where there are insufficient fountains and there would be a construction cost to be able to do that, including shutting down some areas in order to run additional lines in. And then the piece of just using it as a tool in their marketing.
Tovo: With regard to the second part, and I guess this is getting into a little bit lengthier question, but I'll try to keep it short. It is the city's policy, isn't it, to discourage the use of water bottles? In fact, I think they're prohibited on-site at city hall, is that correct?
Tovo: I guess I would just urge that it not be used as a tool in marketing to convention center groups that they use water bottles since it is -- I think it runs contrary to our general philosophy here at the city of austin. But anyway, thank you for the additional information. Mayor, I move approval reluctantly of this issue.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember tovo moves approval of item 61. Is there a second? Second by councilmember spelman. Discussion? All in favor say aye? Opposed say no. It passes on a vote of seven to zero. 69 Also a question.
Tovo: This is a very quick question. This is an interlocal agreement for joint purchasing and you've answered the first part of that, what kinds of goods might be purchased. I guess it's pretty broad. It could be any kind of goods for which all three partners have a need.
Byron johnson again. We're real excited about this process. This is part of the city manager has asked us to look at for best practices. What we have done in the past is we have purchased from cooperatives other places. We have looked at other cooperatives such as fort worth and that, and this is a new initiative where we would like to take the lead and we are the big customer in some places. You take cedar park as an example where they're buying 100,000 and we're buying a million dollars. Now they can leverage all of our contracts. And the other reason why we would like to do it is if you look at all of the other agencies and everybody is tight, so if you cannot have your procurement staff tied up with some of the contracts and you can use contracts to put the things into place it will be easier for them. But we're hoping we can leverage our contracts and help the smaller ones. We've already talked to places like bee cave and other places that are real excited about the fact that they could do that one. And then again a lot of these contracts that we're looking at have a local component on it, such as an item that we would be awarding this morning where they're creating a local store to do this. So that will help growth within the community. We're really excited about this opportunity and we hope other people will participate.
Tovo:, THAT'S GREAT. That seems like a good direction to be moving in. I think you addressed this now in your response. So additional partners can be added?
Yes. We will be coming to council with others as we expand programs and we go out to other agencies and talk to them about coming in. And that's helping them.
Tovo: Thank you. That answers the second part of the question I submitted, which are the other opportunities that are out there? And it sounds like these are the first partners to be included in an interlocal agreement of this sort, but you could move forward with partnerships with other municipalities around the central texas area.
Tovo: Thank you very much. Mayor, I move approval of that item.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember tovo approves approval of item 69. Seconded by councilmember morrison. Discussion? All in favor say aye? Opposed say no? It passes on a vote of seven to zero. Let's go through in order so far, item number 2, pulled by councilmember spelman. We do have one speaker. Roy whaley.
Howdy y'all and good morning. My name is roy whaley and I'm here today representing the austin sierra club. And on item 2, we are in favor of this action because we understand that we have to have water to continue operating fayette, but do want to point out the -- this illustrates very well the connection between water and energy. Water and energy are inseparable. So water conservation, energy conservation, are also inseparable. As we conserve energy, we conserve water. Recently all of you agreed to take a pledge to see about moving austin off of coal as a source of energy. And that is c-o-a-l. Nothing personal, mayor pro tem. So when we say beyond coal, make sure it's fossil fuels that we're talking about. Anyway, and so part of what we want to look at is that we're not talking about selling. The goal is to phase it out and to close it and to take those emissions out of the air. And so we don't want to commit this much water for this amount of time. We want to -- if it was possible we prefer to see this as a yearly rollover contract, but as i understand it our minimum contract time would be 10 years. So we would ask you this morning to limit that to 10 years. That will help us follow through on our commitment to move past this dirty source of energy, and also help us with our water conservation goals at this time of drought also. When we look at our renewables, we're not looking at a high need for water and solar, we're not looking for a high need for water and wind. So as we move towards that goal, we simultaneously meet our goals for water conservation. So we would ask this morning that we do not extend this for the life of the contract, but for the next 10 years and be able to adjust as we go. And I appreciate your time this morning.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you. Councilmember cole.
Cole: whale aye, have you had any discussions with anyone from austin energy about limiting this contract to 10 years?
No, I have not.
Cole: Let me see if someone from austin energy is present. They're all gone? Thank you.
Good morning, mayor, mayor pro tem. Jackie sergeant, senior vice-president power supply and market operations.
Cole:. sergeant, what I'm trying to figure out is the repercussions of limiting the contract for 10 years and if it is -- can you tell us that?
One of the things with having this water contract available is that it gives us options. We can use this water at other diversion points. For example, at our sand hill energy center. And so therefore we can not use it at fayette, but be able to use it at other facilities. So by having it for a 20-year term with the option after nine years to announce our termination of it, we could terminate it in 10 years. That's an option that's out there. Or we could have it for a longer period of time, which if we have a continued drought situation, we may not be able to get additional water at any later point, but we do have the flexibility of requesting a termination at year '10.
Cole: So the existing contract provides us with the renewable option at year '10 whether to continue. -- At year 10 whether to continue.
The proposed contract.
Cole: And we will make an evaluation at that time.
That's correct, ma'am.
Cole: Will that evaluation come before council? The evaluation that we're able to make at the 10-year period, whether or not it is renewable, will that be an item that comes before council?
Yes, it will.
Cole: Okay. Thank you. Thank you, roy.
Well, I would just say that all options are on the table and all contracts are renewable. At the end of 10 years when that contract terminates, you always have the option to go back and renegotiate. And we will have a new set of information at the end of 10 years, and we will hopefully no longer be breathing the pollution and suffering from the mercury consequences of fayette and so all of that water we'll be able to use in other regions -- in other arenas where austin energy needs that water. We do see it as a short-term bridge and we definitely have to do that, but in 10 years this city should be fossil fuel free and our water needs will definitely be different. And as I say, I truly believe that this is the incentive to make that happen. Last summer the super committee was given an extension, an option to come up with a solution. And they've had no incentive to do that. We say we can always kick it down the road. Let's not kick it down the road. Let's say we're going to limit it and work on it and give ourselves a hard and fast deadline to deal with it.
Cole: Thank you, roy. We just want you to double-check [ inaudible ]
ma'am, that is correct. Our legal counsel advised me that that is true.
Cole: Thank you, mr. whaley. Thank you.
Thank you, folks.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember spelman.
Spelman: Mayor, i understand that we are perhaps not actively pursuing this study, but there is a study that we've been asked to complete for options for dealing with the day yet coal plant and that's scheduled to come back to council in the fall of '12?
That's correct. That is under my purview and it has been started.
Spelman: Great. Jackie, could you give us a sense of what kind of options you're looking at? I won't ask you for which one you're going to recommend, but if you can give a sense of what kind of options you're looking at.
We will be looking at a base case and then we'll be looking at various scenarios around that. And right now the process is that we have a team of people together that are looking at and identifying what those options should be and we'll be presenting those options outhowl be presenting those options to me and we will be taking them to the management team and then looking at how we will do that evaluation. So I haven't defined or i have not defined specific scenarios at this point in time.
Spelman: So it's too early to ask for that option. Is -- and you can't answer this question yet, feel free to say so. Are there any options which you will be considering which might call for closure of the plant or seizing portion -- ceasing operation of our portion of the plant before then?
We will be looking at different dates in which we would no longer to have access to energy from fayette.
Spelman: So it's conceivable in 2017 or 2015 or some other date other than 10 years from now, that we may cease to be involved in fayette?
Yes. And we'll be looking at the overall cost impact of what that would look like for customers.
Spelman: Okay. Will -- presumably if we cease operation at fayette or we turn it over to somebody else or shut it down, we would need to make up the energy somewhere else in the system, which presumably would require long-term power contracts with a provider or creation of additional production capacity on our part. And some of the options I've heard of, we might be considering capacity to decker or additional capacity to sand hill. Presumably some of those would require additional water. Could we, if we chose to suspend operation of fayette between now and 10 years from now, at that point transfer our water rights to sand hill, decker or someplace else?
We will be able to use water immediately at sand hill if we so desired, and there are opportunities to requestno carrierringconnect 57600
the costs are decided and set forth and so there's not a negotiation.
Spelman: To 10 year with an option to renew will give us exactly the same price as 10 years, period.
There isn't a 10 year with an option to renew. There's a 20 year with an option to terminate at year 10.
Spelman:, MY APOLOGIES For the veer. I see your point. Either way it's still going to cost us 151 bucks an acre foot because of the tariff, is that right?
For the water that we use, that's correct.
Spelman: Terrific. If we do not use the entire amount of water that we're purchasing access to, we still pay for some portion of the water that we're not using as an insurance policy aspect of it.
Spelman: Okay. Is it your best guess that we're going to be finding a use for all that water even if we terminate use of fayette?
Well, it would depend on what the weather does. Drier, hotter years there's more opportunity or need for water consumption. Depending on what our resource portfolio looks like and what the possible diversion points are, we could be using all of it. If it's wetter weather and cooler temperatures, then the need is not as great because most of the water is consumed due to evaporation.
Spelman: So it's hard to tell because we don't know what the weather is going to look like. I want to be clear I have the answer for this. Contract we're making with the lcra is not the fayette full plant with water, but providing austin energy with water and austin energy can take the water rights and use them wherever in our system we see fit at our option, not necessarily at fayette, is that correct?
The only two options that will be set forth in the contract will be at sand hill or at fayette, but there are opportunities in the future time to ask for other diversion points.
Spelman: Okay. And presumably we would be able to use other diversion points if we had a need for them.
That's correct. That's my understanding.
Spelman: Okay. It sounds reasonable to me. Mayor, I move approval of item 2.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember spelman moves approval of item 2, seconded by mayor pro tem cole. I just have one quick question. The approval of this contract in no way would affect our potential divestiture of our share of fayette in the interim period.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember martinez?
Martinez: Thanks, mayor. I just wanted to ask, so in your evaluation that you will bring forward with recommendations for fayette, will you also include potential recommendations or options for use of that water supply in other areas that give council the option to divest from phi yet. For example, if we use some type of co-generation power plant to create our base load when we divest from fayette, what type of water consumption would those options require? Do you understand what i meant?
It would depend on what the options were that we're looking at or that we will be considering and evaluating, and having a water right or availability to have water makes it more valuable.
Martinez: It expand ours options as well.
Martinez: So will that be part of the evaluation that come forward in the fall?
It may not be specifically part of that evaluation, but when we look at the resource alternatives that potentially come out of that and then get -- move beyond and get more specific, then it would be taken into consideration and make potentially certain projects more available than others.
Martinez: Thank you, ma'am.
Mayor Leffingwell: Further comments? All in favor of the motion, say aye? Opposed say no? It passes on a vote of seven to zero. So with that, council, we'll go to our morning briefings. And the staff personnel are not here for 86, so without objection we'll have the staff presentation on item number 87.
Good morning, mayor and council. Kevin johns, director of the office of economic growth and redevelopment services. Today we're focusing on entry level as well as high paying jobs. This is an opportunity for those people who have difficulty getting into the job market. We're very pleased to present a proposal from the u.s. farathane corporation. Representing the company today is rick knapp, the cfo. The economic development proposal focuses on expand the automobile industry cluster and on creating job opportunities for hard to hire citizens can basic education and skill levels. The purpose of today's briefing is to present the first a background of the economic development proposal itself and a timeline for future city council meetings. An overview of the u.s. Farathane company. A review of the matrix score. A summary of the web fiscal impact analysis, which outlines how much not to give. A compilation of the overall benefits from the economic development proposal. And a review of the proposed economic development agreement itself. So what is being proposed today is an economic development agreement between the city of austin farathane corporation to establish a manufacturing facility, create jobs and make investments in austin. Its economic development proposal is being presented over the two city council meetings, today's meeting, of course, which is a regularly scheduled meeting, this briefing, to introduce the proposal to citizens and to yourself. And then december 15th, which is a regularly scheduled meeting for the public hearing and for potential action. farathane is a privately held company, 30 years old. It has headquarters in auburn hills, michigan. The company has been a leading source of plastics, manufacturing principally in the automobile industry, offering a wide range of full services from composites to extrusion, injection molds and compression technology. The company employs over 900 employees sand a supplier to the automobile industry. It has clean labs and design disabilities to include digital measurements, optical compareters, scanning and other devices. The score on the project according to our development matrix was 65 out of 100 points. The scores reflected the first that the farathane would establish a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in austin. The location is the former dell manufacturing site on the east side of 35 near parmer road. farathane would create 228 new full time jobs in austin over the next three years. farathane offers a comprehensive benefits package offering health insurance and tuition reimbursement for its employees. Next I'll discuss the financial benefits and costs of the project. The fiscal impact analysis represents only direct benefits and costs as a result of the projects and jobs created. This is just a reminder that there is no multiplier effect here. The total direct benefits over a 10 year period are $11.6 million. The total cost of 10.9 million. So the total gross benefit rounded is about 700,000. The recommended incentive is equal to 40% of the new incremental real and personal property taxes generated by the project over the next 10 years. The estimated value of the incentive, that is the 40%, is $212,695. The net benefit there for after the incentive is just under $500,000, $487,000. What does the economic development proposal offer? On our behalf, the austin chamber of commerce targets the recruitment of manufacturers and suppliers within the automobile industry. This is a major addition to that cluster industry group. There are 228 new full time jobs created, including employment for low income and hard to employ individuals. 4 million company investment in lease hold improvements, 5 million company investment in machinery and equipment, a positive financial impact to the city according to the would be loci analysis. Employees are offered health insurance benefits, tuition reimbursement and other benefits. And of course, the company will locate in the desired development zone and adhere to the city's water quality regulations. The contractual obligations for the company are as one, it will need to establish a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in austin. 4 million in leasehold improvements. 5 million in manufacturing and equipment. Create and maintain 228 new full time jobs in austin with an average annual wage of $27,159. Work with local minority chambers of commerce as well as the travis county re-entry program for ex-offenders and other related organizations to expand the pool of diverse candidates and employment recruitment. Will need to abide by the supplier diversity policy, comply with standards and principles of the cities ordinance for minority owned and women owned business enterprises and of course comply with all city regulations, including applicable water quality. Contractual obligations from the city's perspective, years 1 through 10 will be providing a performance based economic development grant equal to 40 percent of the new incremental real and property taxes generated from the project, which is calculated at 40% of the actual real and personal property taxes paid by u.s. Farathane annually over the next 10 years. The estimated value of the grant is $212,000 over the duration of the agreement. The city is not obligated to make any payments for any year in which the city has determined that u.s. Farathane has failed to fulfill an obligation or application applicable to the company. So for our next steps, of course today is the initial presentation, setting the public hearing. For the december 15th city council meeting. December 12th the online public comments will be transmitted to city council for your review and on december 15th a public hearing would be held and city council action. So that concludes the presentation. We're available for questions.
Cole: I think for bringing this presentation forward. I think it's the best one I've seen since sitting on the dais, and I say that because of the people it's far getting, which is the low skilled labor force. Do you know the percentage that we have in austin of people that only graduate from high school?
You may recall, mayor pro tem, that we did a study last year that evaluated these people who have a high school degree possibly or less, people people who were -- those people who were homeless, those people released who were ex-offenders, and that population in total was i think about 10,000 very hard to employ people. I think about a third of it is people who fall into the category that you're describing that have a weak educational background. I think about 3,000. So about -- so -- we're trying really hard not to become a city of two cities, mean the haves and have notes. I like this proposal so much because it targets our hard to employ population. And I just want to ask a couple of other questions about that. When we talk about hard to employ, can you give a definition of that?
Well, I think the categories that we're looking at are the three that I've mentioned, those people who who have a weak educational background, who have a strike against them as an ex-offender. People who have bouts of homelessness. Essentially people who don't have a track record of employment. So I think that's the categories that we're looking at.
Cole: I know our dropout rate is close to the state average and that our teenage pregnancy rate is also close to the state average. And a lot times we forget that because companies come here and target people at a very high income because they have a very high skills. And so I'm glad to see that erdso along with the chamber of commerce are moving along in an affirmative effort to move in a positive direction for all our citizens.
Our goal is to obtain at least 500 jobs this year.
Cole: Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember spelman.
Spelman: I share councilmember cole's enthusiasm for being able to find jobs for people who are difficult to employ. I just want to nail down what farathane is looking for. The average was about $28,000 a year, you said?
Spelman: Are there -- presumably the company has established policies as to what are minimum requirements for the average job there. As far as you know, and maybe if somebody from farathane can speak to this more directly, there is no policy prohibiting employment of people with -- who are ex-offenders who do have criminal records, is that correct?
Spelman: Okay. Probably there has to be some sort of policy -- i imagine somebody who is -- there probably is some limitations to who they're going to hire. I wonder if you or somebody from farathane could discuss what those limitations are?
I think rick knapp, the cfo, will address that.
Spelman: Thank you.
Rick knapp, cfo of u.s. Farathane. The entry level positions that we do have, we do take all types of candidates. We do do background checks to determine the seriousness of any type of offenses, but we do not exclude applicants based on that fact alone. And we try to get the entry level candidates into the company and then there will be opportunities to move from the unskilled positions into skilled and semi skilled through some of the training programs that we offer. Our goal is to try to promote from within.
Spelman: Good thing you're doing that. Do you have any policy that specifically excludes people who are arrested or convicted of particular offenses or have particularly long records?
No specific policy, no, sir.
Spelman: And do you have a history of actual employing people who do have criminal records and are ex-offenders?
Yes, we do have some that are employed up in our other facility.
Spelman: Where else do you have facilities?
We have seven facilities in michigan and one facility in jackson, tennessee. Austin, texas will be our southwest.
Spelman: Why are you interested in moving to austin, texas?
We're an automotive supplier. A lot of our oem plants are located in mexico. And also there's other targeted customers. We ship large product, so we need to be close to our customer. And with all that's -- all that's going on in mexico, we did not want to locate into mexico, so we began a search, and kind of all through texas and new mexico, oklahoma, and settled on austin as our choice.
Spelman: What was austin's competitive advantage relative to other cities in the southwest?
One, close proximity to the customer base. We liked the area as far as what it has to offer both for employment possibilities as well as retention and recruiting management and other technical people that we'll need for this facility.
So you kind of have to employ a mix of people, a fair number of people on assembly people, but also r and d people, executives?
There will be roughly 20 management people that will range from quality, process engineers, quality engineers and the rest of the employees will be more hourly. Some of those will be process techs that are responsible for getting jobs running, injection molding and compression molding, dye setters. Quality technicians.
Spelman: I would have expected the logistics to work better for houston, dallas, fort worth, maybe even san antonio than in austin. They would have better airplane connections and perhaps at least a good, maybe better rail connections to your suppliers and to the people you're supplying. Did that turn out not to be a big problem?
Yeah. Obviously if we're in san antonio it is a little closer to some of our mexico customers. There is one customer that is in hermacio, which is in the far western portion of mexico. So transportation was just one factor that we looked at. As far as building availability, workforce, how we liked the area, I think austin out weighed some of those other areas.
Spelman: Thank you very much. One last one. 28,000 The average wage on a job. We probably asked you this in your application, what would be -- I think it was 10 percentile is what we're usually getting in. Not the lowest paid job, but the 10th percentile paid job, do you remember that?
I don't remember that one off the top of my head.
I think I can help. It's 20,800.
Spelman: Okay. And remind me where 20,800 stands relative to the poverty level and relative to the average wage? federal minimum 25, so the minimum -- the lowest 10 percent is $10 an hour. 50 more an hour.
Spelman: So about a third higher than minimum wage.
And one additional comment. On top of a minimum wage our plants are allowed an opportunity to earn monthly bonuses based on how well the plant is performing relative to attendance, quality, safety, so if they achieve pretargeted levels in those groups they can get a monthly bonus and all of our employees are eligible for annual bonus that range anywhere from $600.
Spelman: Terrific. A last question. I ask this with some trepidation. I'm afraid I won't understand the answer, but I'll ask it anyway. What exactly do you make? Plastic for cars, but what exactly does that mean?
The injected molded parts, one of the largest parts we make is called a cow panel. It's a plastic piece that goes between the windshield and the dash where the windshield wipers come out of. We make this plastic side shields that are on a lot of the vehicles. One of the large products that will be down here are called underbody panels. A lot of the oem's are going to these panels for noise reduction, so the vehicle is quieter on the ride. And so that will be a major product out here. And that's compression molding, which is just a slightly different than injection molding.
Spelman: You guys make the parts that we don't pay much attention to, but the car has got to have. Good to hear. Thank you, sir. I've got a last question for egrso. I'm a little surprised that that the auto industry has been targeted for our interests. First, do we have very much -- do we have very many auto industry companies in the austin metro area right now?
It is a target of opportunity austin 2.1. There is a substantial number, but not at the level we would like it to be. So this is a very nice addition to that whole manufacturing and technology area. I can't give you an estimate today. Perhaps I can get that for you from the chamber.
Spelman: You've got a week to get it so it would be helpful. It seems to me what we usually do when we're identifying targets are to build on clusters that are already relatively well developed because that means that our rate of retention is considerably higher. They've got a lot of people to talk to and work with and get spare parts and technical assistance from. And if our auto industry penetration is relatively small relative to other metropolitan areas, that means the retention rate is probably going to be a little bit lower and we're less likely to -- farathane is less likely to be here in 10 years than it would if we had a lot of auto industry activity. If you could check on the extent of our auto industry activity, I would appreciate that. And more generally, if you could walk me through either today or next week how it is that opportunity austin and egrso identifies those industries of -- did you say are targets of opportunity? Technology stuff is easy because we've got lots and lots of technology stuff, and that's right out of michael porter's play book. The auto industry seems to me -- it doesn't fit with my conception of what kind of msa we've got. And if I need to be readjusted, I would like an opportunity for you to readjust me.
Wield do a little -- we'll do a little research on that and come back with a description of the game plan. And I think in light of the f 1 moving forward, we'll go research and see if that helps boost that area as well.
Spelman: Thank you foe that reminder. I need to get rid of that boundary.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember morrison.
Morrison: I'm not sure who my questions are going to be for. One of the things we have discussed before with these kinds of opportunities are the pay levels and there's discussion about living wage and all. And it looks like here we're taking a tack here to address the needs of folks that are hard to employ, that have barriers to employment. One of the things I'm wondering about, I noticed that you mentioned that we'll be working with local minority chambers and the travis county re-entry program to identify those folks. I'm no expert in this area, but I would imagine that some continuing support for the especially hard to employ might be important in making that employment successful. And I wonder if you're familiar or perhaps the representatives could talk about whether there are programs in place, whether there are specifically company-focused programs or more programs available so that we could really work towards success for the folks that do get jobs here.
I can address one element of that question. We have reached out to skill point, and they're going to be working with this in trying to do the training in preparation to aid us in trying to move that population into these types of jobs that we're beginning to recruit.
Would those be ongoing programs? I know that I'm familiar with some programs that are focused on basics about having a job, just in terms of attendance and the other key points there. So I guess that's one thing I would like to be able to look into a little bit. If we take this tack and shift away from living wage jobs because as councilmember spelman pointed out, the bottom 10%, for instance, they will be at 20,000 and I think that's real close to the poverty line. And so if we're investing in jobs where individuals will be living in poverty, i think we need to add some special layers on top to make our investment.
I agree that presents a challenge, but also a wonderful opportunity. So trying to break into that training component is part of the challenge we have. I think we've got a super company here that does training. And we've got some resources with skill point and with the re-entry and other organizations that would also like to participate.
Morrison: Great. If you could maybe help me explore some opportunities for ongoing programs, i think that would be helpful. And then also in response to the question that came up about the auto industry being a cluster that 0 is targeting, I want to second the request for a reminder about what are our targets and how do we figure out what they are? And I know that the chamber does a lot of work and is an expert in that area, but i could -- it would be real useful for me to revisit that and see some of the background about why.
Thank you. That gives us an opportunity to kind of discuss the overall strategic economic plan and some of the things that are occurring. We'll prepare that.
Morrison: And then the last question, I'm just wondering about the timeline and I apologized if you missed it when you talked about that. The timeline that is planned just for relocation and when they would be up to speed.
I'm going to ask rick to come back.
Morrison: Thank you.
Based on the programs that we've been awarded from the oem's, we need to be in production march 1st of 2012. So we're currently looking at the renovations of the facility to get it ready to -- to get production ready for us. So we anticipate that we would begin hiring employs probably in january for some of the maintenance and other management positions and then the hourly workers we probably would begin the third week of february roughly. Then full production would start when the program launches in june. And then our second kind of wave of work starts launch in early 2013.
Morrison: That's a relatively aggressive schedule.
Riley: I want to thank you for all your work on farathane corporation's work on this. There are a number of aspects of this proposal that I'm particularly impressed by and one I want to mention in particular is the location. Even though this is not exactly in the center of town, it is a location that is very well served by transit. If you look at cap cap's current -- capital metro's current route map you will see a number of routes that are currently serving the area around those proposed sites. Including limited routes, cross town routes, some of our most popular routes. The number one l and m. And within the next two years the area will actually be served by metro rapid, bus rapid transit, which will go all the way up to the tech ridge park and ride, which is not far from this site. So even though this facility may be dedicated to producing parts for automobiles, the workers at the facility need not necessarily be dependent on cars to get to the facility. I'm particularly pleased with that. So thank you for all your work on this.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember martinez.
Martinez: Thanks, mayor. I'll be brief. Kevin, I'm looking at the federal poverty guidelines. We're right at federal poverty guideline for families of three, between three and four. And so I want so echo the concerns that we try to not incentivize employing a workforce at the poverty level. But I do absolutely agree and support that we need more blue collar industry and I think that's really what opportunity austin is about this time around is not only going after the high paying, high-tech jobs, but also stabilizing our workforce and our economy with an industry that doesn't necessarily ebb and flow with the tech boom and bust. So I appreciate the effort in that regard and I hope that we'll continue those efforts, but at the same time when we talk about going after blue collar jobs, we want to make sure that we focus on ensuring that we're not creating a workforce that is more dependent on city subsidies and social service contracting that inevitably would cost us more in the long run.
Thank you, councilmember. We don't want to be on a list of one of the top cities with two classes. And the federal poverty level for a family of 1 is 10,000. For a family of 2 it's 14,000. For a family of 3 it's 18,000 and for a family of 4 it is 22,000. So we're aware of those numbers and this is an exceptional company that really gets us to launch something that begins to tackle a major issue of our time.
Martinez: Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Okay. We have one speaker, paul saldana.
Morning, mayor and councilmembers. Paul saldana, speaking on hispanic contractors around the austin area black contractors association. We actually support this item, however I want to bring a couple of issues to your attention. As you know, our trade associations going along with your city staff, the mwbe council advisory committee for a year and a half has been working on amendments to the third party agreement and the subcommittee adopted these recommendations on october THE 10th. It's our understanding that the third-party resolution will not come to council until the new year, almost 90 days, three months after the council subcommittee approved them. So this is a good opportunity for us to capture and be able to participate on this particular agreement. And I'm not sure how many we've already missed out on or if there are any more that are already in the works coming. So if you all move forward with approval of this particular agreement on december 15th, it's our hope that when we adopt the third-party resolution that it becomes retroactive to make sure that we aperture and don't miss out on any particular opportunities like this one. The other thing I want to johns was speaking about is you noticed he talked about the participation of the minority chambers. Don't have the participation of the minority trade associations. And often we come before you to talk about all the missed out opportunities for mwbe. So I think as part of the reramping process, if you johns needs to include the representatives from the minority trade associations at the table so we can talk about creating and having meaningful participation for local mbe and wbe's. The other thing I want to point out is if you're a vend are or a contractor with the city of austin, you have to pay your subcontractors or your employees at minimum the living wage salary, which is $11 an hour, but we're not asking you for any incentive. So if you're going to provide incentives for companies or corporations, then I think they should adhere to what you require of subcommittees and vendors of the city council, which is $11 an hour. Another thing I want to say and the agreement, some of the discussion you were talking about, we do incorporate some new recommendations that talk about hiring the local workforce. The workforce solutions provides you on a regular basis the local unemployment rates. And so part of our recommendations in the new third-party agreement is to place a strong emphasis on hiring local people here in town. So I wanted to pass -- address those particular issues, but I want to reiterate, we support this particular agreement, but we want to make sure that it's inclusive and that it's transparent and that the local minority trade associations have a seat at the table so we don't have to come back and complain to you after the fact that we missed out on opportunities. So thank you very much. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Mayor Leffingwell: Questions? Councilmember morrison.
Morrison: saldana, thanks for coming down. In the briefing that we just received, one of the obligations of farathane is that they will comply with standards and principles of the city's ordinance for minority owned and women owned businesses in the design and construction of its corporate operation center. This includes soliciting participation in the design and construction of lease hold improvements. Does that capture what would -- what is drafted in the resolution, the third-party agreement resolution, or is there more that would actual apply if it were passed at this point?
I think it -- it does capture that, but we offer a little bit more specificity in the third-party resolution. And we also, one of the new processes that hasn't necessarily happened before, is that there will be a requirement for smbr to report its determination of compliance and noncompliance issues on a regular basis, so that process is transparent and that requirement has to go to the mbe advisory committee and the council subcommittee. So from our perspective that is new because what we have right now is we don't find out about issues until after the fact and we miss the opportunity. So this will allow the process to work parallel to the execution of this agreement so we can monitor and more importantly enforce to ensure that we don't miss out on any wbe, mbe. As consultants, and as suppliers for the company.
I guess in large part i would like to defer to my colleagues that are on the committee, but it sounds like it would be reasonable for us to look at bringing this agreement into compliance or alignment with what's in the resolution. So I guess I would like to be able to get a response from staff on whether they might be able to look into that. Mr. johns? I was just asking -- I know you were offline for a second. I was asking if it might make sense to look at including in this agreement an alignment with the draft resolution for third-party saldana is looking at?
We'll discuss that with farathane and the chamber.
Morrison: Okay. I would appreciate that if you could let us know how that might work. And then from just -- just a question for the city manager, if we could understand the timeline for this resolution moving saldana said it's two months ago that it was approved at the committee and advisory board level.
Bryan? My bad, excuse me.
Good morning, council. Veronica lat that, director of the minority small business resource department. We have been working steadfastly to get it on a council agenda. It will be coming as an item from staff to get on an council agenda. We are look at that first agenda in january. I don't have the dates in front of me, but it is the first meeting of january.
Mayor Leffingwell: And I would just bring to your comment about your involvement at some stage in the process and make sure you had it there. I think that's the discussion that we need to have to figure out the appropriate time and the scope of involvement of potentially interested parties and for future agreements that we try our best to honor that request or involvement.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember martinez.
Martinez: I want to follow up on councilmember morrison's comments that between now and the next staff in the date line process that we sit down knapp and do through the current draft of the proposed third-party agreement and see if they can simply agree in principle to what is presented to them that it would apply to this project. And then hopefully in january we'll fully adopt this and retroactively apply it to this agreement. Obviously council reserves the right to make amendments and changes to it, but we've worked on it for so long that I don't see substantial changes, if any at all, coming. So whatever is presented knapp pretty much is what it's going to be. And I don't think that there's anything in this proposal that would fall in contrast to that proposed policy, but there are some specific parameters like reporting and compliance with those reporting to smbr and through smbr and to our advisory committee that i think will be critical for future success in our economic development agreement. So if you could just talk to knapp about that and maybe come back to us and see if we can achieve an agreement on applying the proposed third-party agreement. Appreciate it.
We will do that.
Mayor Leffingwell: Okay. Anything further? Councilmember tovo.
Tovo: I have one last question. I appreciate the comments of my colleagues and thank you, saldana, for your important points as well. Just one last minute comment. It's my inning from looking at previous agreements that it often accounts for the amount of city support necessary for -- from libraries to parks to other kinds of things. And I agree with my colleagues who have pointed out that since given the wages of many of the workers, it sounds like who will be employed by the corporation that it is important to consider those. Can you tell us where that information -- can you tell the members of the public where the information will be online so they can look at it as well over the next week and look at the scoring and the other information that went into the staff recommendation?
I believe that's on the egrso website. So if you just scroll to -- through the city and then go to the economic growth website, all of this will be posted in great detail.
Tovo: Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you, mr. johns. We'll have this item on our agenda next week. We also had cat newlynns signed up not wishing to speak. Those are all the speakers that we had. We'll go to the next briefing if staff is ready. Guiding principles and funding criteria for the bond development process. [One moment, please, for change in captioners] so council set a lot of directions for the bond development process and the resolution passed on OCTOBER 6th. Namely the creation of the bond election advisory task force and also the direction that the bond development process would be -- would incorporate the vision of imagine austin in the development of any future bond election. Also that we would have timely and adequate investment in infrastructure to accommodate growth and that it would be within the context of a needs assessment and funding priorities that would be recommended by city staff and that's why we're here today. A little about the bond election task force and their charge. A couple things. One is that, you know, they will be working on developing it within the context of imagine austin, but also there will be an extensive community engagement process they will be a part of and leading. Council and staff will be looking to the bond election task force to provide a lot of feedback and recommendations with respect to the priorities within the context of needs assessment and the imagine austin plan. And then we also want to make sure, and I think this is based on the resolution as well, that the projects that are proposed in the needs assessment and going forward have adequate funding as per the cost estimates that have been assessed by city staff through the needs assessment process. So as I mentioned, the basis for this is the vision of imagine austin and we'll get into extensive detail about the comprehensive plan because I know there's a lot of information out there. Austin is livable, natural and sustainable, mobile and interconnected, austin's values and respects its people and austin is creative and educated. This is where we're starting with how we looked at putting together the bond development process and the proposed guiding principles that would be in front of you. He also looked at the priority programs that came out of the comprehensive planning process and that starts to bring focus to that vision that was articulated in imagine austin. And so a couple of key ones really apply here and such as the improved transportation options for cars and bikes and walking. Network of parks, trails, waterways and natural areas, and some of the other priority programs, but we'll be looking at all of them and using that as the connective tissue with how we develop the proposed bond package going forward, working with the bond election elect task force. They really help to establish that framework for how we the bond election advisory task force, council, all of us will move forward in looking at our priorities and how we start to begin crafting a proposed bond package. And what we did is we looked at using the basis of imagine austin also looking at some of our own best processes on cap capital improvement process. We have six proposed guidings principles and what I'll do is go through beautiful each of them and describe some of the associated criteria that go along with them. The first one is to provide for adequate infrastructure and facilities to maintain city services, and that really goes to how we continue to maintain our existing infrastructure, our existing services to better serve the community. And there are really two levels to this guiding principle. One is near-term projects and then departmental service priorities. The near-term capital projects really have to do with a compelling backer, driving getting these projects moving forward. Whether it be regulatory, hazardous safety issue or if deferring the project may lead to significant degradation? Services. That's why we want to look at moving these projects forward. The second level is department service priorities and this has to do with those business goals and priorities, priorities coming out of some of the planning efforts amongst the department to maintain our city services for the community. Our second guiding principle had to do with making new investments that really tie back to the vision of imagine austin and tie back to some of the priorities that are set out in our related plan to die back into our comprehensive plan. This is really where you start to see the connective tissue of the imagine austin, the vision and priority programs be established and start guiding our priorities for how we consider some of our new investments. We've also been working extensively with our planning and development review department to look at some of our other related plans such as neighborhood plans and other small area master plans to see what specific projects and recommendation are coming out of those efforts and see how we can best start looking at those and incorporating those into our priorities as well. The third guiding principle has to do with making investments in new mobility capacity, including an initial segment from urban rail system. And I know we've talked extensively about a community about a priority of dealing with our own mobility issues, dealing with traffic congestion, I know that continues to be at the top of the list as community priority, and it's articulated in several different local and regional planning initiatives including the imagine austin comprehensive plan. The fourth guiding principle has to do with sustaining our community and promoting a high quality of life. It tends to be more of that traditional bottom line of backers when we talk about sustainability, economy, environment, society and equity. And we work closing about our planning and review department as well as our office sustainability in crafting these proposed guidelines and priorities. With respect to economy, the factors really have to do with promoting, investing in our economy, tracking local businesses, creating jobs. Also leveraging investments, innovation and emerging technology to the benefit of our community. The second one has to do with environment, and really these criteria have to do with -- we have a lot of minimum standards and things we're already doing as a community and a city, but these are looking at one of the things maybe reflected in the projects and priorities that go over and above. Even some of our minimum requirements, some of the things we're doing right now. With respect to society and equity, this has to do with equitable distribution of our investment to make sure that we're serving all the areas of our city appropriately and equitiably. Also that we're preserving our cultural class set and our neighborhoods, making sure there's adequate services and resources for awful our city of austin residents. The fifth guiding principle has to do with cost effectiveness. And so there are a couple of key things this here. One is that we really want to look at the impact on our future operating and maintenance costs at the city and we'll be gathering a lot of that information with respect to our projects in the needs assessment and providing that information to the bond election advisory task force and the community to consider as we're looking at our projects in the needs assessment. Also how we leverage external resources, whether it's public or private, basically get better bang for our buck when we're doing our projects. You know, any partnership opportunities out there in the community. So those are some of the factors with respect to cost effectiveness. And then our last guiding principle really has to do with our balancing of the priorities as we start to formulate a proposed bond package. So we see these really coming more into play more on the back end as we start to -- we've looked at the projects, looked at the priorities and how do we start crafting that proposed bond package. So obviously the affordability aspect, our bonds' impact on taxpayers, geographic distribution across the city, making sure that's equity believe, and making sure we have sufficient fund fog a recommended project and long-term benefit to the community which are part of the direction council has given us to look at. Here's a brief overview of how we're looking at applying the guides principles. Once council approves the principles what staff will do is go back and apply those and associated criteria to the project and programs in the needs assessment. And so we'll just apply the more the project will be identified as priority and move up in those lists. We will then create prioritized lists of projects and programs and we'll bring those to the community in the bond election advisory task force for consideration. And this is just a brief overview of how we're looking at doing, again, a pretty simple process, but taking those criteria and putting all of our projects through analysis how those criteria apply to the projects and then providing those lists and even a basis for how we got to the bond election task force [inaudible]. As I mentioned, as part of our process, we're looking at an extensive community engagement process and we're looking at achieving this in several different ways. First and foremost we'll have on the won't election task force advisory meeting and those will be public meetings and we encourage the community to come out and participate in those meetings. But we'll also have several mechanisms as well along with that. We will have a special community engagement event that will be associated with this. We'll have some online tools working through speak up austin and posting updates on how the process is going on our website through our city of austin website. And we'll be working to make sure that we're thoroughly engaged in the community, and we're also going to be looking at engaging our other stakeholders as well as our respective boards and commissions. And this just provides an overview of that as we're looking to build those conduits for communication and feedback from the support commissions that have a stake in specific projects as well as stakeholder groups and the community and all feed that information back to the bond election task force to best form their deliberations and recommendations going forward. So just a brief overview of where we go from here. You have the guiding principles you are considering today. Once you approve those wheel bringing the needs assessment next week and talking about the debt capacity and having the michelle meeting of the task force next week as well on wednesday. And I believe that meeting is 00 at the one texas center. Then as I mentioned, in the rest of december and january staff will take the guiding principles and to apply them in the needs assessment and go through that internal process and bring the staff prioritized list to the community and the bond election advisory task force in early february. February through april we'll really guinea guess the meat of the work of the bond election advisory task force in the community and considering these projects on the prioritized list and have an extensive community engagement process with that. We'll be looking to them to start wrapping up their work at the end of april and start formulating their recommendations that will be brought back to council and staff. And then staff will start to use the recommendations of the bond election advisory task force to start recommending a bond package to bring to council.
Mayor Leffingwell: I have one quick question and it has to do with guiding principles, stepped out for just a moment, but when you have a staff propose specific projects and a dollar amount associated with these projects, minimum amount necessary [inaudible] i would suggest that one of the guiding principles be that that amount really not be negotiated. I mean the task force could address whether or not to recommend the project but not to recommend the project but list the amount. Because that's one problem that we had specifically with the 2006 bond election is that projects, the amount for specific projects were reduced and the results of that we still have projects left from that bond election we've not been able to complete because there wasn't sufficient [inaudible]. I would just make that suggestion as part of the guidelines. Councilmember tovo and then councilmember martinez.
Tovo: I just had a quick suggestion. I notice in a bit I think we're going to be asked to vote on the recommended bond development guiding presence principlesand the draft relies on the imagine austin and there's a section within here that talks about the priority programs, the eight priority programs, and I would just say since that is in fact comes from the imagine austin draft which is currently being discussed and about which the public has been invited to provide feedback so if the task force suggests some additional priority programs that those be given attention by the bond review committee as well.
Right, and working -- and i understand that. Working with the planning and development review department we talked about how far along the imagine process was and we felt like because of our [inaudible] that the vision and the programs extending from that were sufficiently developed enough where we could use them but i understand [inaudible]
Tovo: And I think the other language presented in the document is to accommodate any additional priority programs that might come forward, but I just wanted to make sure that's on the radar.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember martinez.
Martinez: Thanks, mayor. I wanted to add a little bit to your comments, mayor, in that I totally agree that when we come forward with the recommendation for a specific project that we stick to, i guess, the funding guidelines that staff has presented as what are the requirements for this project, but at the same time I want us to look at the projects that didn't make it through 2006. And I personally would like to give them a little more priority because if we put them on the ballot in 2006, we clearly told the citizens this is a priority, we need a new municipal court, then we went out and got the bonds approved and it wasn't enough to complete the project. And so now we are still are in the same existing municipal court, we have purchased a property that we can't retrofit into our new municipal court, and so i would hope that that project would receive a little bit of deference and priority for funding so we can move forward and complete that project as well as others that may be in those same shoes. At the same time, I don't really see it in here, but i would like to see more -- i know that one of the -- in the methodology overview it says initial staff prioritization list. And I assume that means you are going to meet with all staff across the city who have projects they would like to see done, but I want to emphasize that this is where staff really needs to let this council know what their priorities are for making the city as efficient as possible and getting out of some of these areas and buildings that we work in that are really untenable at this point and need a serious look and consideration by council.
Just to note on that note, we work extensively with our city department and we even look for opportunities to coordinate and communicate even amongst the departments with projects and priorities as part of our needs assessment process. But yes, we went through an extensive process, those initial lists should reflect these are our priorities and talking amongst the departments and also from the departments and priorities to maintain our services and [inaudible].
Martinez: And lastly I'll just ask, mike, down if we've gone through a process where we've evaluated what it would take and if there would be a cost savings of minimizing our lease space and moving to a centralized facility that we own as opposed to the different lease spaces that we still currently exist in all over the city.
Well, we really have been looking to the strategic abilities master plan initiative that we're going through right now and trying to coordinate and get any information that we can and incorporate into this process. I can't it's been a key central focus on how we did the needs assessment so we're going to be looking to that for some information.
Martinez: Thanks, mayor.
Mayor Leffingwell: Mayor pro tem cole cole thanks, mike. This is an excellent layout of the process, but I don't want to leave staff on the hook without recognizing the tension between what council may determine is a priority, the needs assessment which they believe that detail work is a priority and then what we hear from the citizens is a priority and then the bond committee trying to juggle all that and then come back and make a recommendation to us. And I think that complexity is what leaves news the position of not getting some major projects funded that we thought were going to be funded or getting an item underfunded where we needed the complete funding to get it done. So I think we need to spend a little bit more time thinking about what we are directing and asking staff and the bond committee to do because -- just because it's such a fluid process. And having served on two bond committees, one for the city and one for the schools, both as a chair position, I know especially for the schools on the committee for the city, i know how difficult that is and you get into the situation of slicing something not because you want to slice it but because you want to satisfy another group of citizens. So I think we -- perhaps next week we can think about, especially during our work session, how to prioritize those areas. Because when we had our, quote, mobility bond, we knew that transportation was the major issue. And the way this is shaping up and some of the comments that I've heard from my colleagues, this may be shaping up to be an infrastructure bond or something to that nature, or i mean but, of course, we don't want to leave parts of the library out, but we might need to go ahead and make some major decisions like that in order to just clarify, give direction and not put us in a bind. So that was more of a statement than a question, mayor.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilman spelman.
Spelman: I have more questions. Have we ever done this before when we've had a bond task force or commission, offer guiding principle to help work through the discussion?
We have. We did -- in recollection 2006 and 2010, we did it but albeit a little different in both instances. In 2006 in working with the task force there were guiding principles established that the subcommittees then took and then used as their priorities when they were starting to look at projects and priorities in their respective areas. And then in 2010 I know that there were guiding principles and evaluation criteria used to craft the 2010 proposed bond package [indiscernible] so there was that process in both. Absolutely different in both, but it was the same general --
Spelman: How is this different from what we did [inaudible]?
I'm not sure in the it inherentlyis different. There were guiding principles in which you would start to put together a proposed bond package and establishing the priorities was key in both of those processes and in our process we're talking about now is to give that as one of those basic tools to start considering projects and then start crafting a proposal.
Spelman: Sure. To what extent are these -- these principles going to be quantified by staff? Are you going to have a list of projects [inaudible] for example and staff and each individual department is going to have to decide what is the first, second, third priority. Or is this stuff all that's going to be taken into account qualitatively?
I would say more cumulative. We didn't want to get into the scoring and weighting what is most important. Obviously everything is important, but we wanted to take a more cumulative approach to say let's look at our project, our programs and see the more criteria that apply, you know, the more they would be identified as a priority in our process. And so I think we're looking at approaching it more from a cumulative standpoint as which criteria apply but also the more that apply as to trying to make specific value judgments from staff side well this one obviously is more important than that. I will say it's the only caveat on that is in the maintaining the city services, those near-term projects probably have more compelling drivers than the department priorities and a lot of those are just going to be department -- we'll probably look with those a little above the department priorities just because [inaudible]
Spelman: Effectively you have the compelling drivers list which you absolutely have to do and whatever money is available we fill out with the rest on the list. I can easily understand how a parks department, watershed department, police department would come up with their own [inaudible] but it's harder for me to understand is how we assign how many projects and parks do we do, how many projects and watershed protection do we do and so on. Can you give me guidance or sense of how those interdepartmental decisions are going to get made?
I think the focus on our process is really going to be to identify the priorities. And again we have the -- the projects that we're identifying, the programs and what priorities they are meeting from the city side and also from the other parts coming out of planning initiatives and we'll look to apply the funding criteria. I think we'll be looking to get some feedback from the task force and the community when he start talking specifically about how many projects. That's one of the things we're going to be working with them on is what's the right mix, what's the right sizing of the bucket, so to speak, for those respective categories. But I think we're going to focus more on the list and the priorities and from the staff side basically you ask staff what the priorities are, here's the list and here's how we apply the funding criteria to the list. That's what we would put first and foremost.
Spelman: It sounds like that decision is going to have to take shape over time.
Exactly. This is justist starting point to that deliberations process than staff, community and ultimately council will have to go through.
Spelman: We've gone through this stuff. We've gone through the list. We've got at least a tentative recommendation to the council either from the staff side or the task force side or both sides. Is there going to be any formal proposal and vet the list to make sure the valued principles?
We're going to be working throughout the process to do that. We'll be working with the bond election advisory task force and to do that, that's a part of our process is try to vet that and say are we meeting the guiding principles in line with that. We'll be working with them on as they put together their recommendations is to do that check back with the guiding principles and does this reflect this and that also will be reflected from our side as we do our work so hopefully we'll be a joint check on each other that we're applying the guiding principles.
Spelman: Like for example a zoning case I imagine you are going to get one set of recommendations from staff and perhaps the same but possibly a different set from the task force. Is that your expectation?
I would expect -- there may be other priorities and projects that may come up through the bond election advisory task force process and I think what we're looking for is because we have this process in place, all we're going to be looking for is ask if those projects go through our assessment project just like the other projects are going through, that staff is looking at through the needs assessment so everybody can look at them from a apples to apples comparison. So we're allowing for that. We understand that may be the case so we're going ask those projects go through that assessment project just like [inaudible]
Spelman: If there is deviation we're going to have an explanation why they are different and why the two groups felt different about a project. That's helpful. I notice your guiding principles would apply to pretty much all kinds of projects which I'm happy with. [Inaudible] with one exception. I wonder if you could talk about. That guiding principle number 3, making -- [inaudible] including an urban rail system. Does that mean the only -- called at as a guiding principle, there will be an urban rail system called for in this bond package or is that especially high priority associated with that or tell me about that.
Well, I think because it has been identified as priority in several planning initiatives and based on that fact, we thought that it was important enough to go ahead and just identify even with respect to the guiding principle and establish that as a framework for going forward in how we develop the bond package, and the consideration of the bond election advisory task force, the deliberations in the community and how we put this together.
Spelman: I'm interpreting that as yes, councilmember, it will be.
Yes, councilmember, it will be.
Spelman: I'm not sure that's the right answer. I hope it is. I hope once we've got through the business of projects, the funding, the costs of putting a rail system together is that it will make very good sense for us to go forward with the rail proposal. But can I imagine a scenario where we're just not ready yet, where we don't know what the route is going to be, what the costs are going to be and where that might not be so. And I just wonder if the world changes in such a way that we may not be ready for a rail proposal yet, do you have a backup plan where rail can be pulled out in some very near future bond proposal and holding aside [inaudible] to do that.
Mayor Leffingwell: Could I weigh in on that?
Mayor Leffingwell: And let me say since I've been working on this particular project for some time, there's no decision could be made at this point as to whether or not to go ahead and still have a lot of unanswered questions. We still have a nisa study to go through and that won't be done until may. So that question -- the answer to that question will have to be deferred. It's unknown at this point. We have to get good answers to all those questions, we have to make an assessment after we've gotten those answers. And if I could, I would also like to clarify my previous statement about making sure individual projects were funded. It doesn't have anything -- I'll get back to you in just a second, but I want to clarify that could be bond proposition that don't get -- where the amount could be variable, there should be a certain amount recommended by the staff and a different amount recommended by the task force, and those would be nonproject specific things that we have funded in the past such as a certain lump sum amount for affordable housing, open space, parkland acquisition, et cetera. What I'm talking about is adequate funding for projects, say we're going to build a building on barton springs road and it cost this much to build it so [inaudible] it would not be wise, in my opinion, to adjust those amounts [inaudible].
Spelman: Robert, do you want to weigh in on the rail issue?
All I would like to say on thatone is w put it on there to -- just to ensure council a proposal will be coming forward for your consideration. That's what that means is we've heard so much about urban rail this the community, we will be bringing something forward for you to consider. Whether it's right or whether or not that will absolutely -- but working through the process something is going to come forward for your consideration. That's why it's [inaudible]. Obviously mobility [inaudible]. The added urban rail deaf nature project name, as i understand your term, really from staff that was to remind us that we are bringing something forward.
Spelman: And by bringing something forward, again, my apologies to all of my for rail friends for the way i have to phrase this, but i need to cover all the contingencies. I want us to have a train as soon as possible but no sooner. So if it turns out that in your opinion the trains -- the train proposal gist isn't right yet for any of a number of reasons we can spoken off, then what you are telling us by putting this? The list of principles there will be a proposal but you will not necessarily recommend we fund this proposal in 2012.
Spelman: Thank you very much.
Mayor Leffingwell: I agree completely with all of your statements. Councilmember morrison.
Morrison: Thanks, mike. I have a couple of questions. I know that last time around in 2006 at least one, maybe more, of our bond projects were actually partnerships. And in fact one of our mobility bond projects was a partnership, is a partnership. Are we envisioning being open to partnerships this time around?
Yes, we are. As a matter of fact, that's one of our -- I guess one of the associated criteria in one of our guiding principles is that, considering the leveraging of funding, including public-private partnerships. You know, if they make sense.
Morrison: Okay. Great. And then one of the things that, you know, obviously this -- it makes ultimate sense to tie this to imagine austin and what we have so far. One of the main components if our charter about imagine that is supposed to go in our comprehensive plan that has been folded into imagine austin but not explicitly as one of the specific items that's mentioned is health and human services. And I've had some really interesting discussions with folks over the recent past about -- especially social service providers, about projections that they have about increasing needs in the next 20 years, 30 years for their services. Now, theoretically, ideally if we got imagine austin right and put it all into place, there wouldn't be any need for social services in this town, but I have a feeling we're probably not going to be that successful. So one of the things I want to keep on the table is social service infrastructure. And for me that means facilities that, you know, are social service providers -- our social service providers might need to address needs 20 years from now and partnerships that we might keep in mind for that. So really -- and I think that if I look at the guiding principles, number 4, promote a sustainable community and high quality of life, that sort of gets to it, but it doesn't really acknowledge anywhere that I see the potential that we are going to need social services in this town 30 years from now. And so I just wanted to ask you to please keep that on the table in the discussions and it would certainly be a place for partnerships, and I think it will really help us address the acknowledgement in our charter that our comprehensive plan needs to address health and human services. So -- and then I just wanted to do two followups to the questions and comments that have already been made. With regard to the fact that referencing the priority programs, I totally agree we need to be flexible about that, and in fact that was one of the delicate natures of crafting the resolution that created the advisory committee and that was how do with deal with the fact -- the only thing formally adopted is the resolution. That's why the resolution only addressed the -- I've heard some interesting comments from the citizens about the priority program. I envision that they might specifically not as they are listed may not change but what we see as what they cover may well change so flexibility there is certainly called for. And then just to follow up lastly on the issue of how we're going to be tracking and scoring. One of things helpful to me would be if we can make sure that for each of the projects we're able to really keep track of all the criteria instead of sort of -- that it sort of came from and have that presented with the project. And it might help explain -- it will probably help explain staff recommendation, it might help explain any difference between the advisory committee recommendations and staff, et cetera. So that information, I know you are going have it, so I'm just asking to keep hold of it and keep [inaudible] f. Thank you for your work on this.
Mayor Leffingwell: I think we can take up item 15, related. There are no citizens signed up on item 15, motion to approve staff recommended bond guiding principles funding criteria.
Mayor Leffingwell: Mayor pro tem moves, councilmember mart seconds. Any discussion? All in favor say aye. Opposed say no. Passes on a vote of 7-5. Council, next would be item 5 and together with item 68, but we only have 10 minutes. We already have six minutes signed up. Without objection we'll try to get a couple of these that are -- one person signed up. Clay dafoe on item number 8.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Dear austinites, those who love historic downtown austin, beware of this grave threat that this resolution extends as a dark cloud over colorado street. The green of the corporate funded multinational developers though rob our beautiful city of the violet crown of its irreplaceable jewels. The proud friendly and low key development of its architectural structures are sadly only considered a blight to those who wish to see us use public taxpayer dollars to built their dreamt of castles in the sky. It is a great shame that this council allows itself to be snookered by the corporate developers, by the special monetary interests and by the endless flow of money from the citizens to the contractors' pockets all too often building a project to nowhere. This project on colorado street implementing massive disruptive construction to develop the great streets program shows austin city council to be no more able to protect the sacred trust of publicly owned property than those of the tax break, sub i did is he thirsty developers hoping to turn downtown austin into an endless slum of cheaply constructed, glass pane falling overly priced five star hotels and residential high risess. Projects part of the 2006 bond program shows that austin council willingly wastes millions, I think 5 million here, of our citizens' precious tax dollars. The sakeret public trust to advance its own distorted objectives, to promote green washing and line the pockets of special interest contractors and developers. Your policy has no merit, no true explanation backed by reason, only pathetic justification and the turning of bind eyes and deaf ears to the dire warnings of your own citizens. This is it. And if the city of austin continues to pig-headedly consider such projects as this there will be little left of the simple charm that has for so many decades defined the friendly city, my beloved home of austin, texas. Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Those are all the speakers that we have signed up on this item. I'll entertain a motion. Councilmember martinez moves approval. Councilmember riley seconds. Discussion? All in favor say aye. Opposed say no. Passes on a vote of 7-0. I believe we can pick up item 26, only has bun speaker, clay dafoe.
Thank you, council. This is a resolution approving the relocation of a portion of the lady bird lake shoreline between tom miller dam and longhorn dam in order to complete the outlet structure for the waller creek tunnel flood control project. This is a very serious resolution with extremely important environmental consequences which I hope some of you are considering and listening to before you make a vote today. In fact, I would encourage you to postpone this vote at the very least in an effort to unveil more of what contactly this project entails so that the citizenry of austin and of the state of texas may make their voice heard on this resolution which will have massive impact on one of the most important waterways in the state, the colorado river. You want to dredge up the shoreline and change the structure of nature. The shoreline of town lake. Playing god with the environment has never turned out to produce much good and i fear that this intrusive action on our shoreline and into the colorado river is a sorely mismanaged project which in your item backup description fails to even describe its true nature and exact details impact. We already know that the waller creek tunnel project is a massive scam that will not only destroy the wild nature of waller creek but suck dry the downtown flood plain area around waller creek in order to enable big corporate developers to come in and buy off city land. You do not have a right to render our parkland use less or areas as clay for your molding as a temporary and trusted alderman. No, this plan belongs to austin and austinites and incorporated with the waller creek tunnel project, this section of downtown in the new san antonio riverwalk will terminate in abject failure. As a monument to the public officials' arrogance, the children of austin will soon ask why some of the great and valuable natural beauty of austin, waller creek and the sacred colorado river were surrendered without any characters to the corporate developers. Only one look at the disastrous trinity river reconstruction in the early 1900s IN DALLAS, TEXAS, IS An example of what a failure this colorado river shoreline redirection scheme will bring. You will not only destroy the colorado river natural's makeup, but also decimate the character of our shoreline, a path which once taken we can never turn back. Forget not what our valuable forerunners, the tonkawood tribe left us preserving and working in good faith as stewards of our environment. To alter the course of the colorado river by lethally dredging its shoreline is a he fence to great to overlook. Please respect those who will teach us the ways of the colorado in years to come. Please vote no. Thanks.
Mayor Leffingwell: Those are all the speakers on this item. I'll entertain a motion. Councilman spelman.
Spelman: I would like to affirm I am in favor of sucking dry the flood plain around waller creek. That is exactly why we're doing this and I think it's an excellent idea and I also think if we were not playing god with nature, we wouldn't have lady bird lake with the hike and bike trail around it and barton springs pool wouldn't be someplace we could go swimming every day. I'm in favorer mayor, and i move approval of item 26.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilman spelman moves approval. Seconded by councilmember cole. Discussion in all in favor? Passes on a vote of 7-0. At the request of councilmember cole who has to be absent for a while this afternoon, a family emergency, I'd like to take up item 54 which was pulled by councilmember martinez. There are no speakers signed up.
Cole: I would like to get someone from --
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember.
Cole: Cole from dsmbr to come present.
Good morning, byron johnson, if you could repeat the question.
Cole: I just had a couple of questions. We know the normal procedures to try to get m.b.e. Contracting, but I was noticing in certain areas especially the women participation, that this was low. Do you -- have you received any explanation to why that is the case?
Yes, and we have actually them here to talk about it and we also have a representative from the department that is -- I mean from the vendor that would be submitting a revised plan for smbr review and it may be that someone from naes is in here.
Cole: Let's start with the vendor because we're trying to get to citizens communication. Naes. As you come forward, what i simply want to hear is about your revised plans for the contract.
Debbie patrick, [inaudible]. The question again was specific to --
Cole: I wanted to know about your potential revised plan for subcontractors.
Okay, as related to the complying with the ?
We do understand the requirements and we have already established some contracts for specific types of work like [inaudible] parks and management, welders, pipefitters [inaudible] meet or exceed [inaudible]
Cole: So do you have particular contractors that you know are going to meet the m.b.e. goal?
Yes, we do.
Cole: How many of those are there? ? Or both? Coal cole both.
We have -- would you like them by types? We have three african-americans, four hispanics, one native american and [inaudible].
Cole: Okay, and I don't believe the vendor is going to have much to add to that so byron, you have another comment?
So procedural --
Cole: Don't leave, ma'am.
Procedurely someone has asked if someone is here to talk about the process so the plan attached is the one originally submitted one which they can't change until there is an award as the vendor has indicated that they have a plan that they have revised that they would like to submit for review and [inaudible] is here to tell you about that.
Cole: Veronica, can you specifically explain why we have an increase in the number of minority participation that the vendor has determined they want to make but that cannot be -- how should that be handled?
Absolutely. Good morning, council, director of small minority businesses department. A prime contractor when they are responding to a bid will provide their compliance plan as part of that bid and that is what we evaluate for compliance. Anything that is submitted after the bid we cannot take into account for compliance. In this particular case, we reviewed the initial compliance plan. We did understand, we do understand that there is some additional participation that they would like to include and we are pleased to see that and encourage that, however, we can't evaluate it part of our process until the contract is awarded and we move forward post-award.
Cole: And you fully intended to that.
We fully intended to that, but we've spoken with the prime and will continue to work with them and follow that process.
Cole: Thank you. Mayor, move approval.
Mayor Leffingwell: Mayor pro tem moves approval, seconded by councilmember martinez. Discussion? Councilmember martinez.
Martinez: Thanks, mayor. Veronica, I wanted to ask, so in their, I guess, compliance with minority participation goals, it shows that one of the listed hispanic contractors no longer maintains that certification that they once had when they made this bid. How do we follow up in the process when we find out that someone loses certification? Wouldn't they have known or shouldn't they have known certification was going to be lost shortly after submitting this, and did they work to try to get them recertified? Are they working to get them recertified?
Absolutely. The certified firm when they are about to lose their certification, when their certification is going to lapse, they are notified by our department 90 days in advance and 45 days in advance and then [inaudible]. In this particular case I'm not sure what the status is reapplication but we can look into that. Usually our practice is our compliance team when they are reviewing a compliance plan will be in contact with our certification team to again encourage the firms to reapply for certification, but I will make sure that [inaudible]
Martinez: Since there can't be any changes now that it's submitted and it's presented to council, the changes will come through a change request after the contract is awarred and we will see that at the subcommittee level when you present your monthly report to us?
That is correct. It is submitted as a request for change for award and that is reported to both the advisory committee, the subcommittee, it is also posted on our website.
Martinez: And so the goal to establish in naes corporation's submittal, they are agreeing to meet the goals established, but will we be able to see if they've exceeded those goals as opposed to just meeting the goals? Because when I look at the second firm, not only do they meet those goals she but they exceeded them in many areas. And I wanted to know what we're doing to try to help achieve more [inaudible].
We can certainly report on that. As we evaluate changes internally we're looking at what impact that has to the overall certification. We can report that to the advisory committee [inaudible].
Martinez: Thank you. Thanks, mayor.
Mayor Leffingwell: Further discussion? All in favor say aye. Opposed say no. Passes on a vote of 7-5. So we'll go to our citizen communication. First speaker is linda greene, why does the city council practice medicine without a lie science by fluoridating our water?
Good afternoon, mayor and city council. Good afternoon. As you can see, I'm having trouble carrying anything like a two and a half gallon glass bottle now that I have a broken wrist and surgery to put a metal plate in my wrist. In fact, if it weren't for my son's help, I would be forced to be drinking austin medicated, fluoridated tap water for the next many months which would also aggravate my thyroid condition. But back to my subject why does city council practice medicine without a license by floor dating our city water. Webster's definition of medicate is treat with medicine and the definition of med inis a substance used in treating disease. Dental caries is a disease which fluoride not only helps prevent but actively treat by promoting remineralization. Sounds like a drug to me. But what kind of drug is it. Surely not over the counter. Sodium chloride, the pharmaceutical grade found in dental products has approval , the food which was once called the food, drug and insecticide administration because it was used as a rodent killer. A drug used as a rodent killer. When the modern food and drug administration -- administration was established in 1930, sodium fluoride was grandfathered into our water and today is the employed or off label dental uses not originally envisioned. Ingest I believe fluoride cannot be obtained without a dentist or doctor's prescription based on such factors as weight and age. mayor, could you please listen to my citizens communication?
Cole: Ma'am, please continue.
The typically prescribed fluoride substitute is contraindicated for pregnant women and children under the age of six years. So you are medicating our water with a medication that has been contraindicated for pregnant women and children under six years. Now, by contrast the floor is a listic add it is a unpurified product of the phosphorous can tom nature with arsenic and other toxins. It is not f.d.a. approved. It's never been safety tested at all. Its own sheet warns -- [buzzer sounding] -- among health problems and overexposure so why are you continue to go medicate our water, please, if somebody will answer me.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you. Next speaker is christopher ringstaff. Topic is code variance granted to developer credit beingly damages heritage oaks.
Good afternoon, council. I'm here for a fourth time to bring to your attention [inaudible] heritage oak as my property. I don't even know where to begin on this one. I realize -- I'm very upset. This is the fourth time -- let me just -- the variance would be in terms of the fill material that was granted. There are a maximum of 32 inches of the permanentable clay on this heritage oak as per the city code. Four inch is the maximum permitted. Now, also under the code that any act that would reasonably cause the death of the tree would be considered removal, so keep that in mind. Here's a simple graph [inaudible]
Mayor Leffingwell: Would you stay close to the mic. If you need a portable mic --
no, no, my fault. Here is permit from the city that was granted to the developer. And also -- not so much where the developer had submitted this after they had damaged this heritage oak, but as they submitted it as removal, which in terms of the damage I saw would be correct, was downgraded to encroachment. And they were allowed to proceed without mitigation. Subsequent to my moving into the residence, the health of the tree was immediately apparent. What I did as a good steward of my property was I brought in an arborist. Well, here's the letter from the arborist saying yes, the fill material damaged the tree. I'm an environmental reviewer for the department of transportation and environmental affairs division. I do meet the compliance and national historic preservation, hold a master's degree in physical geography and in anthropology. I just don't understand why this amount of variance was granted. The developer was left to skate and now my family is burdened with a tremendous financial responsibility of this dying oak. I have come to you since I've -- last time I was here a year ago, I did open records request. [Buzzer sounding] I submitted a time line. I have yet to hear from the city. Please help me. Please.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilman spelman.
Spelman: Sir, have you retained the services of a lawyer and are you suing the developer?
No, sir. And I thank you for your question. No, sir, I attempted to contact the city arborist, and this is getting to your point, on three different occasions, and which he -- and he would not take any action with the developer. And at that point I was -- i had no alternative but to deal with the developer directly.
No, I did not have the money to retain a lawyer. However, in the course of those interactions I was actually able to get the developer to do some mitigation on the tree.
They held any money that they were going to reimburse for a release agreement, which I refused to sign. Which I refused to sign. And then went back to the city and explained that the developer was trying to coerce me into signing the release agreement, and itself still told no, we signed off, go away. And the open records request would corroborate all that I'm telling you today. And then later, a third of the tree died and so I called greg guernsey, emailed him, said now we have a health and safety issue. Well, he and the city arborist came out to my house, they looked at the fill section, said nothing and said oh, well, why don't we contact the developer. Maybe you could have done that before the tree had, you know, half died. Well, then at that point then I got a condescending email back which was open records request, well, sorry, but you signed a release agreement which is city was not signatory, and we don't have any money for, you know, your tree and essentially quit asking [inaudible].
Spelman: I'm not surprised they said the city has no money for the tree but the developer was liable and the fact that the city believes incorrectly that whatever the developer was going to do was not going to have any affect on your property, on your tree, we made a mistake. On the other hand, it's not our mistake, at this time d mistake because they are the ones who did the damage.
I understand. But when I came to the city to ask to you hold the developer accountable they chose not to ask so what recourse did i have?
Spelman: Probably not through the city. Probably through the courts. We need not discuss this right here, right now.
I understand, if at you will, I would like to bring the results of my open records request and my file for ten minutes of your time is all i would ask. If any one of you like to help me.
Spelman: I would like to take a look at the results of your files and if you would call my office, I would maybe make an appointment.
My name is christopher ringyou'restaff.
Mayor Leffingwell: I'm not ready to suggest at this point the city made a mistake. Just for the record. I'm not asking a question.
Spelman: I perhaps overstated the case. This is a situation where some -- something is going to happen, something else happens, you expect. I'll be happy to talk to you sir, give me office a call.
Mayor Leffingwell: Next speaker is courtney dehass, update from the austin rowing club on logistics and construction effects and waller creek boat house construction site.
Greetings and thank you mayor pro tem and councilmembers. My name is courtney dehass. I serve on the board of directors at austin rowing club. One of my responsibilities is to work with texas rowing center and other entities on lady bird lake to coordinate safety issues and identify areas of cooperation and collaboration. As a result of our last meeting before city council in which you asked austin rowing club to find ways to collaborate, we began an exchange to work towards identifying some of those possibilities. Prompted by our inquiry, the owner of texas rowing center, asked his affiliated nonprofit to consider the possibilities, and matt has reported back to us that his nonprofits feel their needs are currently being met and that he has not yet identified any current opportunities to partner with austin rowing club. Both matt and austin rowing club have committed to keeping communication lines open and to work to identify future opportunities for collaborations. As you may know, the boat house is not open and it will take time to bring it into full gear and identify new ways in which the boat house might facilitate ways in which [inaudible]. Our hope is that in the next few weeks the contract will be brought forward for your consideration. My update is strictly about the request to identify areas of collaboration and I wanted you to know that, although there will not be included in this contract the specific areas of collaboration [inaudible]. It is my hope that keeping the lines of communication open will at some point lead to some cooperative projects [inaudible] matt and crc knows of this offer, the collaboration and that we would welcome the opportunity in the future for appropriate collaborative programs. The president of arc will give you a update on the contract. Thank you for the opportunity to speak.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you. Councilmember tovo.
Tovo: I just wanted since I had made a suggestion about collaboration, I wanted to thank you and the austin rowing club for your collaboration. I very much appreciate it and I think that says a lot about the organization and the way you intend to move forward in your operations.
Mayor Leffingwell: Debbie russell. The topic is the buck stops here.
Somebody once told me there was a way to monitor my time up here. Here it is. Thank you. Thank you. Debbie russell. 12 Years ago we formed a task force to develop an oversight system for our police department in trade for having accountability fast there needs to be a tradeoff for such. We agreed, not the task force per se, but behind closed doors where the task force recommendations were watered down to pay our officers top dollar, the highest pay grid in the nation per capita. While monetary rewards should have been granted after -- it would follow suit n 2007 wee hired 2007 we hiredacevedo. We continue to beg for the -- which you are all aware of the details. It says in part officers will plan ahead and consider alternatives which will reduce the possibility of needing to use deadly force. We continue to further call on accountability and individually forced cases. Under acevedo we hoped we would get valid and verifiable information instead we get false information at the get go that then drives the investigation and disciplinary action standards. There was no struggle with a gun. Did he not fire his gun. Carter, the car was not used as a weapon. The department of justice left here three days before the carter shooting death claiming there wasn't a pattern of abuse. It only took them four and a half months to return -- we suffered through you couldn't interfere, couldn't have access to the report. We can't do. That the buck stops at council. You have the authority advice the city manager to advise the police chief who he is the boss of. You have a responsibility to do that and we need to know you are doing. That the chief he claims he must wait until the grand jury decides how he can respond from an administrative policy standpoint. After the standard shooting he promised quick resolution. That he wouldn't take 180 days, cut it up to half. That now he wants to drag it out. Both officers have been returned to duty and are on the streets as to no resolution whether they are a public safety threat. Let's not slow the slow march again. Check out the new chief's policy he wrote after the shooting. 3 he expands on the meet and confer contract about his right to ask the ag for extension. That only applies to cases of arbitration. In the policy he says he can only do it if he plans on indefinitely suspending an officer or if the prosecutor asks him to do so. Does he plan on firing the officers? I don't think so. Ask questions, the man answers, get ahead of the scandal to avoid one. You are elected official. [Buzzer sounding] cover up equals crisis of leadership. The buck stops here.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank u paul robbins. City issues.
Council, in the next few weeks the water utility will bring a contract for you to approve to audit commercial buildings to save water. This was intended to come up next week, but my understanding is the item has been postponed until next month. This will be for $825,000 to outsource this function to a private consultant. For this amount of money, you could hire 10 years to do the same thing. In practice, you would only need one or two. Once again we find water conservation division is throwing money at a problem. Also consider audits do little to promote savings. Over the last six months, a lot of information has come to your attention about the lack of progress in water conservation. This proposal for wasted money is just the latest example. I am convinced that the best thing to do is to give this agency a fresh start by moving it out of the water utility so it can act independently. As I've stated before, there is a inherent conflict of interest in having an agency that sells water simultaneously run a program to save it. However, I'm now in the reluctant position of pondering another option. One relatively foreign to my way of thinking. Maybe the best way to deal with ineffectiveness is outsource the water conservation function to a third party, a nonprofit commission to do achieve water conservation goal, a nonprofit not accountable to the water utility. Of course this nonprofit would have to be cost effective. It could thought, for example, spend $825,000 on conservation audit. And I'm conflicted because as a philosophy I believe governments should develop this capability in house and outsourcing sets bad bless dents that can be used in wrong ways, by denying employees adequate wages and benefits. It's taken me aen look time to get here, but I am now at the point of considering this option. The management has known about the problems for some time, but has been reluctant to take sufficient action. As someone who wants conservation to succeed, i must look for realistic alternatives. This is not my preference, but it may be my recommended alternative before this is over. Thank you. [Applause]
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you. Richard franklin. Richard franklin, topic is the police chief doing the right thing, firing a police officer. mayor, council, city manager. Are we not our brothers keeper? I would answer question. As many of you aware, I'm the president of youth unlimited, program that's benefited many of the young community in a myriad of ways. Those benefits begin when we get these young men to take responsibility for their actions. Also getting them to take responsibility for the individuals that they hang out with. Is this group responsibility that changes the trajectory of the lives of their lives for the better. Lessons where we show them how they are judged as a group, they begin to understand that when one person behaves badly, that behavior reflects on the group and therefore it becomes the responsibility of the group to police that behavior. We discussed the courage it takes to call on one of your own to do the right thing and how if they are unwilling to do so, they, the group, must take the appropriate actions, which sometimes disassociating themselves with or from that person lest the group s I say that to say this, I'm here to ask that this community starting with its leadership mimic the examples of these young men. Austin has to set the standard as a world class city to be fair, just and righteous at all times. Now is these times. We have an opportunity to bridge the schism and we must take the action. Here to ask to fire officer wagner and we can never be who we profess to be until everyone works together to purge any and all that would do damage to our collective community. We can and must be better. I thank you for your time.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you. [Applause] carlos leon. Topic is tba.
Thank you, mayor. My name is carlos leon and I'm here to speak for what's right. I want city councilmembers to take action as soon as possible so that free of charge all of us austinites can breathe clean, healthy air, drink clean, healthy water and farm healthy fertile soil. Three god given ingredients. Specifically I ex sort city council to stop the poisoning of our air, water and land. Stop the poisoning by criminally removing the fluoride out of our water. Because others have already spoken about the danger of fluoride, I'll speak to the chem trails. Spread across the sky by the spray system of a plane. Unlike con trails which are produced by jets, the vapor trails left behind by chem trails are long last, looks a mile long in the scheme some people are dismayed when they realize what they think is jet plane exhaust are actually toxic laden aerosol ins our air. The health effects of bomb barring the skies with sulphur dioxide are enough to raise serious questions about the program. According to a chem trail resistant website host health temperatures on neurological and damage to immune systems, damage to respiratory problems, damage to liver and kidneys. By the naked eye, spring has taken place in austin as recently as november 15, november 16, november 17, and november 24, which was thanksgiving. Afterwards by observation unfortunately there seems to be a strong positive correlation between the spring and respiratory problems and increased allergy symptoms for many fellow austinites. The chem trail spraying often happens on the brightes cloud yes, sir days in austin which kind of break up skies that god made full of hope and promise. Looking at the declaration of independence, it says we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, endowed with certain rights that are among those life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our rights are being trampled by this spraying. The next part says to secure this right governments are instituted among men deriving just powers from the consent of the governor. That means by electing you, city council, have you the right to stop the spraying and protect our respiratory needs and our air that we breathe. Remember the next part of the declaration 'independence says whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and -- organizing its powers in such forms as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness. Please do what's right. Stop the spraying.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you. An update on the austin rowing club organization.
Good morning. Good afternoon. Mayor, mayor pro tem and councilmembers. My name is camille job, the president of austin rowing club. I'm here to give a brief update and some areas that may need your attention. I want to again by thanking parks director sara hensley for coming to our last meeting and taking a leadership role towards a final contract. I also want to recognize the purchasing staff for greating our conversation and for city legal's assistance in moving the negotiations forward. Thank you. As you know, you authorized the city to enter into negotiations with arc and return with a contract ready for approval and execution. At the previous city council meeting you instructed us to follow up with matt and texas rowing center and highlighted some additional issues that would need attention. As you heard from my colleague, we explored some collaboration opportunities with trc and they have decided their particular needs are met. We look forward to future discussions. Another issue that the mayor and others have identified which will exit at the waller creek boat house is parking. The parks director, sara hensley, has indicated that she will communicate with the macc and with personnel as the convention and visitors bureau to attempt to resolve the parking issues. This is an ongoing effort and we hope to have some answers to the parking challenges in the next several days so we can move forward towards a final agreement. If appropriate, we would like to ask that council encourage the macc to work cooperatively on accommodating a few permanent spots, perhaps ten or so, and temporary spots during the times that do not overlap with macc events. We do not yet have a final draft, however, our hope is these negotiations are be wrapped up in the next few weeks so a contract may be before you before consideration. The purchasing department has asked we return to the parks board for their feedback, and I expressed some concern about this delay given the fact that boat house will be substantially completed very soon. If appropriate, we would ask for some instruction from city council directing if agreement is reached between arc and the city that we present such to city council without further delaying or trip to the parks board itself. Once again I want to thank director sara hensley for participating in our last meeting and offering to provide assistance in several critical areas including in connection with the parking. We hope that resolution to this will be forthcoming and that we can present a contract to you in january for approval. If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember martinez.
Martinez: Karen, you mentioned the macc parking issue and that's still an ongoing discussion. You mentioned something about ten spaces during nonmacc events. Is that where the current proposal is or is that just something that's being discussed?
No, there isn't a current proposal on the table for the parking. What we would like to try to do is at least find some amount of parking that is permanent somewhere for staff to be operating the boat house as that will be a continuing daily need. I know that the macc we have had conversations with the macc about our current parking needs and they have been cooperative in trying to gauge scheduling so we fill in gaps because there are times the park lot is empty. We're hoping to further that conversation. If we could get some sort of agreement over some amount of permanent space newer staff, that would go a long way towards helping the success of the [inaudible]
Martinez: Is that the ten spaces you are referring to, you think that would accommodate your staff on a full-time basis if we just set aside ten spaces?
Martinez: Then the other parts of the agreement would be that if there is not an event at the macc, then you could use that for some of the rowers that come down.
Martinez: And at the same time we're talking to the convention center been possibly sharing some of our parking spaces as well?
Yes. And we did have a tentative meeting set for this friday, tomorrow, and it was rescheduled. I think we're trying for monday now. All of those people should be at the table then.
Martinez: Do you have any further updates? I have a meeting with some of the macc advisory boards.
Camille is on target. We've facilitating a meeting with several of the board members from macc. I'm going to be meeting with them to talk about options so we can try to facilitate the needs of the boat house but also the needs of the macc. We're working on scheduling meeting now. At the same time I have talked to mark kester and he's going to have his parking manager to look at how we can negotiate for a larger group for parking issues. So I think -- I'm cautiously optimistic we can come to a solution. But we have bond funds we can do that in necessary.
Martinez: What I'd like too also throw out to table is the suggestion we speed up the phase of the macc that creates structured parking. In the final phase of the macc when we contemplate full buildout, there's a part that is a structured parking facility and that may be something we can bring forward as a potential bond item for this bond cycle if it could meet all of our needs and help provide parking for everyone.
That would be very helpful.
Martinez: You know, it's just an idea I want to throw that out there. But I wanted to ask karen --
Mayor Leffingwell: Camille.
Martinez: I'm sorry, I'm reading from the -- camille, where do the current rowers park?
They park all over the place. We have some tentative just over the phone agreements or in person agreements with the macc whether allowing to us park in times when they are not there. We have rowers that come at 5:30 in the morning. They also use the metered spaces and occasionally people will park in parking garages in times where there's lesser [inaudible] to parking garages. It's just very chaotic. With all of the bars moving in, that got a lot of parking.
Martinez: Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Sounds like really good progress has been made but I think there has to be some discussion of enforcement because people could just randomly park at the macc whenever they wanted to without really intending to do something wrong, and so somehow we've got to think about that part of it too.
Mayor, we're working on that trying to come up with a solution.
Mayor Leffingwell: Mary arnett, neighborhood watch signage. Welcome.
I'm going to be asking to help turn the power point program. I'm with a group called class to we teach residents along with the police department how to do crime prevention, how to shore up homes, keep their property safely. We encourage a healthy vigilance of crimes in the neighborhood and action on that. We monitor crime data for a reality check so that he do not become fearful inappropriately and work with law enforcement as our partner. What can the -- can you go to the next slide? To help us with neighborhood watch and patrol. When budget times comes around, you can help us maintain the office of the liaison. Those are huge resources for the neighborhoods so we hope you continue to support those. We hope that you promote neighborhood watch as a method of reducing crime and building communities and strengthening neighborhood communication. A very, very important issue in many respects, not just neighborhood watch. I also encourage you to attend commanders forums. Chris riley almost always attends. Sheryl cole has attended and I'm sure the rest of you have attended from time to time. This is an election year. You need to come and meet the people and they want to meet you so you can see who they are and listen to what their issues are. I'm hear to ask a small favor. The neighborhood sometimes asks for things to help them out with neighborhood watch and it wouldn't cost our city very much money to do this. On a regular basis when setting up new neighborhood watches, they struggle to find maps for their neighborhood and I encourage them to go to the gis department. Sometimes they do charge money to put up a map that has the addresses on. If we can keep the costs down and be accommodating to neighborhoods that would be a good thing. I'm mainly here to talk about signage. Signage has been an issue throughout the year. Sometimes the city has been generous, sometimes not. Right now there is a vendor, guardian protection services, who is offering free crime watch signs. This is the only company I've found that's willing to give away the really nice metal crime watch signs that resist when you clean up it doesn't fall apart and fade very fast. The only problem this year the city of austin transportation signs division says they don't want to put them up because of the logo on the signs. [One moment, please, for change in captioners]
we do that as a public benefit.
Morrison: So you're saying that for a neighborhood to get their signs up, it may be just $80 that gets charged.
Typically -- yes, that's my understanding is that per sign unit, that's our cost to put them up.
Morrison: Per sign.
Yes. Usually a neighborhood has two or three of them to put up.
Morrison: Right. I think it would be interesting to talk with staff about is there a way that we can find some funding for that to happen because I think we need to be encouraging these programs instead of the neighborhoods having to shell out money from their pockets.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember spelman.
Spelman: Yes. It's also my understanding and maybe you can confirm this, rob, that signs -- neighborhood watch signs are eligible for participation in neighborhood partnership program.
I cannot confirm that, I'm sorry. I just don't know. But I would suspect they would be appropriate.
Spelman: It's my understanding that in fact we've actually had some neighborhoods participate through the neighborhood partnership program sharing the cost of putting the signs up and purchasing the signs. If we can give the signs available for free, that makes it easier for everybody.
Right. And in fact, many of the signs, my understanding is that many of the neighborhoods are able to acquire the signs for free from various organizations, so they bring those to us. Yes.
Spelman: Okay. Are you familiar with the arrest arnett was describing?
Spelman: Logo, is it rude and obvious or is it sufficiently taste that will it shouldn't be a problem for us?
It is typically not very large. It typically fits within the sign. It typically has been our policy not to put that on the seen. The keep austin beautiful sign is a separate program that was authorized by council, specifically with the participating or donating organization being able to put their logo on the signs.
Spelman: What's the difference between those two?
I believe council direction.
Spelman: That's what i need to know. Thank you, sir.
Morrison: So it sounds like we already have a potential funding source at the city's neighborhood partnership program. So I wonder, rob, when folks apply to you to get some help in getting the signs installed, if before you build them you could let them know there's funding available at the city so there really will be an option on the table for them.
We will make that a point. That's through the public works department. Remember that that program is where the neighborhood brings funding to join with other funding that we might have. And so they can bring in-kind funding as well.
Morrison: Well, in-kind being running a neighborhood watch program, would that count?
I don't have much nought do with that program, so i can't tell you one way or the other. I think that would be a reasonable discussion to have.
Morrison: Maybe we can follow you and have that discussion.
Mayor Leffingwell: Probably digging the holes or something like that would be in-kind funding.
Morrison: Yeah, actually, maybe digging the holes. What I'm saying is it takes time and effort to get a neighborhood watch program going and to run it.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember spelman.
Spelman: Just a quick follow-up for ms. arnett? Do you have either a photograph of one of those signs that you were talking about with the logo on it?
[Inaudible - no mic].
Mayor Leffingwell: The answer is she does not have one. Ma'am. Thank you.
Spelman: If I could --
Mayor Leffingwell: Do you want to come up.
Spelman: If you would get me one and send me one, I would sure appreciate it. Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Last speaker is dennis paddie. Dennis paddie. Dennis paddie is not in the chamber. So those are all the speakers that we have. Without objection the council has gone into close -- will go into close session to take up four items, pursuant to section 071 of the government code the city council will consult with legal counsel regarding the following items. Item 88, discuss legal issues related to open -- excuse me. Discuss legal issues related to kd contreras, et al, versus james bowen, et al. Item 89, discuss legal issues related to open government matters. Item 90, discuss legal issues in eddie rodriguez, et al, versus rick perry et al. Item 91, to discuss legal issues relating to the city of austin petitioner versus harry m. whitington, et al. And item number 92 has been previously withdrawn. Is there any objection to going into executive session? Hearing none, the council will now go into executive session.
Mayor Leffingwell: We're out of closed session. In closed session we took up and discussed legal issues related to items 88, 89, 90 and 91. So council, without objection, it is past our 00 time certain for zoning cases. If there's no objection i would like to go ahead and do our consent items on zoning only and then go back to the regular agenda. 29 Out of the 33 items on the zoning agenda are scheduled for consent at this point. So if there's no objection to that, we'll proceed that way. Mr. guernsey.
Thank you, mayor and council. zoning ordinance and restrictive covenant amendments. These are where the hearings have been closed, I would like to offer for consent on this portion of your agenda. The first item I would like to offer is item 94, case npa-2011-oo 19.02. This is to approve second and third readings for the property located at 3208 red river street. This is to change the future land use map designation for the central austin neighborhood plan area to mixed use land use. This is ready for consent approval on second and third reading. Item number 95 is case c-14-2011-0101. This is to approve second and third reading zoning change for that same address, 3208 red river to change the zoning to community commercial mixed use conditional overlay neighborhood plan district zoning. Item 96 is case c 10 for the property at 7013 and 7318 and a half river place boulevard and 11120 and 11034 four points drive. This is to change the property to planned unit development to change a condition of zoning. I'd like to note that the revised ordinance that you have represents approval by the neighborhood the applicant and staff. We have a revised ordinance on that. And I believe we have a neighborhood representative and the applicant's agent is also here if there's a question about that. Item number 97 is case c-14-2011-0049, pioneer hill is to approve third reading for the property located at 9900-10324 dessau road. This is a postponement request by staff for one week to december 15th. We're still working through some of the restrictive covenant items on that item. Item 98, c-14-2011-0050 for the property located at 11205 and 11301 burnet road to change zoning on the north burnet gateway neighborhood plan, and this is ready for consent approval on second and third reading. Item number 99, case c-14-2011-0117. This is to approve second and third reading approval for 950 ban onstreet to transit oriented development neighborhood plan to change conditions of zoning. This is ready for consent approval on second and third reading. And finally, item number 01 to approve zoning changes at 10010 fm 2222 from research and development planned development area to change the condition of zoning and that's ready for consent approval on second and third reading.
Mayor Leffingwell: So for those zoning cases where the public hearing has already been closed to approve on second and third reading items 94, 95, 96. To postpone item 97 until december 15th. To approve on second reading item 98, 99 and 100.
And mayor, I want to note on item number 99 on your ordinance on the dais, we have a slight change to the ordinance. There is parts of the ordinance where you see a reference to lot 7. We'd like to note that the word current would be inserted before lot 7. It's lot 7 today, but the applicant plans to replat the land and that may change slightly. So we just want to note that in the ordinance that there's a reference to lot 7 will be current lot 7.
Mayor Leffingwell: Nonsubstantive change.
And one other change on your part 4 of the ordinance. It says the applicant shall construct a 10-foot high fence and change that to may provide a fence of 10 feet.
Mayor Leffingwell: So item 99 is proposed for consent on second and third readings with the changes related to lot designation and change in word from shall to may with regard to the fence. So with that, I'll entertain a motion to approve --
Riley: Mayor, I have to ask a question about 99. Actually, I have a question for applicant on 99.
And mayor, I did say second and third reading on 98, didn't i?
Mayor Leffingwell: That's what I read back.
Okay. Thank you.
Riley: Alice is approaching.
Alice glasgo representing the applicant.
Riley: As you know we've been working with cap metro to see if we can find room within the capital metro right-of-way to accommodate a trail along the tracks so as to avoid having to ask the applicant to allow more room for the trail right by the tracks.
Riley: At this point we've been working hard on this. Cap metro has been doing a lot of planning in terms of a future vision for its tracks through this area. We are not quite at the point of being ready for cap metro to commit to providing room for that trackside trail. But we are getting close. I just wanted if we were to take one more week to work on that to get that commitment from cap metro, would that pose any problems for the applicant just putting this off one more week?
Well, dh horton, who is the purchaser of the tract, has a contractual obligation to get the zoning concluded by -- before you break for the holidays. My understanding, though, when we met with city staff after first reading from capital metro is that they were able to determine that they had enough room and therefore they would do box culverts so the 10-foot easement would accommodate that. And secondly, the internal connection would still occur for the interim and which we have accommodated for within the ordinance. And richard mayor has additional comments.
Councilmember riley, I'm okay with one week. We just need to get it done.
Riley: I understand that. And the latest word we have from capital metro is that they are not willing to commit at this point to -- i know heathier had -- they realized there is another option there that they want to leave on the table. They're not quite ready to commit on that. So I would like to postpone.
Mayor Leffingwell: Item 99 is pulled off the consent agenda. So with that correction --
Riley: Mayor, I think it can still be consent, but just postponed for one week. That would be the consent.
Mayor Leffingwell: Let's do it this way. Let's pass the consent agenda, we'll go right back to that and make your motion to do it.
Mayor Leffingwell: Motion to approve, councilmember riley. I'll second. All in favor say aye? Opposed say no. It passes on a vote of seven to zero. Now item 99. Councilmember riley.
Riley: Move that we postpone one week.
Mayor Leffingwell: Okay. Motion by councilmember riley to postpone until december 15th. And you seconded, councilmember spelman? All in favor say aye? Opposed say no. It passes on a vote of seven to zero.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember spelman.
Spelman: Mayor pro tem cole, as you mentioned earlier this morning, is not here right now, so it would be a six-0 vote, both of those.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you for that correction. Would you make that correction, city clerk? With mayor pro tem cole off the dais.
Thank you, mayor and council. Let me continue on with the 00 zoning and neighborhood plans, public hearings and possible action items which I can offer for consent at this time. The first item I would like to offer, item 101, npa 01 for the property located at 2001 to 2005 chicon street. This is a change to a future land use map for the upper boggy creek neighborhood planning area to reflect mixed use/office land use. The recommendation was to grant the mixed use office land use classification. And this is ready for consent approval on all three readings. Item 102, case c-14-2010-0127 for the same property at 2001, 2005 chicon to rezone the property to limited office mixed use conditional overlay neighborhood plan combine district zoning. The planning commission's recommendation was to grant the lo-mu-co combining district zoning, and this is also ready for consent approval on all three readings. Item number 103 and 104 will be discussion items. I believe we have numbers of the public signed in. I can offer number 105, npa-2007-009.01. This is a neighborhood plan amendment to the central east austin neighborhood planning area to dezavala i guess nate on the future land use map mixed use land use for the property. The planning commission with the change of flum to reflect the mixed use land use. And this is ready for consent approval on all three readings. Item number 106, c-14-2011-0079 for the property at 2315 east eighth street. To change the zoning from general office to neighborhood plan district zoning. The planning commission was to grant general office conditional overlay neighborhood plan combine district zoning. This is ready for consent approval on all three readings. Item number 107, case 02, this is to amend the montopolis neighborhood plan to change the future land use map destination for the property located at 6914, 7,000 and 716 east ben white boulevard. The change would reflect the future land use map milked use. The planning commission recommendation was to change the destination to mixed use and this is ready for consent approval on all three readings. Item number 108, 109, 110, webb 11, 112 and 113 are all related items. Item number 109, c-14--2007-086 garden view drive, item number 110, 01 for the property at 5702 and one and a half jane lane. Item number 111 for 5707 and a half jane lane. 02 for the property at 5509 to 5609 stewart circle. And item 113, c-14-2011-083 on stewart circle. Staff is recommending postponement of 108, 109, 110, 111, 112 and 113 to your agenda of january 12th.
13 Was the last of those?
That's correct. Item number 113, case npa 01 for the property located at 6500 manor road and 6502 manor road, staff is requesting a moment of this item to your january 12th agenda. The related zoning case item, c-14-2011-087 for the same property at 6500 manor road, staff is requesting postponement of this related item to your january 12th agenda. Item 116 is rather than 04-0112 rca for the property located at 1620 east riverside drive. The planning commission recommendation was to grant the restrictive covenant amendment and this is ready for consent approval. Item number 117, case c-14-2011-081 for the property located at 715 west slaughter lane. This is to zone the property to multi-family residence medium density conditional overlay. The zoning and platting commission was to grant the zoning with conditions and this is ready for consent approval on all three readings. Item number 118, c-14--2011-098 for the property at 2408 san gay real street. This action has been withdrawn. No action is required of you this evening. Number 119, c-14-2011-093 for the property at 1107 manchaca road. Staff is requesting a postponement of this item to your january 12th agenda. Item number 120 is case c-14-2011-0103 for the property at 128, 128, 1210, 1212, 1216, 1218 east 51st street. Staff is requesting a postponement of this item to your march 1st agenda. 121, case c-14-2011-0111 for the property at 1230 north lamar boulevard to zone to lc-co combining district zoning to change a condition of zoning. The planning commission recommendation was to grant the lr-co combined district zoning and this is ready for consent approval on first reading only. Item number 122 for the -- for the case number 20102011-0120 for the property at 11416 north fm 620 road. This is a zoning change request to zone the property to community commercial for tract 1, commercial liquor sales for tract 2. The zoning and platting commission's was to grant the zoning for tract 1 and the cs-co combining district zoning for tract 2. This is ready for consent approval on all three readings. Item 123, case c-14-2011-021, staff is requesting a postponement of this item to your february 9th agenda. Item number 124, c-14-2011-0122, this is be a discussion item that have you speakers signed up for that item. Item 125, c-14-2011-0123 for the property at 1215, 1301 and 1307 wells branch parkway to zone the property to limited industrial service district zoning. The zoning and platting commission's recommendation was to grant general commercial services, conditional overlay combine district zone. This is ready for consent approval on all three readings. Item number 126, case c-14-2011-0125 for the property located at 2500 and 2502 manor road to zone the property to community commercial mixed use neighborhood plan combine district zoning for tract 1 and commercial liquor sales mixed use combining -- conditional overlay neighborhood plan for tract 2. The planning commission's representation was to grant the combined district zone fog tract 1 and the cs hundred-mu-co for tract 2 and that is ready for consent approval on all readings. Item number 127, case c-14-2011-0126 for the property at 813 and 813 and a half east 13th street. This is to zone the property to family residence neighborhood plan combine district zoning. The planning commission was to grant the combine the district zoning and this is ready for consent approval on all three readings. Item number 128, c-14-2011-0127 for the property at 7001 bluff springs road to change from general commercial services conditional overlay combining district zone to go change a condition of zoning. The planning commission was to grant the combine district zoning to change the conditions of zoning and is ready for consent approval on first reading only. Item 129, c-14-2011-0128 for the property at 4500 east 51st street. This case has been withdrawn. No action required on item 129. Item number 130, c-14-2011-0130 sh for the property at 2712 east 12th street to zone the property to transit oriented development neighborhood plan combining district zoning to change the condition of zoning. The planning commission recommendation was to grant the tod-np-co combined district zoning to change the condition of zoning. This is ready for -- this is a postponement request to december 15th. Item number 131 is case c-14-2010-0206 for the property at 1502 west avenue. This case has been withdrawn. No action is required this evening. And that concludes this portion of the zoning agenda that I can offer for consent.
Mayor Leffingwell: So the consent agenda for those items yet to hold a public hearing is to close the public hearing and approve for all three readings items 101, 102, 105, 106, 107. To postpone item 108 until january 12th as well as items 109, 110, 111, 112, and 113 and 114, 115. And to close the public hearing and approve on first reading only item 116 --
mayor, that's just a restrictive covenant. So that's just consent approval.
Mayor Leffingwell: That's correct. No further readings required. Item 117, close the public hearing and approve on all three readings. Noting that item 118 has been withdrawn. To postpone item 119 until january 12th. To postpone item 120 until MARCH 1st. To close the public hearing and approve on first reading only, item 121. To close the public hearing and approve on all three readings items 122. And to postpone item 123 until february 9th. To close the public hearing and approve on all three readings, items 125, 126, 127, 128. Noting that item 129 has been withdrawn.
Mayor, and 128, I think that's just first reading only.
Mayor Leffingwell: That's correct. Item 130 to postpone until december 15th. And noting that item 131 has been withdrawn.
Spelman: Mayor, I move approval of the consent agenda but I do have a question of mr. guernsey.
Mayor Leffingwell: Motion to approve the consent agenda by councilmember spelman. Second by councilmember morrison. Councilmember spelman.
Spelman: Greg, items 105 and 106, staff recommendation was to deny the change and this is now on consent on all three readings. May I reasonably presume the staff recommendation has changed?
We did not feel as strongly to really bring it forward. We'll stand by what the commission did. If you want to go forward with that, that's fine.
Spelman: Okay. So you're no longer at least actively opposing it.
Spelman: Last question. You noted that item 130 has been postponed. Who asked for that postponement?
The applicant has requested the postponement for one week.
Spelman: Thank you very much.
Martinez: Please show me as recusing on item 105 because the property I own is in close proximity to this. And then on item 108 through 113, I just want to state on the record that I would like to get that in an executive session between now and the time that it comes back because of some of the questions that are lingering out there about this being transferred to pard and now it's therefore becoming dedicated parkland and nothing can be done with this property without a vote of the citizens and I think that's a huge policy issue that must be addressed in terms of this council making those decisions as to who transfers property rights from one department to another, therefore triggering this legal requirement to not ever it develop that property again because of that transfer. And I really hope that in that interim we can figure this out and work with the community stakeholders to help get some questions answer odd this track. -- Answered on this track.
Spelman: Mayor? If, if councilmember martinez needs to recuse himself on 105 --
Martinez: 106 As well. Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: All in favor of the motion to approve the consent agenda say aye? Opposed say no. It passes on a vote of six to zero with mayor pro tem cole off the dais. Councilmember martinez recused on item 105 and 106.
Mayor Leffingwell: We'll go back to item 5. 5 And 68 we'll consider together. We have a number of folks signed up to speak. And this item was pulled by councilmember spelman.
Do you have something to say before we begin.
Spelman: I'd like to hear from the public?
Mayor Leffingwell: Paul saldana.
Good afternoon, mayor and councilmembers. My nail is paul saldana, I'm speaking on behalf. Austin area hispanic contractors association. I passed out two hand outs. We referenced it during the april 7th council and council deliberations regarding the acceptance of 1-million-dollar grant to fund the weatherization program. I want to officially go on record to say we support the grant acceptance and we support the weatherization program, however our points of contention continue to be that there -- there continues to be ongoing disparities with the equitable distribution of work and there continues to be a lack of due diligence as it comes to monitoring and enforcing the m/wbe ordinance. You may recall during the april deliberations that an added after accurate that was added to the approval of accepting the grant and approving the contracts were that the 15 recommendations that were developed in partnership with the minority trade association and the advisory committee would be implemented and follow and I would like to play a video from that april 7th council meeting.
I want to have the opportunity to continue to negotiate with the advisory committee and the contractors, but I also do not want to have this discussion about items that we think are a part of a contract when it comes to negotiating with our minority community come up over and over again where there has not been an adequate opportunity for both sides to work --
To be clear in terms of what the direction is, in terms of what the direction is?
If we bring you another contract of this type or on -- maybe if there's another round of weatherization or we do contracts for our free weatherization program, i will commit to you that i will tell you how we've addressed every single one of these recommendations. It's the same commitment I've made to the advisory committee over and over again. It's the same commitment that I've made going into this project on. You have my word.
So I guess he lied and that's why we're here today because apparently (indiscernible) is throwing everybody under the bus except for himself. So I have some other speakers that will speak about this issue, but we're tired of austin energy and the city manager not holding this particular individual accountable. I think we need to look at transferring this program under the neighborhood housing community development office where it used to be years ago since you're feeling dealing with the affordable housing community and many of the same recipients who benefit from this program. I'll conclude with that, but be happy to answer any questions that you have. Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Carol hadnot.
Good afternoon, councilmembers. My name is carol hadnot, I'm the program manager consultant for the austin area black contractors association. From the very beginning the procurement process was flawed for this particular program. We pointed it out, they had a specific model, they had specific requirements and they were all violated. You had to be certified to participate as a prime. And we were told that all six of those prime contractors were certified. We found out later that two were not. In a meeting on november the 14th, we found out that two additional were not. And so out of the six prime, only two were certified to participate in this program. So there was absolutely a violation. We had 28 m/wbe's to go through a training program that was paid for by austin energy. And additionally we've had seven or eight have gone through the certification process that was sponsored by austin energy and we appreciate that. And they are all bpi certified. So they will be able to participate in the future hopefully as primes. But what happened on this issue should not have happened. We were told that austin energy will come back to the mwbe advisory committee if there was any additional funds. We were told in november that there were no additional funds, to find out that there were. So people had already begun to work. There were three contractors that were already working on this project when it was posted on your agenda for NOVEMBER I THINK THE 10th. So to me it should have been a ratification, not saying that it's a new contract. And when we try to explore to find out what the mwbe participation was, there was no backup information. So we've been blamed out in the community, we've gotten calls from people in the mount carmel apartments saying that austin energy told them we're the reason why they did not etcetera get the $600,000 for weatherization. So I'm saying to austin energy, as michael jackson would say, you want to blame someone, go take a look in the mirror.
Mayor Leffingwell: Next speaker is carol andreki. And correct me if I'm wrong on that pronunciation.
Good afternoon, mayor, councilmembers, my name is carol. I'm the executive director of texas rose, which states for race payers organization to save energy. And I was here at the november 10th city council meeting and I was very excited because I was here to speak in favor of agenda item number 2. Which was a request to accept $600,000 in stimulus funds from tdhca. Well, unfortunately I was wrong when I thought this was a shoo-in and I got up here and I wanted to be very positive and I wanted to tell you how proud I was of the fact that we made the city program work and that it worked well enough that we're getting an extra $600,000 to help people right here in the austin community: Today I'll here from agenda item number 5, which is essentially the same, but it says $200,000 instead of $600,000. And my knowledge is that what has happened since the last council meeting is that we have let $400,000 slip through our fingers here. And that to me is just not a good thing. And I am here to tell you how disappointed that I am that this has happened because weatherization is a program that substantially helps low income people. I've been involved with this program in some way or another since around 976 when it started, and it's a substantial benefit. People get caulking, they get weather stripping, they get insulation, and we just had 64 units in the mount carmel apartments that were supposed to be served by this money. So I'm just here to say two things. Number one, please find out what went wrong. And try and figure out how we can make sure that this sort of loss does not happen again. And the second thing I have to say is I feel really bad about the 64 families and i think that you as the leadership of this city should try and do something to make amends for this loss in funding.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you. I think we need to find out what went wrong and correct it.
My name is andy ramirez and I'm the chairman of the weatherization subcommittee of the smbr advisory commission. And I could not agree more with lady who just expo spoke and with what paul and carol had to say. It is sad and it is tragic that we lost out on $400,000. To me everybody has been thrown under the bus on this issue. To me it's simply a matter of leadership. You heard the agreement that austin energy, maybe this council, it agreed that it would coordinate and work with the advisory subcommittee that again had taken on the responsibility of making sure that there was minority participation. It didn't happen. Last tuesday I asked the question, you know, why didn't you make contact with us? Well, I did get a call from fred at austin energy and he told me what they were doing. I said that's wonderful. He said that we're going to use the 250 or 200 plus for audits that had been overspent and the balance was going to be used with wbe's. I said that's wonderful. That's great. Why don't you have carl send a memo to the council clarifying the utilization of those dollars. My concern was that the council was approving $600,000 and there was in fact no availability and no minority participation that was described in what came to count. And I asked the question. And to me I made that suggestion, but it didn't happen. And we tried questioning and when we raised questions we did a description of the process. Well, I don't need to know the process, I need to know the answers to the questions that we raised and I tried to do that several times at the meeting last tuesday. I cannot disagree with carol. I think that this program needs to be in another department. I think they've done a good job in terms of implementing what they did, but everything that we -- that got to us was at the last minute. It had to go next. It was just -- there was no time to really do any discussion. [ Buzzer sounds ] we said we need to distribute this evenly. We discussed with the council during the recommendations that there would be a rotation type of effort that would be taking place.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you, andy.
You're welcome. Thank you, council.
Tovo: When your subcommittee discuss this had issue that was the approximate date of that meeting? When your subcommittee discuss this had issue was it about the potential $600,000?
No, there was never a discussion on that. We discussed that this past tuesday.
Tovo: So by that it had already --
it had already happened.
Tovo: And were there any -- was it the sent meant of your committee that it was -- that there were issues significant enough to warrant potentially forfeiting that money.
Tovo: Does your committee support moving forward and accepting this money?
Certainly we want to move forward f it included minority participation, why wouldn't we? What I told fred was, god, we'll be there cheering. And that was our intent.
Tovo: Thank you.
Martinez: Mr. ramirez? Sorry. I want to go back a little bit in time because this started in an earlier stimulus package round of funding for weatherization where we were under some time constraints and we were told we really don't have time to go through a full set and comply with participation goals, but we're going to work to certify these firms and then we're going to work in the future and that's primarily where your subcommittee came from was after that first round of funding so that there could be some measures in place if this were to occur again.
That's correct. We said if there was more money we would like to have all this in place and we sent recommendations in to the council. Council adopted them. Then the 2 million came up and it was a hurry up and it's yesterday that you've got to get this done. And it always seems to be that way. Now, that may be something that occurs and certainly it does occur with federal funding. And I'm aware of that. But again, in my mind the 600,000, it would have taken just a simple memo to the council clarifying with a copy to us. We would have been happy.
Martinez: Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Next speaker is roy whaley signed up for.
Howdy, roy whaley, vice-chair austin sierra club. As I've often said, the cheapest austin energy we have is the energy that we don't use. So we absolutely support whetherization programs. And this whole issue, is like end of the line delivery when we talk about energy. Who are the people that are eventually going to benefit from this? Well, all of us will, but most directly we're looking at the people, the families that would have been helped by this program with lower utility bills. And right now somebody is trying to give us money. It's not as much as we thought. Let's take the money and further more, they're not trying to give us money, they're trying to give us back our own money. This is federal money. It's our money. And we need to take that money. I don't know all of the ins and outs of what happened. I'm not going to go through a long process of conjecture here in public. I think that it needs to be determined, but the long and short of it today is let's get this money. Let's get these people taken care of because it's great to take -- the sierra club nationally, locally, state, we all want to have these green programs to benefit the ultimate consumer. But also the people that are ultimate consumers are also the people that are working. And so we want to make sure that those jobs are out there and that they get that benefit. Just take the money. When the money comes along, take it. I don't ask questions. I guarantee you, you ask me do you want $600,000? Make a check out to me and you can make it cash, you can make it out to me. You can make it out to a foundation. I don't care. Let's take that money and let's get it figured out afterwards. Lots lets just take the money and do some good work with it.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you. Is this elaine johnson?
Good afternoon, mayor and councilmembers. My name is elaine johnson, president of the austin area black contractors association, but I stand here today on behalf of our association and the hispanic contractors association. We are asking, we are demanding an apology from carl (indiscernible). We asked on tuesday night for that. We didn't receive it. And the reason we are is because he has told the community that our organization, the minority community, that we are responsible for why people did not get their homes weatherized in this particular community, which is the african-american community. And this is not correct. That is not what happens. We just ask for clarification for the goals. So we are demanding an apology from him, but that we don't need him saying that in the community because we don't need a split in our community. We don't need him saying that in austin energy because that's not what happened. So let the truth be known. We just ask for clarification because the information on the agenda did not have support goals or it didn't have any goals actually. So we wanted to make sure that there were goals that are going to be applied. We support the program. I'm part of the program. It's been great for our community. Why would we not want $600,000 more in weatherization? Or 400,000 or 200,000? So when you have a statement and I think you have a copy of this in the austin chronicle, that's the price to pay for leadership? That you're going to insult organizations that are working here in the community to try to get homes weatherized? That's just not acceptable. We are just asking for an apology. Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Those are all the speakers that we have signed up. Councilmember tovo. [One moment, please, for change in captioners] and so we were just asking for clarification. We were not saying we do not want [inaudible] because i have employees in my office and they are part of that program and they work to support their families every day so why would we not do that? The program has brought jobs, it has weatherized homes, it's been a great program. We've had some bumps in the robigo to work with us not against us and that's been the long road for almost two years.
Tovo: I really appreciate you being here to provide this perspective. Do you have a sense of when you contacted austin energy? Was it prior to to -- I guess our meeting was thursday.
We learned after it was on the agenda. robigo said in our tuesday meeting that [inaudible] was aware and they were not aware. They learned the same time we learned. He knew that they were going to get those dollars. It just takes a simple phone call or email just to tell us what's going on. And then when we were in our meeting we still couldn't get the backup information or in y'all's meeting.
When was your meeting? Monday, tuesday?
We just recently had a meeting this tuesday of this week. But prior to that we met the second tuesday when we met with y'all's organization, the subcommittee, council subcommittee we met and we asked questions then, and I do believe that was prior to the 8th. But when it was on the agenda. And we still didn't have the answer.
Tovo: Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Those are all the speakers that we have. So councilman spelman, if you want to --
Spelman: Sure. Is there somebody hear from austin energy? Several people are here from austin energy. Can somebody offer -- I don't want an explanation so much, just a description for what actually happened here. And at some point I'd like an answer to carol bee's question what went wrong because any time you are giving $400,000 back to an agency, something went wrong. First I would just like to know what actually happened that led up to our sending 600 $600,000 back and getting [inaudible] in return. Are you willing to talk about that?
I can go to high levels. Back me up on some of these details. But I was first made aware. We had a council meeting scheduled for november 10th and we received a letter from the state on november the 3rd. And to put this into context, this program is coming to the end. There's federal programs, states administered it, but it's got these time frames that do not move. So what happened is we received a letter and I was informed that we received a letter on november the 3rd that the state had some extra money available if we could figure out a way to spend it. And so something I learned is we have a purple sheet method apparently where we rush things through to council to get things approved so i authorized that to go through to try to get this money. And you heard something about the history here and I think that andy is right and that doing things fast and quick, i mean with -- it's difficult. And so -- and we also had a bump in the road, the first experience I had with administering the program this last year when we got an extra $2 million, we had some concerns and I think you heard what those concerns are. So we went ahead to move it through. At that point carl, who works for me, and his staff administering the program, we had to sit down and make sure this went through the weatherization folks and that the smbr we get this approved and my understanding is we ran into some concerns right away from those folks, and the time that we had available to get this done bef november 10th meeting -- and have to understand we couldn't have done it a few days later because of the state requirements. We had to get it done really fast. And there were a number of concerns that were raised. And so the $200,000 that we're spending -- that we're asking for today, I mean we have to get on that right away [inaudible]. But anyway, that's the time line from my perspective and i know it was pulled off the agenda and -- I will say i have heard what carol talked about as well, and if it's -- if -- we can figure out a way to get those homes weatherized to make this right.
Spelman: Allow me to object gently to your use of [inaudible] voice. You say it was pulled off the agenda. Somebody actually had to do the pulling. Who was that?
Well, it's administered through the city manager's office and it was determined that there was enough significance to the issue that we had to wait on it and make sure that we had it fully run through the subcommittee and that everybody was happy with what we were doing.
Spelman: Okay. Did you recommend it be pulled off the agenda?
I didn't get involved in that at that point.
Spelman: Okay. ott, you are here, let me ask you, who recommended this be pulled off? Who pulled this off the agenda?
I think the discussion occurred during our meeting, the meeting we have to get prepared for -- for a council meeting, I think it was during that meeting that -- I don't know if you call it controversy, if you will, concerns about it. And I asked that it be held to get the questions answered that were being raised out in the community. I know a number of my staff members had been in contact with folks that were concerned.
[Inaudible] was one of them although I don't think he had communicated with me directly, I became concern of his concerns through email that he had -- [inaudible] so that was when I first became aware of mr. ramirez's concerns. But at that point it really, you know, wasn't delayed. We do it all the time with respect to agenda items. That's the purpose of the meeting to flesh issues out and make sure they are right in a variety [inaudible] including for council consideration so that was the intent to give austin energy an opportunity to resolve any outstanding issues prior to the matter getting in front of council.
Spelman: Larry, were you at the meeting when that request took place?
Spelman: If the item were pulled off the november 10th agenda, did that mean we could not accept the $600,000 because we wouldn't be able to spend it quickly enough?
Well, as it turns out that's correct because of the time lines involved and getting the work done. And that gets down into the details of the program operation that were not fully understood, but we had constraints beyond -- in other words, for example, if we could have had another week, we would have got the money, we would have gotten all the work done, the answer is no. We needed on act on it really fast. It was an unfortunate situation. Had we known the state was going to give us this moaning maybe a couple weeks ahead, but we got it at the last minute and we had a number of concerns that were raised that were similar to the last time we had this program.
The meeting I'm referring to occurred on a wednesday. The posting had been friday. So again it's kind of a routine thing that we do from which is we have a question or an issue that we can't resolve as we're getting ready for the next council meeting, it's not unlike us to or me, for that matter, to ask for that -- ask to target that item and ask staff to go back and see if they can resolve it.
Spelman: That meeting was on wednesday, the day before the council meeting or --
no, it would have been the week before --
well, it would have been THE 9th. The 9th was the cmo before that. The friday before that is with we got notified.
Spelman: So we got notified on friday --
FRIDAY THE 3rd.
Spelman: Friday t 4th.
The 4th is when we initiated action to get it on the council agenda. Then early that next week and actually over that weekend there were concerns raised already about we need to get the this through smbr, be sure that we go down the path that we went down last time to make sure everybody is satisfied with what we were doing before we went to the council.
Spelman: Right. So on the 4th we were notified the money was available. And posted it on the agenda. On wednesday there was a conversation, city manager's office, where the concerns of the smbr subcommittee were raised. ott, you made the decision to pull this off the agenda. Is that accurate?
I guess you can say that. Again, my intent was to hold it long enough to see if we could get questions answered so there wouldn't be any controversy when the matter got in front of council the next day. I guess in terms of my previous statement, I forgot this had been purple slipped. We don't deal with that often so that's why I was articulating a time line little different than what larry just said a moment ago, so the council meeting would have been the next day following the wednesday that we had the conversation. Is that correct?
Spelman: And we had a meeting on the 10th of november. Did we have a meeting on the 18th of november?
Spelman: And we did not have a meeting on 25th because that was thanksgiving. That's a three-week delay before we're going to have our next meeting. Was anyone in austin energy or the city manager's office or anyplace aware that a three-week delay would be sufficiently long that we would not be able to spend that money in time and we would effectively lose it?
I was not at the time. But as for the -- asked to take a moment to get those issues resolved.
And when I learned take a moment to get those issues resolved time is ticking and we are not able to get as much money, you know, of the deadlines of getting the work done. So that -- that is -- and in fact, we even made the effort to try to go to the state to see if we could get more time.
That's really when it kind of hit us.
Spelman: You are in the meeting in the city manager's office, city manager is in the meeting in the city manager's office. Neither of you are aware that not saying yes on the 10th of november but holding it three weeks would make it impossible for us to get at least the majority of this money.
It was made aware to me that the timing is really important to get this work done. And outside of the money, getting the work done, the time is really necessary. That's why to rush things through council is not normally done and that is one of the reasons it was done that way. Rushing it through council also raised concerns of the weatherization contractors, in this case you've heard from some of them today, and that started raising some concern. And I know those concerns were raised between myself, mark and, you know, difficulties to deal with it. Frankly simply explained this came at us so fast, this extra money that we just -- I wish we had a chance to deal with it again, but we didn't.
Spelman: I would like to compliment both of you for your past history of not rushing things through council. When I first started getting involved in the city of austin IN THE EARLY 1990s, RUSHING Things through requiring a vote on the same day or a couple of days after something had been announced was common practice. It is no longer common practice and I'm grateful to you and everybody in the city staff for no longer doing that. It's much more common for all of us to have time to chew on stuff and this was very much an anomaly of a situation because you didn't want to and we didn't either.
The controversy -- we were here and quite controversial. So giving, hearing about concerns out in the community, again, that was the reason for the pause. To one, try to understand that, and two, to see if need be how we might be able to resolve --
Spelman: Nevertheless, the pause was not just for a few hours or a few days but for three weeks. This did have to be spent at a time we would expect we need to have that money spent. And apparently that issue did not come up in the meeting that we need to spend this now, there's a reason for a purple slip. We really need to make this decision tomorrow. Can anybody offer an explanation to me as to why that issue didn't come up in the ncno?
You know, I'm not -- I'm not sure -- you know, I think there was a level of sensitivity and awareness that when we've gotten extra money in the past that the window of opportunity has always been pretty narrow, and so I think that in terms of, you know, activating a purple slip, i think it was done from -- from that perspective, that just like in the past when the state has said there's additional money available, we've come to understand that the window is, you know, the opportunity to get it, procure it is short and so they launched a purple slip. And I guess from our perspective when we delayed this to try to get questions answered, we thought it was as lookly that the questions might and the issues might get dealt with when the relative short term as opposed to how long it actually took to get that done.
Spelman: How could it get done in less than three weeks if it had to be approved by council and there was no council meeting for three weeks?
Well, I don't know. It wouldn't have been beyond the realm of possibility to ask council for a special meeting if necessary. But again, the purple slip i believe was in recognition that given these opportunities in the past that the window of opportunity has been fairly short. You know, the agency, you know, even in the past had -- just from an historical standpoint had been concerned with our rate of expenditure at some point, and, of course, we cleared that up and started doing a better job, which is the reason why it -- because of our excellent rate [inaudible] to offer us additional funds. But as I said when they've done that, it's always been -- as larry as characterized, with a pretty short window of opportunity in terms of securing [inaudible]
Spelman: At the time that the meeting happened in the city manager's office, was there discussion that perhaps we could have had a special called meeting once the issues had been resolved?
I don't recall. Maybe someone else might recall that in the meeting. We may have. Do you recall, rudy? I don't recall. city manager, [inaudible] a special called meeting. I would like to add one of the things that we did that I had shared with austin energy was perhaps during this time period we could -- there's nothing to stop us from identifying the project, having discussions with the homeowners, residents, discussing with the contractors, basically putting everything in play with the contingency that we still need to get council approval.
That I think would have been a plan that could have worked possibly. It was not a plan that -- that fit within the austin energy model, but to answer your question did we consider the possibilities and that certainly was an option that we considered was putting everything in play, while it is a three-week delay, there would be work happening in the three weeks except for turning dirt.
Spelman: Sure. Once -- well, tell me a little bit more about that, if you could, rudy. Once the manager made the decision to pull it off the agenda for the next day, what was it that y'all were planning on doing over the next three weeks?
The conversation -- up until the time of the council meeting were to offer to -- or to request an extension of time, perhaps have them consider this plan or a proposal that we would proceed. I had a conversation with the agency myself, and they aren't -- they weren't really too concerned with whatever our internal process were, but they needed a commitment that we would spend the money by the time lines, obligate the moneys, I believe it's by DECEMBER 31st, AND ACTUALLY Spend the moneys by a certain date in february. So in my discussion with the agency's representative, it wasn't too interested in what internally we would do as long as we could make that commitment, and I believe that one of the reasons that we had some level of comfort was that we felt we could do some work, some pre-work [inaudible] and draws all of the concerns that had been raised. ramirez stated, I think all those concerns were -- would have been easily addressed.
Spelman: What would you have had to done to address ramirez's concerns and the other concerns that were offered a few moments ago?
Communication of exactly what was happening, how the funding was projected to be spent would have resolved i think the concerns that were being voiced by the community, ramirez is the chair of this subcommittee, had committed to communicating that to the members and to the stakeholders that he had a clear understanding and a commitment of how the moneys were going to be spent. I believe that just a clarification of -- of those dollars allocations would have resolved that.
Spelman: So really all that had to happen is that andy, carol, paul just needed to know how the money was going to be spent, which contractors were going to be receiving contracts.
We just -- we needed to have an understanding because as the manager stated, this was something very quickly, something that happened very quick. I became aware of it on monday of the week that it was on the agenda, and that's when -- and then on the following date our advisory committee did have a meeting and raised several questions and we had an ongoing dialogue to try to address all of the concerns to move forward. Our objective was to move forward if possible.
I believe that's when you raised the issue in the [inaudible] meeting; is that correct?
Spelman: Which issue was that?
He was talking about the sequence of events. He became aware on monday. The committee met on tuesday. And then rudy raised the issues of concern on wednesday during the cmo meeting.
Spelman: Okay. It seems like it wouldn't have taken very long to communicate how the money was going to be spent and which contractors were going to be receiving contracts. Why did we need to put it off for three weeks just to make a few phone calls? Is it more complicated than that?
Yeah, I think that would be something for austin energy to answer. We did not have that information of who the contractors were, how it was going to be distributed, and that was the request from the subcommittee is just let us know, let us know how this is going to be allocated. That was just communication that didn't get made to the committee.
Spelman: Okay. But you didn't realize how -- you did not have the information in that meeting, larry didn't have it, the city manager staff didn't have it, you just didn't know who was going to get the contract.
Spelman: It's not unanimal for you not to know. Somebody knew though, didn't they? Mr. robigo knew? You new carl? Somebody could have called carl and said who is getting those contracts and carl said I'll tell you, it's going to be these guys and these guys and these guys, right? It is also, we get back to your first issue, the extension of time. You are requested an extension off time and it was your understanding tcda needed a commitment of funds by the 31st of december and we didn't have to make the decision on november 10th so long as the funds were COMMITTED BY THE 31st. Is that accurate?
That turned out to be accurate. ON THE 9th, THE EXTENT OF Information we had on the 9th was that there was a very, very tight time line and we needed to move quickly to spend the dollars. But there was not a discussion that not making a decision on the 10th would result in a forfeiture of any dollars?
So why are we here, why did we have to forfeit the dollars if all we had to do was make a commitment by the end of the year?
Again, my conversation with the agency was simply could you make a full commit. And I believe austin energy had some concern that in spite of maybe this pre-work that i identified may not have been enough to fulfill those obligations and so we weren't -- did not have the comfort in staff to make that firm commitment. And because of that did not request the full funding.
Spelman: Okay. So because you weren't sure whether we were going to be able to make a firm commitment by the end of the year, we, somebody, called tdhca and said we don't think we can make good on that requirement. When was that decision made?
That I defer to mr. weist. That was a conversation [inaudible]
Spelman: Thanks, rudy. mayor, members of the council, the answer to your specific question is that on the thursday when the item was postponed and not acted on, i called the director of community affairs at the texas department of housing and community affairs and told him that we did not have authority to accept the funds. And that based on that given that the next meeting would be december 8th which was the postponement date, that we would not be able to spend the money for the 54 additional units at the mount carmel housing. Just to backfill a little bit, the reason why we couldn't do it if we had just gotten the money today is because this -- under the federal weatherization process, first we don't spend money we haven't been approved to spend so we needed approval. This housing development was the kind where ash pants are pre-qualified because it's the kind of housing unit that you have who meet certain qualifications to be a tenant. So we actually it was pretty ease any terms of identifying the customers, but there is a multi-step process in every case where you go to the house and you do an assessment, a need audit, it's called, and then that report has to be generated and identify the measures that are performed, it has to be reviewed independently by my staff, then a weatherization team has to be assigned to visit the house, then with the scope of work, and that scope of work often that order to proceed is that formal obligation of funds. So I would --
Spelman: All that stuff has to happen before DECEMBER 31st.
It would have had to happen the 8th through the 31st window and it was not possible to do that and we were committed, we weren't going to leave money on the table. And the state was interested, of course, that the money go to world war ii technically we couldn't tell -- go to work. We couldn't -- that's your vote. So it would have been a contingent promise even so. So I am the one that said I'm not confident we'll be able to commit these funds adequately, but please give us, we do have this -- it was actually at the time $250,000 of additional funding that would cover costs associated with ongoing work, but that was just higher than anticipated for which tdhca was willing to give money, they are in the mode of clearing money off the table. That was $250,000. When we went to them with a formal letter defining the 600,000, which was the following wednesday, they said -- they notified us that 250 was not available, only 200 would be available and that's the reason why 200 has been your rca. The only other thing I'll say about this is that this is just -- this is not another contract, in my words you, from the previous meeting. This is a simple time and money extension that we've been operating under two years. That's all it was. And we were -- as last time, we were not allowed to amend the contract, revisit the contract except for the fact of adding money and getting into this final time frame.
Spelman: So for example you were not in a position to for that additional $600,000. This is simply an amendment for additional money.
Spelman: You had to keep the contractors you had when you issued the r.f.p.
The once we had gone through purchasing, the r.f.p. All of those.
Spelman: Would it have been possible in your point of view for us to have had a special called meeting after the 10th of november and today to have accepted the money?
I don't know the process at the city well enough to answer in terms of the procedural. And I can surmise that a few days worth of delay and we still would have been able to get all 54 units done because we're we -- but when it was POSTPONED TO DECEMBER 8th, It was clear to me that window was too long, that it would not be possible to meet the obligations under the federal -- federal program passed through the state.
The fact that you called tdhca, was it a phone call?
I called them the day of the council meeting smell .
Spelman: YOU MUST HAVE Been aware in advance this decision postponed for four weeks, I had been saying three, had been postponed a month that you would not have had time to make good on the contractual obligations. You couldn't get the units DONE BY THE 31st.
I didn't even know there was a purple slip process. When I got the letter and we checked the time lines, we found there was a way to get things through. I would not have accepted the amendment if I thought I would have to go through all the normal procedures that would have put me at the december 8th anyway. Roundabout way of answering your question. It was known to be time sensitive, it was communicated to be time sensitive, the process itself was time sensitive. We were very concerned about that from the very start.
Spelman: And did you tell weeks, that this is time sensitive. If we don't take it on THURSDAY THE 10th, WE REALLY Can't take it?
In so many words, but that was as to the $350,000 for new work.
Because the original 250,000, 600 so would that supplemented the budget so we could cover costs on other stuff and keep existing train to the last station, that i was 100% confident of. Which is why it's still on the agenda.
Spelman: Okay, so we really should be talking about separate pieces. One is the $200,000 we're talking about today which you were confident of and the other was the 400,000, at the time 350.
Spelman: That you were fairly sure --
yes, sir, new work.
Spelman: And you knew if we didn't accept that and $350,000 on the 10th or shortly afterwards we weren't going to be able to make it.
I had been beating my staff up sentence I will for some time. There's always talk about the fact there might be more money, you know, as tdhca was cleaning up the booksen the project, we said we won't take any money we can't spend. That's been the focus two straight years. And I had -- I had -- I had confidence in my staff when they told me that this 54-unit batch $350,000 amount couldn't get done. And on the basis of getting APPROVAL ON NOVEMBER 10th, I Was prepared -- I went to my boss and said if we can get it, we can get it done, and he said okay, then go for it.
Spelman: Sounds like if we had this discussion, said yes in november we would be through the gate and you would be working on it.
Spelman: The reason we're having this discussion is because the 8th of december is too late.
Spelman: Okay. weist who communicated through the use of a purple slip this is time sensitive, we need to do this now.
I wasn't a party to every conversation that was going on, you know, at the other levels. I do recall seeing that it was communicated through the various people that were on a couple of emails weighing in it was time sensitive and there was a risk.
Spelman: Last question. Did you communicate to larry or rudy or mark or anybody else that since this has been withdrawn from the 10th of november agenda, I have to call back tdhca and in turn around, don't drown down the money?
Yes. It was understood, in fact the result -- yes. Yes. I had a standing offer from tdhca to accept 600,000 and i had to tell them I wasn't in a position to accept it, so yes.
Spelman: And larry knew you were going to have to call them and say you couldn't take it.
Yes. And before I wrote the final response -- I told them this is what I was going to do. Tell them the 250 or whatever it was, that's when, you know, garza tried to see if there was any wiggle room and people were trying to figure out if there was any wiggle room and in the end, I think it was the following wednesday, we found out there was no more wiggle room. We had to decline the 600, ask for the 250 and by that time it was only 200.
Spelman: One last question. Earl knew that if we didn't have -- accepted the money on the 10th of november or shortly afterwards we were going to have to send it back. And carl just said he told you. Larry, you knew that?
Well, what I knew is that on -- what I knew on the monday that the explanation was given to me, you know, carl and I met and we heard that there was significant concern from the smbr from the weatherization contractors and that there were a lot of questions and that's handled at the city, you know, in garza's job, and at that point I was letting carl and those folks work it out. And you know, we've -- my experience with this is, you know, recent, you know, I'm learning as well, and I think that what we found out through this is that we are very sensitive, we were very sensitive to the weatherization contractors in this program. There's been a lot of controversy. You've heard that. And so we needed to flesh that out and make sure things were right. And from that standpoint we didn't feel like we could move forward to the council making sure we had all the controversy cleared up and we didn't have the time. That's really what it came down to, we did not have the time to feel like we're managing this the very best we can, bring it forward. I can say that we learned something from it. I certainly did. And we can always do better, but we have some money that we're trying to get approved today so we can get where we need to be.
If I may say something. It's a difficult conversation to have, but let me begin my remarks by saying this. I'm the city manager and the buck stops at my desk so i take responsibility. Let me simply -- let me simply say that. And certainly knowing that any type of delay to respond to what at the time appeared to be significant controversy not unlike what had occurred previously, knowing that any delay risked -- risked dollars, like we find ourselves dealing with today. We may have done some things different. That wasn't clear to me at the time. That's not an excuse. Clearly there were opportunities to communicate that simply didn't occur right or didn't occur at all that should have. And I take responsibility for that. weist has just said, there is a lot for us to learn from this not just in terms of communications but also to look at, you know, how we -- assuming if we're fortunate to get another opportunity like this, how we process it in the face of what is a critically short, you know, time frame. And so we will certainly focus and debrief and analyze that. But you know, we are where we are today and we have an opportunity to -- to -- to et $200,000 for this important program and I hope that we're going to be able to -- be able to take advantage of that.
Spelman: Well, it's 200,000, 600,000 full or 400,000, 600,000 empty. I will prefer to focus on the full, but it's still true there are 54 people who could have got even weatherization this winter and will not get it. If you had known -- if you had known on the 9th of november what you know know, which is withdrawing that item would have meant we're going to -- those 54 families are not going to get weatherization services this winter and those those $400,000 would go back to tdhca, would you have withdrawn the item or found some other way of dealing with the contractors?
If I had known that, i probably would more than likely kept it on and saw the way to resolve the other issues. In fact on that wednesday, we continued to try to resolve, understand and resolve the issues and at one point in fact I thought it had been resolved. And I thought that conversations between our staff and the concerned parties that actually occurred, but when I -- I had garza attempt to confirm that he indicated back to me that they -- that those conversations had not occurred and therefore the concerns were still outstanding. But had they been resolved on wednesday night like originally I had thought, then we would have proceeded with the item.
Spelman: It seems to me, ott, in the future is that you know that.
That I know?
Spelman: That you know the consequences of withdrawing an item on a very short time frame.
Again, that's one of the purposes of our cmo meeting, again, is to try to vet an issue from every perspective, and unfortunately that particular point wasn't clear in our cmo meeting on the wednesday before.
Spelman: Why do you think weist used a purple slip for it?
Again, a purple slip just says that from a processing standpoint we want to move an item through the process faster than we otherwise would. It's not something that would necessarily tell me about a fine point like, you know, you are going to -- the critical time line associated with this. Purple slips, it's just a way to expedite an agenda item. And again, you know, I took it in the context of, you know, having some history with this program and when we've got additional money, just recognizing that, you know, that, you know, they are always in a hurry for us to if we're going to accept it to do what we need to do to accept it.
Spelman: I'm almost done, mayor, my apologize for having taken so long, but it's a very complicated problem and I just wanted to know what happened. robigo and his staff were very, very aware the consequences of not having a meeting on the 10th of november. weist was aware at a somewhat lower legal of resolution but certainly had a need for speed but that you did not and what we need to do in the future is make sure our staff a couple levels down are very, very well aware of is something which you are also very well aware of appears from the conversation with the city manager's office, that didn't happen in this case and I think it needed to happen and families are not going to get weather services because of failure to communicate. I would like that tragedy not to be repeated.
Let me --
Mayor Leffingwell: Let me just say that I'm not -- I'm not interested in trying to assign blame here. This is an old problem, it's not a new problem. Two years ago I was personally involved in this situation where I got a telephone call from the state agency that handles the distribution of this money, went down to see them and they basically had called us on the carpet because we were not spending this money fast enough and it was made extremely clear that if we didn't -- if we didn't spend it fast enough, they were going to take it because they wanted to spend it somewhere and they were going to give it to somebody else. So at that time we tried to devise a process, an ad hoc process that would address our local problems here with regard to compliance with our procedures and allocate this money quickly without going through the cumbersome somewhat bureaucratic process. It's not just the policy side because m.b.e., w.b.e. Committee, but it's also complicated as you just heard a process in austin energy itself. That in itself probably resulted in us delay, that caused us not to be able to send it through all the -- even the abbreviated processes and get -- and assure the state agency that we were going to be able to spend this money because I know what they are talking about. If we can't give them that absolute assurance that we can do it, they are going to turn -- they are going to turn around and say we're going to give it to somebody else because we -- it is our responsibility in accept ing this money from the federal government to get this money distributed by a certain period of time. This problem is an outgrowth of that one. It's just the same basically only the process was even more compact in this instance. What we've got to do, instead of trying to assign blame, is to develop a process within austin energy, within austin energy that can be prepared, sort of a war room situation where you can react very quick withly, let's say days instead of weeks, and we can also react very quickly on the policy side and still do the best we can as we pledged to do in the past and address the policy that we have without going through the entire bureaucracy. I thought we had this solved last time but it didn't work. Again, we've got to regroup here and develop a procedure to serve this because this is going to happen again. When the frugal indicates money for this kind of thing, the idea is it's an economic stimulus and they want the money spent. They don't want it languishing in the state or city coffers, they want it to be out there putting it to work. If we can't put it to work, somebody else will. That's guaranteed. So I think the important thing here is to go forward from here, develop this process, city manager, austin energy, do it as quickly as possible so when the next round comes we can be prepared to deal with and not caught in this embarrassing situation. Somewhat of a strong. Weatherization funds, as somebody said it's really our money but it's coming back to us. To lose that opportunity, which is really a triple win for us, it is a boon to the homeowners who would benefit from reduced utility bills, it's also adds to our program for energy conservation, and it saves everybody concerned a lot of money. I can't emphasize this enough, I've said it four or five times, we've got to get our heads together and develop a process to deal with this in the future because this just can't happen again. Councilmember martinez.
Martinez: Thanks, mayor. I think your point that you started out with is the most important point. This is a two-year-old issue and that's why it's so significant that we ask these questions. Not to blame someone, but to find out where the pit falls are. Because it should have been fixed two years ago. We're $8 million into this thing and it ain't fixed. And here we are at the last $600,000 and we lost four of that. And now we're down to $200,000 and it still ain't fixed. And now we're pitting poor people needing their homes weatherized against our values in our community participating in their government. And that's inappropriate. When -- when we start doing that, we start losing sight of everything that we are as austin energy, as city of austin, as smbr. The time lines are this. This came on the agenda late friday on -- over the weekend we started getting emails. On tuesday the m.b.e./w.b.e. Council subcommittee meet. It was clear this the backup, this of the the only thing we had to operate un, this was the only threat of a time constraint. It said due to energy's strong performance on expenditures and production, they have since received a second voluntary reobligation of additional grant funding and an extension in the grant PERIOD UNTIL FEBRUARY 28th, 2012. NOT DECEMBER 30th. And certainly not NOVEMBER 10th. That's all we had to go on. That was in our backup. That's what everybody was operating under. Yes, it was said to us at the council subcommittee there is a risk. There is a risk that we could lose this. But nobody ever said it's a certainty and if you don't vote on this thursday, I've got to called tdhca and say we're not authorized to accept. Consider didn't we call tdhca and say council didn't authorize it today but they only have a few questions and they are asking for a few weeks and can I call you back in a few weeks. Can we try to hold on to as much as we can. We didn't have to call and say sorry, giving you the money back. There's so much to learn from this. And to have a city executive quoted in a weekly publication that part of the quote was mentioned, but there's so much more to the quote that i just -- far be it from me to criticize somebody for using inappropriate words at inappropriate times, but, you know, to say, you know, the quote mentioned earlier was that's the price of leadership, but there's so much more leading up to that specific comment. Because I think there's a higher price to pay for lack of leadership. And it literally reads like this. If it means that I was obnoxious or whatever adjectives they want to use that's the price for leadership. He goes on to say if the price is that a few people got their noses out of joint or thought they had a better way of doing it, so be it. Is that what we want? Is that the message we want to tell our community?
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember, I really think this line of comments is borderline inappropriate and appropriate for another venue than this one.
Martinez: Well, with all due respect, mayor, i disagree. And -- and so when we go -- when we get to the point of -- some of the folks that reached out to us saying we just wanted to know how the process was going to go, it really is a little bit more than that. What they really want to know and what we really want to know is where are our opportunities to participate in this. They want to know not just how the process is going to flow, but where do I get those opportunities, how do we inject ourselves into this process. When we went through this a few years ago, we -- we did not direct moving forward that if another contract comes through let's do it better. We said if other opportunities come through. This is another opportunity. It is under the same contract. I understand that. But it is another opportunity. And it's another missed opportunity because we didn't get this fixed from the problems that we faced two years ago. Staff earlier mentioned that there was talk and discussion of potentially putting some projects together and getting them started and retroactively going back and paying those contractors for the work they were doing because we had run out of money but yet we had application still pending so we know there's some work out there. SO ON NOVEMBER THE 11th, Kvue does a story of a contractor working on a weatherization project. How did that happen? How did a contractor get notice to go out and start doing a austin energy weatherization project, one, if we hadn't acted on the item, and two if we had already spent the stimulus money. Is there another project out there?
I can get carl to answer but I think there was other work being finished up. It's not we were done and finished and going to get some more money and do some more, i think it was finishing. We've already spent $8 million. This was in addition to do some additional units.
Martinez: And so, you know, I just go back to the point that I absolutely agree that there needs to be a higher significance placed on at least this body being told if you don't vote on this today, I get you want to postpone it, ask questions, but if you don't vote on this day you are going to lose because the only thing we had was in the backup saying the grant extension goes to february 28, 2012. So in my mind if we voted on $600,000 today, that's enough time. That's enough time to do all of the projects. But obviously there are other folks out there that want this money and have a more streamlined process and so we're down to only 200,000 left. The last thing I'll say is i appreciate you offering to try to make the 54 remaining families whole. I hope that we find a way to do that very quickly. But I'll say this, we're going to have to do it within our distinct policies and guidelines and making sure that we have participation from our entire community. Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember tovo. Trophy think we covered most of my questions but I did have robigo, perhaps mr. weist it may be for you. What I would like to know is what information is conveyed on a purple sheet. I've never seen one.
I haven't either. So I'll have to --.
I don't remember -- i remember reviewing it as we were rushing through it on the 4th. It was basically, you know, that we got to get who done, we've got to get this accepted now because the next scheduled council meeting is december 8th and that would be too late. Sellerly that we have this opportunity and we have to move expeditiously to accept these funds in order to be able to spend them.
Tovo: So that information was written on the purple --
I mean generally speaking, like I say, I can't quote it and we can dig it up, but I do remember reviewing language we want to move now so we can accept these funds and get it done by the december deadline and the february invoicing deadline and march 12th project completion deadline that loom in front of us.
Tovo: Well, I appreciate that. Thanks. And I would -- if you dig up the form, I'd like to have an answer to that because I am really struggling to understand why it sounds like some members of the staff were acutely aware of the time frame but it doesn't sound like that information worked its way into the city manager meeting that happened prior to the decision to pull it.
In fairness, I need to say that you don't -- you can't -- we couldn't predict anything, you know, with exact -- we couldn't sit and say if it's not voted today, we didn't know if there would be an opportunity that maybe it would be voted the next day. We didn't know what we didn't know. So it's not -- it was not possible and I am absolutely sure I never said I guarantee you that if they vote this way or postpone this that money will disappear effective at this time. I didn't know that with certainty. What I tried to do is communicate that it was time sensitive, and when we looked forward to the council calendar it was clear that a december 8th approval would not work so the only date we really had in front of us when we got the letter on november 3rd was rushing through the process for that november 10th meeting. I don't want to say I told somebody that --
Tovo: I appreciate that --
this is what they said.
Tovo: In your earlier comments I thought I heard you say that a few days later wouldn't have made a huge difference in terms of our ability, our city's ability to spend that money. So I guess what made you so certain on that thursday the 10th that you needed to pick up the phone and give a call to the state and let them know we wouldn't be able to spend that money?
I told -- I'm sorry, may have misspoken. What I did was I called him and said council has not approved the acceptance of these funds. It has been postponed to DECEMBER 8th. I am not confident I can get the work done if I don't get the money until then. He said well give me an amendment rejecting the 600,000 and asking for the 250. So I -- that was the process that he said to follow. weist discussed, okay, he says i need to send a letter rejecting the 600 and asking for the 250. He said wait, we're going to try some other things to see if we can get them to move as we go forward. Middle of next week I was told go ahead and go with it. That meaning I guess that options had been exhausted.
Tovo: Were there any communications between you or -- and the city manager's office about the potential of having a special called meeting? Before you placed that phone call?
I never had any conversations because I still don't even know if such a thing is possible.
Tovo: Okay. All right. Well, thanks. I guess I share the frustrations of those who have spoken before that this happened and that we lost the ability to weatherize the homes. Thank you for the information you've offered.
Mayor Leffingwell: It does -- it does seem like kind of a clumsy way to handle these individual allocations as they come down the pike. I think we're exploring whether there's some way we can pre-authorize a procedure for acceptance of these particular types of funds. I don't know if it's possible or not but I think it's worth exploring so we don't get hung up with time lines for council approval, et cetera, and miss out because of that.
Mayor Leffingwell: I think mayor pro tem cole was next. And then. TOVO.
Cole: I agree with everything said we should not miss out on this in the future and what can we do to rectify that and make opportunities for participation more available in that event. So do you know if there is any pre-authorization methods in place? I'm sorry, you mean trying to get council's vote to accept -- we could have speculated on -- no, I don't even think --
Mayor Leffingwell: Excuse me. I was not saying there was a process, but I was saying we ought to look at trying to develop that kind of process.
Cole: And I was asking if you knew if one already exists.
There are some pretty specific rules that like the state agency or the federal government, we're not supposed to come to you with a budget amendment and acceptance unless there's a specific authorization. So they keep offering it in specific authorization amounts. So sort of we couldn't build a cushion into that and take six and if they offer us two more we'll take that because all they offered was six and i understand that's what we have to match when we come in with budget amendments and -- I'm not aware of any one --
Cole: Let me ask you this. What was the length of time between your decision to call the agency and then communicate that to the city manager?
I called after the vote. After the nonvote on thursday the 10th of november and said our council did not approve and the item has been postponed until december. And as I said and then I said and I'm not comfortable that I'm going to be able to spend the money to additional units if it just gets approved on DECEMBER 8th. So can -- you know, but i still want that 250. And he said okay, give me an amendment rejecting the offer of six and asking for 250. That's when I went to my boss and said, okay, this is a situation we're in, I'd like to lock in the 250. He said wait, we're going to try some other things. We waited and then I got told you can go ahead with it.
Cole: So I guess the future direction that we need to give is, number one, is that if we are -- if you have asked for a postponement or any of us have asked for a postponement from austin energy and it's going to have financial implications and you know that or you suspect that it may, in either case where you know that or you suspect that it may, then we are apprised of that before our vote, either by memo, but definitely at the council meeting so that the public is made aware of that. And then second, to the extent that there are funds that are available that the city is going to lose of a significant amount and that are time sensitive for council to act, then it is certainly appropriate for a special called meeting and we want the city manager to recognize that and it would only take a quorum of councilmembers to meet to approve that one item. So we never -- I mean we deal with the budget for more than half of the year and then we get down to the end and we debate double the amount of money that we're talking about here, so I want you to understand because I know austin energy is always following our budget details because every department doesn't have to do that, so that's why we're kind of in awe about the loss of that. So I want to just say for myself and I'm sure for most of my colleagues that if given an opportunity, we would have made ourselves available or we could have figured out how to make a forum available to do what. And then if we don't do that, then the problem is us and not you. Or the management. And that's how it should be.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember martinez.
Martinez: I think that's right, you know, we can always call a special called meeting. Here's where I think we can create some opportunities and where we should focus on and that is streamline the process for having contractors ready to go that have been through our m.b.e./w.b.e. Participation process. When this came up back in nealy about this. So for professional services we have a rotation list. And you know, that's vetted through our process and there's minority participation and women owned participation. I don't know that we can do that with contracting. I think there's some legal issues, but if we can, we certainly should have a rotation list ready to go with contractors that can do weatherization so if and when these 11th hour opportunities come up, the process is done. And we just inject those contractors into that process at that time and hopefully that's something we can do.
With all due respect, councilmember, that's exactly how this entire contract has been run from the start. We approve a number of test in contractors and a number of test out contractors and six weatherization contractors. Smbr reviewed those procurements and assigned 14% minority and 2% women businesses for the weatherization and no goals for the test in and test out. To date as of the most recent date I have from smbr, we are 8% minority participation, 10% higher than the goal, and we are at almost 14% women participation, 12% higher than the goal. So we -- and what we do is use those contractors and as additional work comes we assign it to them based on their ability to perform. So we've been running -- it's not a -- it's not perhaps a strict rotation like where you take new jobs she but it's new jobs underneath the existing job of the master job of weatherization. That's how we've been running this for the last few years.
Martinez: In the beginning, though, didn't we have to train and certify many of these firms so they could even qualify to be selected?
Well, actually because i was concerned that there would be insufficient my fort participation I took money out of my budget and we conducted training before we even were offered the money so that a number of firms would be able to propose as subcontractors. We even had one or two propose as primes to participate. So we actually -- yes, and because there are rules about what you have to be to be a federal contractor or a subcontractor, we conducted the training in advance of our procurement. Ev barbecue lunch to introduce subs and primes. And I'm proud to say we're well on track with exceeding those targets.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember riley.
Riley: I don't want to belabor this too much further but I did want to follow up on a couple of questions and comments the mayor pro tem made. Carl, the conversation you had with the council vote that was with the state agency administering the program, tdhca.
Riley: At what point was the content of that conversation communicated to council? Was there ever a memo after your conversation that relayed the gist of that conversation?
I don't know, sir. I was working with my boss and then I ended up having a garza on monday morning about options and ideas. I was dealing at my level.
Riley: Like I said, just to join the mayor pro tem in making a plea for better communication with city council. Because I think if we knew at the time of the gist of your conversation with the state that I don't think -- I don't think we would have had any difficulty getting a quorum for a special called meeting. That takes 72 hours, and for $400,000 in weatherization funds, I don't think there would have been any hesitation in getting a meeting together. I just want to staff to understand that, that council stands ready to come together at a moment's notices, we do have to meet requirements for posting, but 72 hours we can do that as needed to make sure that we take advantage of whatever funds are out there. And then lastly I did -- I did just want to mention I think it's notable that the state agency administering the program is the department of housing and community affairs. We have heard a suggestion that this program may perhaps be better located within our housing department and that is something I've actually thought about before because a lot of people that are involved in the actual work that we're talking about are people in the housing community and the program as i understand it has been within that neighborhood housing at times in the past and the city's past. I think that may be something we want to explore in the future. I hope we can all learn from this experience and make sure that we take every reasonable step to make sure that we make full use of whatever funds are out there in the future.
Mayor Leffingwell: I think the big point, you know, trying to condense a two-hour discussion into one sentence would be in the future we don't want to be turning down federal grant money without consultation with the city council. Because we would at least have the option to have it be on our head that we caused it to be turned down and I don't think we're going to do that if we have the opportunity to call a special meeting and resolve it. So --
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilman spelman.
Spelman: Move approval of item 5.
Mayor Leffingwell: Seconded by the mayor pro tem. Further discussion? All in favor say aye. Opposed say no. Passes on a vote of 7-0.
There's a related item.
Mayor Leffingwell: Yes, and that is item number 68.
Spelman: Move approval of item 68.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilman spelman moves approval, mayor pro tem seconds. Any discussion that? All in favor say aye. Opposed say no. That passes on a vote of 7-0.
Thank you. Let's go to item number 16. 16 I believe was pulled because of a number of people signing up to speak. That being the case I'll call gus pena. Gus pena. Clay dafoe. Signed up against. You have three minutes. Just tore the record, gus pena, who is not here, was signed up in favor.
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you. This is to approve an ordinance accepting grant funds in the amount of over $1 million from the u.s. Department of health and human services. This is basically the first year of five-year grant period being october 1, 2011, going to come up to over $5 million for implementing evidence based policy systems, environmental programmatic and infrastructure changes that addresss tobacco free living. Basically an anti-smoking campaign. I have to ask council and i hope you know some of those answers what is the duty of government. Is it the duty to promote health? Is it the duty to provide citizen information and programs about health? Is it the duty to redirect funds pilfered from its own sovereigns, the people, in an effort to build new schemes solely for the purpose of serving an overarching corporate federal policy? Is it the duty to take care of citizens cradle to grave? Is it the duty to implement health programs justified only with the hackneyed cliche it's for your own safety? Is it the duty to accept over $1 million in federal grant known spend on tobacco awareness programs? No, sir. Answering yes to my previous questions would prove a very faulty and deadly logic. Do not open the flood gates of government enabled cronie capitalism that's already caused this country so much harm and indelible damage. The duty of the government is very simple to comprehend. Mayor pro tem, cole, assistant city manager, and it's easy to put into useful practice. At this time duty and their only duty regardless of what might be said of the corporate social engineers is protect our individual rights. While smoking prevention is a very important task that must be handled in order to curb the use of harmful and deadly tobacco, it is not the duty of our government nor is it the purpose for why it was formed in the history of our early republic. Council people, servants of austin, I implore to you mind our public purse. You are handling of funds whether local or federal through grants appalls me and urges me to think that no one is minding the public safe at city hall. Someone, I beg of you to start protecting us, our money, our government, our rights instead of surrendering them all for a hazy project justified as serving the public interest. Sadly this program serves no one's interests when it is passed, I and other citizens will take it as further proof that you do not care about executing the true duties of government. The duty of which is solely to protect our individual rights. Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: This grant also affects active living and healthy eating, increase of high impact clinical preventive services, social, moral and we willness and health and safety. I'll entertain a motion.
Morrison: Move approval.
Mayor Leffingwell: Seconded by councilmember riley. Councilmember morrison.
Morrison: I want to thank wong for his leadership on this and all the staff at health and human services and there's some very aggressive goals that are in this grant opportunity that's actually five years we'll have the opportunity, five years. So I think it's a really exciting opportunity.
Mayor Leffingwell: All in favor? Opposed? Passes on a vote of 7-0. Council, without objection i think we can pause and recess this meeting of the austin city council and call to order the meeting of the austin housing finance corporation board of directors and miss spencer if you would take us through what I believe is an all consent agenda.
Good afternoon, board of directors. Betsy expensers, treasurer of the austin housing finance organization. We offer two items on consent. The minutes of the last meeting and then item number 2. I'm available for question if you have any.
Mayor Leffingwell: I'll entertain a motion to approve the consent agenda.
Cole: Move approval.
Mayor Leffingwell: Cole approves, spelman seconds. Is there any discussion in all in favor say aye. Opposed say no. That passes to a vote of 7-0. Those are all the items that we have on the agenda so i will -- without objection adjourn the meeting of the austin housing finance corporation and call back to order this meeting of the austin city council. And that brings us to item number 23. No speakers signed up. That was pulled by councilmember riley.
Riley: Mayor, is this item linked to a renewal for -- of a contract for parking for the employees at the faulk central library and the austin history center. We've had a long-standing issue with parking for those employees since they are -- unlike most of the employees, they don't have adequate parking located right there at the building and so for years now we have been paying on a contract basis for spaces for those employees. And for some years a number of us have been asking questions about that. Not just whether those employees should have parking but whether those employees should have the option of saving some amount of cash that we would otherwise be paying for parking in lieu of actually taking a parking space. And I asked that question many years ago if an employee up at the history center, you know, if an employee told me they would be interested in some other -- getting to work some other way if the city were to offer them a check. The concept is if the city is going to be paying $100 a space for an employee, what about instead of spending that $100 on a parking space, just ask the employee if you -- if we gave you $50, wow be willing to give up that parking space. Just giving the employee the option. If the employee accepts, the city actually saves 50 bucks, we may have one less car coming downtown and clogging the streets, using a bus or alternate transportation or carpooling or whatever to get to work. And the employee has that much more money in their pact and they are happier because it was a choice they made. [One moment, please, for change in captioners]
I'm glad that we are making progress on that, and bert, if I could just ask you to confirm where we are on this. As I understand that -- as i understand that, we are now in position that by february 1 we will actually be able to offer employees at the library and the history center a cash alternative to -- to these parking spaces; is that right?
That's correct, council member. Lom brair as it will be two dates, one j january the 1st, where they've been working to implement the project at city hall. That would be our kickoff and they've actually set up a program and a template that looks at everything from establishing an agreement with an employee to offering coupons, that if they need to even have -- if they have a situation where they need to -- you know, maybe attend a doctor's appointment or something where they've got to use a car, but that will kick off in january, and you're exactly right, in terms of the history employees and the library employees, we will be implementing that on february the 1st, and we're going to offer it to existing employees swells as wellas -- as well as offering it the program to new employees that are coming on as well. I want to thank you for your work on this and applaud staff's commitment toward this sort of program, which we've had discussions on this for quite some time, not just library employees but employees at the city hall and elsewhere throughout the city and, in fact, employees at austin energy have had a similar program in place for some time. This is a type of program that we'll be hearing a lot more about throughout downtown and the private sector swells the public sector. We now have a transportation management association in place downtown that is working with employer to encourage the use of programs like this so that employees will have appealing and workable alternatives to driving alone to work. And I want to salute all of staff involved in joining in that effort and hope that we can make continued progress on that in the future. So with that, mayor, I would move approval of item 23. council member riley moves approval, second by council member spelman, was it? Discussion? All in favor say aye. Aye. Opposed say no. Passes on a vote of 7-0. Brings us to item 24. Item 24 was pulled by council member spelman, has a number of speakers signed up. First speaker is bruce kaiberts. Signed up in favor. Is bruce here? Okay. You have three minutes.
Thank you, sir. mayor and council members. My name is brice kybers. I live in the wooten neighborhood here in austin. My wife and I moved to austin about a year ago and we're -- we love our new home here and one thing that brings up this topic of having smoke-free parks, we have two little boys, we have a three and a half-year-old son and a year and a half-year-old son. They both love our parks. We go to wooten park near elementary school, the brandt wood park and the northwest district park, and it's disheartening for myself as a father to go there and have people smoking while my children are running around playing at the parks. And then also to see all the tobacco litter, the cigarette butts laying down on the ground. A couple months ago, two or three months ago, my youngest son nolan picked up butts while he was picking up rocks and sticks, and it's something that we don't really need in our parks. Our parks should be a healthy place for all people to enjoy, especially our young people. For many of our citizens, parks and playgrounds are the back yards for our children who may not have a backyard -- a safe backyard to go play in or a lot to go play in, so they do use our parks, and it would be wonderful if our parks could be smoke free and litter-free of the cigarette butts. Cigarette butts are just not ugly or nice, they're also very toxic. There's many, many harmful chemicals in the cigarette butts so that they are chewed on, swallowed by a young child. It's very harmful to their health in that aspect. Then also the litter is a financial cost for the city to clean up those -- to pick up all those cigarette butts. I know that the parks department has begun to start to pick up cigarette butts and have selected tens of thousands of cigarette butts in various parks and golf courses across the city. So I ask for your support to prohibit smoking in our parks. My wife takes our young boy for running down here on -- on the hike and bike trail off of lady bird lake and it's disheartening and it's heart for her to be running and come up on people who are smoking on the park when she's trying to be healthy and having her little boy with her, so that would be an additional benefit for her and my youngest child. I know there's been some discussion about golf courses being exempt. As a golfer, I can't say that secondhand smoke has necessarily impacted me out golf course, but on practice greens --
your time expired.
Please consider that.
Sir, could I ask you to finish your point about golf courses as a golfer?
As a on the course, if I'm with a foursome I have a right to ask people to put out their cigarettes on the golf course, but if I'm at the putting green or the driving range where there's a number of people smoking, stationary, we're just standing there, I really don't have -- I could go up to them and ask them to put out their cigarette. They might not respect my wishes, and in that case I'd be fine. There's really nothing i could do about that. I could leave the golf course if that's the case, but that has happened and that does irritate me when i am at a driving range or if I am ready to go out on minimum round and someone is smoking by the putting green or something like that, that is irritating and kind of annoying. So it would be nice if i didn't have to experience that in the future. Thank you. next speaker is sarah story. Stoyer. Let me say we have one hour of testimony on this item, 30 and we'll have to carry it over after live music and proclamations, so if you want to just say ditto, I'm all in favor of this, that's fine.
I appreciate it. I just had a you if statements -- just had a few statements to make.
Mayor leffingwell: sure.
First is that secondhand smoke is exceedingly toxic to people and that it contains toxins such as carbon monoxide, cyanide, a moin yeah, benzene, chloride. These are all toxic chemicals that we would never let people in the public be exposed to, and yet when we allow secondhand smokers in our parks, and our families and children and friends, that's exactly what we're doing. Thank you. thank you. Maya gamble. All these folks are signed up in favor of item 24.
Hi, good afternoon. I'm maya gamble. I'm a lifelong austin resident, and I am here in strong support of a smoking ban at all austin parks and hopefully the greenways also. I too have children, and as you heard before, small children, if you don't know, they like to pick things up and put them in their mouth, and smokers apparently think that their cigarette butts are not litter and tend to leave them around the parks. Also at most of the parks the benches tend to be close to the play scapes so smokers congregate next to the playscapes. So I don't think it's healthy for children to witness people smoking. I think it normalizes that behavior, makes it more likely that they might smoke, and I know that when I was in high school the kids that were starting to smoke always went to the parks to do that. So if we could take that location away from them i think that would be great. So thank you very much. thank you. Michael custer? Michael custer? He's not here. Ursula fuller had to leave. Rich goldstein. Rich goldstein. Not here. Daniel crowe. Daniel crowe is not in the chamber. Kara quinn, and all these folks are signed up in favor, again. Richard ward. Gail sneaden, ?aiden. Not here. Judy conroy. Jude icon roy, also in favor -- judy conroy. Clay defoe signed up against.
Good afternoon again. Thank you, council. Glad I'm having the opportunity to address it. One preliminary vote i wasn't allowed permission to speak so this is quite a change. You all are going to be in some trouble for that. But going to the item, smoking devil has certain negative effects. That's object. We all know that. It's a -- we all know that. It's a public health issue that needs to be addressed, and I think through government action we can do this. Not through government coercion. The permits you have is the government has a right to micro manage all of our human behavior and I find that dangerous. As I was walking here this morning, I saw a sign -- an advertisement, you guys, one of these campaigns, tobacco-free austin, you guys are doing on the side of the bus that says, "when " and I'm here to tell you that that's actually right. Yes, we will all -- will smoke through secondhand smoke, other people's smokes. While a park is a place that needs to be protected from unnecessary litter or damage, pollution to people's health, the thing is when you push people out of parks to smoke, they're not going to quit smoking. They're just going to go somewhere else. They're going to go to the sidewalks, right outside private businesses, right outside the city hall, other areas, and that's going to be even harder to enforce not smoking, that's going to cause more people to breathe in their smoke as they're not allowed to go to an area where there can be some open-air where that smoke can dissipate and not be right next to people. So you're pushing smokers to an even more limited area that will actually increase the secondhand smoke throughout the city. In addition, I believe that this ordinance in citations that will be given for smoking in parks will waste our police department's precious limited resources. They've got a serious job, folks. They have real crimes to deal with. They do not need to be issuing tickets issues and i don't think we need to have another city department created to do that. I find that dangerous. I find it dangerous how you guys are trying to manage -- micromanage people's human behavior. Like the gentleman said, he has a right to ask a person to put out their cigarette. Wouldn't it be amazing if our entire community took that attitude, and if they saw someone smoking near children or in an inappropriate place they could tell them, hey, look, you know, you should take your cigarette somewhere else, and we do this through individual action, not through government coercion. So I hope you vote no on this. I instruct you as your constituent, all of yours, cigarette smoking is awful, yes, but it's even worse to use the monopoly force which government employs to like a spoiled child, get its own way. Thank you. walt escovel. Walt is signed up in favor.
Good afternoon, mayor, pro tem, council members. I'm walt escovel. I'm here to speak in favor 24, which is approve an ordinance amending smoking in public places by prohibiting smoking in city parks. Sir, at the -- you have the -- item 24? I had previously asked that some slices be made available. I was -- yes. I was and still am very pleased to have read that the austin city council unanimously passed a resolution to permanently ban smoking in public parks on october 20 and the fact that 29 cities in texas and many cities across the country, in fact, already have smoke-free parks according to the resolution's text. Austin residents and city leaders need to do more to improve overall health and it's clear that cities such as new york city are taking a lead. I have here before you a graph that I pulled off the web this morning, and it shows how people in leadership positions such as yourselves, certainly in new york city, have taken very, very aggressive and positive actions to reduce the number of smokers in their city. Just want to read a couple of fast facts on smoking and tobacco use for from the centers for disease control. Tobacco use leads to disease and disability. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung diseases. For every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, 20 more people suffer with at least one illness from smoking. So yes, although we do have individual choice, at some previous speakers have elaborated, it's not always easy to ask someone to please put out that cigarette and if we don't have that legal right then that person may not put out that cigarette. So that is why it's important that leaders such as yourselves pass this ordinance. Tobacco use is, in fact, the leading preventible cause of death. In the united states tobacco use is responsible for about one in five deaths annually. I'd like to go over a few things. I've heard some concerns about this perhaps not applying to golf courses. I think that it should apply to golf courses that are public, that is. What they do at private golf courses, I think that's up to them, but if it's public, a public golf course, i think that we do need to take a strong stand to prohibit smoking there as well. If you're going to protect some of the citizens at the city's public parks, then why wouldn't you want to also protect the citizens at the city's public golf courses. A comprehensive ordinance is needed to protect golfers and golf courses. Why would golf courses not get protection too. Economic concerns about restaurants and bar concerns about losing revenue were not founded. Thank you. thank you. Ashley putter? Ashley hutter signed up for. Not here. Jennifer conroy and ursula fuller have already been called. Michael custer? Jennifer conroy was called, but if you're here now you're welcome to speak. My mistake. Jennifer conroy. Ursula fuller is still not here. Michael custer? They have donated time to you so you only have three minutes.
Okay. Thank you, mayor, council members. I wanted to cover a couple points. I think we've had some discussion of public health issues, and I wanted to cover some points also about the environmental issues and also about golf courses, just a couple of concerns and comments about that. I'll start with golf courses because I think that that may be the hottest item here. Again -- and I don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but a person standing 3 to 6 feet from -- in the range of 3 to 6 feet from a smoker is exposed to just as much smoke as someone who's indoors with a smoker, so if we think about folks moving across the golf course, it's really important to remember that that exposure is very toxic to folks. I know gail sneaden wanted to talk about her kids who learned golfing on the public golf courses here. I would hope that we would not be exposing youngsters to tobacco smoke as they learn to golf on the public courses. Again, why would golfers not get protected, if we're going to protect the rest of the public that's going to the parks? And if somebody wants to smoke, I think there are options for them to go to a higher-priced golf course, a private course, but I think that would also encourage the majority of our community, which is 85% of our folks have not smoking, to go to our public parks, and so I don't think that there should be revenue concerns there. We've seen, again, that restaurants and bars had the same concerns when they were going tobacco -- or smoke free, and data actually shows that they did not experience a downturn in their sales as a result of that policy. Turning to the litter issue, san francisco did a study. 25 Of their litter was --% of their litter was tobacco and cigarette related. Keep america beautiful found that 38% of all of the litter they were finding was cigarette-related, and so i think that it's really important for us to consider the cost of leaning up that litter, and when we think about the butts and the cigarette trash and the matches and the wrappings that go in the ground, of course those are also going to eventually trickle into our water system and end up in our lakes and creeks. It's important for us to know, I think, that one litter of -- one cigarette and one liter of water will kill a fish, so there's actually quite a bit of toxicity that not only is translate -- or transmitted to the kids that are picking the tobacco butts off the ground but also as it washes into the water our wildlife and our fish are threatened as well. Let's see, a couple more items. Only 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can increase risk of blood clots, slow the rate of blood flow through the coronary arteries and injure blood vessels.
And that was your time.
And did I have the three minutes from the other two folks? no, they're not here in the chamber.
Okay. Thank you for your consideration of this. thank you. Lou earl? mayor, council people. I'm the chair of the mayor's fitness council here in austin. I'm also here representing my company, austin fit magazine. First I'd like to speak from the council's perspective. The board of the council last week took up this issue, and all agreed that the ordinance as written should be supported by the mayor's fitness council, and so I'm here to simply communicate that support and endorsement of the ordinance to ban tobacco or smoking in our parks. For all the reasons that you've stated, and I'm not going to go back over the science. I think you all have heard lots about that. From my own company's perspective, you know, we wake up every day at austin fit magazine with one mission, very similar to the mayor's fitness council mission, and that is to help promote, educate our folks in this city to be healthier and fitter, and we work very hard at it. We're very passionate about it and we're very proud of the work that we do, and I'm very proud of the work the council does to try to accomplish those goals. From my company's perspective, we support this ordinance, although we believe it's short of where it should be. We believe that there should be an ordinance that bans all tobacco products from all public places. We don't believe public funds should be used to support practices and behaviors that actually cost us more taxpayer dollars. I want to just conclude with a personal comment, if you will. I'm very passionate about this for a lot of reasons, but not the least of which is that as I stand here today my brother-in-law, who is 62 years old and is in chestertown maryland, at this point probably will live another day or two. He's in hospice. He's dying of esophageal metastasized brain cancer. He smoked all his life. I can't tell you for sure that the tobacco is what caused all this cancer, but I have no doubt that it had a great deal to do with the esophageal cancer, and i know everybody in this room, I imagine, has a story like that. I know you all have friends, family or loved ones that have succumbed to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, any one of these many, many horrible diseases, and so i implore you to really take a stand on this issue. It's -- it's just a terrible thing, tobacco. There is nothing redeeming about it whatsoever, and the sooner that you can eradicate it from our society and from our community, I think the better off we'll all be. Thank you very much. thank you, lou, and thanks for your service on the fitness council. Pamela larson? Excuse me. Pamela is signed up for but not wishing to speak, as is james gray, robin attwood and sandy simmons, and those are all the speakers that i have signed up wishing to speak. Pulled by council member spelman, I believe. Do you have any comments? I will keep this much, much shorter than the last item I pulled, mayor. You're welcome, council member morrison. Is parks -- I see sarah hensley, reading my mind, coming up to the mic. I got a couple technical questions for you, sarah.
Okay. we know that there's a record of what happens when you ban smoking in parks and other places, other public places from cities -- other places in the country that have done this. To your knowledge, what happens when you ban smoke smoking in parks?
Sarah hensley, parks and recreation director. I can only tell fru a perspective professionally. One is it helps with the environment, for the air quality. Second, it helps with the land quality, by discarded cigarette butts and the different -- the carcinogens and other things that leak into our soil that ultimately will get into our water system, and the potential for our critters, the birds and others, who happen to grab these things, put them in nests and other things. So that's one. I call it the three-legged stool. Two is maintenance. While we still have a hard problem right now with covering maintenance in our parks, and we lack in the ability to dleen up all the -- clean up all the cigarette butts at this point, it should would help us if we didn't have to do that and if smoking was banned in our parks we wouldn't have to worry as much about the discarded cigarette butts or the accidental cigarette butts that are placed. And most importantly is the health and well-being of our community members and the health and well-being of our young children and families. So three benefits there, maintenance, environment and health.
Okay. Other cities have banned smoking in parks and can we verify -- I would imagine the environment has improved. You probably get a lot less smoking in parks if it's banned than if it were allowed. I would imagine that your maintenance costs go down because you have a lot less smoking, a lot fewer cigarette butts, some of them find their way into waterways, something them being picked up off the ground. So your maintenance costs probably go down. And is there any evidence that banning smoking in parks reduces the amount of smoking people do?
Well, I know the slide that the gentleman showed earlier that it had reduced the number of people who smoke, and I can only tell you that personal experience, just by the fact of us saying that we were looking at this, that we've had several of our staff actually go ahead and stop smoking because they knew -- we won't be able to smoke at work. [Chuckle]
I think it will. I can't give you scientific evidence but I believe wong could, that -- that could say it, but I do think that leading to it helps push people more to do that. we have a philosophical difference of opinion here because I am absolutely on with the idea of making bans and fines and so on to protect people from the behavior of others. Somebody is smoke 5 or 6 or 10 feet away from you or dropping butts on the ground that a bird might pick up or would find its way into the river, I'm absolutely on with an idea that would protect me from their bad behavior. I am philosophically opposed to something as stringent as a ban to protect me from my own behavior, or to protect any citizen from their own behavior. I think that really ought to be up to them to make a decision, let us all go to hell in our own way. But that's a philosophical decision, which I don't expect us to be able to resolve here and now, so I'm not going to worry about t I'm just letting you know when I make a vote it won't be based on that. So one of those three legs won't be persuasive. The other two are very persuasive with me. Is there any evidence -- are there any cities that have banned smoking except for designated smoking areas?
Do you want to answer that?
Can you repeat? I want to make sure I'm hearing you correctly.
We're talking about ban in all parks with a few interesting exceptions, generally speaking no smoking in parks and --
And trails. Other cities have done that.
Are there any cities that have put a ban on smoking in city parks, trails and so on with the exception of small designated areas?
Not that I know of.
And that's the truth. I don't know that others have. I know that they ban it and they've made some exceptions like events or for video and for purposes for movies, golf courses. Those are the ones we've been able to find.
Spelman: okay. So the common exceptions you see in the ordinances around the country are for movies, for actors who have -- who pretend to be cool on film, for designated smoking areas if there are special events.
And if it's applicable based on like the entrance and not being able to leave and those kinds of things. so once you're in you can't leave.
Right, and that's sometimes the case in a lot of events. You get in, you can't leave to go to other places and so people are stuck when they have one-day passes and they cannot leave the site. this is a crowd control measure.
Right. some people won't show up if they can't smoke while they're there.
That's right. what's the justification for golf courses?
I'll be honest and this is a tough one for us, because from a philosophical and a professional point of view, I personally and professionally believe that parks and golf courses are green space and we should have them as smoke free, but when we went to our advisory board and we asked for their opinion, the golf advisory board they would only support this if it was based on eliminating the golf courses, and we even tried to look at it over a year, and out of respect for them and then the parks board approved the recommendation as it was, which included the golf courses in it, as excluded. We brought forth the one that was recommended by the parks and recreation board.
Spelman: okay. So basically the golfers said no, we want to be exempt and the parks board --
we said we'll put that in there, but we -- I mean, from a special point of view I do believe that it ought to be -- that we shouldn't allow smoking there. But I understand the reasoning behind it and they're worried about the economics. do you -- well, in a sense, golf courses are like special events. Once you start a round of golf you're committed to the the round of golf for a few hours.
And you've paid your money and if you leave you lose your money. let me offer a scenario. If somebody is going to a park, they look around and don't see anybody who looks likely to complain or nobody at all, they don't see parks police. They say, I want to smoke a cigarette so they smoke a cigarette and maybe they dump it on the ground, maybe they put it in their pocket, whatever they do with it, but they actually break the rule and smoke a cigarette. We may have some environmental harm if they drop the cigarette butt on the ground. We may have some environmental harm if that secondhand smoke is actually wafted close by to somebody, but if there's nobody close by there's actually not much on secondhand smoke. They're harming themselves but not really doing harm to anybody else. Would that be permissible? Why not? With the exception of the -- of my concern about not trying to protect people from themselves, why would that be a problem?
Well -- you know, here's -- I'm kind of respectfully disagree that that would be acceptable. I look at this from on holistic point of view and that is, of course, one, a responsible person just like a responsible dog owner would do this right and behave and dispose it where it should be. Unfortunately that doesn't happen all the time. Number two, my concern is also about what's left over for us when we have to deal with it, and we haven't even gotten into the whole issue about the potential of fire, even if there was a container, this happens. And I'm very concerned about that. But most importantly is my collaborative effort and coordination with the health & human services department. And that is when you talk 8 million spent alone in austin, texas for health-related costs from smoking, that is a fact, then it says that -- and i disagree with the gentleman, this is important, and it is part of city government, and I think we have a responsibility to protect our community as a whole, and so that's why i respectfully disagree with you that I do think it's important and I do think it matters, and maybe someone is not around but you just never know in a park, and what happens too is then you get people going to try to hide and that may be in places where it would cause a problem around the heavy brush and places that we are just not able to patrol and not -- not even our wonderful police could do that. So that's where their concerns are. let me offer -- this is my last comment. If instead of banning it and then having people sneak cigarettes hin brush and in places where you don't really want them to do this and you don't know what they're going to do with the butts and so on, would it be permissible from your point of view or at least somewhat less impermissible to adopt a golf course like yeah, we'll put up with a designated smoking area with plenty of signs saying smoking is a terrible thing to do to yourself, and by all means you are prohibited from doing anything with your cigarette butt other than putting it in this ashtray right here. And posting it in such a way that other people wouldn't be walking by and have to worry about the secondhand smoke problem.
Let me say this. Number one, that could be done.
But on this side I have to disagree with you again, and that is -- respectfully, and that is that when we do that, then it again goes back to -- and I'm trying to be, again -- to saying that we are approving of this and that it's not harmful in any way and it is still harmful to the environment, it's still harmful to the area and ultimately we have to assume that everyone is going to abide by those things, which could ultimately still cause us problems from everything from, you know, 25 people gathered around one area and the potential of fire, the potential of others not being able to get to it and say, oh, forget it, I'm just going to go over here. I mean, there are a lot of factors and I guess overall it really boils down to the health and well-being of the parks and the city and the community as a whole and trying to protect the environment, air, water, ground, the overall ability to keep it clean from a maintenance perspective and not have to worry about those outlying things. And again, as I said, most importantly, the health and well-being of not only the people, which is most important, but the parks. And I think in many of our parks they're so closely -- we have many parks, we have small areas that we wouldn't be able to do that. It would impact other people. And so there's really -- to me the best answer is just to -- just to stop it, and just to -- and again, I'm being completely honest with you, and I appreciate and do respect your comments, but i do think that's the way to go. And ultimately I know council makes this decision, but I do want to answer your questions honestly and i think I have. and I appreciate your honesty. It seems to me that our enforcement and maintenance costs may actually go down if we had smoking areas because the vast majority of people are going to obey the rules if there's a smoking area available, most of them will go there. Some of them won't. On the other hand some people will be smoking anyway when nobody is looking or if they think they can get away with it so our maintenance costs won't go to zero with the smoking ban.
No, and I'll say, no, and it's no different than -- i mean, this can very well be equated sort of parallel with our issue around dogs and dogs off leash. I'll go and see -- and I'll thank people when they pick up after their dog but then there's always that one that let's them go and there it is. But some other good citizen comes right behind them and picks it up, which is wonderful. Part of this too is education and part of it is a community effort to try to bring austin to be the most healthiest city in the country, and to do that it's going to take time, it's going to be peer pressure, it's going to be -- and i think to start where we are, yeah, there's going to be offenders, and I will tell you we've worked very closely with the police who are saying, it's not like they'll go out there every day and hit people hard. They have a grace period. We want to educate the public, not persecute them. It's about creating a healthy environment. It's just the bottom line. my only observations is I think our costs of enforcement and our costs of maintenance may actually be cheaper if we had some small designated area in some parks where it makes sense and we can have avoid the problems of secondhand smoke by designating areas that could be available for smokers, in some of our smaller parks there may be no such area that makes sense. It may be true for the vast majority of our parks but we may be able to accomplish -- reduce our total costs and reduce our environmental concerns by making some area available in some of the parks where it makes sense.
I understand. Will. not just golf courses.
Ins, and like I'm saying, we could do that. I just want you to know know that -- I respectfully don't agree.
Spelman: I understand. Thank you. and council, we have one speaker who has inadvertently checked off as having spoken but has not spoken. Mark marva overton. Would you like to speak in favor?
-- [Inaudible] when i said --
well, I did, I came down and let it be known that I -- so thank you. And this has already been said so I will be brief but my name is marva overton and I'm the executive director for african-american lines for health in texas. And I stand before you for the ban on smoking in parks. There are three primary reasons the alliance supports this ban. One, the results of reducing health benefits to secondhand smoke. The economic benefit of reduced health care cost of illnesses related to smoking and secondhand smoke exposure, and three, limiting the environmental hazards of discarded cigarette butts and the cost of cleanup. And has already been stated, the centers for disease control states that tobacco use is the single most preventible cause of death and disability in the united states. It is also been proven that smoke-free policies are a necessary component of any comprehensive effort to reduce the use of tobacco and to reduce the number of the illnesses and deaths, so things like the ad campaigns that we're seeing and the billboards, though things are great but without our policies they would tend to be less effective. And while we know this ban won't stop people from smoking who are intent on doing so, it does provide protection to the significant number of people who like to enjoy the parks for recreation, special events and exercise, the ability to do so without having to breathe secondhand smoke. And perhaps it will be an additional influencer for smokers who do have the desire to quit but just haven't taken that step. So thank you so much for your time and we do hope that you will pals the proposed amendment to the -- pass the proposed amendment to the current smoking ordinance to include public parks. Thank you. thank you. Let me just say, I'm going to support this ordinance, but I do want to make a quick comment about the golf courses, because that's come up a couple of times, and as I believe jennifer conroy said, people would have the option to go from a public course to a private course. I don't know how viable that option is. I think there's a significant price differential, may or may not be. I don't know. But the point is our public golf courses are basically on life support most of the time as it is, and I think that's something that we don't want to do, is drive people away from our public golf courses on to private courses. Also, normally on a golf course you're not in close proximity to anyone other than the people you're playing with, and supposedly -- I mean, it seems like they would be able to ask you politely not to do so, if they're in your immediate -- immediate group. I have one question for sarah. And so, you know, you spoke about implementing this thing. In fact, it's been implemented for a long time, has it not?
How many months?
The ban has been in effect since, gosh, april of 2011.
> And just out of curiosity, has there actually been citations for people for smoking in parks?
No, because -- well, where is officer robinson? It's been really very polite conversations.
Mayor leffingwell: polite?
And not necessarily, i don't think, any tickets?
He can tell you better.
My name is brian robinson. I'm with the austin police department sparks division. There have been citations during burn ban, you know, as part of the enforcement, our patrol staff. Whether it came to the enforcement part there are different levels of enforce: One being the mere presence of officers out there, we gave warnings and some of our patrol staff gave citations.
And what is the penalty if you receive a citation.
Up to $500, and that's up to the municipal court judge.
Okay. Thank you.
Yes, sir. council member tovo? director hensley i have a few questions for you related to the golf course issue. I'm in receipt of a memo that the golf advisory board submitted -- I'm sorry, that the parks department submitted to the golf advisory board responding to some questions that were asked about the golf courses. The first was about how the ban might have impacted the revenue at austin municipal golf courses, and I wondered if you could just summarize for us how that revenue had --
I have elizabeth richard here. Right now our numbers, I can give you our numbers, and that is currently in 2010 and 2011, overall our golf courses received 106,452 rowns, and it was disbursed among the different courses, hancock being the least with 6,353, t highest was lyons, which is 25,901. so that was actually an increase over --
yes. so during the period of time where smoking was banned from our public golf courses, and it still is, the revenue at our municipal golf courses wasn't impacted at all, and, in fact, it went up.
Our numbers did go up a little bit overall, not at each course as compared but overall they did go up just a little oaf -- a little less than a thousand rounds. and I see from the same memo that at least one other course in the central texas area has a smoking ban. Do you have any sense of how it may have -- when they may have adopted that and how that may have impacted their --
I'm going to just give it to elizabeth richards. I'm going to bend the rule --
I know harvey pen he can golf course, they're on land owned by the ymca so they don't allow any tobacco. I do not know what date that golf courses opened, however. but do they have a pretty lively clientele?
They do, and they have a lot of use, play at that course. do you know how long they've had the no smoking policy?
Since they opened. Since it's on ymca-owned land they've never allowed tobacco use. I want to say i appreciate the research you did in response to the golf advisory board, both to do the current survey of golfs and their attitude toward potential ban and also the kind of going out there and investigating and actually collecting the number of cigarette butts there the roy kaiser golf course, and as I understand it from the information you gave here during a period of two hours, just looking at half the course, something like 707 --
707 yes, that's correct. and do you think that that golf course is pretty typical of the other municipal golf courses in terms of the amount of litter that's generated?
I would think so, and again, when we were collecting these cigarette butts this was during the burn ban, so it could be more. during a typical period where smoking is not prohibited?
Yes. thank you very much. council member morrison. I also want to thank you for the work that you did in answer to those questions because I think that really pointed some things out to me. I guess just to step back, i want to recognize that while we have this issue about the golf courses that is somewhat controversial, that overall we all seem to be pretty much together, almost unanimously, certainly judging by the enormous number of emails that we have received from people supporting in general doing a ban on smoking in parks. I do want to ask a couple more questions about the golf courses because, frankly, I'm concerned about exempting golf and the golf courses, and I'm respectful of the golf advisory board's comments about the concern about revenue, but I wonder, director hensley, if you could help me out here, because we looked and saw that the number of rounds actually went up across the city when we had a ban in place, but I guess even besides that, if we were looking at fewer rounds it seems to me that -- because smokers didn't want to go, it seems to me that we might have an opposite impact from a decrease in maintenance funds and potentially other people wanting to come where they might not have come before. Do you think that there's any logic to that?
Well, I think there's always that possibility, and evening that absolutely. And I can tell you that one of the main reasons for the golf advisory board and they're not necessarily here to speak on their behalf, but I know the real reason was a lot about the economics of it and the possibility of losing more rounds, which means less improvements, less things have happened there. But it could possibly happen that less people will possibly come and play because it was smoke free. We don't know that because we don't have a public course that has had a no smoking, so there's nothing to compare it to. But it's very possible. I wonder if wong might comment because I think there are perhaps some parallel situations.
I guess one thing. The health department did actually do a randomized telephone survey of 800 adult austinites, travis county residents, and i think that it was not specific to golf courses, but the question was, if the parks went tobacco-free, how often would you go to the parks? And 20% actually said they would go out more often. Only 8% said they would go out less often, and then 70% said it would make no change. So essentially 90% said they'd either go out more often or no change and 8% said they would go out less often. And that's been -- you know, we've had similar results for music venues, bars, restaurants when they ordinances passed, but again, from the health department standpoint and our own data, it's about 17% of adults that are current smokers, so it's over four times the number of nonsmokers among adults.
If I can briefly mention, I was going to say I talked to kerrville, texas, they have a smoke-free park system including their own municipal golf course and i talked to their director of golf and they did not see any financial impact when they implemented smoa free courses. and I know that new york city recently implemented smoke free parks --
right, but their golf courses are included. as well as san francisco, as well as several in the city, so with that, mayor, I'd like to make a motion that we adopt the ordinance but with an amendment that deletes the exemption for golf courses, and ebl that there's an additional amendment that's needed to go along with that, that would be inserting golf courses preceding and swimming pools in defining a park. And I would also like to just clarify -- we also have an exemption for filming, and I wanted to -- if an actor is filming a film and there's smoking involved in that, to amend that line to make it clear that it's only during the filming process, not when they're just hanging out, because it does say actors only, but -- so insert during filming after " so basically clarifying that loophole and removing the golf exemption.
I second that. motion by council member morrison, second by council member tovo. Are there any more discussions? Council member tovo. , you know, we have gotten a lot of email about this and the majority of it in support of what I think is going to be a really very positive ordinance for our city, but I just want to recognize we got some emails this morning from a 6-year-old and 9-year-old in support of this, and I just thought that was just a great -- just a really exciting thing that we have youth in our community who are park users, who are aware of the dangers of smoking pose to health and they're also aware of their own role in the political process so kudos to that family and to those two young women. all in favor of the motion say aye.
Aye. opposed say no. So I didn't -- martinez? Council member martinez is in favor? So that passes on a vote of 4-3 with mayor pro tem cole, council member spelman and myself voting no. You voted no? Well, correction, the motion fails with council member spelman, council member riley, mayor pro tem cole and myself voting know.
Mayor, I want to make a motion to approve the item as presented by staff. council member martinez moves to approve the staff recommendation for the ordinance.
Cole: and I'll second. Second second ed by mayor pro tem cole. council member morrison? I just wanted to say that I'm supporting this item in full because of all the things that have already been discussed, and then my experience with having worked with keep austin beautiful on waller creek and also at bartholomew park where they also have a creek, and one of the number one items that we found littering was cigarettes, and that those are the places that have a creek and have a swimming pool and even hancock has a creek and hancock golf center, and so we have to be mindful of these places not only for us but also for our children. So I will be supporting the motion.
Mayor leffingwell: okay. So motion on the table to approve the staff recommendation, which excludes golf courses from the proposed ban. All in favor say aye. excuse me, mayor. council member morrison.
Morrison: thank you. Two things I wanted to offer a couple of amendments and see if they would be acceptable. The first is that to close that loophole about actors smoking. actors only?
Morrison: during filming. actors only during filming, okay. so would you accept that? sure, I accept t I just -- I want to point out that when film crews sign a contractual obligation they're virtually leasing our parks, just as festival and many other. So I'm not sure it would even apply if they lease space from us, and it's explicit in their contract that they lease this space and accept responsibility. But that's fine. We can work around it. we actually already have in the draft that we're considering the reference to exceptions for filming, for actors, and so I was just clarifying. but the directors can't smoke.
Morrison: exactly. and the support. right, and the actors can't smoke unless they're actually in the process of filming. is that part of your -- i didn't understand that.
Morrison: well, okay. Let me just get a little -- slow down just a minute. The language already says -- okay, the draft already has an exemption. It's no. 9. Those areas in parks that are specified in a permit issued by the parks and rec department authorizing smoking for filming purposes only and by actors only. That's what it already says. So I just want to add, during filming by actors only. And then the second one might be a little more controversial -- excuse me, is that accepted by the maker and -- mayor pro tem, you were the second, right? Okay. Accepted that one. what I'd like to throw out is perhaps a crow myself and that is a suggestion that we follow some of the other cities' approaches to golf courses and that is to allow designated smoking areas in golf courses to find in between -- defined in between a full exelings and exemption and full ban. I don't accept it as friendly. I would have to see the full amendment and what you consider a designated area. well, then, i don't have that all filled out at this point, so i would suggest that maybe we could do the filming on second reading and take the time to see if we could develop something about designated areas in the coming week. with all due respect, council members, I just don't think that would work because that would mean you have to stop your round and then there would be people behind you and what would they do and it would just -- it appears to work in los angeles because they have designated smoking areas in the golf courses in los angeles. well, --
morrison: yeah, well. [Laughter] may I suggest an amendment that I would accept as friendly and maybe pr cole would, that smoking be banned in the golf courses unless you're playing a round of golf. So that creates a designated while you're playing. If you're on the putting green, practice area, in the clubhouse, you can't do it. While you're playing a rounds of golf you can. council member spelman? council member martinez, what if you're an actor pretending to play a round of golf. [Laughter] she totally got me on that one because I was going to say, I'm an actor. And some people might already say that. thank you, council member. I'd like to propose that amendment that you just suggested you might accept, which is -- I will accept it. I don't know if mayor pro tem will. council member morrison, explain how this would apply in a situation, one that council member martinez. what it sounds like to me is -- I mean, in your definition, because that's what we're trying to get at, a handle on your definition. I understand it in the reverse, if you're in the clubhouse hanging around, on the putting green, if there's driving ranges or pitching things or whatever -- what do you mean around the clubhouse?
Cole: exactly. well, if you're not in the process of playing a round of golf, like you have -- you're starting at the first tee and -- it sounds like you can smoke in your car and at the parking lot. If you're not playing golf and you're in your car in the parking lot you can smoke.
Morrison: no, you cannot. It's only when you're playing a round of golf. I'm going to withdraw my -- council member martinez? I'm going to withdraw my friendly acceptance. I think there's just too much to flesh out. i think it's very complicated. So they don't accept that friendly amendment. Council member tovo. well, I think there's merit, I think with some more discussion we might come to something that captures the intent here, which is to keep the -- to eliminate smoking at areas where people tend to congregate at the golf course, and so I would -- i would suggest that we go back to council member morrison's suggestion of passing this on second reading and revisiting it. i guess are you proposing that as a friendly amendment? sure, I'm proposing that as a friendly amendment. council member martinez?
Martinez: that's fine. Come back next week? so this would be first reading -- or first and second reading? first and second reeg, come back next week. wouldn't that be second reading? I think we already passed it on first reading. no, we passed a resolution directing staff to come forward with --
tovo: thanks. all right. All in favor of the motion on first and second reading, and that's to close the public hearing also, council member? All right. All in favor say aye.
Mayor leffingwell: aye. Opposed say no. Passes on a vote of 7-0. And council, we are now at 30 for live music and proclamations. Without objection we're in recess. Melancon ba tarry h sem ifb-bv so live music at austin council. If I could have your attention, please, wiewr about to be entertained, as we are every city council 30, and tonight's performer is brennan lee, and she has the remedy for whatever gives you a headache. I'm reading from the script here. I'm not too sure what that means. But she plays the mandolin and a voice as strong as railroad tracks and as smooth as a mint july julep. She breathes life into swing, smoke and mississippi delta standards swells adding a distinctively north woods image to on her well crafted songs. Her newest release is called a box. Ranges from traditional country to bluegrass but the important word to note is traditional. So using time tested country and bluegrass sounds her songs are fresh and not a relic from a long-ago era. Please help me welcome brenda lee. [Applause] [applause]
THAWPG, nolan McKay. thank you, we loved that introduction, that was great. And now you have an opportunity to promote yourself a little bit by telling us and everybody elsewhere you're going to be playing next and how people can guy your music and tell us about your web site if you have one.
You can go to my web site, brennen, leigh, my web site, or visit me on facebook, go to facebook and look me up. We play most tuesdays over at evangeline cafe, on brodie lane.
Brodie lane. Okay.
Thank you very much. [Applause]
we have a proclamation for you to present to you, be it known that whereas the city of austin, texas is blessed with many creative musicians whose talent extends to virtually every musical genre, and whereas our music scene thrives because automatic audiences support good music produced by legends, our local favorites, newcomers alike and whereas we are please to do showcase and support our local artists. Now, therefore, i, lee leffingwell, mayor of the city of austin, texas, do hereby proclaim december 8, brendan leigh day in austin, texas. Thanks so much, brendan. [Applause] so it's with great pleasure and pride that we sill brait our third graduating class. Come on up, from the small business of success schools program, skills program. Small business or vital to the health of our local economy. As a matter of fact, austin's has been named the top city for small business for the past two years. The city of austin values the contribution of small business. Our partnership with the university of texas professional development center supports small business owners in developing skills to grow their businesses and to contribute to job growth in our community. So tonight we honor eight entrepreneurs who have taken at least six classes to achieve their small business success skills certification, and those here tonight are, and give us a way -- come on up behind me here. Angelique angeliquea, are you here? Come on up. Okay. So we have a certificate of congratulations for those who are here, and I'll pass out these certificates now. I'm only going to read it once because it says the same thing for all of you, but this is a certificate of congratulations. We are pleased to congratulate donald tisha, for having successfully completed course work to qualify for the small business success skills certificate. This specialized small business training that helps participants build a core set of business skills is offered through a partnership with the city's small business development program at the university of texas at austin's professional development center. We join ut in recognizing and congratulating this year's class of small business owners on pursuing the education needed to help build strong, viable businesses that are valuable to our community. This certificate is presented in recognition thereof on this 8th day of december in the year 2011. City council of austin, texas, signed by myself, mayor lee leffingwell. This is for donald tisha. Donald, congratulations. [Applause] and jerry wita. [Applause] so in addition, receiving this certificate but not here, angeliquea careo, elizabeth crane, david la moan, vincent paul. Vincent is here? Vincent paul. [Applause] and deborah sawyer. [Applause] so congratulations to all of you. And I'd also like to recognize our small business development director, rosie philippea, who directs the fine programs we have for small businesses here in the city of austin, and rosie, would you like to say a quick word?
Surely. Thank you, mayor, and thank you once again for your support for small businesses, mayor and council, as a whole and our city manager. Small businesses are extremely important to our austin local economy and everyone reads them nationally that the small businesses are the small engine -- the engine that's going to get our economy out of the doldrums. We're particularly proud of these business owners who have dedicated and take time from their busy calendars to take classes and try to figure out how to be stronger and better entrepreneurs. Mayor, this is the third class. We have about 20 to 25 people completed and got their certification over the last year. I'm going to turn the floor over for a few minutes, if you would allow me, and introduce you to javier, a staff member of our small business program and make a few comments about our program. Thank you.
I want to thank everyone for coming out this evening to celebrate these small business owners, and then specifically I wanted to share a copy of steps with you -- stats regarding the small business owners that we have attending classes. The small business program's affiliation with the university of texas professional development center began two years ago, and has yielded very positive results as evidenced by our graduates here tonight. This partnership between the city of austin and ut has achieved a high degree of success in a very short amount of time. About 25 different classes were offered each year ranging from writing a business plan to small business taxes. Additionally, 945 people have been trained in fiscal year 2011, and that represents over 3,900 hours of training throughout the course of the year. As mayor leffingwell stated tonight's graduates have completed at least six small business classes that will help them better manage their businesses. We are proud of our assistance to small business and those we celebrate tonight. Before I leave you I wanted to provide special thanks to the mayor and council who have consistently provided support for the work of the small business development program. Additionally, our director, kevin johns, for economic growth and redevelopment services and again to rosie jalifi. Economic growth assistant director and founder of the small business program. Once again, thank you, and have a good night. [Applause]
so it's now my pleasure to present a proclamation to our office of emergency management here in the city of austin. Otis latin our director. And I'll let you after we present the certificate, proclamation, you can introduce all the rest of your folks.
I just want to say how important this office is. My office, me personally, i work with them all the time. I'm a member of the committees that -- the office of emergency management sponsors to bring together all of the public safety organizations in central texas. Last year during the winter of last year, we had for the first time a -- we convened all of the police chiefs, all of the fire chiefs, all of the county judges in the surrounding area to get together out at our emergency command center in northeast austin to talk about ways that we can collaborate and cooperate better. I think we already collaborate and cooperate very well and we've demonstrated that in a number of major events that we've had sense I've been mayor of this city in the last two years. One of them was, of course, the airplane that flew into the irs building on 183, our success was almost unbelievable. There was only one person that died in that horrific event, other than the pilot who flew the airplane intentionally into the building, and the building was miraculously saved. It needed repairs, of course. Had a big hole in it and had water all over the place because the fire department was there and really put a lot of water on there in a short time and that's really what saved that building. But I just drove by there the other day. It's got a new finish on it and it's going to be ready to be used again. And nobody thought that would happen. They thought they would have to tear that building down. In addition to that, of course we had the incident with the ut shooter out here recently where all of our groups came here together, travis county sheriff's department, texas department of public safety, ut police, and of course our austin's finest, the austin police department. And again, we escaped with that with no injuries to the public at large. Unfortunately the perpetrator lost his life in the course of terminating that emergency. But all of that was an exemplefication of the -- exemplification that the office of emergency comes together to deal with things like this. And of course more recently we had the memorial day fires, which literally, they were major fires all around the city of austin. None of them were in the city of austin, none of the major ones, fires weren't in the city of austin, but we participated. We provided over about -- approximately 50% of the total services in terms of personnel and equipment to the fire operations in leander and pflugerville and spicewood and in bastrop, and we're very proud of the way this office has performed in all of these operations. So I'm going to read the proclamation and then I'll let our director otis latin come up and say a couple words. The office of emergency management was created in response to the tragic memorial day flood in 1981 that killed 13 of our citizens. An ordinance approved on december 9, 1982 directed oem to develop and implement an emergency preparedness plan for austin, and whereas, now known as the office of homeland security security in emergency management, hsem's mission includes educating the public about preparedness, managing grants to improve homeland security and public safety capabilities, coordinating emergency response and recovery, and working with partner organizations to protect our community. And whereas during the past 30 years austin has been hit by an ever-changing array of disasters, but thanks to the work of former and current hsem staff, we are better prepared as a local government and as a community to respond and recover from whatever challenges we may face. Now, therefore, I lee leffingwell, mayor of the city of austin, texas, do hereby proclaim the year 2012 as hsem's 30th anniversary year. So congratulations to all of these folks, and before i bring otis up here, I do want to say we just started conversations within the last couple of weeks about convening the second annual assembly of all of these folks, public safety providers throughout central texas, and I believe we're going to have that meeting in april, right, otis? And that's the key. You don't do it once and then rest on your laurels. You keep refreshing those skills and keep meeting the new faces that come into the organizations around our community. So it's something that's really important. It's -- I consider it my number one responsibility as mayor. So I'm proud to welcome otis latin. [Applause]
thank you, mayor. Thank you, mayor, and it takes the support of leaders like you, mayor, and the city manager of this great city to give us the opportunity to perform as we do. And definitely without a staff like I have back here, I would not be able to do it either. I'd like to just let you know who they are, billie atkins, senior planning officer, charlie hunt, plans officer, linda mcginnis assistant director. We have belinda hair, our accreditation manager, and linda haney community preparedness regional coordinatorment and we thank you all. [Applause]
Mayor Leffingwell: He is an iconic figure in the city of austin. Has served us well and for a long time on the urban renewal board and especially the community of east austin. And we appreciate what you've done so much. The award reads as follows: This distinguished service award is presented for his commitment to the citizens of austin during more than 15 years of dedicated service to the urban renewal board. Ben sifuentes is deserving of public acclaim and recognition. During his tenure sifuentes moved forward the city's development goals, which served to enhance the quality of life of those living in east austin and the city of austin as a whole. This certificate is issued in acknowledgment and appreciation thereof this 8th day of december, 2011 by the city council of austin, texas, signed by myself, mayor leffingwell. Thank you, ben. I appreciate what you did. [ Applause ]
thank you. Thank you, mr. mayor. I appreciate this award and my family appreciates it. Thank you so much. It has been a privilege for me to have served on the urban renewal agency, a rare privilege. Particularly because i served with some very fine men and women that were mayor, and former mayors. They were exceptional and i learned a great deal from them. I particularly want to thank the people that work for the agency, former ones that are here. paul hilgers and greg smith. And the present people that are working so hard and diligently. They do the people's work and they work long and hard. And I am pleased and congratulate them and I want to congratulate the other recipients of this award u.t. very much. [ Applause ] thank you very much. [ Applause ]
my name is greg smith. I'm a retired city of austin employee and who is standing behind me is my former paul hilgers. Standing next to ben sifuentes is kevin cole, a former member of the urban renewal board. And standing next to him is the current president of the -- chair of the urban renewal board, which is andrew bucknell and the current director of the office is betsy spencer. [ Applause ] I got an email the other day about this proclamation for ben, and they asked if there was anyone who would like to speak to contact kathleen. I immediately picked up the phone and gave her a call because I remember the first day that ben was sworn in as one member of the urban renewal board, and shortly thereafter became the chairperson back in 1996. We had -- the urban renewal agency had been nonexistent, if you will, for quite some time and we actually revived it so that we could move forward with the implementation of the 11th and 12th street redevelopment program. And I just want to say personally to ben as a staff person that worked directly with him in these meetings between '96 up until i retired in 2005, I remember those lunch meetings, ben, we used to have, strategizing on our agenda and having our little thunder cloud sandwiches, but we spent a lot of personal time, I learned a lot from this gentleman. He gave us a lot of relationship and we accomplished a lot during that time between '96 and 2005. And I just want to thank you for your leadership and what you had shared with me over those years, ben sifuentes. Job well done. [ Applause ]
I can't resist. [ Laughter ] just very quickly, I just wanted to say -- I said i wasn't going to say anything, but I can't help it. Greg and ben sifuentes had a very special relationship as did van jobe and ben sifuentes, as did I and ben sifuentes. But most importantly ben has a very special love for this city, particularly the part of the city that the urban renewal area is the urban renewal area and the people who live there. He kept this program grounded both in the past and the present and he kept it looking to the future. It was an honor to work for him when I got invited. I couldn't not attend. Working -- you want to talk about a great pair? Kevin cole and ben sifuentes, pretty good team. And it was an honor to work with them and then it was also an honor to work with the -- with greg and van and sandra harkins and all the people who are still back there doing the people's work, it's been said, led by betsy. So thank you for letting me honor ben sifuentes. [ Applause ]
Mayor Leffingwell: It's my honor to present jerry saunders from the to make a presentation and award to our great utilities, austin water utility employees director greg masares, dupal, raj bhattarai, aldo. Congratulations, guys. And mr. saunders.
Thank you very much. I appreciate the invitation. I'm the associate director for water enforcement with region 6, the five-state area. And I seldom have the opportunity to be welcome at a city chamber because normally we're involved in enforcement action. But that's not why I'm here today. I'm here to express my appreciation to the city of austin, the water utility department, to raj and the people that he works with and his staff because they have worked with us now for eight years and the most recent addition if you would, the capacity management operation maintenance plan seminar that we've had for sanitary sewer overflows in the eighth year. And this is really the foremost conference of this nature in this region definitely, and I know that we get utility directors from all over the state, from aa joining states as well as participants from across the nation. And that's due in large measure to raj and his staff and the support that we get from the city of austin, both from the mayor and from the department. And I greatly appreciate that because it makes our job just that much easier because we have a forum had in which we can exchange technical situation in which way to handle the sewer overflows in the best way possible and helps to protect health and the environment. For that reason I have a plaque you would like to present to -- I would like raj bhattarai, and what the plaque says is in recognition and appreciation for the contributions made by austin water utility, city of austin, to the region 6 workshop august 2011. [ Applause ]
thank you very much, jerry. And thank you, mayor, greg and dupal and aldo. We have been -- as jerry said, this was the eighth year we've done it and we've already started the ball rolling for the ninth workshop, which will be held at the convention center in august of 2012. We started in 2004, we thought we would get at the most 40 people, but at the end we ended up getting 425 attendees and it was a tremendous success. And year after year our attendees have ranged anywhere from 350 to 400. We keep doing it because we benefit so much from it. We get to hear from national, international and regional and local speakers about sharing their experiences, that's over two days every year. And it has helped us in our program. And mayor, I particularly want to thank you for your support, when you served as the chair (indiscernible), your support for the austin clean water program.
[Inaudible - no mic].
For our success, exactly. And we were able to complete that in time. And an offshoot of that and dupal's work on that and of course is monumental, very legendary. I don't do it all alone. A lot of people support -- i appreciate the support from as well as the city to do these wonderful things and we can learn and we can share what we've learned from others and i think everybody in the region, everybody benefits. Thank you again. This is very -- a moment of great pride.
Thank you very much. As we said before, (indiscernible) [ applause ]
all right. The next proclamation is going to be in honor of eat local week. And I believe we have some folks from urban roots and edible austin and sustainable food center.
Well, it's my privilege and honor to again present this proclamation in honor of eat local week, and we've kicked it off last weekend with an amazing event here at the farmers market at republic square, which kicked off urban farm bicycle tour. And there's a host of events going on this week. It's actually why marlo is she wanted to go to the drink local event tonight. She shows right. Chose right. I'm going to read the proclamation and then I'll ask rhonda or someone to say a few words. Okay. She's more than welcome to. So the proclamation reads, be it known whereas scores of area restaurants are participating in a week long fund-raising event organized by edible austin magazine for urban -- for urban roots and the sustainable food center, two local nonprofits that use sustainable agriculture to transform the lives of young people and that promote the growing of local food to increase access to healthy food in austin. And whereas part of the proceeds from all the special events happening this week as well as from participating restaurants that are featuring special sourced entrees and drinks will go to the nonprofit and whereas the bicycle tour can grow and harvest dinner. Signed by lee leffingwell, mayor of the austin, texas, do encourage the abundance of local and fresh food in central texas and here by proclaim december the third THROUGH THE 10th 2011 AS Edible austin's eat, drink local week, congratulations. [ Applause ]
I want to thank the mayor and I want to thank the local community and edible austin, I'm sorry. Thank you.
I'm shaun dunn. [ Inaudible ] for helping us and guiding us through our time at urban roots. [ Applause ]
hi. I'm rhonda rutledge, executive director of sustainable food center. On behalf of fcs and also representing marla who had to leave early from edible austin, I want to thank the mayor and thank city council and city council staff for supporting this effort that helps raise much needed funds for both urban roots and sustainable food center. So if you haven't already participated, it's not too late. Events going on all the way through saturday. Go ahead involved. Thanks a lot. [ Applause ]
Riley: Good evening, I'm chris riley from the austin city council and it's my great pleasure tonight to have the opportunity to honor some extraordinarily distinguished service on the part of some outstanding citizens. Over two years ago in late august of 2009 the city council appointed a group of citizens to work on the subject of green roofs. This is a subject that a lot of people have recognized, needed some extra attention in recognize because of the many benefits that green roofs offer to the city and to the whole region. So we pulled together and all-star lineup of folks from -- both from the private sector, from the public sector, city staff, and from the l.b.j. Wildflower center. These are people with expertise in various aspects of green roofs who are willing to get together and talk about what we could do as a community to see about getting more green roofs here in austin. And that's a subject that presents all kinds of challenges, probably because of the climate that we have here. You can't just import a program that they have someplace else because we've got very unique conditions here that require some special individualized attention. It was a real challenging task that the group took on and they dove into it with gus tow. They worked -- we expected this this might be a full year's effort. And this committee worked and labeled itself with the wonderful name grag, the green roof advisory group. They worked hard for a year and came up with a wonderful interim report, but that wasn't enough for them. A lot of folks might have just been ready to stop at that point, but this group actually wanted to keep going. So we gave them another year to keep going at it and work not only on a report with recommendations that would sit on a shelf. This group was so passionate about it that they wanted to dive in and get in and actually work on the implementation. That included things like developing an inventory of all the green roofs that we have out here, developing a website that you can now find on the city's website f you go to the city's web org and just search for green roof program, the first thing that will come up with the green roof web page. And that will be kept alive over time as the number of green roofs in austin continue to grow. And there are a number of recommendations that they made, including a whole density bonus program that will be integrated with the downtown plan that we're going to be considering later tonight. So it was really an extraordinary amount of work, a wonderful service that these folks have provided, so I'm very happy tonight to be able to recognize their efforts with some certificates, awards recognizing their distinguished service. And I'm going to start with the leader of the pack, eleanor McKinney, who has been an inspiration for many on the subject of green roofs. And I'm inspired everyday when I look out my office window and see the wonderful green roof that we have right here at city hall, which was installed with the help of eleanor some years ago. And I'll read the certificate. city of austin distinguished service award for her work as chair of the green roof advisory group, eleanor McKinney is deserving of public acclaim and recognition. The members of grag went above and beyond their initial charge to have recommendations that promote green roofs in austin by requesting a one-year extension in order to initiate the implementation of their recommendations regarding outreach, design and incentives. The group has produced a report to city council, create add city of austin green roofs website, set green roofs performance standards for the criteria manual and submitted a proposal to be included in the density bonus program of the downtown austin plan. This certificate is presented with our sincere appreciation for the green roof advisory group's street service this eighth day of december in the year 2011 by the city council of austin, texas. And it's kind by the mayor, lee leffingwell. Eleanor, I'll present you your certificate and I'll ask you to say a few words, but first I want to present awards to a few others that are here. And I'm actually going to mention the names of even those who couldn'ting here tonight. Bryan gardener was serving as co-chair. I don't think he made it here tonight. Kathy zarsky. She is not here tonight. But she actually served as secretary of the green roof advisory group. And then other certificates for members, we've got dr. steve winhogger. Who is steve with? That's right, with the l.b.j. wildflower center. Blaine sandberry. Thank you, blaine. Lauren stanley. Thank you. mark simmons also with wildflower center. He couldn't be here tonight. Dylan ziegler, thanks. Terry mitchell. Not here tonight. Biez kazi, not here tonight. And dr. michael barrett. Michael barrett couldn't be here tonight either. We may be lacking just a few certificates, but we will get those ready for the others. And I'm going to call -- as I mentioned, I'm going to ask ellie to come you and say a few words and recognize the whole committee. Thanks so much, ellie.
It was a pleasure working with everybody in this group. It was one of the best groups I've ever worked with and as a volunteer for the city of austin. So I feel very privileged to have been a part of that. Green roofs are the new open space. As we've become a more density, we are going to need more open space in the roofs and in our streets, and that's where we're going to gather to create our cultural lives. When I first became aware of density bonus program in portland to create green roofs and open space, that's when I was motivated to start learning how we could do that in the city of austin. The green roofs has been composed of stakeholders and staff. I really do want to recognize everybody that's here. Matt holland with watershed protection, lorene with austin energy, leah with urban heat island and pamela with austin energy. What was so great about this group is that it was stakeholders and staff working together. And couldn't have done it without the staff obviously because they were the ones that were diligent in bringing forward our prodding from month to month to get something done. And we've really come a long way in a very short amount of time in those two years. So to take it from hardly even being on the radar to now it's in the density bonus program for the downtown plan, that's a long way. So I just want to thank everyone and their contribution to making this happen. And I'd like to turn this over now to matt hall with watershed protection. [ Applause ]
thank you, ellie. It really has been a true pleasure working with this group. They've worked extremely hard, and I think we've been all very proud of what we've come up with in our three reports now. And then I think we're going to really acknowledge that our work is only beginning. And I want to thank the councilmembers as well for getting this going. This is one of the most interesting and amazing components of green infrastructure, which is something our department, watershed protection, is really interested in. And we're looking forward to seeing more of these in the city of austin. And I think that again, the promise is just starting. Obviously we know the consequences of replacing natural systems, soil, plants, fauna, with concrete and asphalt and roofs. And green roofs really take this head on and it's very exciting to work with these new systems. And I think even with austin's challenging climate we also have an equally determined group of people that are going to be working on this. And of course we've had plants and soil systems that have worked for millions of years in this area quite nicely and I think we can work out ways to work these into our roof systems. So anyway, I actually did want to just acknowledge a couple of -- a number of other folks that have helped out on the city's side that couldn't be here tonight. Erin wood, jim robertson, jorge (indiscernible), abby webster from water we tried to make this an integrated team to work across many different lines. So I'm sure I'm forgetting some other key participants. Peter marsh with public works. So anyway, we thank you and appreciate the opportunity to talk about this key topic. [ Applause ]
I guess the big question now is where do we go from here? Density bonus incentives have been the best tool a city can use to encourage open space, including green roofs. So you've heard that we have green roofs as an option in the current downtown austin plan. That's why are exciting, but we don't need to stop there because there are other city planning areas and development corridors where green roofs can be incorporated. So I encourage city staff and council to look for those opportunities to incorporate green roofs and those as well. We've also talked about this beautiful green roof we have here at city hall. And how nice it would be to have more city buildings with green roofs. Perhaps the new library is one that would be an option or the next new building that the city needs to develop that would hopefully consider a green roof as an option. And then staff will continue to need support, particularly with the ongoing studies that they are going doing to look at the effects of green roof on storm water runoff and water quality. And to determine how well green roofs clean the water and slow the runoff. So once these studies come up with quantifiable benefits, then those benefits can be turned into credits for developers, offering yet other incentives for encouraging green roof development. So we as a group put together a five-year plan, which we just finished year one of. The five-year plan was a part of our original report. So it outlined, as councilmember riley said, many ways that -- to incorporate green roofs in city policy. So to keep this going, keep this momentum going of this five-year plan, I encourage council to create another resolution that would direct staff to continue with implementation of the remaining years of that five-year plan. It's going to take coordinated effort between multiple city departments. So I know the city is up for the task because we've seen all the departments come together in this group. So this will keep the momentum going. It's very exciting. Thank you. [ Applause ]
I just really want to thank councilmember riley. We couldn't have done it without you and we couldn't have done without marissa and leah. So we thank everybody from their office. And andy moore and councilmember martinez. Thanks. [ Applause ]
Riley: Just one last word on this item, this is actually -- we're getting towards the end of marine's service with the city and i really appreciate her devoting time to one of the crowning efforts of her career with the city. I really appreciate all of her long time service to the city. [ Applause ]
Morrison: So now we move on to really fun stuff. We've said it before and we'll say it again, and that is that our local businesses are one of the things that make austin really special. And it's holiday shopping time and it's a time to really keep that in mind. Keep in mind that shopping at local businesses returns and keeps a whole lot more money in our economy rather than shipping it off to the executives that run the chain stores. So we have a lot of excitement going on with the ibiz districts and the contest this year. We had a press conference this morning announcing finalists. You will hear about that. But what I wanted to do here is thank these folks and we have a proclamation that says, be it known that whereas shopping local for the holidays benefits our whole community by building a tradition that strengthens our local economy, expands employment, nurtures a sense of community and provides more relaxed, fun and rewarding gift buying experiences. And whereas shopping at locally owned businesses puts three times the dollars into our economy, our local economy, of $100 spent at a local business, $45 stays in our community, compared to only $13 with the same $100. And whereas locally owned businesses from funky to sophisticated help austin retain its unique character and provide a more diverse range of product and service choices than available from national businesses, now therefore i, lee leffingwell, mayor of the city of austin, do here by proclaim that shop local for the holidays is celebrated FROM DECEMBER 10th-25-2011 In austin, texas. And here to receive this is rebecca have austin independent business alliance. Thank you.
Thank you so much. On behalf of the austin independent business alliance and all local business, we would like to thank you, councilmember morrison, especially, the entire city council and the entire city of austin. Our message is really a simple one. Have a wonderful holiday season and shop at locally owned businesses. And now I would like to introduce rebecca adam, who is my abia co-pilot.
Thank you. I'm here to let you know that one of the things that we're doing in partnership with the small business development program is a window shopping contest in our ibiz districts. And five of the districts, which are located all around town, have these beautiful holiday displays up and it's vote odd by the public. And you all have an opportunity to go and vote com and all the details and the winners, the semifinalists from the five districts are there. So ibuyaustin.com.
Morrison: And I think you forgot to say that you will have an opportunity to win if you enter. You have an opportunity to win a holiday stocking. Very important.
Yes. An opportunity to win the holiday stocking stuffed with over 100 dollars' worth of gift certificates to locally owned businesses. Thank you. [ Applause ]
Mayor Leffingwell: We are out of recess. And we will begin with item number 32, which was pulled by councilmember riley.
Riley: Thanks, mayor. Item 32 is another parking item. This one relates to parking here at city hall and across the river at one texas center. It would authorize the award and negotiation and execution of a 60 month five-year revenue contract with ampco for the operation and management of those facilities with two 36-month extension options. In an amount of 25 million, plus additional money for the extensions, for the total amount of about 5.8 million. I've been looking at this issue and I think it calls for a little more work for a couple of reasons. Number 1, when you look at how we've been doing and managing those two garages, the city hall garage and the one texas center garage, you see a pretty interesting disparity. We've had some real good success lately with the city hall garage in getting increased revenues. We've recently tripled the revenues we're generating at the city hall garage. We're actually getting over half a million dollars a year of revenue out of the city hall garage. Meanwhile the one texas center garage just across the river, which actually has more parking spaces than the city hall garage, it is generating a total of $60,000 per year, less than ONE-10th THE AMOUNT THE City hall is generating, even though it has more parking spaces and it's located right by the long center, the palmer events center and a number of other destinations. So it seems that it might be worth having some discussion about how we might be able to manage the one texas center garage in a way that would actually generate more revenue for the city. And secondly there is an ongoing study of parking around the palmer events center to see what we can do, recognizing that there is -- there are parking issues in that area. Whenever we have events at auditorium shores or at other venues in the area, there are parking issues that come up. So we've been working on trying to address the parking situation around there. And so I think it would be worth looking at how one texas center could play into that effort. Currently the one texas center garage is not really utilized to its full extent in relation to events that are there -- that are held there in that area. I think we could consider whether there might be opportunities to do that. So for all those reasons, i would suggest that we take a little more time to look at this contract and see what we can do to manage these facilities, especially the one texas center garage. So I would suggest that we -- I would like to ask byron johnson, who is here, about the postponement. It seems to me that we're not going to get -- postponing by one week would be -- there's a lot to cover and I'm not sure we would get done by next week. So that would put us into january. I want to see if there would be any problems created if we were to postpone until january. Of course we have two meetings in january, so i just wanted to raise the issue and see how time sensitive it is.
Byron johnson, purchasing there is absolutely no problem with postponing it. To be very clear, no problem with postponing that item. You can postpone it to january. The current contract expires on the -- in the latter part -- I think it's the 28th of february. So we have plenty of time, so we're more than welcome if you have some direction you would like to give staff to be able to do that, we can postpone it. You can do what you want direct, direct it to a committee. We'll be glad to assist you with the information. The contract also has three different types of components to it, just for your information. One is the management fee, which is about 31 or $32,000 a year. And the second piece is for labor. They must do the labor at the living wage rate that is the requirement that we put in contracts. And the third are supplies that are handled like a supply requirements contract. So again, these are the three components of the so it may be that if you decide you want to handle parking in a different way, we could still utilize this contract and we could put those into how we negotiate the final contract.
We would be glad to take whatever input you would. And if you direct us to how you would like us to proceed, we would be glad to go forward.
Riley: Mayor, I would suggest that we postpone this item until january 26th, and that -- in the meantime we -- to examine options for management of the facilities in a way that would generate additional revenue and address parking issues both around city hall and around one texas center.
Mayor Leffingwell: Motion by councilmember riley to postpone item 32 until january 26th.
Mayor Leffingwell: Seconded by councilmember martinez. Discussion? All in favor say aye?
Martinez: Mayor, I do have some discussion. [One moment, please, for change in captioners]
what about things like striping the parking garages and cleaning the parking garages and maintenance and upkeep, I think custodial services probably falls in line. It's my understanding we have private contracting at the airport and that contract has significant minority participation and opportunities, and I don't see why we're not finding those opportunities in this .
there were a series of as needed scopes of discussion that would come up throughout the life of the contract but not on an everyday basis, more on an annual basis and I would yield to the purchasing department to speak more specifically to those scopes of works. city manager has a comment to add also.
Time to go back and reexamine whether there are some opportunities subject to this time. We have [inaudible] strategy swells continuing to explore [inaudible] options. I'd appreciate it if we could do that, just review it.
Absolutely. thank you very much.
Thanks, mayor. I'll second that motion. you already did. All in favor say aye.
Mayor leffingwell: aye. Opposed say no, passes on a vote of 7-0. Item 40. No one signed up to speak. This pulled off consent by council member spelman. I believe mr. [inaudible] that.
Welcome back, byron.
Good evening. I understand this is the 7th amendment to a contract we originally issued in 2007. We extended it in 2010. We extended it again in august of 2011, and we extended it again in october of 2011. And the question I've got is along the way somewhere did it not make sense for us to issue a new rfp to see if we could get a cheaper price for three phase transformers on the open market?
Byron johnson again, purchasing officer. The extensions that we took prior to this coming year were part of the original bid package where we said we were going to go forward with a contract and we were going forward with some extension options. At that time the department looked at it and said they really wanted to continue with this brand of unit and the reason why is it takes about 12 months before you can order, get the units in place. There's a long lead time. So when you do that, the first -- obviously the first year you're not going to get the units in in time to be able to test them. And then you want to test them for at least 12 months so that brought us to the end of the second year which brought us to this yearment and this year we worked on a process with austin energy where we're trying to change our requirements for how we do transformers and there's two different types that we do. So again, this would have normally been out in august but we have another review committee and a panel and it takes about a three to five-months process where you go look at the components and do that type of thing. So again, you really want about a 36 month contract normally so that way you have time to be able to test with the units, because part of the cost factor to this, these have a 30-year life cycle cost to those, and so if you don't have at least 12 months' worth of data, if somebody gives you data on what their projected 30-year cost is you don't know if that blends into your reality so you really don't want it shorter than maybe 30 months, 36 months. So we changed how we do the evaluation. The current solicitation is out now. In fact, those responses are due this coming week. That will take us about four or five months to do these. We do about three replacements annually with somewhere around a 10 month lead time. I realize you can't give us specifics but is it consistent with the LATEST RFPs, ARE THEY THE Same or higher or lower than the hewn dies?
We hewn hundred days.
We don't know specifically. We think we'll get from five to seven responses this time so we're having a competition. We'll be pretty good. Do we think that the pricing will be higher than what we're paying on the current contract, which is the other reason why we wanted to continue i. Yes. Obviously the wire and components have gone up fairly significantly. If you look at the producers' price index on those there's about 28% than some of the other commodities because of the rarity of some of those metals. So we think that they'll cost more. And these units, just for your information, cost between 800,000 and $1.2 million apiece.
Spelman: right. Not the sort of thing you want to get wrong. So we've had good experience with the hundred day hyundais.
And we know how to maintain them?
We have other people maintain them because that maintains the product liability that we have to have.
But we have issues in other solicitations and we will be seeing perhaps other transformers in the future and every 36 months or so is about the time frame you have in mind. We're only a little bit beyond that point.
That's correct. mayor, I move approval. council member spelman moves approval. Item 40, second by mayor pro tem cole. Discussion? All in favor say aye.
Mayor leffingwell: aye. Opposed say no, passes on a vote of 7-0. 63 Pulled by council member spelman, no one signed up to speak on this. this will also be very quick, mayor. This is more of a statement than a question but the statement depends how byron responds to it. I am concerned about the what the fub thinks when it deletes a item for $21 million with over a 60 60month period with a 60 month extension and attributes that to uniform and related services but no particular related department. I wonder if there's a way of providing a little bit more information to the public without tying your hands as to what exactly we're buying and who we're buying it for.
We can certainly work with the law department and provide you and the rest of council some options what you might look for going forward with respect to the agenda items and we'll be glad to work with the law department to provide information. $20 million for a largely unspecified purpose I think is a little bit vaguer than would be appropriate.
Again, we try to make sure we have it in the backup. I appreciate that.
We wanted to do that one and we try to make sure we have a lot of data in the backup with as little posting language and hopefully save some paper. I just remember when we had more specific posting language and there may have been legal problems with having it too specific but I think we may have overreached in the opposite direction.
Be glad to look at that with the law department and have them provide you some information and directive. thank you, byron. Mayor, move approval. council member spelman moves approval, second by council member morrison. Discussion? All in favor say aye.
Mayor leffingwell: aye. Opposed say no, passes on a vote of 7-0. Brings us to item 65, pulled for speakers. First speaker is jerry lock signed up against. Jerry lock. Ro valejo signed up in favor. Lawrence becker signed up in favor. Lawrence becker. None of the speakers are in the chamber. Those are all the speakers we have so entertain a motion on item 65. mayor, I move approval. council member tovo moves approval. Second by council member morrison. Is there any discussion? All in favor say aye.
Mayor leffingwell: aye. Oppo say no. Passes on a vote of 7-0. Item 73. 73 Is pulled by council member morrison. There are no speakers. mayor, few don't mind, 73 and 74 go together and I'd actually like to talk about 74. First I just wanted to make a few comments to first of all take us back to 2007 when the mayor and council member martinez sponsored a resolution to bring austin up-to-date technologically with the new web site to move forward into open government and to kick off the austin on-line, I think it's austin go -- austin government on-line program. And the exciting thing is while it took us quite a while because we we want through a few different approaches before we got -- we got too far down the line, it is about to be launched on december 19 and it's a great site. I don't know if anybody has had a chance to go to one of the -- it's one of the sneak peek sessions that was being held. We also got a demo' merging technology committee. So this resolution -- in the meantime, since 2007 technology has moved along. The definition and evolution of what open government really means has moved along to include open data, lots of other things, mobile applications, and so what this resolution does and we talked about it at the emernlging technology meeting and I appreciate that discussion and the support. What this resolution does is it asks the council to reaffirm our commitment to open government, which in general these days is about transparency, efficiency and collaboration, and then gets into some more detail, technical things that asks our staff to work with our community technology commission to develop the other elements of what open government really is, and i wanted to ask matt eskovel, who has been extremely helpful from our ctm in developing this, also worked with open austin and with some of our -- some of our commissioners on the community technology commission, and so matt, i wondered if you could just give the folks here listening a little bit more of a overview of the technical aspects in this evolution goes into. before you start. For clarification, we can't take these two items together, so if there's no objection we'll consider talking about item 74 now.
Morrison: thank you.
Thank you, council. Again, my name is matthew he is come bell. I'm with ctm, the communication technology management department here at the city of austin and i am the it project lead for the austin rego design. We are really excited about the language in this resolution and it really supports a lot of the places we're aiming to go, not only with the web site but with technology in the city of austin. I think it's clear one of the main challenges we face in government is trying to keep up with the curve of technology, and that curve in private industry is moving at break neck speed and it's something that we need to be agile enough to respond to. So what we're looking at in trying to accomplish this is looking at open platforms and open technology to be able to make this happen so when we talk about open platforms in government we're talking about two key things. One is open data and the other is using open source technology to help us find innovative solutions to common government problems. So I'll talk a little bit first about open source, and open source in general is basically either software or a programming language that is kind of free of licensing requirements or requiring a contract to be able to use. It's basically open to the community. Part of what's neat about it being open to the community is that it is developed by the community. So that it's basically individuals, not corporations that are basically doing the innovation and doing the development in this area. So what you find is that a lot of people with creative minds and a lot of technical skill are focusing their energy and coming up with solutions using these open platforms. You're seeing this type of innovation in mobile devices, you're seeing it in startup companies that are looking for efficient ways for them to get into business quickly and to be able to be competitive in their marketplace. So we're really kind of looking at open sources. A part of our business model and technology that we need to incorporate to be able to match that curve that's happening in the private industry. Part of what makes that important is going to be the reliance on open data, and so we've all heard the discussion about making data open and more transparent. What we're really talking about here in this kind of framework is that we want to make as much public data available on the city's web site through an open data portal. This is a trend that's happening on all levels of government from the federal all the way down on to cities, and that we are able to provide accessible raw data to the community in a single location. This is really intended to reach several audiences. It's going to reach the average citizen who's really just trying to find out more information about their neighborhood, for instance, and there's a wealth of information that the government tracks. There's going to be the researcher, people who use information to actually perform tasks in their job or to accomplish certain reporting functions, and then there's going to be the software application developers, people who use city data daily to actually create innovative applications both on mobile as well as for the web. We see this every day. The weather reports that we get are based on government data, traffic reports are based on government data. We're looking at that to say we have a lot of information that can be shared with developers, with people who are actually trying to create the applications and the information that we become so accustomed to every day that government is actually responsible for. So with these two initiatives we are working forward in several ways with the city of austin and we are looking forward to 2012 and where we're going to take what we've done with the web site redesign project and really try to use that as a model, not only for austin but for other communities across the country and really across the world so I'll talk briefly about a few of these plans for 2012. And the very first one begins with the redesign project, and that is, as council member morrison mentioned, scheduled to go live on december 19 for a beta release to the public. What's interesting about this release, and this redesign process is we use open source technology to build this web site. We're using a content management system called druple. Druple is supported by the community. There are no licensing costs related to the acquisition of druple. We basically use city staff to do this development and we brought in contractors where we had some gaps in terms of programming skill, but we feel that because we haid this decision we were able to -- made this decision we were able to build a web site that is ready for the future, not a web site that is 2007 ready. We've joked that all the fits and starts of the redesign project since 2007 has actually positioned us very well in that we were able to let a lot of cities go ahead and kind of test these theories about open source and test these theories about open data so that we actually have lessons learned and when we made this decision to use open source that we actually had an informed decision and a decision that positions well for the future for growth. So I kind of wanted to highlight that about our design project as we are using open source, and we have full plans to take the work that we've done on our project and make that available when the project is complete as a shell for other cities that have the same problem that we had in terms of procuring a content management system that can do the job that a city needs. So when we finish this project we want to package that up, make it downloadable for other cities who have the same interest, and they would be able to have a shell that they could work from and streamline their process. And so that's efficiency and sharing through open source that I think that's a great example that lends to why open source is important. The second thing related to that is the city's first open data portal. That is also scheduled to go live on the same day, december 19. The open data portal, as mentioned, is going to provide as many public data sets as possible available in a single location, and it's going to be available and consumable -- in consumable data format. That's really going to give a lot of flexibility to people who want to make their own reports, to want to see data in a map view or a pie chart or who want to take the data and build applications using that. So that's a huge step forward and that's one that we worked really closely with the community, particularly the group called open austin, which is a crowd sourcing group, that kind of formed to work with the city on these initiatives as we've had, you know, little hiccups along the way. So it's been ream really an instrumental partnership and I think you're starting to see the results of that partnership play out. And finally the -- another thing that we're very excited about is our participation with code for america. If you're not familiar with code for america, it's a fellowship program. It's actually in its second year of existence. Basically what happens is every year cities apply to be partner with code for america, and out of people who applied last year three cities were selected. This year out of 25 applicants we were one of eight cities selected. What you get with that is three developers that are devoted to your city for a year who will spend time helping identify issues and ways to solve those issues using these open platform technology solutions. One of the great values our partnership with this organization is not only do they help us with the three developers, about but for each city where they send developers we get access to the code they develop for those cities. So the assumption is the cities have common problems that they're trying to solve and they have comn challenges in trying to find the technology to solve them. What is great about this opportunity is we get to benefit from those solutions that other cities have, and that comes at no cost. We are able to take those tools and bring them for our own use and that's going to be a great advantage as we move forward in 2012. So as we get to this point where we are about to launch the web site, I've been saying that the true projects of austin go really begins on december 19 when we really get to see how the public responds to the work that we've done. They get to see that we are actually building a forward-facing web site. What may not be so obvious is the technology that we're using does position us to do a lot of great things in 2012, and based on the things that I just mentioned, you're going to start seeing, I think, incredible advances and kind of fulfilling the promise of what the web site is always intended to be, which is a web site that reflects the community that we serve. And with that I'm happy to take any questions. Mat.
Thank you, matt, i appreciate it and I want to congratulate you and your team. As I recall, you started building the web site six months ago so that's a pretty spectacular effort, and really, it provides a great foundation, as you said, for us to leapfrog now into sort of the national community that really is focused on a much more evolved open government, and while it sounds -- I think for some people, laypeople, trying to grasp what it is, it sounds a little, you know -- a little ambiguous, but I did want to give a couple of examples. It is about collaboration and sharing. As you mentioned, we'll be sharing the things that come out of code for america or that have come out of code for america, and a couple of really cool items that we'll have access to will be some applications for smartphones, including 311 on your phone, a really cool application that is called adopt a hydrant, where hydrants needed in -- it might not be applicable here because it's philadelphia where hydrants get buried in snow and people will sort of take on a hydrant. And then another one that's really cool is save a life, where folks that know cpr are registered with the ems and when there is a heart attack that notices go out to their cell phone. So this really positions us well, and I look forward to your continued involvement AND CTMs CONTINUED Involvement working with the commission.
Thank you very much. I was just recalling the long and somewhat tortured history of this project. The first web site that the city had was actually done with four or five city staffers sitting in a room over a were not, something like that, and over the years it was never really revised. It just had things added on to it. So obviously became very unwe'dly and hard to use -- wieldy, and hard to use, even for people like me, who work with it all the time. And so when we began this effort back in 2007, we -- one of the things we did was we did a lot of public hearings, both here in the chamber, went out in the field, did them all over the city, and to the best of my recollection what I recall is the idea for using open source actually came from the public. That was not the way that we headed the first time. So the public, the tech people who work so many -- so many bright people who work in the industry here in the city of austin contributed greatly to this project, and in 2007, end of 2011, I think we've gone through two or three directors in that time and basically had to restart the project, and so I'm really glad to see it come to fruition, and all I can say is after all this time it better be good. [Laughter]
I think we feel confident that you'll all be pleased. I do too. I do too. So entertain a motion on item 74. Council member morrison moves approval. I'll second. I have a -- council member spelman. I have a very small and appropriate technical amendment, which I'd like to offer as a potential friendly amendment. I like everything that's happening here. I just want to mostly clarify for the public, if people start asking for open data sets, all sorts of kinds, there's no end to how detailed people can demand and particularly given the type of public information requests we get for data in the city almost every day, that we need to ensure that people understand there have to be limitations on our capacity to be able to provide stuff. So the amy would be in the second resolve in item 74, and more or less pull out some of the elements of exhibit a. When it discusses the open data rules and principles outlined in exhibit a, including, and some of the things that have come out of exhibit a, just I want to make them clear to anybody, including limitations that develop privacy, privilege, administrative privilege and staff concerns, all decisions to make it available to the public, we have to balance the need of the public to know and the value of making that information available against everything else. And this is the everything else. I would be glad to accept this. I just want to clarify -- just want to make sure it's understood that all of these items are explicitly contemplated in exhibit a, so this is a matter of just making them more parent to anybody that doesn't -- apparent to anybody who doesn't happen to --
I notice from the backup that exhibit a is not included.
That's a shame.
That's the primary reason for pulling it out. thank you for mentioning that and absolutely I'll be happy to accept it. and i will too. So motion and second. Any further discussion? As amended but with the friendly amendment by council member spelman be furnished to the clerk. All in favor say aye.
Mayor leffingwell: aye. Opposed say no. Passes on a vote of 7-0. So now we'll go to item no. 73, Which is somewhat related as amending the city code to redefine the role and responsibilities of the technology and telecommunications commission. Council member morrison. this is just a partner to the one we just passed, and that is to update the community technology and telecomupgs commission's mission to make clear that they are the commission where we'll be doing this work on open government and also while we were at it we did a few more updates, for instance, the fact that we're not franchise holders for time warner anymore so we removed that. So with that, just a matter of bringing them up-to-date with the open government work that we're doing. I'd like to move approval. council member morrison moves approval on all three readings, seconded by council member spelman. Any further discussion in all in favor say aye. Aye. Opposed say no. Item 73 is passed on a vote of 7-0. 76. I think i pulled that one.
> You did pull that one, council member morrison. No speakers signed up.
Morrison: thank you. This is a resolution authored by council member martinez and riley, I think, and so I had a few questions about it and some questions about staff. It's my understanding that the purpose of this is to notify a neighborhood planning contact team if a sidewalk fee in lieu is approved. Is that correct?
Riley: that's correct. council member riley?
Riley: that is correct. so I had a couple questions about this becau I realize I realize that sometimes -- it's raised the whole issue of sidewalk fee in lieu and i don't know if we have staff here that might be able to answer some questions. I was interested in knowing what the fee in lieu is and how that compares to the actual cost of building a sidewalk.
Council member, george zapalac, department of planning development and review. The fee for a sidewalk varies depending on the type of sidewalk, whether it's a commercial, a residential. The lowest fee is about $7 per-square-foot. That is typically more than it costs a private contractor to build a sidewalk, but less than it actually costs the city to build it if we have to go out and build it ourselves.
Morrison: okay. So in some cases it's more, in some cases it's less. Is the idea to recoop our costs in general in what's the general approach?
Well, the idea would be that we would prefer for the property owner or developer to build the sidewalk themselves, but if there are good reasons why they should not build it at this time, then we would like to have enough money available that we could build an equivalent amount of sidewalk somewhere else in the neighborhood, and so there was a bit of a compromise. As I said, it co-s the city more than it does a private contractor normally to build the sidewalk, but the fee that was set was somewhere between the city's actual cost and a private contractor's cost. I apologize for asking again because we've been at this a little while. So is the idea that it would be less expensive for the contractor to just build it --
in many cases. In many cases. Now, if there are obstructions, if there are retaining walls that are needed, if there are utilities that have to be relocated, then of course it could be much more skiff. Expensive -- and then the other question I have is sort of are there administrative automatic paths to being approved for a fee in lieu or is it all discretionary?
At the time that this ordinance -- this fee was adopted, the requirement to build sidewalks was also extended to not only cover site plans and subdivisions but also building permits for new houses and also major remodeling of existing structures. And so along with that we received quite a few requests to build -- to pay the fee in lieu of actual construction. Many of those come with the building permit process from homeowners who are trying to make improvement to their residence, and so we do process about 40 of those a month, and of those welds about 90% are probably not discretionary. The dorches sets forth oh ordinance sets forth certain criteria and if they're met we have to approve the fee in lieu of construction. The other 10% are discretionary but there are -- usually the factors that we consider are things such as trees in the right-of-way that preclude sidewalk construction, things of that nature. And so those in the first category that are nondiscretionary we can approve those the same day we receive the request. The others may take a day or two more but typically there's a fairly fast turnaround. I think one of the reasons this came up is because in neighborhood plans, neighborhoods have gone through and done prioritization of sidewalks, and so I think there was concern about getting conflicting -- you know, getting certain sidewalks waves when, in fact, it was a priority. And when I read what the ordinance does in terms of just notifying the neighborhood after the decision is already made, i wondered if it might not be more helpful if they could be notified at least in the discretionary cases before the decision is made so that they would have an opportunity to get with staff and say, hey, i want -- you know, it would be helpful to recognize that this is a priority. So I don't know if you have any thoughts on that, council member riley, but i wanted to -- if you're going to make a motion to approve this ordinance, I wanted to suggest an amendment that -- I mean, this resolution -- suggest an amendment that in the discretionary cases would actually give advance notice as opposed to post-notice.
Riley: mayor? council member riley. yeah, we did discuss that. I think one of the concerns that we heard from staff was that these fees matters are often turned around pretty quickly in connection with the development process. Is that right, george?
That is correct, within one to two days typically. and so that would add some significant delay in some cases. And really the problem that we were trying to get at is that neighborhoods just haven't been very well informed about what's going on with these fees in lieu. The concept -- you know, the original ordinance that allowed for the fee in lieu was really brought forth principally by neighborhood access who really did not -- were concerned about the idea -- they kept saying orphan sidewalks come up in areas, in relatively mature neighborhoods where there was not -- it was unlikely we'd see a complete sidewalk network, and you'd get these little bits of sidewalk here and there, which don't really contribute much to mobility in the area. Meanwhile, the broader need for connectivity in the sidewalk network was going unaddressed. And so the neighborhoods were saying, look, if we -- if we provided some mechanism -- if we provided some mechanism for a fee in lieu where the fee is going to sidewalks and network in the area consistent with a neighborhood plan, then we would be much more likely to move towards an actual functional sidewalk network than if we just continue to do these spotty orphan sidewalks here and there. Is that -- is that consistent with your recollection, george?
That is correct. And we do consider the recommendations of the neighborhood plan and the sidewalk plan before we approve the discretionary fees in lieu. and so the idea is that by taking these -- by moving towards these fees in lieu we can actually be moving towards effective sidewalk networks, but the problem is we've been getting some fees in lieu of and neighborhoods have been in the dark as to what was happening, when fees in lieu were being paid and might not even be paying that much attention to what plans they had in the neighborhood plan with respect to the sidewalk networks. And so with this resolution what we would do is actually notify neighborhoods of where we are, what fees in lieu have been paid, and so neighborhoods could monitor the progress towards that sidewalk network and what we were hoping is that neighborhoods would consider revisiting their neighborhood plans to make sure that it really reflects the sidewalk networks that they want to see, and they could be fully apprised of the progress we're making towards funding the build-out of those networks, and that's especially important as we approach the bond election next year, that neighborhoods really need to be fully informed as to both fee -- about the existing plans for sidewalk networks in their area and how much money we've collected that could support the build-out of those networks.
Morrison: okay. That's really helpful. I guess I have one question. You mentioned that the neighborhood plan priorities are taken into account as some of the criteria for approving them. Does -- if it's a priority sidewalk in the neighborhood plan, is it eligible at all for fee in lieu?
It is eligible if there are other factors, such as trees in the right-of-way or obstructions, things of that . but if there aren't other factors, if something somebody would rather not do and if it's a priority neighborhood plan?
We would not approve the fee in lieu.
Morrison: all right. And I guess a question i have then is if a fee in lieu has to be used in the area, how is the area defined? Is it within the neighborhood plan?
Generally it would be within the same neighborhood area planning where it was collected but it could be an adjacent area, across the street, for example, but it would be in the area or adjacent to where it was collected. so do we have an accounting we could show to all the neighborhood plan areas of how much money has collected for all the sidewalks in their area?
Yes, we do, the public works department maintains that and they update it quarterly at least.
Morrison: I see. That's very helpful. Well, in that case I'm happy to support this as it is. council member riley moves approval, second by council member martinez. I'm going to support this too. I would think that actually this accomplished the main -- the main purpose of this is so the neighborhood will be aware there's money coming in, and if you required pre-approval for the in lieu as opposed to just putting the sidewalk in, which in most cases is cheaper for the contractor to do it that way if he has to go through a bureaucratic approval process and delay, it might be an incentive just to say, to heck with it. I'll just put it in here. Save myself the grief. So I think this is a much better solution and I'm happy to support it. All in favor say aye.
Mayor leffingwell: aye. Opposed say no? Passes on a vote of 7-0. Okay. 87.
I'm having 103, which has five speakers signed up. Do we have a staff presentation on this?
Thank you mayor and council. 103 and 104 are related items. 103 is case npa-2010-0005.03. This is a change to the montopolis neighborhood plan. Future land use map designation for property located at 526 and 626 bastrop highway, from single-family to commercial land use. The planning commission's recommendation was to grant the commercial land use designation and the related zoning case is c14-2010-0138 for the same address, 526 and 626 bastrop highway. The proposed zoning change on the property would be from general commercial services neighborhood plan or cs-np combined district zoning, conditional overlay, neighborhood plan or gr-co combining district zoning and single-family residence standard lot neighborhood plan or sf-2-np to general commercial services or cs-np combining district zoning. Let me briefly go through the neighborhood plan amendment first. The request as I mentioned was to commercial. The tract of land is actually a smaller area than the 14.87. It's about 4 to 5 acres in size. It is a tract that is proposed to be designated as commercial. Does have support of the contact team. The zoning case that's directly related does occupy 87, and on the exhibit that we have up, it's the area that's in yellow, highlighted. The zoning changes to the cs zoning designation. The tract is currently undeveloped and to the north of these properties is zoned cs, cs, co and li and used for automotive sales, retail industrial uses. To the south is p public, park lan, 3 np and salg single-family uses to the east, cs-np and it's automotive services and undeveloped tract land and further to the west is gonp and cs-np and offer some mobile homes. The properties themselves have been reviewed by the neighborhood planning contact team, as I said, and also the zoning case is supported by that but there's been a little bit more interest on the properties that are more adjacent to this and I'll kind of walk through this because I think you'll hear from a few speakers tonight, an interest not so much in the zoning case or the neighborhood plan amendment as they are some donations of property that are proposed to our watershed department or parks department. And on the exhibit we have up, it's an area about 19 acres that's proposed to the water department and it's an area in blue that's to the east and south of the subject tract that's being rezoned. Again, the area that's being rezoned is the area in yellow. The area in blue is the area that is proposed to be transferred, and I've got some -- a little bit -- if you can't read that, some exhibits that I'll pass down and you might be able to see it a little bit easier. The area in green is the proposed parkland acquisition area. It's about 5 acres, and then there's a [inaudible] prairies cemetery, which is outlined in pink. Again, the areas that are proposed for donation are not part of the zoning case, nor are they part of the neighborhood plan amendment, and I'm going to show you one other exhibit [inaudible] give you a little bit of [inaudible] the area that's in yellow is the area that's subject to the neighborhood plan amendment that's kind of crosshatched on there. The remainder of the property is further to the north and actually wraps around this little parcel, like this right here, it's part of that zoning change. I'll go back to the other exhibit. Again, the area of the neighborhood plan amendment is localized in this area, where the zoning case is. Again, the yellow area is the area that's being rezoned. before guernsey, i have a note here saying there was a request for a postponement on 103 and 104.
I don't believe we have a postponement request on the neighborhood plan amendment or the zoning case, but i think I'll let the speakers come forward and they really have, some of them, a concern about the land that might be coming to the city, and -- so there is no formal request?
Not that I'm aware of. If someone wants to come forward and make a request in the postponement of the zoning case and neighborhood plan amendment, I don't think that's really the concern. I think the concern is on these other tracts that are here. and also, I have I'd request that you make your presentation inclusive of 103 and 104.
Right. and it looks like the speakers are the same for both items. They'll have the option to speak on both items, of course, if they want to, but they can direct their comments to both if they wish.
Various good, mayor. On the zoning case and the neighborhood plan amendment, they were recommended by staff and the commission. The planning commission recommended on a 7-0 vote on the consent to designate the tract commercial for the neighborhood plan amendment. On the zoning case they did approve -- recommend approval of the zoning on the property with a -- here, let me -- with the staff recommendation also of 7-0. We do have a representative here on behalf of the owner, the families that are involved with the zoning change and the neighborhood plan amend. As I said we have support of the neighborhood team and the staff support and commission support and we would offer this for approval. All are ready for three approvals, and 103 and 104. I have park staff here. If there are questions in regards to that. But you might want to hear from the speakers and the applicant before we really go to that -- to those questions. and we have a representative to speak for the applicant. Mr. deniseing.
Tovo: mayor? council member tovo. could I clarify the issue? I SAW MR. McGEE COMING UP When you asked the question if there was a formal postponement request. We do have a letter and I've lost track of how it made its way to us but from the bettereda sem cemetery association urging us to delay taking action.
We've been in conversations with deneesi and my comments will hopefully express the concerns of the cemetery association, but there's really no point in a delay at this stage, if the things that I'm going to present to you are addressed.
Tovo: good. Thank you. de nisi, and you'll have five minutes if you need it.
Thank you, mayor. Thank you, mayor, and mayor pro tem and council. My name is john denisi with winstead pc. I'm here this evening on BACK OF the McElhenney family who has -- owns this tract of 46 acres for about 50 years. This is the site, and let me run through this real quickly. I know craig did show you some exhibits, but they may be a little more clear and give you some context. This tract is located on the west side of 183, south of colorado river but north of 71. It is raw land currently. A closer look at the tract. And again this is -- let me back up once. This started about a year and a half ago as a rezoning case that we filed for the full 46 acres. But it really generated some good conversation with the neighbors and the neighborhood plan contact team, and it developed into something that I think is a really good product that is before you now. We shrunk the rezoning case to the acreage that you have -- that you have before you know. This shows the sliver that is impacted by the future flum --the flum change at the back of the tract. So the request before you today, this evening, is the flum amendment that is supported by staff unanimously by the planning commission, by the neighborhood plan contact team. And the rezoning, which really kind of clients up a number of rezonings that's on the 14 -- the remaining 9 acres, all of it to cs-np. This gives you a quick little timeline of how we got here. AS I SAID, the McElhenney family has owned this for half a century, and you feel this property, which didn't have anyone living on it or any use other than being raw land, became attractive to dumping and criminal trespassing. In the spring of 2010 the neighborhood and the family met to discuss what they hoped would be some positive uses for the property. In the summer of 2010 representatives of the neighborhood and the neighborhood plan contact team and the family approached pard and watershed protection about possible uses including significant donation of land for public use. Both this includes the parkland doaption, which oh donation, which would be adjacent to the existing montopolis ball field, the practice fields there, and then the donation of land to watershed protection be and thomson was telling me earlier today about the significant stands of trees and the tributaries that come together in this area, it's kind of a neat area between -- a little south of the colorado rin and the montopolis tribuary. They agreed to accept five areas which would be ad added to the montopolis practical field, and watershed protection agreed to accept 19 acres, with the condition that public access would be allowed with trails and with that type of use. So what would remaining was the rezoning of a 14-acre tract. So what we have is now a donation on behalf of the family, after working with the neighborhood planning contact team and the neighborhood with ray thompson and others, and this has worked its way through the process. Of course these two things are -- while they have moved together concurrently, they are not linked. There's no quid pro quo with relation to the rezoning and the donation, but I believe DR. McGEE AND OTHERS MAY Want to talk to you about that, and there's some sensitivity to that land and that's appropriate. So I'm happy to answer any questions, and we'll be available on rebuttal. Questi questi ons? We'll go to the speakers for and, and all the speakers are signed up in favor. There are no speakers signed up in opposition. fred McGee? Welcome. You've got three minutes.
Three minutes? mayor and council. I'll try to be brief. I'll have to speak fast because there's a lot to say. I hope you all got a copy of the letter that I sent you which lays out some of the concerns with this tract of land. It concerns the burden cemetery which is a historic african-american cemetery and that five acre tract you're considering of acquiring has burials in it now. Established fak. So basically what you'll be doing by approving this is accepting spobt for the responsibility for the management of that cemetery which is contiguous to the burden cemetery. The association, myself and ears, feel the city needs to accept responsibility for what that means. Applicable state and federal government rules here, various federal laws, if african-americans are buried there mag pro would apply, these kinds of things. The concern that the association compressed was if this cemetery comes under the jurisdiction of the park and rec department, that department, as good as it is does not have a good track record of managing the cemetery it currently has responsibility for, and if there's one thing this case proves is that historic cemeteries in this case this one dates back to the 1850s AND CONTAINS THE Remains of former slaves, if cemeteries don't have -- cemeteries don't have respect for deed boundaries, modern deed boundaries in particular. And that's really what the case is here. You have a situation where you have a cemetery that will essentially be cut in half by the decision that denisi have been speaking for the past two days. He's done a good job of convincing me that I should sign up for, and I did sign up for, but what I would ask you to do is to consider strongly passing a motion directing staff to conduct an archaeological study of this area. We don't currently know what the boundaries of the cemetery are. This issue was brought before council actually 20 years ago. 20 Years ago council authorized a study of this issue. It's in the letter that i talked about. Unfortunately no actual excavation was conducted at that time. The time has now come to do the excavation. That project, by the way, was in conjunction with the funding and construction of the montopolis ball fields. This is a well-known cemetery. If you could put up a topo map, one of the things that's interesting is that these -- staff did various things. Notice that in the topo map here and then the site is defined, this is from the environmental site assessment that the terracon contractor did for watershed. Notice that right on the topo graphic map 2 it said, budic cemetery -- you would have to try not to notice a cemetery there but if you look at the documentation staff has for this project, they acknowledge the existence of a cemetery but don't treat it seriously as an ish at all. It's all about watersheds, it's all about natural resources. It's all about the trail, not about the burials. That's unfortunate. So I would ask you to do that and I hope you will. Given that I'm happy to support it. thank you. mayor, I have a question. mayor pro tem.
COLE: MR. McGEE, HAVE You had any discussions with staff about the cost of an archaeological study? No, ma'am, I haven't. I'm a professional archaeologist and knowledgeable on this subject. I've been involved in african-american cemetery preservation all over the states. I was involved in the alan parkway village cemetery BACK IN THE MID 1990s, I'M Probably somebody very qualified to answer that question. The portion here is vegetated pretty heavily. We're talking about huge amounts of briar brush, trees, all kinds of stuff. You would have to address that issue first. I'd say you're looking high five, low six figures, probably to do a realistically decent job on this cemetery because you'd want to treat it with care, because it's an important cemetery, not just because it's the final resting place of people, it also has really good research value from the standpoint of archaeology and our understanding of african-american mortuary practices, african-american responses to enslavement and then he mans waition. There is a -- emancipation. There is a huge gap in the texas literature on this subject. given your expertise and I was familiar with it. That's why I asked for the estimate of the cost. It would seem if some of the laws, federal/state laws came into play, that we would have severe restrictions -- are you -- but you're still in favor of the motion. So I'm trying to figure out if you have any comments about restrictions that would be placed on the surrounding land, assuming that we did an archaeological study.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember tovo, did you --
Tovo: Just a couple of questions. I want to be sure i understand what you're suggesting here. And I see clearly that your recommendation is that there be an archaeological survey undertaken and it sounds like there might be a need to do some -- that's a pretty high cost I think for the parks department to undertake right now. But it strikes me that it might be a very good possibility for seeking some grant funds from the texas historical commission or something else. Or maybe that's something our city staff can look into -- if I could just finish. There may be some other possibilities of getting some u.t. class to assist. There might be other ways of undertaking that. But I guess what I'm wondering is in the meantime, if an archaeological survey couldn't be undertaken immediately, what would you suggest? Do you have any other suggestions? Clearly I take your point seriously that the city would need to be very careful about what kind of activity goes on there in terms of preserving the graves and the sanctity of that space, but what short of an archaeological survey should be done in the short-term in your opinion?
Define immediately. Do you mean like now or in six months or a year?
Tovo: I guess I'm trying to understand what the broad range of concerns are. I mean, I agree that an archaeological survey sounds very warranted, but if one can't be undertaken immediately, are there other concerns you have about this decision that we're contemplating today?
Well, the cemetery association and I feel very strongly that those burials should be left alone. That they are the final resting place of important texans, and that the land should not be -- should not be altered. That basically that it's a dedicated cemetery and should be respected as a dedicated cemetery. In my perfect world I think the donating family should donate the land to the cemetery association, which owns the tracts next to it, but that's what I was getting at with the point that cemeteries don't respect deed boundaries. Those burials that are in those woods are contiguous obviously to the existing cemetery now. And if the city takes those five acres, what will happen is that you'll have a cemetery that's in private hands next to a cemetery that actually is the same cemetery that's in public hands. That's kind of a little odd. The city will incur responsibilities for the management of that cemetery under state and federal law. And people can seek -- citizens can seek to enforce those laws. So if citizens step up and seek that, you will be expending money against your will, quite frankly because you would have an obligation underlaw. If somebody decides to litigate this issue, state law and federal law are very clear on that point. It's a very big responsibility and some of that discussion has come up I think in the discussions about the intercare contract and the city's management or lack thereof cemeteries in so it's a heavy issue. Do you want to take on cemetery number 6? That's really a big issue there. I like the idea of the trail. I like the idea of the family donating land. I think that's a good thing. But not at the expense of these people here. So I'm really here just to express that. I really -- what I'm saying is in the spirit of compromise. I know that the cemetery association authored a letter asking for a delay, but I think the spirit of that letter is that the council commits to protecting the cemetery. The best thing you could do is either transfer the -- if you accept the title, accept the deed and transfer it to the cemetery association subsequently or just leave it alone. Leave it alone and then we can do the archaeological study, although I'd like to say that the texas historical commission just experienced a massive cut in their budget and staffing. There's no money at the state for this. There's probably very little money at the federal level. So I hope that answers your question.
Tovo: It does. And I think so it sounds like the most critical thing would be to determine where the boundaries are of the cemetery and the graves to be sure that any activity that goes on there isn't going to disrupt any of the final resting places.
Yes, ma'am. And if I could briefly mention this area of austin was obviously not part of austin in the 1850's and 1860's. It was del valle, montopolis. This area was owned by jesse (indiscernible) in the 1850's, an iconic texan, also one of the biggest slave holders in travis county. And this was his cotton plantation land. And he is the person who set aside that land as a burying place for his enslaved people. And then overtime within the african-american community it's become what it is today. That also helps to establish its historical value.
Tovo: Thank you very much. I know others have questions for you, but I appreciate you bringing this thoughtfulness to this issue.
Mayor Leffingwell: Just to be clear, you're not suggesting this be a part of the zoning case, which is really not related to this because I don't think that would be even legal. I'll let the attorney weigh in on that, but that would be sort of a contract for the zoning, which I don't think would be --
yeah. I think I recognize the legality -- the legal situation here. I think the political, the policy sort of thing is basically I think -- GRANTING the McHe will hen any's zoning for the area they want rezoned and the land use change that they want goes hand in hand with their dedication of this floodplain. I think if you were to disapprove that, I think the McHE WILL HEN ANY'S WOULD Think hard about donating anything to the city. That's one of the things that kind of disappoint me about this is the manner in which this has gone through the administrative process over the past year and a half is that I'm in a position now of having to kind of poo-poo a little bit an reluctantly say I'm for, but I'm not really for because my involvement here is late even though a lot of the principals have known about the existence of a cemetery from the beginning and blew it off. And that's unfortunate.
Mayor Leffingwell: Just for the record, I want the city attorney to weigh in on this.
Mayor, I was just going to say that it sounds like this issue is more directly related to the acquisition or the donation of this property and this discussion, although I'm sure important, is not directly related for our purposes to the zoning case or the flum consideration. So I don't see a direct relationship there.
Mayor Leffingwell: There will be another opportunity to talk about these issues, the study and the preservation.
And I'm not sure of the process that -- I assume perhaps real estate is handling the donation or the acquisition and they might be able to address what sort of process we'll go through to accept the property.
If I could talk about that briefly. It's an administrative process, the actual transfer of the deed to the city. I mean, basically we're exercising our ability to influence things the way we are for the obvious reasons. Okay? So that's why I'm up here saying the things that I'm saying regarding the zoning change and the land use map change because the city's associations with the landowner, nobody has -- that's an administrative process between the city and the donating party. So you're right, legally there's no relationship. Politically there is.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you. Councilmember riley.
Riley: Fred, if i could -- I just want to make sure I understood one point you made. You suggested that the city could acquire the land that is adjacent to the cemetery and then convey it to some entity?
Riley: You were talking about a tract that would be acquired as parkland?
It would be that area guernsey put up, that triangle area that abuts the cemetery. That's about five-acre tract that's in question where we know that they're burials. In my letter to you I said that we don't know the extent of the boundary of the cemetery. It could extend even into the floodplain area. We don't know. We haven't studied it.
Riley: Are there legal constraints on the ability to convey property that's acquired as parkland. That would actually require an election of -- we would actually have to have voter approval in order to convey the tract to some other entity. That would be difficult, if it's acquired as parkland.
In which case then, you're going to have to make a call about what you think is in the public interest here. I can tell you this, if the city aacquires this, I will be one of the first people in line to make sure that the city discharges its responsibility under the applicable laws for managing the cemetery.
Mayor Leffingwell: As would be appropriate.
Which I think is fair.
Morrison: Mayor? I have -- actually, I have a question for staff, if i could, about I understand we need to be limited on our questions about this property, but I do have questions for staff about the properties around the zoning case land. And what is the plan for those lands. Can you answer that question?
Mayor Leffingwell: Looks like we have several people converging on the podium here.
Morrison: Which I do think is an appropriate question for a zoning case.
Mayor Leffingwell: Somebody has got to jump in here, guys.
We'll go together, how about that?
Well, I kind of went through the land uses around it.
Morrison: Do we know what's in the future plans for those land uses? In particular the land that's going to be a park.
Well, that may be appropriate for real estate, and park staff [ inaudible ].
We've had discussions of trails. I don't think any of those have been specifically planned. I know there's been some neighborhood visitations to the site to look at those different trail locations, but as far as a real specific master plan, i don't believe one exists.
Morrison: Okay. And when did -- never mind. I'll ask this other question later. Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Okay. Next speaker is susana almanza. Not here. Pam thompson?
I'm here, council, thank you. My name is pam thompson and I'm on the montopolis neighborhood contact team. In the november 17th meeting members and other neighborhood members heard and reviewed the presentation by the city of austin and the representatives of the mcelhenney tract and voted 13-1 in support of the flum and the rezoning change. And I'm going to try and explain to you why the neighborhood thinks that this is a good idea. Is it working?
Mayor Leffingwell: Yes.
Okay. I just am going to point here on this map. Let's see. Here's the tract. This tract is only accessible to the street from right here. [ Inaudible ] [inaudible - no mic]
I'm sorry. I can't do two things at once. Okay. Ponca right here next to allison elementary in the blue is a one way street. There's not enough land right here to build more than three or four houses. So what would happen is the person who developed that hand would have to build the street down because this is woods right here. So it wouldn't be worth it. We talked to affordable housing people and our community, youth works and habitat for humanity. So what we had hoped would happen is that no one would ever ask to extend ponca because it is one way by the school. The buses come in, they let the kids out and go out in the morning. So if they have a development there it's going to be really hard for the neighborhood. We don't have large streets. And so we're hoping that if this is granted to become commercial all the way up to 183, that whoever buys the property will have one land use and they will come in and go out on 183. So that is why it is hard for us in montopolis to give up single-family [ inaudible ] the other thing that i wanted to mention is because I don't know how to go about this. If we're going to go off topic and talk about the other issue, I'm sorry, i don't know how to say this except that we went to the birded prairie cemetery association, the people that are working on the trail. We asked them what should we do, and we said the family wants to give the land away and do you want it? And they voted at their board meeting at allison elementary in the library and did not want it. And what you're hearing is that you're going to have to take on the cost of maintaining a cemetery -- [ buzzer sounds ] should I finish? Yes?
Mayor Leffingwell: Your time has expired. Thank you.
Morrison: Mayor. Could I ask you to finish up your comments?
Thank you. The thing that I wanted to make clear is that it is not a working cemetery. That there may be people interred there, but it is not like people are being buried in that area because the boundary and the fence on the other side is where the people are being buried. So on the other side of the fence there's some questions, and we went to the history center, we explored all that. So our issue is that pard, if there were graves discovered at any point in the future, would be the best person or department in the city to have control of those lands. And that is how the family established who would get what lands because the wetlands part is not set up to deal with drainage. And so that it would go to watershed and then trails would be built there and then the other would go to pard because it's adjacent to a property and then if there happened to be graves, at some point it was discovered, they would be the best to manage it. So that's all I know.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you.
Morrison: That's helpful.
Mayor Leffingwell: Stephan ray.
Good evening, my name is stephan ray and I live in montopolis and I'm part of the montopolis neighborhood plan contact team. I'm also a co-founder of the montopolis tributary trails association. And I would like the opportunity to address some of the ancillary issues that have been raised this evening, but the question before you is zoning and flum case. And it's clear that the zoning changes that are being proposed are consistent with the neighborhood plan, supported by the contact team. The addition of that property would make a continuous with commercial zoning on 183. It's not feasible for single-family. There's a proximity to high powered tension lines and gas easements there. And also with respect to any plans for trails, I can say that we've been working with the national park services rivers conservation and trail assistance program for 18 months and we've had trail design workshops all through the montopolis greenbelt and none of the trail designs that we're proposing actually traverse 8-acre pard property that we're talking about right now. And furthermore, the property that is being rezoned is not property that we're considering any of the potential trail routes to traverse. So there's not a conflict with the rezoning case and the proposed trail that the mps and us have put forward and are about to deliver to all sorts of city departments to review. We just got a final draft from the mps in san marcos last week. And then there's also not a conflict with that trail proposal and the 5.8 acres. So at this time there are no plans for any park improvements on the 8 acres and it seems as though the time to do any archaeological study would be in advance of any proposed work that would require excavation and any kind of permanent structures, natural surface trails perhaps may not each require excavation and therefore would potentially be in an area where there may or may not historically be graves. I've walked extensively through the entire area from valdez and felix, through the observable cemetery that's on cold front to the part that's in the woods and to the other part where the family is donating land. And as you move from west to east, you see in the center area there are some 900 -- there are some graves marked with 910 on the grave stones. There's some other marked graves, but when you get into the area behind the fence line it's very difficult to discern or even state definitively right now that there for sure are graves in the area. We do not know whether there are graves on the area that is being donated from the mcelhenney family. So obviously some funds would have to be allocated to do this work and perhaps -- [ buzzer sounds ] -- that work could be done on a pro bono base. We've contributed --
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you, stephan.
-- In pro bono work that could be done in a similar fashion on the graves --
Mayor Leffingwell: Those are all the speakers that we have signed up. Susana almanza, I called you earlier and I see you out there. Do you want to speak?
Good afternoon, mayor, city councilmembers. I'm susana almanza and vice-chair of the montopolis act team and also the vice-president of the neighborhood association. Hi a focus group in east austin and I just got there. I do want to reiterate that we did approve the zoning change for the future land use map and also the change for the zoning. We felt that it was appropriate what the mcelhenney family was asking. The other part is yes, sort of like a separate issue on the donation of the land. The only thing that the contact team voted was that we would like to have that particular area remain as a natural preserve. So I don't know if it would be in the hands of parkland or in the hands of the watershed protection department. That's what we did with the oak springs preserve. And the brodie wildlife as we put it in the watershed protection. I don't know if the same laws would apply in the future. You wanted to convey that land, whether that made on difference or not. The other thing is that we want to be kept informed, not because there is a montopolis tributary trails association, but we feel that the contact team should be informed and have all reports and also be stakeholders of whatever happens to those 31 acres. And that is what the contact team and association voted on is to make staar that stakeholders group when you began to look at the discussion of the land, be more inclusive of the people who are part of the contact team. Thank you very much.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you. So those are all the speakers that we have signed up who want to speak. Also candace carpenter and phillip (indiscernible) are signed up in favor, not wishing to speak. There are no speakers signed up in opposition, to there's no rebuttal. And so this is for approval of the flum and it's ready, I assume, on all three?
Yes. Item number 103, which is the neighborhood plan amendment that would change the future land use map is ready for all three readings. The zoning case, which is item number 104 is also ready for all three readings.
Mayor Leffingwell: Okay. I'll entertain a motion on item 103. Councilmember martinez moves to close the public hearing and approve on all three readings. Seconded by councilmember riley. Further discussion?
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember riley.
Riley: I just wanted to thank a number of people that have been involved with this tract. First the mcelhenney family for all their work on the future of the tract for city staff in figuring out how this could work. And I especially want to recognize stephan ray and pam thompson who have been leading community efforts to take care of this pot for some time. donisi mentioned it has been an area attractive to dumping and stephan and pam and others in the community have been working very hard for a long time to keep it in an attractive condition and approximate to point out the -- and to point out the potential for this property. I want them to be recognized. I think they've known for a long time that there's huge potential in this land and i really salute them for seeing that and for helping us move in that direction. So thank you very much.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember tovo, did you have something?
Tovo: I wanted to quickly confirm with our legal staff that we are to keep these issues separate?
Mayor Leffingwell: Yes. This is the flum.
Tovo: I'm moving toward a point. So I want to assure those of you who had issues or concerns related to the cemetery, if you don't hear any movement in that direction right now, that's the reason why. But I appreciate your bringing that really very important body of concerns. And I echo my colleagues' thanks to the neighborhood, the family, the planning team, the neighborhood association and all the individuals who have worked on it.
Mayor Leffingwell: All in favor of the motion say aye? Opposed say no. It passes on a vote of seven to zero. We'll go to item 104, i don't think we have any additional staff presentation. Well, let me -- just a second. We do have the same set of speakers signed up. You're entitled to speak on this item separately if you want. But I assume you already have made your comments on the associated flum case. Working on that assumption, we are of course open for a motion on item 104. And councilmember martinez moves to he is close the public hearing and approve on all three readings and seconded by councilmember riley. Is there any further discussion? Councilmember morrison.
Morrison: I understand that concurrent with the zoning approval there is a conveyance of land and i just want to ask if that conveyance of land to the city, if at that time there are any restrictions that would be put on that land, for instance, because it's being conveyed to the parks department or something because I want to make sure that there's an opportunity to address these-- to have a full set of options on the table to address the concerns about this other land.
The discussion to date has been about dedicating it as parkland. And as you know, state law and city charter both protect your parkland. But beyond that as far as any kind of specific restrictions from the family, there have not been any.
Morrison: So does that mean that once we approve this zoning case the land will be dedicated parkland?
We still have a process to go. We have a survey, we have an environmental site assessment. We've done our due diligence in those respects. And the deeds have been submitted for review to the mcelhenney's attorney and those have not come back yet. So documents are still being worked on and the closing will occur, like a traditional closing at a title company, where we would be having those properties ensured.
Morrison: Okay. So there's nothing -- there's no council participation between now and when based on all that happening successfully, it is dedicated parkland?
Traditionally both departments accepting those tracts, they're a director sign that they acknowledge those are part of their assets and part of their obligations, but we don't normally bring a donation to mayor and council. There was a time where i closed about two million dollars a year in donations and I've not had a donation in a long time. So we certainly can bring that back if you prefer that. That's certainly an option that's available, but traditionally in the past it was the departments accepting those pieces that then carried it forward.
Morrison: The only thing I was thinking of is there were other options for that land thrown out there that if the city, say, wanted to turn around and donate to somebody else, if it were dedicated parkland, we couldn't necessarily do that. So I'm just interested in making sure we keep all our options open.
Parkland does tie your options.
Morrison: Right. So could I ask then that we have the opportunity -- and I'm no no way saying we don't want the land, I'm just saying I think it would make sense for the council to be able to discuss what the appropriate place for that land in the city would be.
I certainly heard this that this evening too and agree with you that we maybe should discuss that and go back to the parks department and make sure that there's a good understanding for them too.
Morrison: Okay. But I want to make sure that this in no way holds up the zoning case.
No to my understand -- not to my understanding. They're independent. We've begun that process to certainly have that information. It would be what I would look at you and say is a standard operating procedure for title policy, surveys, environmentals, things of that sort.
Morrison: Great. Thank you. If you could do that I would appreciate it and I'm fully supportive of the zoning case it and I think it looks like a wonderful example of folks working together and everybody contributing all ashed. donisi, it sounds like you have something to chime in on.
If you don't mind. We have worked now for close to two years on this. And as of january 1st the mcelhenney family incurs additional tax liability on these tracts. So it has been our goal, and we have worked through the process, through pc and it's been scheduled at various places, to get this done by the end of the year. So I just want to make sure that --
Morrison: All right. Let me just ask our staff then again, because I don't want to get in the way of that at all. I just want to make sure that the council has some options because I think that if we acquire land that is dedicated parkland, then our options are severely limited. And is there a way to acquire it and close it and hold sort of the exact department that it's going to go into?
I'll work with the law department. I'm looking at tad. I'll make sure we structure that and talk about that. I think I do have concerns because government has to advertise when you go to sell. It's a local government code 2072.001. Have you to provide everybody opportunities. But because there may be some opportunities with a nonprofit, next door there may be some options that I'm not thinking of at this moment. I'll work with the law department.
Morrison: You understand my concern. If it's dedicated parkland that option goes away. And I just want to maintain that option. Thank you.
I've heard you.
Mayor Leffingwell: All in favor of the motion say aye? Opposed say no? It passes on a vote of seven to zero. Okay. We've got to go back and pick up item number 93.
I'm jim robertson with the planning and development review department. Co-project manager along with michael knox of the downtown austin plan. I'm assuming you might prefer not to hear a peep from me, but if you would -- but if you would like me to at least give you a little bit like where we are in the process with regard to council, I'm happy to do that.
Mayor Leffingwell: Well, we heard about two hours of peeping day before yesterday, but if you have anything additional to peep, let us know.
No. I think you have a proposed ordinance. You have a motion sheet which we handed out. It's in yellow marked number 93. And as you know, you've already passed -- you have a copy of the amendment. It's been passed on first reading. And I'm happy to answer any questions beyond that.
Mayor Leffingwell: So the appropriate motions would be as we did on first reading, take it in three segments. The first motion would be to approve the ordinance for item 93 including the amendments just approved -- well, first we have to address that issue of amendments before we go to this point.
Mayor, chad shaw, law department. I was just going to suggest and I think you were about to do this, to get a main motion on the table as we did last time, approving the ordinance on sec and third reading, and then we can start to, if there are amendments to be done, we can make those amendments and then come back and hopefully close it all up neatly.
Mayor Leffingwell: Then we have to go back and divide this up into three parts.
There's still those recusals that we experienced last time. Once we have achieved a final main motion, we can deal with the recusals.
Cole: Mayor? I'll make a motion that we approve the items -- approve the downtown austin plan, including the amendments that were previously adopted.
And councilmember, can i clarify that --
Cole: Second and third reading.
And the ordinance that we have in front of you has both the adoption of the plan as well as direction to the city manager to initiate the process. So does your motion include that as well?
Cole: Yes. My motion also includes prioritization of codes and ordinance writing upon adoption. I know there's a lot of work to do, but unless we get started we'll never get it done and I would like to ask staff to begin the code work. Especially on the density bonus state of texas, which we've heard so much -- on the density bonus section, which we've heard so much about because our discussions are so much in our mind.
Thank you, mayor pro tem.
Mayor Leffingwell: Motion by the mayor pro tem, second by councilmember spelman. Is there any discussion? If councilmember morrison.
Morrison: Is this the appropriate place to offer amendments?
Mayor Leffingwell: Yes.
Morrison: I would like to offer -- I have three amendments I would like to offer and I have them written out. The first one concerns the issue of how green building is integrated into the density bonus program. There was a staff recommended amendment number 63 that was approved on first reading, and I was -- I thought that there was room for improvement there because we need to keep in mind, for instance, that one star green building is required already for any cbd or d.m.u. property. So on the first page of what I prepared for you and there's more if anybody in the audience would like to see, what it does is it just repeats the language of the amendment number 63 from last time and below at the second half of it it says with regard to the sustainability option. I have underlined the places where it's different. It says move two star austin energy green building rating from the list of sustainability options to a gate keeper requirement. That means to participate in the density bonus program you will have to be two star, which is one star above where you're required to be anyways. In order, a two star rating would be required for all projects that seek to participate. And then in terms of bonus, there would be a 20% density bonus for a three-star rating, which is no change from the first reading for three star. There would be a 25% bonus for a four-star rating. And the first reading provided no extra bonus for four star. And a 30% bonus for five star. And again, the first reading approval provided no bonus for five star. So I wanted to -- four and five star are pretty terrific things to be going for and I thought it made sense to include something in there that would incentivize a density bonus that would incentivize a four or five star beyond what we have. So my motion is for an amendment to include this first page and a modification to the amendment number 63 from last time.
Mayor Leffingwell: Is that acceptable to the maker and second? Is that proposed as a friendly amendment?
Morrison: I will like it to be, yes.
Cole: I have questions robertson exactly what this does and the impact of it. I was actually reading page 2 of councilmember morrison before I got to page 1. [ Laughter ] so I'm looking at both of them, but I skimmed it. I would like for you to lay out the implications of it.
As I understand, councilmember morrison has worked exactly within the structure of the density bonus as we've proposed it. And the change is simply with regard to modifying the level of the green building rating in order to achieve a certain amount of additional entitlement. So it's plugged right into the existing structure and it simply in some ways it has upped the sort of performance level of the buildings that would be needed in order to achieve certain additional entitlements.
Morrison: Could i actually add a layer of clarification on top of that? It ups it in with regard to -- what staff had recommended which we adopt sheriff's department one star was a gate keeper, but in fact one star is a requirement, so that's why i feel like it really makes sense to have something beyond just a code requirement to be a gate keeper requirement. The gate keepers are supposed to be a bit more. And then what was in the staff proposal was a 20% bonus for three star and there was -- and that's exactly what we have here. Appeared the staff proposal did not have any -- and the staff proposal does not have any accidents for four or five star. I guess if you would like to talk me out of offering a bit after proposal for 25 -- just a bit of an incentive for four and five star, i would like to understand why staff didn't have any incentive for four and five star.
Some of the feedback we got in the course of doing this and we of course talked with austin energy about doing this, is achieving a four and five star is very substantial accomplishment. And we were sort of jointly concerned that we might induce projects to sort of up front to get the entitlement. Say oh yeah, we'll provide four star, no problem. And then get the entitlement as a consequence. And then down the road, somebody who is not aware of the sophistication to get four and five star might get into trouble and they've already gotten the entitlement. But if it's the will of the council to move in this direction, what we will be doing before adoption of the downtown plan is developing code amendments that implement the density bonus program. We would work with austin energy. Go back and revisit, look at that issue and so forth. So I'm open to the will of the council on that and we would work with austin energy to make sure it works for them and you would ultimately see it when it comes back to you in the form of a code amendment.
Morrison: And I do understand that four and five stars are really some spectacular accomplishments and that's why it struck me as strange not to gentize them. -- Incentivize them. But I understand your point that folks would get in over their head. So I wonder if we might be able to -- if we were to adopt this, if we could adopt it with also directions that there would have to be some sort of proof of concept of a plan for a four and five star. And some experience that you could put meat behind it and feel comfortable that it was not going to happen.
We could work with them to try to develop a methodology for that proof of concept that you mentioned.
Cole: Mayor, it is my understanding that this amendment we made a change from a one to two star because we wanted to actually increase what was required before we started adding a bonus. And the three star was already there and the only reason staff did not put in a four and five star was simply a concern with enforcement. So this amendment is also given with the additional direction to work with staff and achieve some type of proof of concept. And given that I will accept the amendment as friendly.
Mayor Leffingwell: Second?
Spelman: I would like to ask another question if i could. I understand the difference between one, two, three, four and five, this is not -- there's a linear number, change as you go from one to two, two to three, but there's not a linear increase in either the consequences for the building itself in terms of tightness, the ability of the building to conserve energy and so on, or in the cost of construction. I wonder if you or someone else in city staff could remind myself of the differences between a one, two, three, four and five star building on average or conceptually in terms of differences in cost. Let me help you out a lot bit here. It's my understanding that the biggest break is between three and four star. Three stars are relatively easy to accomplish and not that expensive. And four star represents a qualitative difference in construction, quality and cost. Is that roughly accurate?
I'm probably not the best person to do this. I'm familiar with the green building program on the residential side. Actually, I'm currently in a five-star house. But on the commercial side, I'm probably not the best person to try to either qualitativety or quantitatively sort of calibrate what the consequences of moving from one to another would be.
Spelman: I feel uncomfortable with it without any further information as to costs and consequences. Councilmember, do you have any light you can shed on this?
No, I don't think that the kind of background and rationale that you're looking for, that I can provide between the 20, 25 and 30%. My main goal was to provide a differential, to incentivize it, and so I'm certainly open to adjusting those 25 and 30%s, if you think that that would be appropriate.
May I offer an idea for your consideration? We've already committed to council that in conjunction with the developments that would put a bonus program in place that we would look at the calibration of that program simultaneously. I would say it's pretty much fair game to say that within that calibration we could take a look working with austin energy and working with other stakeholders as needed to try to make sure that we bring back to you what we believe is a fair valuation of the different levels of achievement between the green building rating program. And if we -- I would imagine if we came back and we said it's our conclusion that really a five star achieving that level may be -- ought to be calibrated differently than what's 30%, we would remind you that you told us 30%, but we would offer it up for your consideration based on our finding that maybe it's more valuable than that. Mo more and I wouldn't be surprised if you came back and told us that. That would be fine with me.
If we have your discretion I think it's part of it anyway that we propose something that we believe reflects the reality of the achievement it represents.
Spelman: With the understanding that you have that flexibility, I'll accept it as a friendly amendment.
Morrison: Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: I have one question on this before you move on. That's a the gate keeper restriction. Does that in fact mean that any building above the base zoning, base entitlement, would -- assuming that we have a density program for everything above base , that that would be -- potentially a disincentive. And if so, how much? We had talked about sail abrasion -- calibration being potentially zero.
In essence, the gate keepers like other parts of the density bonus program in some ways represent costs to the project. And obviously as we emphasized on tuesday, you have to look at the cost versus the value of the additional entitlement. In this case it would be an additional cost because, for example, a project that has cdbg zoning is already required to provide one star. So in order to participate in the density bonus program, if two stars is a gate keeper requirement, they would have to look at what are the consequences of that additional requirement for the project.
So the potential outcome would be if circumstances warranted, for example, a zero calibration for anything above eight to one far in the cdb, then this would be in effect and make that impossible, wouldn't it?
If that were the case --
Mayor Leffingwell: We're making zero calibration impossible.
If that were the case that we identified types of projects or locales for projects where there was no additional value to --
Mayor Leffingwell: Or times.
Yeah. You made the point it needs to be specific to time and specific to location. If we were to find that, our job as we bring it back to you would be to bring that to your attention. When we bring it back and perhaps have an alternative approach to that issue.
I think I would -- maybe the gate keeper should remain as is as originally proposed and there be bonuses for two, three, four and five.
I realize the maker and second have already approved this. I offer that additional thought for consideration.
Morrison: I appreciate that thought. I think in terms of gate keeper requirements as sort of a small bit beyond what's already required in the code. And since it's already required at cbd and d.m.u. Be one star, the next step up is two stars. That brings us at least a small guaranteed level of superiority. And that means that we have a base of that level of superiority and then as the density bonus program gets selected and the options chosen, it might be even stronger environmental things, it might be affordable housing, but we know if we set a small step of superiority and the gate keeper requirements, we know that across the board, across all the values we have, we have achieved at least one step. So that's why I think it makes sense to have the two star as a gate keeper requirement. Sort of like we have with the p.u.d. tiers.
Mayor Leffingwell: I understand that, but in effect this -- for any development above the basic in the cbd this would impose an additional expense. That's all I'm saying. Councilmember spelman.
Spelman: I share your concern, mayor, with the additional expense. And I'm willing to accept this as a friendly amendment in lamar part because robertson has suggested that he can tell us whether that's a small step or a very large step when we actually get to codification. When we get to that step i will ask for it to be changed back to one.
Mayor Leffingwell: We have another bite of this apple then.
Mayor Leffingwell: All right. Councilmember morrison.
Morrison: Thank you. I had two others that i wanted to mention. One of the amendments that we adopted last time was something that I had proposed. We have -- it was number 16. And it was the comment that I had that we have, there's a fee in lieu that is essentially assessed for every square foot that's added where if you're talking about fee in lieu, there might be other things. Whereas for commercial the first 50% of the density bonus was free and then there were going to be fees and community benefits. And my request was that we just make sure that we think of it in terms of the same kind of patted ways, just -- pathways just with a zero dollar set in the beginning because there may be a time when we have way too much residential and not nearly enough -- we have way too much office and not nearly enough residential and we want to shift. We want to incentivize residential more than office. So I had proposed some language that was adopted. In speaking with staff, they had asked that we rearrange some of that language and so my staff worked with staff and that comes -- that's what we came up with, the proposed language. And I am -- I'm really open one way or the other on this, but certainly if the staff is more comfortable with the second longer paragraph, I'm happy to propose that we include it. And would you all like me to read it out loud? [ Laughter ]
Cole: No, but I would like to know, mayor, if robertson has any thoughts on the two different versions or the implications? The part I'm noticing is there is no substantial change in intent or meaning.
I agree with that.
And I'll plead guilty. I was the staff who worked on this. So I'm the guilty -- I'm guilty of adding words. But yeah, I think we now have a very thorough understanding of what our marching orders are on this. And I would agree that there was no intent of changing any of this substantive meaning of this.
Cole: Just so we're clear in common language, what problem is this designed to prevent?
I think one of the principal things, and I'm somewhat paraphrasing councilmember morrison from a month or so ago, was the idea of let's go ahead and put a program in place where everybody takes the same -- every project that participates in the program has the same route to achieving their desired goals. Previously we had nonresidential projects taking a different route. Now all projects, regardless of type, would take the same route, but initially nonresidential projects would I guess be advantaged in the sense that they could achieve up to a 50% increase in their base entitlement. Functionally at no additional cost if they seek to go beyond that 50% bump in their base entitlement, then they follow the same path way, everything is the same for them beyond that. What it does do, what doing this does is we have the structure in place, so down the road if when we recalibrate the program, if we find that the numbers have changed for nonresidential and maybe we don't need to sort of preference those types of projects, then the structure is in place and all we're doing is changing a number, the amount of a fee in lieu.
Cole: So councilmember morrison, I understand that this gives a positive option and in light of that it is a friendly amendment.
Spelman: The first reading language and the proposed language have the same meaning in your deal? With that in mind, it's friendly.
Morrison: Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: I'll just say that if we have the same mining, then why are we -- same meaning, then why are we changing it?
Morrison: Let me ask the staff, are you more comfortable in terms of the second revisions -- the second paragraph more clearly identifies the issue?
Maybe it's in the eye of the beholder. I thought the revised -- what's labeled as the proposed language made a little more clear what i understood to be the intent of council with the first reading amendment. But I think at this point we're -- I have a pretty clear understanding no matter what you do on this.
Spelman: One of the nice things about legislative history is if you read the first version and you understand that and not the second, that somebody tells you they mean the same thinning we're done. So I'm -- the same thing, we're done. I'm fine.
Morrison: Let's do that since it's the staff that's taking the next step here. Okay. And then the last motion i have is to address the issue -- in the diagram of the bonus densities, which i can't actually find right now -- here it is. In the bonus density, it lines up the different kinds of benefits. For instance, family friendly housing, child care, live music, historic preservation, sustainability and public accessibility. Historic preservation, the way if you wanted to choose that you were going to be implementing one of -- a community benefit of historic preservation, it said purchase -- the only way you could do that in the density bonus program was purchase of tdr's from the warehouse district. In fact, during our first reading we changed pretty substantially the way the warehouse district was going to be addressed. So if there's a way to incorporate the structure of this density bonus program and that would be to add language that says as noted here, the historic preservation component of the proposed downtown density bonus program shall allow for contributions towards off site or -- on-site or off site historic preservation, exceeding applicable legal requirements. That is to say, if you're already zoned as a landmark and you're just doing what you need to do as a landmark, that doesn't count. So this provides a mechanism, sort of a broader mechanism to incorporate historic preservation as one of the key community benefits.
Cole: Councilmember morrison, this was an amendment that I was actually considering making that you have done, but it was not nearly as good as the one you have proposed. I think it is such a good thing because it allows us to make contributions to areas on site, not only in the warehouse district, but throughout downtown, like with the grand hotel on waller creek and the castleman spool house. So this is more than friendly. It is great. [ Laughter ]
Morrison: Go ahead and say no, councilmember spelman, to that one [ laughter ]
Spelman: I'd like to just mention that i understand this one as opposed to the second version of the last one. So I'm fine with this.
Mayor Leffingwell: I would say I not only understand this one, i actually like it as well.
Mayor Leffingwell: Councilmember tovo, do you have something?
Tovo: I have two quick amendments to suggest as well. I'm going to hand these to my right and left. So at our first and second reading on owe at our first reading, someone -- we approved the amendment, the addition of language on page 105 that said where density bonuses are allowed on -- as determined by the historic landmark commission. As many of you have probably gotten feedback from members of -- from some historic preservationists who would have liked to have seen stronger language with regard to density bonuses and historic preservation, and I think the language that we had last time was quite good. I would just suggest adding this additional sentence on your pages it is underlined just to give a fuller description to what maintaining the architectural integrity of the historic landmark really means in terms of examples. And I'll read it, density bonuses shall not be permitted for projects that would modify the exterior of the historic structure, including historic reconstruction, rehabilitation and facade restoration. And I think this is no more than what our historic landmark commission would consider as an ordinary means of their work. And considering alterations or in considering what it means to maintain the architectural integrity. I think these are the kinds of things we'd consider anyways. [One moment, please, for change in captioners] so this -- does the maker except that? well, I like the language that you proposed which was mayor, the portion of the public view but I'm not clear whether council member --
tovo: I'm fine. I'd modify the exterior of a historic structure visible to public view excluding so that we put it in right after where I've got structure. I would accept that as a friendly amendment. visible to public view is ambiguous because it depends where the public is when they're doing the viewing. we need good language from that. yeah, I think we may need to tweak the language somewhat. council member martinez, swells council member spelman gets .
martinez: it's a related question. We're having the same discussion, we have the same intentions I think this is a good amendment but what we're doing today is directing staff to begin codifying what we've said today, but it's -- the language we're adopting won't be in the final draft. I understand but we're giving direction to staff and I want to be sure it's very clear.
I can think of language along the lines of, you know, visible from a public right-of-way or publicly owned listened or something like that. What I -- and I think that expresses your intent. What I -- going back to what council member martinez just said, I think what we would try to do is actually go back and use the same language we have used elsewhere already in the land development code, you know, where it appears that language already exists for the same purpose, we would go back and attempt to use that same language so we don't keep using terms of art, that mean the same thing but are expressed two different ways in the code. I was hoping you had that language in your hip pocket but few don't as long as you know what I'm looking for, thank you.
We have the same concept in the design standard ordinance in terms of screening of mechanical systems and so forth, and I'm thinking probably the language we use there, it's designed to achieve the same thing we're trying to chief achieve here. So that's probably the first place I would look to try to effectuate your will on this. I would consider that friendly with that caveat.
Tovo: thank you. And then the -- let's see, the second is, I believe, would probably belong best on page 71 at our first reading council member riley I think proposed changes to the warehouse section, the discussion of the warehouse district, and much of this language exists in our -- in what's before us today, amid a few slight alterations. In the description of the tools. So this is almost that would appear -- that would slightly modify language that's already on page 71, it would read, city stoof should explore -- staff should stroor atoms, review of permits by the historic contact division or contact sensitive development standards. should I read much into the difference between semicolons and commas here? no, that's just punctuation. what modification does it make to page 71? I don't have that in front of me. What's added to this? let me pull it up again. I believe I have changed i think I did change the punctuation on the first page and I think I may have added in one or two tools. The main addition is the context sensitive development standards. can you tell was that means?
Tovo: sure. I think that it allows for the possibility of continuing discussions about whether there are development standards that might be appropriate to particular areas of downtown, that might be more appropriate given the kind of structures that are on a particular block. amendments to development standards for purposes of the warehouse block itself? that are in concert with the existing structures. I guess I'm trying to understand, mayor, I'm trying to understand -- I'm fine until we get to context sensitive development standards. It seems like that's already included when you're saying to explore additional tools, and that phrase has no meaning to me in the lapped in the land development code or design standards -- jim, can you shed light on that? I might have mistaken, I think it's page 71 in our new -- I think i actually amended the amended language and not the language that's in our printed plan. So. what are you going to tell a person that is about to embark on development of a residential and non- -- a non-risk residential property in the warehouse district about context sensitive development standards?
Well, I think, one, sort of looking for the distinction of what's the 7 and what council member tovo presented, I think the one salient piece that jumps out is the context sensitive. I take this as a instruction to look at specifically the physical -- you know, the physical characteristics of that place as they exist today and use those as a jumping off point for laying out a proposed set of regulations that have to do with the form of buildings that are based on the physical configuration that's there on the ground. so would that be something you would normally do?
Cole: okay. So is it just making it clearer?
Yeah. I -- in some ways, yeah. sort of underscoring or amplifying that approach.
Cole: then I accept that. out that this also change the first sentence that ended with the phrase "without requiring a strict height " I think in the context of -- if we're talking about context sensitive development standards that's kind of implied so we don't really need that phrase but I wanted to mention that that phrase was also --
tovo: thank you. Now that I finally found my list of amendments I can compare them and i appreciate you pointing that out. And thank you, robertson, for your description, your articulate description. what are you trying to accomplish with this amendment that isn't already there? So that I'll understand it? I'm trying to make clearer that contact sensitive development standards are another tool we have in our toolbox that should also continue to be explored.
Mayor? council member riley. can I just ask, since the current proposed version does suggest that we really don't want to have strict height limit in place for the warehouse district and we're taking that language out, is the intent behind this amendment to suggest that strict height limits may be appropriate? certainly that would be a context, specific design standards. mayor, you're proposing that as an option? Is it -- you're proposing that as an option? I think it's certainly clear to say that that is -- that clearly falls in context specific design standards, so -- i would be more comfortable with leaving that phrase in without imposing a strict 45-foot height limit, to make that clear, because that was our intent on first reading, that that not be a restriction or a criterion necessarily in the warehouse district. I agree with you, mayor. I just wanted to finish getting council member riley's thoughts. Is that your thinking?
Riley: I agree. To me that's one of the most salient aspects of the amendment, it's to suggest that we do want a strict 45-foot height limit and i think the council's intent is that we don't want a strict -- if we don't want that, then the current proposed language would be more appropriate. so let's -- i remove my acceptance of the friendly amendment and I'll let you restate it with the -- using the current language, plus your change, and then I'll accept it. I'm not sure what I -- mayor, I need your help. Maybe that should come from council member riley. mayor pro tem is saying that she wants you to modify your friendly amendment to include the original language with regard to the 45-foot height limit.
Cole: exactly. , you kno think -- I think I'll allow mine to stand and if you decide not to accept it as friendly, then perhaps somebody else can make an adjustment to that.
Cole: okay. I do not consider it as friendly without the height limit that was in the original -- on -- that we considered on second reading. so that is not accepted as a friendly amendment. it could of course be offered as a formal amendment.
Tovo: I'll do that. I'll offer it as a formal amendment. council member tovo moves to amend with the language contained in the handout. Is there a second for that? Council member morrison seconds. Is there any further discussion? All in favor of the amendment say aye.
Aye. opposed say no.
Mayor leffingwell: no. That fails on a vote of 5-2 with council members tovo and morrison voting in favor. So the amendment is not adopted.
Spelman: mayor? council member spelman. would council member tovo be interested in proposing the same amendment as wildfire but preserving the words "without requiring -- what if the words were before about the strict height limit. well, that would be up to you and mayor pro tem. I would accept that as a friendly amendment if you'd still be willing to propose that. it's up to her. I thought you were saying -- certainly, I will accept that.
Spelman: okay. so are we sure we have the right language on this now? well, I think -- i think my amendment then is just adding context specific. It's not adding back in the language about the height restriction. It's just adding back in -- suggesting that we add as a final clause contact sensitive development standards tacked on the end of -- but you are adding in -- there would be no specific height limitation above 45 feet? well, I'm not adding that in. That's already in there. I'm simply adding in -- I'm suggesting we add in contact sensitive development standard standards as the last -- to the existing language.
Is staff clear? Are you clear?
Yes. so that friendly amendment is adopted, adding -- the only change to the existing language would be in the last -- the last -- after the last semicolon or contact sensitive development standards.
Riley: mayor? council member riley. just a couple things to offer. The first -- do you have handouts?
Riley: actually, I don't. But on the -- [laughter] but let me explain. The first one -- the first one is pretty straightforward because -- the firs one is simply a matter of undoing something we did last time and going back with the language that was originally proposed. So you have the language that I'm to suggest because it is the -- I'm going to suggest because it is the language that was originally proposed by staff and that relates to cocktail lounges. Staff had originally proposed some language that suggested that we explore tools for addressing the overconcentration of bars downtown. And it was pretty generic language. It didn't mention conditional use permits, although presumably would be one of the potential tools the staff might consider. But it just said, let's look at all these tools available downtown. The amendment -- the amendment that I proposed last time around actually suggested that we focus that effort on areas outside the existing entertainment district. I've since had some discussions with staff to the effect that there was some confusion about that because if staff is going to be exploring available tools for controlling the overconcentration of bars downtown, then it would make sense that they be considering the applicability of those tools throughout downtown and not just in certain areas. So I respect that and just for the sake of clarity and going back with staff's original suggestion I would propose we revert back to that proposed language that we had in the draft that was before us last time and at this point not suggest any distinction between different areas of downtown, although we could serm -- that could ultimately be something we would want to do when this comes back, but for now just exploring tools let's have everything on the table as we go through that effort. mayor, it was a phrase thatibility you included that stated one of the tools that should be explored is making cocktail towns conditional use, like rainey street and description of entertainment districts. So it's my understanding you want to remove that language.
Riley: that's right. So we would be looking at [inaudible] tools to prevent over concentration of bars downtown.
The city would explore incentives that would promote the use -- -- you want to keep that? yes, and i appreciate you recalling that because I had forgotten it. mayor, I will accept that by council member riley that in item #, the second -- 9, the second bullet, red lines that were added on in first reading, will be removed, but the rest of that bullet point shall remain.
Mayor leffingwell: okay. Council member spelman, can accept that?
Spelman: very much. council member tovo. I'm looking at the amendment that he approved on first reading, and i think there's some other language that's a little bit different on this sheet beyond just the red text. Am I understanding this motion to mean you want to go bab -- you want to go back to the language that's in the draft plan with the exception of adding in the city should also explore incentives --
riley: that's right. I think that may be -- I'm not sure that's the understanding. my understanding is that language will remain. right, but the language that's on this sheet of the amendment is a little bit different from the language that's in our plan, and I think what council member riley was suggesting is that we go back to the language in the plan. Do you -- let's get that in front of council member riley and see what he says. maybe we should ask staff to chime in here. Jim, was there some other change that we're overlooking in --
I have right here page 80 from the november 2010 draft of the -- cocktail lounge -- the downtown austin plan. [Laughter] you can't tell what's on my mind. [Laughter] and it says -- and I don't understand this to be what council member riley's intent is, it says the city should make cocktail lounge a conditional rather than a permitted use on properties the cbd zoning. My understanding of what council member's intent is we ought to look at a -- I'm colloquializing this, we ought to look at a full array of tools including conditional uses -- that require conditional use of cocktail lounges and we ought to look at those full ranges of tools around downtown. that's correct, interest r in addition to looking at high pension incentives to look at other --
could we -- I'm sort of thinking out loud here. If we kept the red language to the extent it says one of the tools being explored is making cocktail lounge a conditional use --
You know, period.
And that way it's clear that council's intent that that tool is on the table for examination throughout downtown and so forth.
Riley: sure. Sure. Good suggestion. all right. Thank you. Mayor pro tem and council member spelman, is that -- all right. and then lastly, mayor, there is one other change that just came to my attention tonight, and so i don't have copies of it now, although I do have something handwritten that I could pass down the aisle. There -- but it's very straightforward amendment related to electric volts. I assume we have some folks from austin energy here. I don't have if we have any folks that have any particular interest in the placement of volts downtown. Our downtown staff may have a suggestion on this. But there is a section of th downtown plan that addresses the placement, ui 2, page 164 of the plan, and currently the language reads austin energy should develop design locations for underground electric volts to better achieve ground floor uses and facade. This has been a lange standing issue in downtown because there have been a number of times when austin energy was insisting we needed to place an electric vault right on the street frontage, which created real difficulties because other parts of the city code actually require we have pedestrian oriented uses separating a ground level garage from the street. So we've actually had cases where an applicant was caught in between conflicting city code requirements that made development very difficult, and so I'd applaud the effort to identify some alternatives, such as underground vaults, but there have been issues with placement of vaults underground so I want to raise a request whether we could add in the possibility of alleyway vaults, vaults that would be accessible alleyway. We should say design locations for electric vaults including underground and alleyway options to better achieve goals of ground floor uses and facades.
I think that language would be fine. I'm familiar enough with the issue only to say that i know that from -- there's a life safety -- a lot of safety issues associated with allowing people who are in the vault to easily get out of a vault in the event of some event occurring there, and that's been one of the rationales behind putting it at ground level. So your language has to still work with austin energy on that issue but offers, even in particular circumstances or in general, it can't be located below ground, let's look at putting it in the alley. right, and within the texan of the plan there's -- text of the plan there's won't sentence, vault should be located underground in urban garages rather than in building facades fronting public streets. And we can add the phrase "or adjacent to alleyways" so it would read, to the extent possible vaults should be located underground, within parking garages or adjacent to alleyways rather than within building facades fronting public streets. And would provide another option for dealing with these vaults. just gives an additional option to look at. I would definitely accept that as friendly, especially in light of that we're doing underground orally.
Riley: right. and it would help make the area more pedestrian friendly. In fact, I know that we're having some problems with that right now. robertson, if we were to raise this issue of our resolutions sooner, does that bother you in any manner? Can you work with us on that?
Cole: okay. council member spelman accepts that also. I would just note as a matter of curiosity that during you -- the remarks you just made about the first three times it referred to it as electric volts, v-o-l-t-s, and after about the third time it caught on and spelled it vaults. Just curious. thanks for noting that. just curious. The machine is capable of learning. Is there anything else? I have a question for staff. But actually the city manager. I know that this has been a long process and you have had many, many departments working on this, and that the council is poised now to hopefully finally put this one behind us. But one of the things that has been an ongoing concern is that we don't just study the study and plan the plan but that we have a coordinated effort. So if I was to get a call tomorrow from somebody in austin that says, we want to partner with the city of austin on a downtown project and we're going to bring 95% of all the money and -- who would I point them to to handle -- I said 95% so that would be you. No, it's just a run-of-the-mill public partnership. Who in the city will be in charge of implementing the downtown plan?
Assistant city manager [inaudible].
Cole: thank you. My office has worked with assistant sue edwards and many of her staff and some of the other staff on trying to make sure that we have a public awareness campaign very similar to what we are doing and continue to do with the comprehensive plan, and there is a web site up, downtown austin connects, and the idea is just that we make clear to the public that downtown is for everybody and it connects to the rest of the city and that what we do here is for the benefit of not just this generation but the ones to come. So with that, mayor, I have already made a motion but i move approval. well, actually what we have to do is we have the main motion on the table as amended by a number of friendly amendments and we have to break this up into three parts, approve separately. So I'll take that to be a motion to approve on second 1, which is the motion as amended to accept as the ordinance, relates specifically to the northwest and uptown-capitol districts of the downtown planning area. So motion by mayor pro tem, second by council member spelman. We have some recusals on this. And would you please announce that? Oh, you're right. So -- so motion and second on the table for item no. 1. Motion no. 1. All in favor of that say aye.
Mayor leffingwell: aye. Opposed say no. Passes on a vote of 7-0. 2 with council member riley recusing, is to approve the ordinance for item 93 including the amendments just improved on second and third readings as the ordinance relates specifically to the northwest district of the downtown planning area. Motion by mayor pro tem, second by council member spelman. Any further comment? All in favor say aye.
Mayor leffingwell: aye. Opposed say no. Passes on a vote of 7-0. And -- council member riley -- 6-0 with council member riley recused. 3 with council member tovo not participating and recusing is to approve the same item 93, including the amendments just approved on second and third reading since the ordinance relates specifically to the uptown capital district of the uptown planning area. Motion by the mayor pro tem, second by council member spelman. All in favor of that say aye.
Mayor leffingwell: aye. Opposed say no. Passes on a vote of 6-0 with council member tovo recused. I'll just say -- [applause] thanks to everyone, city manager, staff, jim, great job, everyone. I know it's been a long hard road, a lot of hard work on everybody's part, and I'm very glad we're through with it. So -- city manager?
I might also [inaudible] sentiments regarding the staff for all of their hard work. In fact, I believe the work on the downtown plan actually predates my arrival as city manager, so i certainly recognize that a great deal of work has gone into this budget by the staff and many others as well. I see charlie betz from downtown austin alliance and I want to acknowledge charlie too for his support and that of his staff with respect to the final development of this plan. So charlie, thank you as well.
Mayor leffingwell: okay. 124.
Thank you, mayor and council, 14 is case c14-2011-0122, for the property located at 15433 fm 1325 burnet road. The zoning change request is for interim-rural residence or i-rr district zoning to multi-family residence, medium density or mf-3 district zoning. The property itself was about 14.71 acres. It is a zoning change request to its original -- from its original interim zoning to permanent zoning. It was recommended to you by the staff with some conditions regarding compatibility standards. The properties that are located to the north are undeveloped and single-family residences that are located in the county. To the east is also county, and single-family residences. Further to the south is county and office warehouse and storage, and to the north is convenience storage and single-family residences. The additional conditions that staff added in this particular case, although the structures that are in the county, the staff recommended that compatibility standards be added and this would be afforded to this type of zoning, if it were developed as an apartment complex next to single-family residence as if it were inside the city of austin city limits, so height restrictions placed on the property, as you move back or away from the single-family residence there would be an area that there would be no buildings within 25 feet, between 25 and 50 feet buildings would be limited to two stories or 30 to 50 feet in height, and four stories -- three stories in height, there would be requirements for screening of mechanical equipment that the light sources on the property must be shielded from view of the residences. If there were reflective materials used on the building, that that would also be prohibited. Mechanical equipment, like trash compactors something, have a decibel limit of 70 decibels and those are the same standards that will be applied to adjacent residence in the city of austin. If the property is developed and it's moderately vegetated. The planning commission's recommendation in this particular case actually went further to limit the density on the property, and instead of being just a multi-family three density, actually limited to mult multi-family one density -- one is the most restricted we have in the city, limited to 17 per acre, in this particular case it would bring down the number of units on the property from about 300 to probably closer to about 250 units. And the reason why I speak to the 300 is they agreed to a trip limitation, 2,000 trips, that typically equates to 310 or 311 units on the site before traffic impact analysis is required. Since it's below that threshold there was no traffic impact was required in this property, which would be similar to anywhere else in the city of austin. We do have opposition from the property owners to the single-family property owners mostly to the east and to the north that are located in the county. Because this is an initial zoning request and the most -- most of the petitioners were outside the city limits and not on the municipal tax rolls, a petition doesn't have the effect in this particular case requiring a super-majority vote of the city council. A simple majority vote would be required for four votes for first reading or five votes or more to approve on second and third readings. It is ready for three readings this evening. If you have any questions I'll be more than happy to answer them. As I said before, it was recommended by staff and the commission, with the additional recommendation by the commission to limit to 17 units per acre. bennett, jim bennett, is here to speak on behalf of the owner. And if you have any other questions I'll be happy to answer them. Questi questi ons for staff? I don't hear any questions so we'll hear from the applicant. Mr. bennett. And you'll have up to five minutes.
Mayor and council, miguel meade will be our primary speaker and he will --
you will donate time to her also?
Yes, sir, if needed.
So is rodney bennett -- rodney bennett is here. So rodney bennett and jim bennett are donating time. meade, you have 11 minutes, up to 11 minutes.
Thank you, mayor, and i will not use them. Given the hour and that it's been a very long day for you guys, I know, I will just forgo delivering our presentation. I know that staff essentially gave you the pertinent facts about the case. We agree with the conditions that staff recommended and that were imposed by the commission, and so I would just -- I know there are folks here in opposition. I will just reserve some time to address some of their concerns and try to answer their questions in rebuttal and I know that some council members may have some questions as well.
Mayor leffingwell: okay. So you'll have three minutes rebuttal after we hear --
fine. council member spelman.
Nicole was right. I have a question. Might as well ask it up front. This is outside the austin independent school district, the round rock i.d.'s. -- round rock i.s.d.
Do we have requirement for a school impact? Have you contacted one or can you give us a sense of whatted impact will be on round rock school district.
We did speak with round rock school district and you're exactly right. Because it is round rock, the education impact stuld i is just with aisd, so since it's with round rock it wasn't required. The schools that -- to give you a sort of summary. The schools that the children who would live in this development would attend, the elementary school would be wells branch elementary, the middle school would be chisholm trail, middle school, and the high school, as it is today, would be seedser ridge high school. The -- cedar ridge high school. The round rock -- I know that the issue and what the education -- the issue for some of the neighbors and what the education impact study would look at would be the potential of overcrowding or some, you know, serious impact on the schools from this development. We anticipate that there probably will be, with a development of this type, about 40 students, kids who are school age from elementary up to high school. And the situation right now is that both the elementary and the middle school are both -- both have excess capacity for round rock. The high school does currently have an overcrowding problem and you all may have seen, I think it has been in the papers recently, I know I've read it somewhere, and round rock confirmed when we spoke with them, they do have an issue in several of their elementary schools and in their high schools with overcrowding. So the high -- whereas the elementary and middle school these kids would attend don't have a potential problem and they're not concerned about impact. The high school may. And so round rock was very clear about the fact that they are finishing their rebound ri process to balance out population, taking into account future growth among the high schools, and that process will be finished february of next year. And so we wouldn't even have broken ground by that time, and they are -- their goal is to even out that population while keeping kids from a different socioeconomic browppedz in the same schools -- backgrounds in the same schools. So they felt sure that the problem -- it will not be a problem with that high school. Some of the kids might end up, depending how it turns out, going to round rock HIGH SCHOOL or McNeil or stay at cedar ridge, but the population will be balanced. they have excess capacity at some of the school or one of the schools so by rebuilding --
that's correct, they're actually having declining population projections in some of the schools so they're restructuring based on that. thanks very much. That good enough for me.
Sure. council member tovo? I appreciate you doing that work of communicating with the round rock school district and the task of taking the educational impact statements that the staff has developed with aisd and applying it with this case. This highlights something that came up, work well with the districts that fall within our boundaries because there are cases of rezoning that could potentially impact the schools and the district other than aisd can you take us through basics about the development. I've foghtd enwhat the number of -- forgotten what the unit count is, the bedroom count is. If you could talk us through the levels of affordability that the developer is intending to achieve and that will help, I think, flesh out some of this use that will be part of an educational impact statement.
Surely. So this sort of summarizes, council member tovo, sort of the basic facts about the development. The proposal is a max of 243 30 density as greg -- ms 1 1 density as greg guernsey appointed out. ed out the affordability. They're looking at deep units with 80% of the units being 60% average median income and 20% of the units being at 50%. So the project will be 100% affordable broken down in that way. Atlantic housing -- actually the president/ceo is here. If you have questions, they currently have about 35 projects that they have ownership of, about 7500 units total. Lots of projects in texas, about 25 of those in texas. And then southeast. And so this project will be similar to some of those. As I said, we are fine with the conditions that staff recommended and that have been imposed by the commission. We're completely fine with those conditions, being that we will comply with compatibility although it otherwise wouldn't be required, that will limit the number of trips to 2,000 max per day and that we will build that mf-1 density as a maximum. Go ahead. the levels of affordability are -- I know from some of the conversations we've had thanl is a tax credit project. Is that still the intent to --
yes. to develop this as a tax credit project, so the commitment to affordability is absolute.
That's right. and just -- well, two more questions. With regard to the boundary process, the schools in wells branch -- they're not involved in the reboundary process? Might they be affected?
At this time I guess there's a focus group similar to the one aisd put together, maids up of citizens in the community, parents of the schools, that is currently talking to the community, having community meetings to go through the process of defining the boundaries at the end of the day. Right now as it stands, neither this elementary school or this middle school are in any way in that process because neither is at or close to capacity. And so and they're not projected to be in the near future. So although I -- you know, they could become involved, I guess, if some members of the school want the issue studied the district doesn't now feel they have to be included.
Do you have the capacity numbers for the elementary school? You know, I do not know if i have the max capacity numbers. Evening what I've got, council member tovo, and i apologize, is the current enrollment in the two. I don't think I've got the max capacity numbers for those two schools.
Tovo: okay. You know, one of the -- one of the intents of the educational impact statement is to make sure that there are early conversations going on between developers and municipalities and the school district. So I assume from the information you've brought forward today that you've had conversations with round rock and they understand that if this is approved, that this project on the ground could result in 40 new students. Have you shared this kind of research with them in your conversation?
We have, yes, and we've given them all the specifics that you guys have heard about the project, and so they are factoring that into their process.
Tovo: good. And then my last question is about transportation. Could you address how easily accessible this development would be from public -- from a public transportation perspective?
Sure. The site at the time we started looking at it, i think I've got a slide to address that -- at the time we started looking at the site, the site was on a capital metro route. Unfortunately that route was terminated by metro earlier this year because of low lowridership. So we are working with metro to try to get that route reinstated. They don't feel like our numbers of units will really be high enough to justify reinstating that route because of the cost to metro to do that, but they're they'redefinitely willing to continue that conversation. One thing we've agreed we will do is if metro is able to reinstate that route, we will agree to donate some land for and to build a duck-in so the buses have a stop there, we'll build that stop, we'll maintain that stop, and we actually think we probably will end up doing that anyway so that the school buses have an option to access the site without having to stop on 1325 and hold up traffic. You feel, and we really don't know why, but wells , which completely surrounds us, has not required that sidewalk to be built, so whereas we will build sidewalks, there is a development across the street from us that has already built sidewalks, there's not a connected grid of sidewalks in the area. So one thing that in addition to trying to get the bus service back to the site so that it will -- the 5 miles from the city's probably most major transit center, which is at howard lane, where you can get essentially a bus or train anywhere in the city. But really, it's difficult to get to because of the lack of sidewalks. Since burnet road, which is a fairly busy street, doesn't have sidewalks consistently that connect you, you have a pouring of burnet, probably about half a mile, where you'd have to walk -- essentially in a bar ditch or on the side of the road. So we really feel like it's important to try to get metro to reinstate some services so people can get over to the center. Some of our residents will have cars. They will probably opt to drive to that transit center and then take transit into work. We also acknowledge and part of the reason we're interested in this site is a lot of our employers are actually the other way, where they don't have to get on to burnet and head south and west, but one other thing -- let me sort of get to my answer to your question -- that we have agreed that we will do is -- you can barely see that but where I've kind of -- can you see that in green? Does it show that in green on your screen? We have agreed that we will try to negotiate with the property owners that are adjacent to us to at least have a pedestrian pass at the rear of the development, what I'm calling the rear because it's not at 1325, it's on the other side of it, so that if folks want to access the neighborhood, so basically so that we connect to the neighborhood, there is a complete sidewalk grid once you get into that neighborhood. It's just not out on burnet road. And so we're going to look at the option of making having a pedestrian access that we will build back there to then access those sidewalks, get into that grid, connect to the neighborhood, and that will make mobility much, much better. I know there are some -- i talked to some of the neighbors tonight. I think there's going to be some opposition to that, but we actually think at the end of the day if we can accomplish that with those owners that will be a really good solution. on we'll go to those signed up in opposition. First is laura ludwig. Laura ludwig. Apparently not here. Kelly landry? And donating time to kelly is tressy landry. Is she here? Laura ludwig again is not here. Christie alan? You're christie? Allen christie? Is he here? Well, I thought you were kelly landry. So you have up to nine minutes.
Thank you and good evening. Thanks for the opportunity to speak here today. My name is kelly landry. My home is adjacent to the subject property in this zoning case. I represent myself and my neighbors in opposing the zoning change as proposed in the application. The general consensus among the residents is that we support a combination of commercial and single-family zoning with commercial zoning along the frontage of fm 1325, and single-family zoning on the remainder of the property. Many residents wanted to speak here tonight, but out of respect to the council's time we've limited those speakers to just three. We learned at the zoning and platting commission on november 15 that this project was intended as a s project. We understand that the mixed use and affordability aspects of smart housing may be satisfied with this project as proposed. However, other core concepts, safety, accessibility, transportation cannot be achieved with this property. The general idea and the thing that you'll hear this evening is that multi-family housing of any kind is unsuitable for this property because of the presence of two high voltage transmission lines, the lack of safe vehicle access to residents and firefighters, and the impact of to over overcrowded schools. Our first concept address safety in core concept housing. It could present danger to the public and firefighters due to high voltage lines bisecting the property. There are two 128-volt lines running right down the middle of this property. We must recognize not only the danger to firefighters of the immediate threat of electrocution but also the threat of a fire. Having a three-story building on this property means if firefighters are called out, they'll be moving ladder trucks around not just one but two parallel high voltage transmission lines. This property is at the top of a ridge. High winds are very common. If firefighters are delayed or can't access to a third story building because of transmission lines that creates a serious danger to the entire community. A fire could spread quickly due to high winds and access could be hindered by the presentation presence of the transmission lines. At the zoning and planning commission chair betty baker responded to our concerns about the trms lines by saying, and I quote, let me respond to one concern, and I understand it. The utility easement is a public utility easement and there can be no construction within the easement, unquote. At that time we didn't have a plat to show you the full size of the easement. We now scr that, you can see on your display, exhibit a. Those are the transmission lines. Obviously you'll recognize the plat. Exhibit b, that's a color photograph courtesy of google earth. That shows a little bit more of the neighborhood. And of course ny is the property. If we go to exhibit b -- I'm sorry, c, this is actually a photograph of the transmission lines, and this picture was actually -- taken looking north, right in the middle of the transmission line easement. So you can see you got lines on the left and lines on the right. The point of this photograph is to show you the huge width of this easement. It's just -- we estimate that the easement is between 200 and 300 feet wide. It's wide because it accommodates two very large transmission lines. Based on this plat and the overlay of the transmission line easement it seems -- let's go back to exhibit a. It seems clear that the large portion of this property is not suitable for three-story multifamily buildings. Single-family housing as is found in the adjacent neighborhood does not pose the same risk. These buildings are limited in height. We recognize the importance of property rights and that this property not be rendered useless by zoning. We therefore request that this property be zoned commercially -- for commercial -- excuse me, commercial zoning along the frontage of fm 1325 and single-family for the remainder of the property. Such a combination of zoning would ensure that the subject property remains useful to the owner yet is not a danger to health, safety and welfare of the community. At this time I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Cole: thank you.
Yes, ma'am. next we have catherine almond, and is william allmon in the chamber? Catherine you will have up to six minutes to speak.
The entire time. I am catherine allmon. I've been a resident of -- my husband and I have been residents of wells branch for approximately 26 years. So with all due respect to the speaker who was talking about who she spoke to at round rock school district, both our children attended, who are now in their late 20s, attended wells branch elementary for their entire education. Since we moved there 26 years ago there were signs up saying, we're the second elementary school was going to be. That elementary school has never materialized. There is just wells branch elementary. So -- and to speak to the -- would you go ahead and put this one up? The grid for wells brafnlg? Oh, hello. Sorry. I also did some investigating around an informal investigation impact study and that was to meet directly with, have conversations with the principal of wells branch elementary school. She -- what you see before you is what I actually obtained off the round rock school web site just prior to the previous public hearing. So this isn't my graph. This came from round rock school district. The red, obviously, indicates capacity. The blue indicates current enrollment. So I'm not exactly sure who she was speaking with that said there's not an overcrowding problem. There's been an overcrowding problem at wells branch since our daughter was there in 2001. In fifth grade she had all hur classes in portables. She was eating lunch at 30 in the morning because that's what the cafeteria accommodated for these kids. So when I spoke with the principal at wells branch elementary she shared with he that there is another nearby 240 unit affordable housing apartment complex that is just south of wells branch parkway, which, by the way, would give that unit access to capital metro in realtime now. She said that currently they have 129 students enrolled from that 240 unit complex. And would anticipate similar numbers from this complex. She also said that would translate into an additional six classrooms, and right now the school is physically out of space. Every classroom space and portable is filled with classes. So if you were to equate that to this grid, if we added the approximate 129 students, obviously we'd be off the chart. So I'm not exactly sure where the lack of overcrowding at the elementary school is coming from, because it's there. The other thing that i wanted to address is the -- and I was glad that you asked about the transportation, because the capital metro isn't there. It doesn't exist. And so it's nice to say we'd be in negotiations with them to try and get it back, but the fact of the matter is it's not there now, and if the ridership from this complex wouldn't get it back, then I think we're sort of setting these people up for failure. A lot of them won't have transportation so, a, the -- -- in smart housing obviously speaks to the heand cap accessible and building standards and the buildings clearly built to meet those but when you look at health care in the area and if you could put/ -- could you put up the other grid, the health care grid. There you go. We did a very informal, quick checking of different types of health care services in the area, and asked about would they take medicaid, would they take chip, do they have sliding fee scale and also you can see the mileage there. Obviously the pflugerville health center and the north central community centers would be accessible to these people and would be -- would provide them services, but again, the nth -- the pflugerville center has no dental care. That would be at the north center. That's eight miles away. They're not on capital metro. How exactly do they get there? So I just in closing want to share with you all that it's not that wells branch opposes affordable housing. We have affordable housing in our network -- in our neighborhood. What we want is smart housing that really sets these people up for success, not failure. And when you're talking about living under power lines, you're putting them in a somewhat isolated little piece of land with no bus services to get access be to health care and you're going to over crowd an over overcrowded elementary school, just doesn't seem smart. So with that I would answer any questions that you all have.
So we'll pause just a second and have a motion to waive council rules and extend past 10:00. Council member spelman, mayor pro tem seconds. All in favor say aye.
Mayor leffingwell: aye.
Aye. opposed say no, passes on 6-0. Council members riley off the diaz. [One moment, please, for ]
Mayor Leffingwell: James burns. And donating time to james is debra thompson. She's here. And creolea burns. Here. So you have up to nine minutes.
My name is james burns and a I'm a homeowner in the subdivision of wells branch. I'm also opposed to this. One of the biggest reasons for my opposition is there's a concern for safety. Alan, if you could go to number 2. Yes. The frontage road, fm 1325, is a step below a high speed roadway. And this is what you would see as you're walking out on to that property. That is at fm 1325. You can see there's no road shoulder. It is zoned for bicycles, but most of the area for a bicycle there's a white stripe and dirt. There's nothing to even ride a bike on. And as you would come out of this, you would head towards the front of this picture towards shoreline drive for the kids who would be walking to wells branch elementary school. I know that the berle, developer, owner, said they would negotiate with the owners to have a walk-through, but we certainly cannot think at this point that that would happen. What we do know is that fm 1325 is 50 miles per hour plus, coming out of that, walking back towards the -- to the school. There is no bus service to the school. Whether that's through the school district or through capital metro. The apartment complex directly across the street would also cause -- there's no middle lane. So both directions would be -- there's no middle lane to merge. So you certainly could not get the competing traffic would have a tremendous potential for accidents, head-on accidents right there at the property. As you come a little towards a little further this way, if the picture were extended, you would be at the stoplight there at shoreline. And as has been stated, it is a very high speed road. If you take a look in that picture you can see how many people don't necessarily stay on the roadway. They're actually driving on the grass, which is where people walking would -- that's where they would be walking or riding their bicycle. So with that respect, it's just unsafe. It would just be unsafe to think that this could be a development that would have a high occupancy of children going to the school. I understand that the property owner, the builder would put an access there for buses, school buses or capital metro. That is something that they would do, then that would be great, but there is no sidewalk. And for much of the walk there is no sidewalk. It looks worse than that on the other side of shoreline. It is extremely narrow. Six inches in some places for a bike or for pedestrian traffic. And there's also a ditch for rain runoff. So it's just not -- it's just not conducive to pedestrian traffic. So one of the statements i had here, and it's sad to say, but there was a fatality there and that's how we got the light at shoreline, but walking to the wells branch elementary school along the unpaved and unsafe fm 1325 is just an accident waiting to happen. Now, I do understand that this owner has a right to develop their property. But part of the smart building includes public transportation. I reviewed capital metro's -- they call it their 2020 plan. And in their 2020 plan on page five of the zoning change review, it refers to their plan for capital metro service on fm 1325. The capital metro route, the route number is 243, is no longer available along fm 1325. The star at the top is where the property is. The dotted line is a portion of the existing to-be-eliminated route 243. The solid black line at the bottom is the proposed route 343, so when 243 dies -- and it is. They don't run it very much at all. It will be route 343, which is the line that goes along wells branch parkway. It is right about two miles from the property, not one mile. It's right about two miles. And most of that is unpaved and it looks worse than the picture that I showed you before. Capital metro studied the service route issue for several years before they made the decision, the recommendation to discontinue the service. In their service plan 2020, they included a multistep community involvement plan to engage the public. The final recommendations that affected our area was to consolidate several routes into a cross town route. To delete service where there is low rider ship and to adjust commuter service commis certify rat with demand once -- commensurate with demand. This route had such -- their proposed service was around 30 riders purr hour. Their average of the below in some cases eight, but at the height, the high average of the 19. This additional complex is not going to increase that rider shipper hour to have they would come back out there. One of the considerations capital metro had is they needed to find an additional 17,000 platform hours to be budget neutral. So their reduction was route 243 among others, but route 243 itself was 9,000 platform hours of reduction. The further it we want up 1325 is certainly something that capital metro does not have in their plan, and those plans go through 2014. I understand the property owner's desire to develop their property. We certainly look for the opportunity to meet with the property owners. We have some suggestions for the property. We have some suggestions of what they could do that would make it work for the community. But the one thing we don't want to do, we're not going to stand by and allow them to create a property that is just unsafe. I remember as a kid there was a standing joke. If there was something wrong with you or with your family, some of them say to you something like what, did you grow up under a power line or something? Well, now here this development is going to put these apartment complexes right under power lines or within a close proximity. [ Buzzer sounds ] so thank you for your time.
Mayor Leffingwell: Thank you, mr. burns.
If there are any questions.
Mayor Leffingwell: The next speaker is richard swain. Richard swain. Apparently not here. And we also had signed up for, not wishing to speak, randall owen and eric mullins. Those are all the speakers that we have signed up for this public hearing. And three minutes rebuttal time to the applicant.
Thank you, mayor. Two quick comments. I don't know what the discrepancy is in that report that the speaker presented from aisd. I'm sorry, round rock isd, but the data that they gave to us, which is dated 11-15, states that wells branch elementary has 722 students, not the 907 I think it said on that data. And so this is the data that's been collected in their latest review process, so I'm not sure what that discrepancy is. And their projection for population at that school is 910 students. So that implies to me that there is quite a bit of capacity, more than I even thought there was. So they are far below the projection. I don't know what is the discrepancy, but I think that the information that is being posted on their website is outdated. The other issue that I just wanted to speak to quickly is the issue of the power line, and in talking about the power line issue with the neighborhood, it just -- we have power lines all over town. Unfortunately not all of them are buried. We cannot build in the easement. We won't be building in the easement, but the neighborhood suggestion that we build single-family on the property doesn't address that issue. If they're concerned about people being near power lines, their suggestion that single-family be built there in my opinion might be just as bad. And councilmembers, I think that that's all I have. I think jim bennett maybe wanted to -- did you want to say something?
Mayor Leffingwell: I think councilmember tovo has a question to you.
Tovo: I do. So I'm now having trouble pulling up the information from the school website, but it did seem to -- I think the information you've got from november 15th, 2011, i think -- can you remind me what you said the maximum -- the current enrollment is.
Tovo: I think the way they've broken it down, i think wells branch must break down their different programs. So it's 722 plus wells branch esol plus, which is at 74 students, and wells branch bilingual, which is it looks to me as if they do have 896 students and that's consistent with the chart that they have on their main web page. If you go to the main web page for wells branch elementary and click on current enrollment, it has the enrollment and the capacity numbers and those seem to jibe with the figures they were we have given and it does suggest that the school is overenrolled there. So I'm not clear why round rock isd doesn't include that school as overenrolled.
They were clear with us that they consider it underenrolled.
Tovo: Again, I think this speaks to the need for a process that really collects information from the school district, collects information from the developer, but then involves a conversation between the school district and our city staff to get clear on what the numbers are, what the current compass si is, and so that we can really have a very good assessment here of how those schools are going to be impacted. I wanted to ask you a little bit -- again, I would say i think the important thing is that this information is communicated back to the school district. So that if this project is approve, that round rock is put on notice that this project may generate additional students. Though I think it should also factor into our decision making in these cases as well. In looking at your bedroom count, I think that i understand the information you've provided, that 182 -- about 182 units are two bedrooms and more, two bedrooms or three-bedrooms. That you've got about 72 units that are going to be three bedrooms or more, and if you look at the two bedrooms and the three-bedroom units we're at about 182 of that 243. So I wonder if you could walk us through how you got from that figure to the projection that it would only generate 40 school age children? I would guess that most of the three-bedrooms will probably be geared toward families. So that number seems a little low.
In my discussion with them is is there a formula? Do you calculate the number of bedrooms or in austin eis they look at the price of the unit to factner how many units there will be. In their experience, and as I said, they've done lots of these projects of all sorts, there is not a formula that you can really use. And so they looked at data in other projects that they had with a similar number of units or even some with a different number of units and amortized it out so that it would be a project similar to this in size. And around 40 students is what they projected just based on experience and based on their other projects. This would be a likely number of students. Again, they do not think that there really is a scientific formula. For instance, the example that they gave me is that you may have a two bedroom unit and that might be parents and they may be using one of the bedrooms for another use of home office. So whatever it might be. So they in their experience don't necessarily mean because you have an extra bedroom that there's a child in that bedroom.
Tovo: I understand that, but I'm especially looking at the three-bedroom units and we have 72 of them. So it's -- again, if you look at the 180 units that are going to be two bedrooms are more, we're basically saying about only about a fourth of those are going to have children. And it doesn't -- and of those, they're only going to have one child. It just doesn't -- it seems like an extremely low number. I agree that there is no exact formula, although i think the demographers are able to apply some formula based on the price point and since this is 100% affordable housing development, the chances are likely or I would think that you're going to get families in there.
I actually don't think they agree, but michael wynn is here, who has done a lot of these projects who walked through their process of how they would sort of estimate the number of students. So you may want him to address that.
This actually came off of a project we have south of town here. And to our surprise it was very low number of children. We have 300 units there. About 150 plus are two bedrooms. And we had very few number of kids. So it's not an exact science, so I can't say for sure that absolutely it's 40 or it's absolutely 50 or 60. You asked when nickel asked for an estimate, we kind of based it off a project we have here in town.
Tovo: And that project, so I'm clear on the details, it was about 300 unit development and about 150 of them were two bedroom -- were there any three-bedroom?
Right. We had very few three bedrooms.
Tovo: So this would be comparable to the two bedroom portion of this development, but it not comparable in terms of the three-bedroom component, which is significant.
Sure, sure, but like i said, it's inexact, so we've kind of had to base off of what we know.
Tovo: Okay. Thank you.
Mayor Leffingwell: Okay. Any more questions? Councilmember spelman.
Spelman: How are you going to propose, nikkelle to deal with power lines. Have you a big easement in the middle of the property. How do you build out the units?
There are actually councilmember spelman, two easements. The graphic that the neighborhood shows is not accurate. This is a conceptual site layout of how the site is laid out. This is when we were proposing mf 3 at 270 units. But just to short of show how it would be laid out. You see there are two separate power line easements. I think they showed that as one easement, that swath across from one side -- one easement to the other. And so that would be how -- just conceptually how these units and those buildings could be laid out to avoid the power lines. And we cannot build in the power line easements as you guys know.
Spelman: Sure. How tall are the units themselves going to be? Three stories?
Three stories, yes.
Spelman: So about 45 feet?
Probably more like 35.
[Inaudible - no mic].
Spelman: Less than 30 feet?
30 Feet or less.
Spelman: 36 Feet. And how high are the power lines themselves?
Quite high. I'm not --
Spelman: Let me cut to the chase. Have you discussed this -- which fire department provides fire service?
Austin. It will be austin.
Spelman: Have you talked with the fire department about this?
That is a gym bennett question. -- A jim bennett question.
Mayor Leffingwell: We have some austin energy folks in the back who can probably tell you how high those towers are.
They were trying to be quiet.
Mayor Leffingwell: I've got a feeling they are higher than 36 feet.
Jeff bias with austin energy. Mary, actually, I can't tell you how high it is, but i can tell you that there's no doubt there are permitting requirements that look at the radial requirements and the distances from the lines to construction.
Spelman: Okay. And can we be sure in advance that the conceptual meade has put up on the board is going to be consistent with those requirements?
That conceptual plan i saw there is not a 3d version, so -- no, that right there won't ensure that it's not -- that it's in compliance.
Spelman: In your experience have you seen a plan that looks like this that actually fits in between power lines or this close to power lines, right next to an easement before?
I have not myself, but our permitting staff I'm sure have.
Mayor Leffingwell: Or austin energy coming up.
Austin energy legal services. I don't claim to be an expert on this, but I can tell from experience that we have certainly encountered buildings and houses that are really quite close up to the easement. So yes, it does -- I can't speak to this particular configuration, but I can say that doesn't strike me as being unusual.
Spelman: Not unusual?
Well, I've never seen that many. Or in between two power lines, but I can say that i have seen buildings that are quite up -- right up to the easement.
Spelman: Okay. Thank you.
Councilmember spelman, one just example that comes to mind off the top of my led head is the milagro condominiums. It's 120 feet and adjacent to pretty intense power lines, probably about the same size as these. That's how on rainey street right by the mexican-american cultural center. And so you really see it pretty frequently around town.
Councilmember, it has to go through the site plan review process as well, all of those things, including austin energy and fire will be reviewing the site plan. Making sure of code compliance.
Spelman: So if there's an issue the fire department will pick it up before you get a chance to build it.
Mayor Leffingwell: Further questions? Councilmember riley.
Riley: Just one question. Nikelle, we had a case in the past year or for regarding proposed affordable housing project near i-35 and oltorf. And the applicant in that case, foundation communities, actually agreed to install sidewalks off site to provide access for the residents to get to nearby bus stops. Has your client considered providing sidewalks off site in comparable cases?
I will let michael speak to that, but I will say, councilmember, the sidewalk grid is so deficient in this area that it would be so much sidewalk being added that that's probably not a realistic solution.
Riley: I would note that if you provided the sidewal6 miles down burnet road that you could connect to sidewalks that would connect all the way oh howard station.
And the problem we would run into would be that wells branch does not have any right-of-way there, so we would have to try to negotiate those easements with the adjacent property owners. Not that it couldn't be done, but --
Riley: No doubt it would be difficult.
We have definitely talked about it.
Riley: We're not talking about huge distances, though. We're talking about fairly manageable distances, just a matter of dealing with the jurisdictions.
We're very much in favor of walks and accessibility, pedestrian friendly walkways, but she is right, when you go over private properties, that has to be negotiated.
Riley: I don't think the problem is private properties because we're talking about existing right-of-way. It is a matter of dealing with the jurisdiction.
And I actually think, though, that there's not additional right-of-way that's been acquired there. And not to say that wells branch couldn't take some right-of-way or txdot, so definitely something I think we would look into. I just think it could be prohibitively expensive if we had to go out and acquire that right-of-way or negotiate easements for that right-of-way.
Mayor, I --
Cole: Mayor, I had a brief question for austin energy. Where did they go?
Mayor Leffingwell: Still here.
Cole: I know we have been told in the past about burying power lines and giving some cost estimates. But do you have any idea of what it would take to bury this line in terms of cost?
Well, the problem with transmission lines is you're really talking just orders of magnitude in cost. I think there's only one situation where we buried transmission lines and that is out at the 130-71 interchange we believe we had to bury some line out there. I couldn't give you the cost figures, but it's a lot of money. These lines put out a significant amount of heat, so the conduits have to be quite large. You have to use insulated wire, but we could give you those figures, but I don't have them off the top of my head.
Cole: That gives a good estimate. I will say that I was particularly appreciative of councilmember tovo's questions about the impact on the school district. And I know that we have finally gotten around to having that between the city of austin and aisd and actual impact statement, but I guess we're not there with round rock, is that correct, ms. meade?
That's correct. There's no process. If you build to a certain number of units in a certain zoning or your proposing that zoning in austin isd jurisdiction, you're required to do that statement. There is no similar -- and you're required to do that statement -- you basically are submitting that information at the time you file your zoning application. That is not the case with the other school districts that cover austin. And so it becomes -- it's not difficult to do, it just becomes a more informal process.
So we try to alert them to the fact that there is a proposed development. So I don't know why they wouldn't want to have that similar process.
Cole: Well, I certainly appreciate the concerns made by the neighbors and I know that hardly any neighborhood or residential development would like to have a power line in their area. But it's one of the things that we have just come to have to live with with development. I'm going to move approval of the planning commission recommendation.
Mayor Leffingwell: A motion by mayor pro tem to close the public hearing and approve on all three rereid readings? Is that correct? Second by councilmember spelman. I think it should be the zoning and platting commission recommendation.
Is there any further discussion councilmember riley?
Riley: I would like to support this project. We obviously need more affordable housing in austin. But I'm afraid I just -- that under the current conditions as discussed tonight, I can't bring myself to do it. This site is -- will leave the residents in this complex stranded unless they get in a car and drive. We've talked about the numbers of kids that would be growing up in this complex. They will be stuck there. They will be living on a road that is 55 miles per hour with no sidewalk, no shoulder. So they'll be walking in 55 miles per hour traffic if they want to go anywhere unless they get into a car and drive somewhere. This clearly would not be considered smart housing as the city defines it because it lacks the t with connection to transit. I'm frankly sorry to see tax credit dollars being devoted to a project like this that will leave residents in affordable housing completely stranded unless they're willing to enable -- incur the expense of an automobile. I think it's poor policy to put -- the city would not consider it smart housing and I don't consider it smart housing and rezoning to rezone the property for this purpose.
Mayor Leffingwell: I will just say that I will be supporting the motion. I realize the key deficiency, but I also know how hard it is to come by tax credits especially. I've worked to try to get some for several projects here in the city of austin, how hard it is to get enough affordable housing. We're still many thousands of units short and I don't feel like I can pass up this opportunity to get this project completed. [One moment, please, for change in captioners]
I want to say, too, i have grave concerns about the school and impact on the school and I agree with council member morrison, that part of the intent is part of the communication gets communicating to the school district but I want to make sure we move forward and we have an educational statement that makes sense for the districts within all of our city limits and i plan to move forward with a resolution to get that process going and I think we should factor that into our decision, I think, into a way that is more formal.
Any discussion? say aye. Opposed say, no, 6-1 with council member riley voting no.
Thank you that, concludes the zoning map.
So we will go, I believe without objection council member, 136 is going to be proposed for postponement. We take up 137, jerry.
The staff requested postponement of this item. The item related to the historic -- amendments to the historic zoning code. It will be with the planning and historic landmark commission so we are asking for one week from today.
I think it is appropriate for it to go to the planning commission. We entertain approposal for the postponement request for december 15th.
Spelman: I make that motion.
Mayor leffingwell: Motion by spelman. Yes.
Spelman: Will you give us a copy of the mysterious draft circulating?
Yes, it will be posted on the internet but I will send y'all an email.
I was in the room when staff got a copy that was warmed off the press and i looked at it and if we could have a little bit of advanced notice. i guess we need to vote on that. Vote on yes, yay. No, say no. Passes on a vote of 7-0. I guess item number 133 is next. 133 To conduct a public hearing and approve -- pardon? We are not ready for that yet. We will call you up in just a minute.
Ier,ier pro tem, members of the council, austin energy. Item 133 is public hearing approval for the ordinance amending the green choice energy rider, if they tariff for the energy -- green choice optional rider and done as ordinance of course. It was originally set as five year term with expiration that would be coming up in a couple of years. When we rolled the city on green choice, part of -- well, during the time we were planning it, we looked at the horizon for the contract that underlies the match and we wanted to give the city the benefit of the same kind of long-term contract that other customers have received in earlier batches and given the visibility that we have on new wind resources coming in, we had both sort of the financial confidence as well as the sort of the desire to make sure that the city enrollment would enjoy that same tenure benefit that a green choice tariff charged and I would be pleased to be asked questions. We are looking for your support on that. any questions for the staff? We go to public hearing. Speaker is pank baltner who is against. You have 3 minutes.
I need to put my glasses on -- I have been here since 00 o'clock so I will probably have a rick perry moment, too, but the purpose on here is to ask that you defer consideration of the changing of the green choice 7 cents batch. First of all, I would like to just tell you a little bit about myself. I graduated from the university of texas , went to huitt -- went to law school and then I went to tennessee and I was in charge of energy for a large manufacturing plant and it was used as the university of campus in austin and i was the vice president of oil and gas operations for that same company. I was involved in rate interventions before the public service intervention involving water and natural gas. I was actually the one that drove the change for the deregulation for natural gas transportation to the city. I went to the tennessee valley authorities and one of my duties was manager of industrial contract and i was involved with marketing and green power. I am in favor of green choice if it is afford usual. I don't think it is affordable at that level. The city set goals for green choice and green power which are a allottable goals but when it co electress think, three things are important and I am not sure how the biomass contract is going to do that and solar and the whipped, while they have some benefit, they also have some reliability problems and you need a good base load, to so the sierra club to come in and the council not to see anything, with the sere club to see -- what about natural gas? We are sitting on mountain of natural gas here in texas. This is saudi arabia now, we have the php technology to produce gas at a very low rate, much lower than solar and it has a reliability of 80-85%, whereas wind and solar you don't have that. With wind you have ingestion of transmission lines and the renewable credit, generators have had to pay to take the credit off their hands so they can take 3% tax credit. [Buzzer alarming]
well, I can't say anything more. Three minutes is not very much.
Spelman: Sir f you have a few more seconds, if you can finish your thought, I would like to hear it.
I would like to finish it, because this particular green choice came because in january 1 of 2009, they are wanting to extend it to the end of 2021. That is actually 13 years at a fixed price. 7 centss, maybe 2-cents more than what regular customers are paying for what they are now but in a long period of time, it might actually be attractive and also, I think this should be factored into the rates, that the company is trying to put forward because the way the green card always worked, you take the 6-dollar charge, customer charge, you take the base charge which is a little over 3-cents and then you add the green power charge in place of the fuel adjustment charge. Well, austin energy is going to come in and totally redesign the rates and not have a fuel existent charge as I understand it, so in my mind it doesn't fit, plus the fact, there is nothing to be said about the sanctity of contract f you come in and make changes without a lot of public notice or input, to me it doesn't seem right. You could don't it in the private sector, if I entered into a contract in a pace i didn't think should be done, I wouldn't have any resource, other than to feel sorry for it.
Spelman: Thanks, i appreciate it.
Mayor leffingwell: Council member riley.
Riley: Can I ask you a question. I think I understand your point about sanctity of contract. Are you saying that austin energy would be in the positionf changing the rules after -- changing the rules of green choice after the end of the contract?
They are changing the rules of people who have signed up. If you have signed up by january 1, '09, so instead of having somebody got into the program that time and get into those terms, to have a program that went into certain days, it has been extended, and I believe the rate, it is a ten-year extension, but I don't know where the ten years are.
We are talking about extending the prescription, expiration date. 7 rate has become -- has been -- will be available is a total of 13 years. That's not practical. Nobody sets rates that far in advance.
Because there are too many variables that would come into play later and some day the federal subsidies we are counting on and will go away and like they say, you don't know who is floating in bacon soda until --
okay. those are all of the speakers that signed up. One person signed up but not wishing to speak, so the floor is open for a notion. Council member riley.
Riley: I would like to ask a question of staff. I asked you about changing the rules. Do you expect wwould be in a position of changing the rules of customers who sign up for this prechoice batch after they sign up?
No, sir, we don't. We will be putting existing batches customer on if longer term. They won't have to but if they desire. If they choose and say, no, I won't to stick with original five-year term, they will honor that and the way we run green choice, we make a pledge and we say this is your price, your green choice price, contract price for ten years and we will honor that.
Riley: What was the duration of green choice batches in the past?
It is slightly mixed. Virtually every other mix, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, was a ten year lifetime and 6 was on a ten year but it started with power that had adjustment issues and now we revised it 7 centss but shortened the term because of the uncertainty about that suggestion. Now we have more comfort about our ability to maintain the ten year and we are going back to that put on par with our previous batches and that's what the purpose of this is.
Riley: Is part of the idea of longer term contract -- I know we have recently been entering into long term contracts, renewables, is green choice contract the idea of locking in for ourselves so we aren't running a lot of financial risks by having long term contracts at fixed rates because we know that is the price we are going to be paying?
That's exactly the philosophy we are trying to go forward with it. I call it the edifice of the bargain. If you were the investor in green power and invest in the premium, you will be related to the bargain we strike and because renewables are fuel free, wind contract ares here and solar, we can get a long term plat price contract and that's what we share and that's leerily the reason we have been the leader in the past ten years, in terms of the green fills because they have been the businesses that have that.
Riley: Thank you.
Mayor leffingwell: Council member spelman.
Spelman: Did our recent signing of long-term power agreements for the wind tower have us consider the 5.47 wind charge?
No, sir, not yet because the wind farms are not back online but you have exactly the right idea. We are prestage what we are looking at in the rate, which is an ability to transition from a single batch approach to portfolio approach in which we can blend in those kinds of benefit whence they are realized into a product that has annuitant work because of that -- but we can't do that so we so the power coming in.
Spelman: I understand but if I were a member of batch 6, it would be conceivable that I would do that?
I will try as hard as i can to make that happen. Over time, we are seeing reduction in these prices and due to congestion and other issues, but it is clearly what we want to try to do.
Mayor leffingwell: Entertain a motion to close the public hearing and approve -- no, sir, not unless somebody asks you a question. Council member spelman moves to close the public hearing, approve item 133 on all three hearings. Second by council member martinez. Council member riley. Any further questions? say aye, opposed say no. Passes on vote of 7-0.
Item 134. I am the office of real estate services. I want to introduce myself. I am judy. It is the change and use of a scientific area, person sidewalks and ada compliance at brodie and slaughter lane. The legal stat at this item is there is no reasonable and alt activity of the taking of the scientific area which includes all planning to minimize harm to the area.
Mayor leffingwell: Questions from staff?
Council member spelman.
Spelman: Move to close the public haring. move by council member spelman to close the public hearing and approve resolution. Second by council member martinez. Discussion? say aye. Opposed say no? Passes on a vote of 7-0. Sir, could I ask you to take the conversation outside so we can continue with our meeting, please? 135.
Item 135 is the change in use on parkland and which is temporary use of the park for haul road of decommissions of the harley plant and it is $200,733 and change and they will be using site for, I believe, two years. The legal staff finding for item 135 is there is no feasible improvement alternative to the dedicated park plan which includes all planning for that.
Mayor leffingwell: Questions of staff? One speaker signed up. Clay defoe. Clay defoe not in the chamber. Those all of the speakers we have. Entertain a motion. Council member martinez.
I wanted to ask, if funds that you mentioned, do they go to the general fund or the parks and recreations fund?
Parks and recreation.
And do they get allocated next budget cycle or this year --
I believe it was this year but those are under available to them.
So do we know the manager edwards, if they choose to use that funding, would they come to council if it's under the 50,000 administrative threshold?
I don't know, but I will find out for you.
To my understanding, it does, but I will check.
I thought it did but i will put that on the record and find out.
Council member mart to approve it and move the resolution. Second by spelman. Further discussion? All in favor say aye. Oppose say no. Pass on vote of 7-0. Number 136.
, The next one is to have a public hearing on city code one and city code 2 to the city requirements of --
is there a motion?
The ordinance originated with resolution from 2009 recommending staff to make modifications to city wide standards and criteria as work qualified as open space as consideration of factors listed here, healthy, safe and family friendly. , Social, diversity and to make diversity in the existing standards and the process we have gone through is the research existing regulations, research best practices, analyze existing deficiencies in our code, review current practices, prepare staff proposals and public review and comment by various boards and commissions, the stakeholders and interested citizens, and it is here before you tonight. I would like to make a distinction between parkland and open space. Parkland is intended for the general public and open space is privately owned and maintained and intended for use of the residents, employees or visitors to a development so the ordinance before you does not deal with parkland, per se, but deal with private open space within private development. Open space is somewhat restricted than parkland and it's on parkland but doesn't necessarily substitute for it. Private open space is currently required on multi-family development, family development, transunit development, planned unit development. And the ones before you come with planned or commercial development. We want to make a distinction, also, between common open space and personal open space. Common open space is intended as a gathering area for a resident or visitors so incite -- and the good example is the eastern street and this area that has a controlled courtyard area. You see the photo, that serves as a gathering place for all of the residents of the community. First of all open space, on the other hand, is used solely for the residents of a condominium or multi-family unit and this is a schematic example showing this for individual units on a small townhouse complex. Another example would be of a balcony and a multi-family. So the staff recommendations are, first of all, that we combine the multi-family and commercial standards to make them more consistent, that we apply open space requirements to all multi-family and condominium developments, regardless of the zoning. Present time, they are based on the present category it is located in. We require open space for commercial sites that are two acre or larger instead of current acres so they stand a requirement to additions to the site and recommend to increase it from the current from 2% to 3%. And we also recommend that the -- there be various ways to satisfy the open space requirement. We were very concerned about the impact that any changes to our regulations may have on affordability on housing and so we recommend that if a development is including affordable housing, it could be exempted from the requirement of on site open space if there were parkland within a quarter mile of walking distance of the -- of the site. Otherwise so satisfy the requirements would include above ground facilities and street scapes, for example, in the downtown area, rooftop, garden or improvements to the street program could require for that. If the development has less than units, we recommend the requirement be met through internal open space. Otherwise common open space availabl all residents. We identified a variety of facilities which include active playgrounds and swimming pools to passive facilities such as landscape areas, to be counted as open space and in addition, provide a fee in lieu on site space in lieu that it is impractical. In addition to the recommendation of the early childhood task force, we recommended reduction in the amount of open space required if child friendly amenities such as playground be designed for young children were included. The planning commission basically adopted the staff recommendations with a couple of changes. They excluded university neighborhood overlay. They heard a lot of testimony from people who either built housing in the area or who live in the area and indicated that they felt the university neighborhoods are working well and the addition of open space will discourage the type of development we have seen the last few years so the commission decided to omit the overlay as part of the university requirement and they also asked to work with downtown stakeholders on affordability issues. We heard testimony from stakeholders asking that downtown be exc entirely from the open air requirement. And then we were asked to bring it before the green roof advisory roof, for the green roof issue that is the advisory group was looking at ha and they came forward with additional recommendations here that would provide an incentive for additional rooftop of open space if they are designed as green roofs, so the incentive is to let more open space be above ground if green roof is provided. There is suggested language that would allow if green roof were added, in your attachment, f, in your backup. And in response to the planning commission's request that we try to develop alternatives for downtown. We met with downtown alliance several occasions and were not really able to come to agreement. We still require nod open space be required downtown but did post this alternative for your consideration the personal open space in the cbd and dmu could count towards the requirement which would includes balconies, roof top, private spaces, personal spaces in the downtown area and so we recommend they be allowed to count up to 25% of the total requirement for large site, greater than half acre and up to 50% of requirement for sites less than or equal to a half acre and there are hand outs in j that address this and when we went to the plan and transportation committee of city council, there was discussion about providing incentives to make the open space accessible -- more accessible to the public, and so we are proposing this additional incentive here, in the reduction in the requirement if above ground open space were made accessible to the public during normal business hours, so there is language that would implement this addition in attachment k of your backup this is a table that summarize it is different recommendations I have gone through. They basically all deal with the same section of the 3d, and so on the left side, the left column, you see the planning commission's recommendation. The second column is the green roof advisory roof recommendation. The third is the staff alternative for the downtown area, and the last column is the additional provision for above ground -- or public access to above ground open space, so if you do choose to adopt all of these recommendations, you could adopt the planning commission's recommendations as amended by attachment g, j, k, and incorporate all of these suggestions into the -- into the final ordinance. I need to mention, also, in look everything the ordinance this afternoon, we did find someone slighter or we hadn't caught previously and this deals on pages 2 and 3 of the ordinance. G1 on page 2, it says condominium use -- for condominium use, it must be to the net site area. We are recommending gross site area for what we are recommending for commercial districts. And the same correction page 3, b1 for multi-family development, the open space must be equivalent to 5% of the gross site area instet of the net site area. Those are the staff recommendations and various alternative recommendations and I will be glad to answer any questions.
Council member tovo.
A quick, but a few, the last point you made, the wording of must be equivalent to strikes me as odd, do we really mean the open space must be at least 5%? We certainly want people to have the ability to provide more than 5% and equivalent to this must be right at 5? That's my commonsense interpretation. I would be interested --
I have no problem with that change.
So that would be in both of those places, g1 and b1 -- and thanks to the dedicated reader who pointed that out to us. The next question has to do with the citizen reader, i should -- the citizen reader, I should say -- has 384, regarding the play area and the provision that allows for reductions and a required open space if there is a play area and it talks about the play area with the most consumer product safety guidelines and playgrounds and I want to make sure some of those are about playground equipment and some of them are more general but this is not mandating the play area have playground equipment on it?
No, not necessarily. If it has playground equipment, it needs to be -- it needs to meet the current guidelines of the product safety commission.
Thanks, because we are looking for play area -- playground that might have other activities for other children and that activities. And I think that's my last question. I have comments later but that's all I've got.
Mayor leffingwell: Council member riley.
Riley: Wev do have position here. Charlie, I am interested in hearing his comments but the to anticipate his comments and give him something to rebut. Let me ask you, george, we have heard from austin alliance already and pointed out a couple of things, we looked at downtown and determined there are a few places downtown from the existing park and we proved the downtown plan and within that plan we didn't recommend changes for cbd and dmu projects with regard to open space. About 50% of downtown land -- downtown land area is considered the public realm already and the city staff shown that most downtown projects have required more open space than the ordinance required so there is a concern we may be posing additional burdens on enrollment downtown and creating -- and there is a risk of intended consequences in terms of affordability if we pass that requirement on which may not be necessary in terms of public need for open space. This is what we currently heard from daa. Can you have a response so we can hear a rebuttal to your response?
With regard to the downtown plan, there is a discussion for the need for open space and and it never rises -- so for things such as family courtyards and childhood facilities, et cetera and this is a comment that open area street scapes are accessible to downtown and it talks about providing high quality open space within private multi-family development so there is some discussion of it, so I know that it didn't specifically recommend terms to the code. There is language in the plan that does support the idea of more private open space.
But the basic -- the main thrust of the comments, i take it, is that there already is significant open space downtown, to a far greater degree than other places and there might be a basis of having different rules on downtown projects and not subjecting them to the same requirements and there is some logic to that -- to that argument, if we already have all that -- have open space downtown within a couple of blocks downtown which is very different from what we see elsewhere in the city?
That is true. There is -- probably per square foot, there is probably more parkland in ..
Mayor leffingwell: Council member tovo.
I apologize for asking a question after I wrapped up but I have in front of me downtown park and open space master plan a few pages from it and the first phase one downtown finding is that downtown is lacking in open space with less than 1% of land and park and then goes on to talk about downtown parks are not well framed by active uses and facilities, improvements and amenities and particular that first point, I am trying to mesh what I have just read and it is lacking in open space and less than 1% of open land and parks but it is a conversation that we had with it being a higher percentage than some other areas in town.
I have a map here that might be able to show. Basically, in terms of most of the downtown area being near a park, we do have some evidence of that and there is a park -- there is a map here from the park master plan that shows that not to necessarily a small scale but the circles --
it is very small.
The covered areas there show areas within a quarter while of existing park and you can see they are much closer together than they are farther apart and there is evidence of that and i think the downtown park facilities are not fully developed. I think the parks department would agree with that, that they could stand to be improvements there. One of the things we discussed is that the fee in lieu of open space could be applied towards the acquisition of equipment for existing parks, capital improvements for existing parks that would help make them more of an amenity.
Just to clarify, you just talked about proximity and that is different than the total percentage of land that we have that is open space in the downtown area? So this statistic of 1% of downtown -- of downtown land being parkland is accurate of downtown?
I don't know -- I am not familiar with that number but I was speaking of proximity, yes.
Mayor leffingwell: Council member riley.
Riley: I heard two terms, one was open space. If we were to count things -- the capital grounds -- I assume the way you could getable 1% -- I am skeptical of 1% figure and the only way to get there, don't count the space like capital grounds which are mostly seen park like won't qualify as parkland but in any event, we do -- you have a map for getting that most people are close to existing parkland and I want to make sure I understand your point, under current proposal could the fee be in lieu of capital improvements on existing park lands.
Yes, either improvement or acquisition.
So there is no doubt we could use it on the existing park lands.
I could see a strong case for the fee on that.
Mayor leffingwell: Council member morrison.
Riley: I have a question for you.
Morrison: I have a question for you, in terms to get it clear in my mind. Currently you are talking about the downtown buildings. Currently are the buildings that are being built now that we require that open space?
No, they are not.
Morrison: So this is -- you are saying the ones being built do have open space?
Yes. The -- currently the open space is only required residential development on multi-family district and most aren't design ford multi-family and the central business district and are not required to have open space. For their commercial sites, sitesless than 2-acres are exempt so they are not required and most of downtown -- most of downtown blocks are less than 2-acres so they are not required to have open space, either, so that is the current requirement.
Morrison: The buildings being built, both commercial and residential, can they have open space that exceeds what is stated here?
The residential developments we have seen, have an outdoor courtyard or swimming pool or rooftop deck or something.
Morrison: What about commercial?
Not as much. No.
Mayor leffingwell: Public hearing now. One speaker signed up. Charlie bett.
Mayor, pro tem and council members, I am charlie batts representing the downtown austin alliance and I will not repeat council member riley's comments. We simply would ask that -- we respectfully ask that you exempt cbd and dmu zoning from this ordinance, or from the increased requirements, city staff indicated to us that in recent years almost all of the projects will exceed the proposed requirements, so we see no real reason to codify this, because to correct the problem -- because there does not seem to be a problem and it doesn't make a lot of sense to require commercial buildings to have additional open space and to my recollection, most of the commercial buildings have had ample open space of what has been built and also i would like to call your attention to back to what i do know is exempted, the planning commission recommended that to the council and the planning commission, also, because they did not have a quorum that night, they recommended on 4-3 vote that the cbd be anticipated on that and that was not enough to make recommendation to you. I think I would add my comments that we certainly would appreciate your consideration on exemption.
Mayor leffingwell: Council member morrison.
Morrison: I would like to make a motion that we approve this ordinance on the readings but I would like to make an amendment. what is your motion?
Morrison: That the ordinance -- we could close the public hearing and approve the ordinance on three readings and that would be the staff recommendation or the planning recommendation?
Morrison: We will start with the -- it would the -- not going to resemble either one too much but have to have something to start with --
Morrison: The planning commission -- what do we have with backup? I am working with whatever is in backup.
Morrison: Ordinance in backup is planning commission recommendation.
I second that.
Mayor leffingwell: Council member tovo seconds that motion.
Morrison: With that, i would like to suggest a couple of modifications. One is the language change. It's in part three, section 25-2-776, f2a, this is a part where there is an exemption.
Sorry, council member morrison.
Morrison: Yes. Look on part 3. And then to 25-2-776, go to page 2 and at the top of page 2 you will see number 1 and 2 and here we are looking at exemptions for affordable housing and under 2a, the exemption is if the affordable housing is located within one quarter mile of walking distance of an existing developed public park, et cetera, and that is something that I -- i i certainly want to change the language a little bit. One, instead of saying one quarter of mile of safe walking distance, change that to be safe pedestrian travel distance, which is more the standard now. And then, I also, at the end of that line, to add some additional verbiage that says, in evaluating safe pedestrian travel distance, consideration shall be given to factors affecting suitability of area for pedestrian travel including physical or topographical barriers, traffic volume and crosswalks and the route with regard to the disability act and so it is making safeguards with respect to the fact that the safe travel distance -- one quarter travel distance is really a safe route. People won't be running into others. so you are proposing as an amendment to your own motion?
Morrison: I am willing to accept that. and you could have procedurally included that in your originally motion. Council member tovo, do you accept that?
Actually, I have concerns about that provision overall, because what we are doing here is saying that -- and I had hoped to bring forward amount that would strike that, it is saying if it is affordable, they wouldn't need the same open space access and I want to know if we want that tradeoff between that and providing those families with access to open space on their -- on the site. so you don't accept the --
I guess I would be interested in hearing council member morrison's rationale for including it but I will turn.
Morrison: Well, there were actually two items there that give -- in the resolution -- in the ordinance that give a waiver to affordable housing. One is the one, if they are safe apart and we can assume they are safe travel distance and the second is much more ambiguous and much broader and I am very uncomfortable with the much broader one, because basically under b it says if the director determines if they are under any density program so they have already got ton a density bonus and the director determines that -- requires the development to comply with open space requirements will initiatively impact affordability. To me that is way too broad and I was going to recommend strike that and keep the first one.
Okay. Then I accept your amendment of the motion.
Okay. And then also to strike that.
I accept that.
Okay. And then I would like to amend that the same language is on page 3, there will be a 2a and b and so I would also like to have the same thing -- the same language changed under 2a. This is for multi-family as opposed to the other section for a condo. And then to strike b there
I think there is only one other I had and that is on the last page of -- on the last page, page 7 of the ordinance, under section cf, in terms of the c in lieu, there is a suggestion that the formula for the fee in lieu -- currently in the code is established by council and the suggestion is to establish it by rules and I would like to strike that change because I think that as with other fee in lieus, we have a lot of discussion about what those fees in lieu should be and I think if that could bring back a recommendation for a fee in lieu, as well as criteria for when a fee in lieu should be considered, so would be helpful, so my amendment is to strike that change and to ask to bring that.
Mayor leffingwell: Council member tovo is nodding affirmatively on that one.
Morrison: Lastly I would like to go to the recommendations that was recommended and would like to -- and would like to recommend that we adopt the new advisory attachment b as well as the staff requirement -- and go to the group advisory for insentive for -- incentive for above ground level, and then -- yes, above ground level.
Mayor leffingwell: Council member tovo also accepts that.
Morrison: And attachment k. b, j, k?
Mayor leffingwell: Council member tovo.
I would like to point out that he also suggested a language change that I think we should incorporate in this and then I suggest that a language changes will at b1 on page 3 and b1 on page 2.
What I have is that it would read on marriage 2, g1 would read open space the minimum of 5% of gross site area of the property. And the same change would appear change 3, item 31.
Yes. zeplak, did you suggest a correction on part 2, where there is a reference to 25-2, 563 and it should be mf4 and not mf6?
I did not mention that, but it should be mf4 instead of 6.
And the word highest should be replaced with not highest density as to moderate density?
Mayor leffingwell: Council member riley.
Riley: George, can I ask you another question or two? The planning -- the minutes from the planning commission make a reference to --
the top of page 2 that, is the excluded.
This does not cover uno? And the -- we already have a mechanism in uno that provides incentives for things like open space?
Not necessarily open space. Well it does provide incentives for the street scape improvement.
Riley: And that is part of the proposal now?
Riley: Turning to downtown which also is this bonus program in place now, what I want to make sure we understand exactly how this would relate to the entity bonus program and I know the neighborhood housing and community development department has raised some concerns about that, and, in fact, they provided a memo back in may say we feel the development incentive ordinance has been impacted initiatively by the proposal. Can you explain exactly how this would interplay with the empty bonus program? For example, if somebody provided a certain amount of open space by way of meeting the bonus requirements for additional density, would that also go towards their open space requirements under this ordinance?
Not as presently drafted. The open space, to satisfy the density bonus program in the downtown plan would have to be publically accessible and have to be at ground level only and it would only apply if all of the other requirements have already been met, so it's a little different from what we are proposing here. This could be either ground level or above ground level and it would not qualify for the density bonus.
Riley: So if somebody provides this space for purposes of the density bonus requirement?
I would have to be access of what is required under open space requirement.
Riley: So it is laying these requirements on top of those requirements?
Riley: And would that part of the reason why the applied -- most present members of the planning commission would include the cbd and dmu from this?
I don't know exactly -- i know they took a vote on that. I don't recall exactly what the vote was. The final vote was 6-0 in favor of it. I think it may have been -- I don't recall for a 2 vote or what it was in the downtown area.
Riley: Or 3 in favor of, including the --
including cbd and dmu?
It was not a your rum quorum votebecause they don't have 6 members.
I will deal with thissist sently the way it would be handled and with uno i suggest that we take cbd and dmu out of the proposal, given that we are already addressing open space in connection with the density bonus program and amend the recommendation of the majority of the planning commission numbers. do you want to do that as a friendly amendment or --
Riley: I will offer that as an amendment. ly say I will be supporting that, also. I think it is redundant and you of the density program that we just addressed. I think it is counterintuitive to consistently find ways to densify areas of cbd and dmu areas and I don't think it is consistent with the goals of the city. I am certainly in favor of open space. And favor in open space outside of downtown. Second by mayor pro tem pro tem and you want to say something?
Yes, I did. Of course we are all in favor of open space downtown throughout the city and in addition to some of the reasons that have been cited, that we have addressed this issue and just recently addressed this a few minutes ago. I think we need to start being more careful about the complexity that we draw overall. We give so much criticism about our land development both from developers and neighborhoods trying to figure out what does it all mean so I think the more we can pair down and make simple that is required, the better.
Mayor leffingwell: Council member riley.
Riley: Jut just cob clear.
This would have the effect of leading attachment j which is staff's proposed alternative to cbd and dmu? Anything further? Council member spelman or morrison?
Morrison: If it is successful, it will also delete a couple of references in the code, too, cbd and dmu.
[One moment, please, for change in captioners] going to have a direct impact on people's quality of life in the buildings and the developments they're in and I think this open space ordinance will ensure some level of open space that's not as important in downtown as it is in other areas of the city, perhaps even more important if downtown moves in the direction we hope it does and becomes denser, it will be important to have access to great public parks but to have access close to homes if you're living in a multifamily development downtown, you need that open space to home as well. As we move to the goal of becoming the most family friendly city in the country, if we're serious about that, we are going to have to change. And guide developers in creating places for people to live that are more family friendly. And one of those in open space is going to be a component in that.
I think there are places in austin that the market will not dictate private common or private personal open space are going be provided by the developer. I'm not persuaded that downtown is one of the places. Downtown is so high, the rents are so high, and the competition is so high for the places that i think it's unrealistic to expect the average developer is not going be providing a competitive open space to lure people into their condos and multifamily complexes. I don't think it will be a need for this in the downtown area due to the competition, the rents, and the particular nature of the downtown multifamily dwellings. On the other hand, I'm persuaded this might be necessary elsewhere in the city so I'm prepared to support the amendment.
Comment? All in favor of the amendment, say aye, no, say no. The amendment passes on vote of 4-3, council member spelman voting no.
I voted yes.
There's one other item i wanted to mention. Than is that if you look at on page number six at the bottom, number four. It says except dvd, dmu, dmu and v, not more than 30% of the open space may be located on the roof. I think we just redeleted that, because the v in the vmu went away with our attachment g and we took sbd and dmu out. So that's actually just disappeared based on what we've done. I did want to focus on number five because number five is another in the draft, cvd, dmu, dmu and v where there are some waivers and relaxations based on street escape improvements and all -- and I was -- cdv and vmu are already gone, I would like to remove this completely because I think for vmu and v, you know, as we get out on our corridors and we really are going to have a challenge in making those liveable and family friendly, that open space is important there. We're already putting in some intense density with our vmu development standards. So I would like to strike five altogether. That's my motion.
Amendment to your motion. Acceptable by the second? So I assume you're going to have track of all of your friendly amendments. Let me ask staff. Let me ask you first, have you kept track of all of the friendly amendments and second, is it feasible to go back and strike in view of the amendment that was passed excluding cvd and dmu-zoned areas from this requirement, from this amendment? Strike all conflicts that might occur with that?
Yes, mayor, we can do that. you can do that? we can bring it back on second reading next week. That will give you time and make sure there are not any further disconnects.
We can do that.
Change on the first and second reading.
Another amendment to the first and second reading. Councilwoman tovo, is that acceptable?
It's 11:30 at night.
First and second on second readings with all of the amendments noted.
Is it possible to keep the public hearing open? it's possible if you want to make a friendly amendment to councilwoman morrison's proposal.
There are substantial changes. the discussion keeps the public hearing open. Further discussion? Amendments, say aye, aye? No? Passes on a vote of 7-0. 139, What happened to 138? And city clerk, I believe 137 has been postponed.
Good evening, mayor and councilmembers. Michael knox, services office. Item 138 is the annual funding process for the public improvement district. On november 10, you approved the 2012-2013 budget for the district and you put $100 to valuation and 2012 proposed assessment rule. State law requires a public hearing for assessments. The approval of assessment rate and role need to be mailed to the property owners to review them prior to the hearing. This will not allow the property owners to challenge the individual property. Following the public hearing, council will approve the hearing of 2012. Happy to answer any questions?
Mayor Leffingwell: Questions for staff? Councilmember martinez?
Martinez: Thank you, mayor. Mike, we got an e-mail today requesting that we consider, i guess, making these payments in quarterly installments. How is it currently structured?
It's structured the same way as property tax. They're out for the full amendment. They would be due at the end of january.
Martinez: So a one-time payment?
One time, yes.
Martinez: Have we done quarterly installments?
No, we never have.
Mayor Leffingwell: Questions? We don't have anyone signed up to speak on this item. I entertain a motion to close the public hearing and approve the ordinance. Mayor protem so moves. Is there a second? Councilmember spelman seconds. Any further discussion? All in favor, aye, opposed, say no. Passes on a vote of 6-0. Council member tovo -- unless you want to -- okay. 139.
Thank you, mayor and council. Item 139 is to conduct a public hearing and consider resolution regarding request by the market and cullier at 1700 south lamar boulevard suite 320 from the waiver of the requirements of city code section 4-9-4-a. The property in question is within 50 feet of a yoga meditation center. The meditation center has not provided a letter of opposition. Staff feels it does need section 4-5-9 which gives the council the ability to waive the requirement and in this particular instance it's appropriate. Staff makes that recommendation. Not aware of any option. If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer it. I passed out the power point. Given the lateness of the hour, it's almost tomorrow, I felt i would cut my presentation short.
Mayor Leffingwell: Much appreciated. There's anyone signed up for and ready to speak?
In view of the fact that i find yoga to be much easier to do after I had a couple of beers, I so move.
Mayor Leffingwell: So moved, second by mayor pro tem. Any further discussion? Favor, aye, opposed, no. Passes on a vote of 7-0. According to my calculation, that's all of the items on our agenda tonight. Without objection, we stand at journed at 11:42 p.m. -- Adjourned at 11:42 p.m.