City Council
9:59 am
Thu April 5, 2012

City Council Preview: Battle Over Downtown Affordability, Eyeing Amphitheaters, and Willie in Bronze

It’s been another busy week for the Austin City Council, with a Tuesday work session delving into geographic representation, and then another installment in its procession of Austin Energy rate discussions. But today council stares down a 93-item long agenda. We’ve culled a few highlights:

Don’t Bogart that Statue: Item nine on the agenda authorizes the acceptance of a seven-foot, bronze statue of Willie Nelson, to be placed nearby the staircase leading to the Austin City Limits studio. It seems a smart fit, as the city already honorarily christened the statue's home, Second Street, as Willie Nelson Boulevard.

Does Green Mean Go?: Item 10 would see the city signing off on plans to develop the site of the former Green Water Treatment Plant, a block east of City Hall. The city would sell the downtown plot to developer Trammell Crow for approximately $42 million; as KUT News previously wrote, Trammell Crow has proposed 826 apartments and 200 hotel rooms, plus retail, hospitality and office space.

Affordable housing, at 80 percent of Austin’s median family income, would comprise 10 percent of the apartments built, with an affordability period lasting seven years. City Council Member Kathie Tovo questioned the affordability provisions as too low when council was briefed on the project, so expect those concerns to return today.

Stuck in Traffic: After being postponed from their last appearance, Items 41 and 42 stand to award 30 new taxi permits to Lone Star Cab, and 15 new permits to Austin Cab.

And rounding out the agenda: Item 24 affirms Hosteling International’s lease on city parkland; and Item 45 would make amphitheaters subject to conditional use zoning approval, in response to controversy surrounding the PromiseLand West amphitheater in Southwest Austin.   

The meeting starts at 10 a.m. this morning at City Hall. You can watch on the city’s website (and now get real-time updates on what’s been approved.)