Thu June 14, 2012
City Council Preview: 'Imagine Austin' Up for Adoption
The Austin City Council meets today. And in a respite from the long slogs of recent meetings, the council faces a comparatively light 60 item agenda – but likely multiple hours of public testimony on the adoption of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan.
Item 58 is calls for a public hearing and possible adoption of Imagine Austin, a long-term plan for the city’s growth and development which has been in the works since 2009. You can view the plan here.
The hearing won’t start until at least 6 p.m. this evening; the last time the council solicited testimony on the plan, it received four hours’ worth.
What else is on the agenda?
Three taxi items are on the agenda today. Items 15 and 16 grant new permits to Lone Star Cab and Yellow Cab (second readings, meaning one more final vote is required). Item 21 calls for the creation of new cab performance metrics, with an eye towards improving service by wheelchair-accessible cabs.
Item sponsor Chris Riley says the resolution would “begin focusing on the basic measure of wait times for people in wheelchairs – when someone calls any one of the cab companies and asks for a wheelchair accessible cab, how does their wait time compare with the average wait time for other folks? That really should be key. Right now we look at things like, ‘how many hours each wheelchair accessible cab is in operation on the city roads, how many people did it carry’ – all sorts of things that don’t really get to the bottom line of providing good service to people in wheelchairs.”
Longer term, Riley says he hopes the new metrics can help improve cab service overall in Austin.
Development fees are up for an increase, with the extra revenues earmarked for hiring new staff (Items 7 & 8). If approved, some fees could go up by as much as 25 percent. With that money, 11 new positions would be added to the Planning and Development Review department, and three new inspection positions added to the Fire Department, in order to shorten permitting response times.
Returning to the zoning agenda is the J.W. Marriott convention center hotel (Item 46), planned at Second Street and Congress Avenue. The plot is up for rezoning, as the hotelier wants to reduce the number of truck loading docks in the structure.
The council meeting begins at 10 a.m.; as always, you can watch the meeting online.