Austin City Council: What to look for on Thursday's agenda

The Austin City Council will meet for its first regular public meeting on Thursday. The council features two new members, District 6's Jimmy Flannigan and District 10's Alison Alter.

The Austin City Council will meet for its first regular public meeting on Thursday. The council features two new members, District 6's Jimmy Flannigan and District 10's Alison Alter.

The second edition of the 11-member Austin City Council holds its first regular official meeting of the year Thursday. The meeting will be the first for District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan and District 10 Council Member Alison Alter.

Here are some of the key agenda items anticipated to be discussed Thursday:

Item 19: Approval of an ordinance to establish the Red River Cultural District Extended Hours Pilot Program

The pilot program would extend the district's outdoor live music curfew from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. Here’s a story we wrote on the program back in December.

Item 21: Authorization of consent to partition, partial assignment and assumption of lease agreement between The Austin Symphony Orchestra Society and Waller Creek Conservancy, relating to an existing long-term lease on Symphony Square, located at 1101 Red River

The Urban Renewal Agency of the City of Austin and the Austin Symphony Orchestra Society have an existing 50-year lease for Symphony Square. The authorization would split Symphony Square into two leases, half remaining with the Austin Symphony Orchestra Society, with the remaining half going to the Waller Creek Conservancy.

Item 34: Approve ordinance to authorize advanced funding agreement with TxDOT for installation of pedestrian safety devices citywide.

If approved, the city will receive a $1.9 million grant from TxDOT to install three types of pedestrian safety devices throughout the city: pedestrian countdown times, pedestrian hybrid beacons and accessible pedestrian signals.

Item 35: Authorize negotiation and execution of interlocal agreement with CapMetro to establish a public plaza and permanent downtown rail station on Fourth Street (between Red River and Trinity streets) and establish two-way traffic on Fifth Street between I-35 and Brazos Street

This item has been postponed since the fall. TxDOT has provided $50 million grant for the rail station and purchase of four rail vehicles.

Item 38: Resolution to slow demolition of affordable units

Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo’s championed resolution that acknowledges the recent and growing trend in the demolition of affordable housing units and directs the city manager to begin collecting detailed information on demolition permit applications.

Item 40: Resolution related to the economic viability if Austin’s music and creative industries

Sponsored by Mayor Steve Adler, the resolution directs the city manager to implement staff’s recommendations to create an entertainment services group, provide transitional funding for artist space needs and implement a revenue development program and platform.

Item 42: Resolution to terminate curbside textile collection contract

As part of the city’s 0 Waste by 2040 goal, Austin Resource Recovery negotiated a contract for a curbside textile pickup pilot program but failed to host stakeholder meetings. Turns out organizations that would have received the textiles believe they would be negatively impacted, so the council is asking the City Manager to terminate the contract.

Item 44: Resolution to implement pilot program for selected libraries to host General Citizen Communication during council meetings via videoconferencing

Here’s a story we wrote on the pilot program last month. The resolution calls for videoconferencing to be offered at the Ruiz Branch, the Manchaca Road Branch and the Spicewood Springs Branch by Mar. 2. By May 4, the resolution calls for the program to be extended to the Carver Branch, Little Walnut Creek Branch, Yarborough Branch and the Hampton at Oak Hill Branch.

Item 46: Resolution to remove the supermajority requirement from the Historic Landmark Commission to recommend historic zoning of a property over protest of an owner

Currently, if a property owner objects to historic zoning of their property, the HLC must conjure up two-thirds majority–or eight of 11 votes–to initiate historic zoning. There have been attendance issues at the HLC, which have resulted in the failure of ability to initiate the zoning, resulting in the failure to block the release of a demolition permit. Mayor Pro Tem Tovo sponsored the resolution.

Item 50: Approve Parkland Events Task Force Final Report

Here's a story we wrote on the task force's report last month. During Tuesday’s work session, Alter said she would make a motion to begin work on the more immediate aspects of the report, which recommends the city begin renovating East Austin parks so they can serve as adequate event spaces. Adler advised exercising caution in pushing forward with anything more than an approval of the report.