AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, Austin City Council will decide whether to open up conversations on permitting more buildings along major highways, a $135 million sticker price for airport improvements and greenlight affordable housing bond use.
Here are all the items we’re tracking at Austin City Hall Thursday.
Changing requirements for special event permits: Approved
Council approved offering prioritization for special events based on the number of years it’s been held within the city. Instead of offering priority on a first-come, first-served basis, the change will allow special events that have “historically been held on the same date for the greatest number of years” to have top priority.
The item will also lead to some alterations to sound equipment uses and requirements.
Approving city use of affordable housing bonds: Approved
The City of Austin will issue $350 million in public improvement bonds for affordable housing expenditures, following voter approval of the bond initiative in the November election. A second vote saw the council approve increasing the city’s Housing and Planning Department Capital Budget by the same amount.
Thursday’s votes on the bond are a procedural step the city needs to take to officially amend the budget and reflect the bond amount.
$135 million for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport terminal upgrades: Approved
Austin City Council voted to approve a construction contract adjustment with Hensel Phelps Construction Co. for work as part of the Barbara Jordan Terminal Optimization project at AUS. The contract, initially awarded at $46 million, is proposed to increase to $135 million.
The project will include enhanced Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints, new outbound baggage handling system and a westside terminal expansion, among others.
Prior to voting, Council Member José “Chito” Vela asked for clarification on worker safety and wage protections with the project. Those include:
- Compliance with the city’s living wage of $20 an hour
- Free personal protective equipment for all workers
- Requiring 10-hour OSHA-approved construction safety classes for workers, as well as 30 hours of OSHA-approved construction worker safety training for all project supervisors
- Standard benefits requirements, including workers’ compensation coverage for all workers on site
- Workers’ development skills training
- Signage available in both English and Spanish on site
Improved safety standards, management of e-scooters
Some proposed changes on the table for micro-mobility users include:
- Taking a picture to provide proof of proper e-scooter parking along sidewalks, in designated parking zones
- Requiring e-scooters not be parked “within a 3-foot radius of public bicycle racks”
- Integrating a single-fare program with CapMetro for micro-mobility services
- Working with a maintenance company who can help with “volume reporting, relocating, impounding, and other tasks related to the mitigation of shared micro-mobility placement throughout the city”
- Launching a public education campaign to detail rider safety requirements; map of suggested routes for users; laws related to micro-mobility use; penalties for violations of city code regarding micro-mobility devices
Updates to city code for construction along major highways: Approved
Austin City Council approved setting a future public hearing date for community members to weigh in on popular development along major roadways.
“City Council supports the production of housing units across the city and eliminating barriers to the creation of income-restricted units under established City density bonus programs and prioritizes use of the right zoning for the intended purpose to reduce the unnecessary placement of industrial zoning in historically disadvantaged areas,” council documents read in part.
Possible projects included in Williamson County’s November bond election: Approved
Projects the city is looking to add to Williamson County’s November transportation and parks bond election include:
- Red Line Trail between Brushy Creek Trail to the south side of State Highway 45 (preliminary engineering report): would tie into the Brushy Creek Regional Trail and offer an off-street connection from the existing Brushy Creek Trail to SH 45
- McNeil Road shared-use path: project would add a shared-use path on the north side of McNeil Road between San Felipe Boulevard and Corpus Christi Drive for both the sidewalk/ADA path and westbound bicycle facility
- Safe Routes to Schools improvements for Elsa England Elementary, Pearson Ranch Middle School would do the following:
- Convert existing painted bike lanes into protected bike lanes along Neenah Avenue from Iveans Way to the school driveway
- Convert existing painted bike lanes into protected bike lanes along Pearson Ranch Road from Avery Ranch Boulevard to Neenah Avenue
- Install a flex post protection intersection at Neenah Avenue and Pearson Ranch Road