AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here’s what we’re watching at the Austin City Council meeting Thursday.
Jet fuel facility moves forward
Councilmembers voted against a resolution that would ask airport leaders to find at least three other potential locations for the jet fuel facility and restart the environmental approval process. This would’ve delayed the project, but now it’s moving ahead.
The new jet fuel storage facility for the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport was approved by city council in 2018.
Councilmember Vanessa Fuentes, who represents the area where the airport is located, brought forward the resolution to delay the project after constituents in her district expressed concerns over potential environmental impacts and the facility’s proximity to residential homes.
Construction of the new facility was supposed to start this spring, but further delays would have backlogged the project’s construction timeline by two and a half years and cost $11.4 billion in lost payroll and output revenues.
The much-anticipated redevelopment of the former site of the Austin American-Statesman will be put to a vote by city council on Thursday.
The proposed plan for the 19 acres surrounding the old newspaper headquarters is expected to bring high-rises, hotels and residential units to the south shore of Lady Bird Lake.
District 4 councilmember Jose ‘Chito’ Vela believes this project could help fund more temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness.
Under the current agreement, the developer must include affordable housing units.
Vela has instead proposed the city allow the developer to “cash out” of the requirement by paying a fee.
That fee would then be funneled to the city’s HEAL initiative for homeless housing solutions.
Electric Line upgrade project: Approved
The Austin City Council approved a resolution authorizing eminent domain proceedings for a large electric line upgrade project.
This converts the private property in north Austin into public property use for Austin Energy.
To address rapid growth in the area, Austin Energy plans to upgrade the voltage capacity of its transmission lines, which would improve overall efficiency and ultimately lower costs for customers.
The four-mile-long, 811-transmission circuit upgrade starts at the Justin Lane Substation on North Lamar Boulevard and proceeds north along Lamar crossing at Wagon Trail.
Discussion of land use lawsuit: Withdrawn
One item on Thursday’s council agenda (56) would have discussed legal issues brought about by an ongoing lawsuit that has cost the city over $120,000 thus far.
The suit was filed in late 2019 after city council hired an outside firm to litigate a new land-use proposal.
This would have rezoned many sections of the city while denying property owners the right to protest.
The lawsuit, Acuña et al v. City of Austin et al, involves more than a dozen plaintiffs who have already won a district court decision.