REAL ESTATE COUNCILS OF TEXAS HOLD LOBBY DAY
On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, members from the Real Estate Councils of Texas (RECsTX), a statewide coalition formed to advocate on issues that are important to the commercial real estate industry, descended on the Capitol building to visit legislators from each of the cities represented in the coalition. The other real estate councils joining the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) in the coalition are: The Real Estate Council in Dallas, the Greater Fort Worth Real Estate Council, the Houston Real Estate Council, Houstonians for Responsible Growth, and the Real Estate Council of San Antonio. The coalition was formed on September 23, 2008.
The RECsTX were recognized in the Senate by Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin – SR 317) and in the House by Representative Dan Branch (R-Dallas – HR 510.) RECA members visited each office in the Central Texas delegation and left materials outlining RECA’s 2011 Legislative Program.
You may go to the “Insider Edition” of RECA’s web site and click on the “Legislative Update” link and then the “Bill Tracking” link to review bills being tracked this session and for other legislative news as it develops. Contact RECA if you have misplaced your user name and password to the Insider Edition.
RECA SETS DATE FOR AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE FORUM
Voters will be selecting Austin City Council Places 1, 3, and 4 members when they go to the polls on Saturday, May 14, 2011. The filing deadline for these positions is Monday, March 14, 2011.
Watch future editions of the Hot Sheet for a complete listing of candidates running for these seats. Place 1 is current Council Member Chris Riley’s seat; Place 3 is current Council Member Randi Shade’s seat; and Place 4 is current Council Member Laura Morrison’s seat. All three incumbents are running for re-election.
With early voting from Monday, May 2, 2011 through Tuesday, May 10, 2011 in mind, RECA has scheduled a candidate forum for its members on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at the Four Seasons Hotel. The forum will be co-hosted with other real estate organizations as this year’s Power Lunch. Invitations will be e-mailed soon and registration will be taken online only.
Be sure that you can participate in the Austin City Council elections by registering to vote. If you have not already registered, you may visit the Travis County Voter Registration web site. You can also update and verify voter registration information via this website. The registration deadline is Thursday, April 14, 2011.
AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL APPROVES MUNICIPAL UTILITY DISTRICTS RESOLUTION
Austin City Council members unanimously passed a resolution addressing Municipal Utility Districts (MUD) at their meeting on Thursday, February 17, 2011. A MUD is a special district created with the City’s express consent to meet the needs of a community by funding public improvements, infrastructure, or services. In 1984, the City adopted a resolution setting out the first MUD policy.
The resolution approved by Council updates the City’s original MUD policy by requiring MUDs to confer an extraordinary benefit to the properties within the MUD and the community in general for approval. In considering whether a MUD provides extraordinary public benefits, Council will consider the following:
- Land use controls (including land plans) that otherwise would not be available in the City’s ETJ;
- Amenities that would not typically accompany a development with conventional financing;
- Connectivity with other existing City infrastructure;
- The potential for City capital improvement program funds to be redirected to other high priority needs by financing capital infrastructure with alternative MUD financing and by the application of post-annexation surcharges;
- School and public safety sites, and transportation infrastructure, sufficient to meet development needs; and
- A MUD organizational structure, and policies and procedures, that promote timely dissolution of the MUD and which fully meets the basic requirements for the City for creation of a MUD.
The resolution also outlines the following general criteria for the City to consider in the creation of a MUD:
- The MUD must demonstrate that the City would benefit more from creation of a MUD than from use of the standard City development process or other types of districts.
- The City’s objective in creating the MUD should be to promote superior development, with attention to the Comprehensive Plan.
- The City’s basic requirements for creation of a MUD should be that: All developments supported by a MUD must comply with the City’s Planned Unit Development (PUD) Green Building Program, regardless of whether the development receives PUD zoning;
- The development supported by the MUD provides extraordinary public benefits (such as extension or enhancement of infrastructure, affordable housing, environmental improvement, public transportation facilities, and open space); it is in the City’s preferred growth area (currently designated as the “Desired Development Zone”); and it is accompanied by consent and other applicable agreements;
- The development that it supports meets or exceeds the intent of the development standards of the City Code; it is financially self-sustaining and its ad valorem tax rate will approximate or be greater than the City’s rate; and it will use City design criteria for water, wastewater, drainage, and public safety infrastructure;
- It will be created only if City water, wastewater, and reclaimed water retail service is provided;
- It will require the developer(s) to contribute a portion of infrastructure without reimbursement by the MUD or the City;
- It will not impair the City’s future annexation of the MUD or adjacent property, or impose costs not mutually agreed upon; and
- It must be located entirely within the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
For more information on the new MUD policy, visit the City’s web site.
AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL ADJUSTS WALLER CREEK FUNDING
On Thursday, February 17, 2011, Austin City Council members approved an amendment to the Waller Creek Tax Increment (TIF) Reinvestment Zone that is being used to finance the Waller Creek Tunnel Project.
On June 21, 2007, the Austin City Council approved an ordinance creating the TIF to finance the construction of flood control improvements, including a tunnel, along lower Waller Creek. The purpose of the project is to provide 100-year storm event flood protection with no out-of-bank or roadway flooding for the lower Waller Creek watershed. The reduction in floodplain area resulting from the project will significantly increase the amount of developable land area in the lower Waller Creek watershed. The project is slated for completion in 2014.
Among the items to be updated with the TIF amendment are as follows:
- Current project design (identifying changes from the preliminary plans during the final design process);
- Waller Creek Master Plan recommendations (and other proposed changes to the City’s Comprehensive Plan, zoning ordinances, and building codes);
- Updated project cost estimates; and
- The most recent estimates of underlying funding sources that are anticipated to pay for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the tunnel.
The TIF amendment also includes a new funding source through an increased drainage fee on Austinites’ monthly utility bills, starting in 2015. Per the TIF amendment, the typical resident will pay about 40 cents a month more. This new fee will generate about $55 million during a period of 13 years help to finance the Waller Creek Tunnel Project.
For more information on the project, visit RECA’s web page.
KLRU CIVIC SUMMIT WITH MAYOR LEFFINGWELL
On Monday, February 28, 2011, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell will team up with Austin PBS affiliate KLRU to present the next in an ongoing series of community discussion forums.
This event called “Planning The Future” will focus on critical issues surrounding Austin’s ongoing transition into a major American city and will feature a panel discussion among former mayors of Texas’ largest cities. Confirmed panelists include former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros; former Houston Mayor Bill White; former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller; and former Austin Mayor and current State Senator Kirk Watson.
The event will be held in KLRU Studio 6A (the old Austin City Limits studio) and will be taped for subsequent broadcast on KLRU and Austin’s Channel 6. Studio 6A is located on the sixth floor of the Communications Building on the University of Texas campus. The discussion will be moderated by Jim Walker, Director of Sustainability at the University of Texas.
PLAN TO PARTICIPATE IN THE EAST RIVERSIDE CORRIDOR MASTER PLAN
The City of Austin needs your help to bring the East Riverside Corridor Master Plan vision to life. This plan envisions the future of the East Riverside Corridor from I-35 to US Highway 71 as a diverse, walkable, transit-oriented, and vibrant area with a variety of housing options.
The City is creating zoning and design regulations that will become new rules to guide public and private development projects in the East Riverside Corridor. Please participate in the following meeting to help shape the elements of these new regulations:
East Riverside Corridor Master Plan Public Workshop
Thursday, March 10, 2011 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Parker Lane United Methodist Church, 2105 Parker Lane
TRAVIS COUNTY CITIZENS BOND COMMITTEE APPROVED
The Travis County Commissioners are considering calling a bond election in November 2011. Toward that end, they have elected to form a 15-member Citizens Bond Advisory Committee consisting of three appointments from each Court member. They approved the following Citizens Bond Advisory Committee at their Tuesday, February 22, 2011 meeting.
County Judge Sam Biscoe’s appointees:
Commissioner Ron Davis’ appointees:
Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt’s appointees:
Commissioner Karen Huber’s appointees:
Mark Taylor Evert
Commissioner Margaret Gomez’s appointees:
Rosa Rios Valdez
The Citizens Bond Advisory Committee will elect its own chair and develop its own operating procedures within the guidance of this charter. The committee’s primary function will be to advise the Travis County Commissioners Court on the appropriateness of a bond referendum, the overall scope of a potential bond package, and a prioritized list of projects. That list will include improvements to county roads and bridges, parks, open space, storm water drainage, and pedestrian and bicycle facilities. The list of projects will also prioritize new facilities projects including a new civil courthouse, a medical examiners facility, new county office space, and parking.
The Citizens Bond Advisory Committee will provide a forum for public input on the potential bond referendum and all meetings are open to the public.
For more information about the bond package, visit RECA’s web page.
TEXAS TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION LOWERS TOLLS FOR MULTI-AXLE TRUCKS ON STATE HIGHWAY 130 AND STATE HIGHWAY 45 SOUTHEAST
The Texas Transportation Commission approved new toll rates for trucks on State Highway 130 and State Highway 45 Southeast at its Thursday, February 24, 2011 meeting in Austin. The Commission approved a recommendation to lower toll rates for trucks with five or six axles by 25 percent (dropping from $28 to $21). The toll rates for two, three, and four-axle trucks will remain the same.
The reduced toll rates for trucks on these two highways are designed to incentivize truckers to use an alternative route to I-35 through downtown Austin.
State Highway 130 is a four-lane tolled highway that extends 49 miles from I-35 north of Georgetown to US Highway 183 south of the Austin-Bergstrom Airport. State Highway 45 is a 7.4-mile toll road that runs from I-35 to State Highway 130 in Travis County.
The new toll rates will go into effect on Tuesday, March 1, 2011.
SEEKING GARDNER-BETTS ART SHOW SPONSORS
The Gardner-Betts Committee is currently seeking sponsors for the Gardner-Betts Art Show and Silent Auction to be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the lobby of the San Jacinto Center, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. (Bidding closes at 6:30 p.m.)
RECA continues its partnership with the Gardner-Betts Juvenile Justice Center to fund Project Bridge, a year-long art and music enrichment program for high-risk, probationary youth who have violated the law. Project Bridge is a component of the Travis County Juvenile Probation Department’s Leadership Academy, a sentencing alternative to the Texas Youth Commission. This program allows students ages 14 to 17 a chance to express themselves in more positive ways through art and music.
Project Bridge is 100 percent supported by the funds RECA raises through sponsorships and art sales at the Art Show and Silent Auction. This year, RECA’s goal is to raise a total of $40,000 to cover the cost of the program.
Click here for a sponsorship form with levels from $150 to $2,500 and details on the benefits of each sponsorship level.
If you have any questions about the event or are interested in a sponsorship, please contact Susan Hewlitt at 512-320-4151.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS! Quality Membership Keeps RECA Strong and Effective
Denise Bodman – Realty Austin
W. Derek Darby – Hay Compere PLLC
Maggie Falvey – Realty Austin
Lori Goto – Realty Austin
Courtney Graeber – Realty Austin
Charla Housson – Realty Austin
Michelle Keahey – Realty Austin
Elle Klein – Realty Austin
Susanne Lee – Realty Austin
Chris Long – Realty Austin
Hillary Sotello – Hall Attorneys
Tracy Wallingford – Realty Austin
Monday, March 7, 2011, Regional Issues Committee Meeting at noon, RECA Office, Suite 510, San Jacinto Center, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. RSVP by replying to your meeting notice.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011, Gardner-Betts Art Show and Silent Auction Committee Meeting at noon, at the Gardner-Betts Juvenile Justice Center, 2515 South Congress Ave. Bring your lunch (drinks will be provided). RSVP by replying to your meeting notice.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011, City of Austin Policy Issues Committee Meeting at noon, RECA Office, Suite 510, San Jacinto Center, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. RSVP by replying to your meeting notice.
Monday, March 28, 2011, Membership Committee Meeting at noon, RECA Office, Suite 510, San Jacinto Center, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. RSVP by replying to your meeting notice.
Monday, March 28, 2011, Transportation Committee Meeting at 5:00 p.m., RECA Office, Suite 510, San Jacinto Center, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. RSVP by replying to your meeting notice.
CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS
Thursday, March 10, 2011, RECA Membership Lunch featuring Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe registration begins at 11:15 a.m. and lunch begins at noon at the Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. RSVP by noon on Friday, March 4, 2011. COST: RECA members-$35. Future Members-$45. Cash or check only; payable before or at the event. Sponsored by: SpawMaxwell Co.
RECA OFFICE CLOSED – Friday, April 22, 2011, the RECA office will be closed for Good Friday.
Tuesday, April 26, 2010, Power Lunch featuring a Austin City Council Candidate Forum Places 1, 3, and 4 moderated by K-EYE’s Judy Maggio and co-hosted with the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Austin Apartment Association, Austin Commercial Real Estate Society, Building Owners and Managers Association, Central Texas Commercial Association of Realtors, Certified Commercial Investment Members, Commercial Leasing Brokers Association, Commercial Real Estate Women Network, Institute of Real Estate Management, and Urban Land Institute registration begins at 11:15 a.m., lunch begins at noon, at the Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. More details to be provided later. Registration will be done online; RECA will not be taking reservations for this event. Registration Deadline: noon Thursday, April 21, 2011. Sponsored by: tba.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011, Gardner Betts Art Auction 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the lobby of San Jacinto Office Tower, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. Bidding closes at 6:30 p.m., plan to attend and shop for art!
Thursday, June 30, 2011, RECA Membership Lunch featuring Seton’s Greg Hartman re: Potential Medical School registration begins at 11:15 a.m. and lunch begins at noon at the Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. RSVP by noon, Friday, June 24, 2011. COST: RECA members-$35. Future Members-$45. Cash or check only; payable before or at the event. Sponsored by: tba
Thursday-Friday, October 6-14, 2011, Chamber Trip to China. Click here for information and a registration form. Cost: $1,999 plus round trip air fare to and from LAX.
Please consider transit for your trips downtown. For public transit options for travel to RECA committee meetings and upcoming events, go to Cap Metro’s trip planner.