Travis County

Agenda Item

Close the Public Hearing in Item 1


Department:CC Agenda requestSponsors:
Category:General Government

Meeting History

Feb 5, 2019 9:00 AM Video Commissioners Court Voting Session
draft Draft

Members of the Court heard from:

Karen Thigpen, Assistant Corporations Administrator, Planning and Budget Office (PBO)

Patricia King, President, Austin Neighborhood Council

Diana Ramirez, Director, Economic Development & Strategic Investments, PBO

Julie Joe, Assistant County Attorney

Clerk's Note: The Court noted that the Public Hearing would be kept open until the Velocity Crossing Public Improvement District (PID) is created, or February 05, 2019 whichever is later.


Feb 5, 2019 9:00 AMVideo (Windows Media) MP4 VideoCommissioners CourtVoting Session

9:27 AMAction on agenda item number 3, which is our standing emergency services item. Thankfully, knock on wood, we don't have a need for the emergency services item today. We also will not be taking action on agenda item number 13 with regard to velocity crossing pid although we will be having a hearing. And we will not be taking action on agenda item number 20 with regard to grand avenue p. A. C. Way. -- parkway. Let's see. I will go -- do the first two public hearings before I do the consent motion because I do see there is at least one consent item related to the public hearing.
9:28 AMOne question before you leave no action. Do we have any backup on 29?

9:28 AMUpdate from me.
Okay. okay.
So let's go to agenda item number, receive comments regarding petition to create the velocity crossing public improvement district in precinct 4.
Move the public hearing be open.
All in favor? that public hearing is now open by unanimous vote. Good morning. How are you, ms. Thigpen?
Doing well. this item is continuing the public hearing for velocity crossing pid. I know we have at least one public communicant and I believe there was discussion to leave the hearing open until creation, I believe, was the consensus.
9:29 AMThat was the consensus. we'll be having an action item on next week's agenda. And we did receive some backup with regard to the negotiated public benefits. We received that backup from staff. And I do know that Mr. King is here to speak. I'm sorry, ms. King. My apologies. Ms. King, you are here to speak in the public hearing, come on down.
Good morning.
Good morning.
Judge Eckhardt and commissioners on the dais. My name is patricia king. Number one, i'm the 2019 austin neighborhood council president.
Oh, congratulations.
9:30 AMFor 2019.
Or condolences, depending on how you look at the obligation. [laughter]
And also i'm a 20-plus resident of del valle. So i'm here to speak about del valle. And I am here today to support the velocity crossing public improvement district, the pid. Del valle is on the brink of an economic and development boom. Infrastructure is long overdue and is welcome by the residents of del valle. However, it must be done right. So many other areas have boomed and prospered and then just fell flat. We don't want that to happen to del valle. I have taken the tour and reviewed velocity crossing's mixed use and plans involving commercial and retail space, it would mean jobs and employment. Multi-family would be residential and affordable housing as well. Education, acc is planning to come to the area. Road infrastructure, public transportation, parkland, park and bike trails. These are just a few of the amenities the pid will create. It's really called a self-contained community. I'm 72 and i've lived in all kinds of neighborhoods in houston. I did not have to leave that community unless I had to go downtown to take care of city, state, federal -- hope not federal -- business, okay? [laughter] and so that's the only time I went down there. Everything else was right there. The shopping center was there, restaurants was there, everything I needed was right there and I just loved that place because it was self-contained. This is velocity crossing plans to do with del valle and we want that and are for it 100%. Whatever you have to do, whatever you have to work out, go ahead and work it out because we are behind, del valle is behind velocity crossing's plans. We've got garfield, we've got elroy. They are going to pour money into that as well. They are going to service that, support it. That's why i'm asking to do that. Plus, i've been working -- Commissioner Gomez and I have been working with heb to get heb out there for ten-plus years now. And they want road construction. And velocity plans to provide multiple access to that grocery store. The more roads coming into heb the better they will like it and it will provide multiple access to the grocery store which is a big incentive for heb to up their time line. Anything that will increase their time line and put a store there, we are for it because we're tired of waiting. Plus, we go to bastrop to shop. And that's taking money out of travis county and putting it in bastrop county. So you are losing money. So let this go ahead, then we'll be able to keep that money in travis county and austin. Okay, so I recommend -- I do recommend that an advisory board comprised of stakeholders, community leaders and government representatives both travis and austin county -- city of austin, i'm sorry, be created to ensure that the project is done right. Thank you.
9:33 AMThank you. and, you know, one moment, ms. King, Commissioner Gomez and I had also been speaking about putting -- putting together an event for leadership in the del valle community. And perhaps we could take your suggestion with regard to an advisory board and broaden it out some so it's not just velocity pid, but good, quality development and economic development in the del valle region.
Count me in.
I am so grateful that you are here.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
9:34 AMAnyone else to provide public comment, questions or information with regard to the velocity pid?
Commissioner Shea has a --
I'm sorry, Commissioner Shea.
Yeah, I am looking through the material that staff sends and i'm not finding an answer to one question in particular, so i'm wondering if staff can provide some insight on this. I appreciate ms. King, I think it is, advocacy on behalf of del valle and I support her -- her goals there for lifting up that community. But one of the concerns I have with pids is we are giving developers the privilege to assess a fee on future inhabitants of a pid, in this case the pid bond for this project May be as much as $70 million. I think that's the upper limit. And I think we have a duty to make sure that the community is getting commensurate benefits for that kind of money. One of the requirements that we have with pids is that the developers either build affordable housing on site or they pay into a fund in lieu of. And is it deanna -- deanna, I can't see.
9:35 AMYes.
My understanding is that they are planning on putting affordable housing on site, but I can't find any more detail in the backup information that I got. Are they actually going to build it, are they going to give land to the county that's commensurate to the 10% of the value of the pid? So I presume it would be $7 million worth of land. If you can give us any more update on where the affordable housing piece in particular stands.
Go ahead. i'll let karen field it because she's on the staff for the travis county development authority and the capital economic progress corporation, which is a nonprofit that would be receiving any of the community benefit fee or holding any land under the pid structure.
9:36 AMSo in its preliminary phasing right now, it is looking like velocity crossing could go through as many as three phases in terms of bond issuance and platting and the multi-family parcels that they are considering are on the far east side of the pid, the southeast side of-the pid. And they are building it from west to east. So those parcels are likely going to be in the final phase, which means they are not going to have infrastructure, they are not going to be buildable, they are not even platted at this point. So the multi-family parcels, we wouldn't want to -- we couldn't take one right now because it's not drawn on a map yet, it's not platted, and even if we could, there's no infrastructure to it, it's not buildable, we don't want the carrying costs. Also you've got at least two bond issuance before you get to the point where that land is available. So what we've discussed with the developer is for each pid bond issuance they follow the policy and% provide the community benefit fee of the 10%. That gos into the community -- or thl economic progress corporation. We also are discussing the possibility of doing a purchase and sale agreement on one of those parcels when they are platted. With a first right of refusal. So when those parcels have access, there's roads to them and they are buildable, there's infrastructure, we can then opt to execute that purchase and sale contract with the dollars we got from their 10% fee in lieu of contribution. And then we also don't have the carrying costs of raw land that we can't do anything with.
9:37 AMDoes that answer --
So does that mean that we would likely not see any affordable housing benefit from this pid for how many years?
9:38 AMDepends on how long it takes them to go through the city's processes for platting and to build out the infrastructure. But that time line, that time horizon May not be something that we can control because they have to go through the city's planning and platting and all that.
What is their time horizon for their phasing? You said this is likely to come in a third phase, what is their rough schedule for when that might happen?
I think we're looking at probably four to six years; is that right? Four to six years to get to phase 3.
Assuming the economy stays the same.
Assuming the economy stays the same.
Are we tying up the money they would put from the pid bond sales into a requirement that we use it to potentially purchase housing for affordable housing that they might build? My only concern is I think we all know how unpredictable economic trends are, and --
9:39 AMI completely agree with you.
Tie it up and not be able to use it for affordable housing is if something were to happen there.
Commissioner, I completely agree with you, the market can shift in a moment, but the beauty of requiring the contributions up front for the first and second bond issuance is we have that cash in the coffer and if there is another project that is more pressing or that the court or board is more directive on, we have the ability to spend those funds. And the -- and we have the ability to earmark in our own -- in the capital economic progress corporation's account, right, for these dollars to hold --
Perfect. I just wanted to make sure we weren't tying our hands and obligating ourselves to spend that -- those bond proceeds on their project.
Not necessarily.
9:40 AMSo let's make sure we don't tie our hands.
The idea is to make sure% that the commissioners court has the flexibility to use these funds when they find a good project that they want to proceed with. Another thing that we've been talking about internally as we start looking at the pid policy again and this new year we're hoping over the spring and summer to start reviewing it and we've already started talking to transportation and natural resources to look at kind of the issues that impact their office. The other thing that I want to bring up to commissioners court is perhaps as we start looking at getting community benefit fee from bond issuances on some of the others that are going to issue bonds earlier than velocity crossing is to see if the court would be interested in providing matching funds to whatever the developer puts into the kitty from one time end of year budget that's left, and it would happen through a budget request every year so it would be retrospect I have, we would get the developer funds in first. Then we would know how much we have in the kitty and then come in with a budget request as the commissioners court for one-time fund to go match the developer funds in the economic progress corporation and we would have more money for affordable housing for possibly bigger impact in that arena. And it would go through the budget process. So if a particular year it isn't feasible to match it, then the commissioners court can choose not to. But I think that that might be a way to make those dollars go further if we can find a way to use one-time money through every budget cycle.
9:41 AMThat would certainly double the impact we could have on the community for sure. It would also make sure that we not only have the freedom to spend the dollars we would be getting from something like the velocity crossing pid while having the first right of refusal on a parcel becaus we would know we would have enough cash in the kitty to take take down the parcel when that time is right. And I should also mention that the affordable housing policy committee is working on policy as well directly related to the community benefit fund.
9:42 AMOkay. I just want to make sure that we -- we would not put ourselves at a disadvantage and either be unable to spend the money or be obligated to purchase some portion of the development at some, you know, future date that May not arrive, but it sounds like you are making good plans and keeping the county in as good a position as possible.
We appreciate that -- where we don't get affordable housing which is what travis county needs a lot of. And we want to be a partner with others who want to do pids, but travis county has got to get something out of this. And that is affordable housing for our folks.
9:43 AMWell, and having the cash in hand from the 10% fee in lieu of allows us to be more proactive. To address that need.
Thank you.
A work session to talk about tools we could use and opportunities that we can take advantage of. I know as we talk about the fair housing assessment and some properties being classified as low opportunity, others being classified as high opportunity, maybe we could develop a strategy because there are some recommendations now where we have private investors that want to put capital, but it is considered low opportunity. And, you know, the question becomes if we don't take that type of investment, then we push families further out. So if we're going to push families further out, maybe we could take a tool like this and buy property and maybe sit on it until it becomes more feasible to build in those areas. But i'd like to have a robust strategy so that we can acquire property until it's practical to develop it.
9:44 AMThese are great suggestions and that is exactly in the wheelhouse of what these two women and so many of the rest of staff have been being looking at. The public improvement districts are not for your common garden voter developer. They are for developers to go above and beyond what the state sets in saying yes to development permits in travis county. By finding those developers who are willing to do those kind of public infrastructure projects that they are not required to do by the state, we create the elements of those higher opportunity areas. So right now we have low opportunity area in much of del valle because of transportation infrastructure, water, wastewater infrastructure, transit available, the lack of grocery store, and these are the kinds of things in addition to affordable housing which we are looking to developers who are willing to help us seed. I've said this before and it's of probably political stupidity to say it, but the market naturally produces some affordable housing in del valle, it's not very high quality and does not have high opportunities associated with it like water, wastewater, roads, transit stops, grocery stores. And so I 100% agree with the commissioners court in our zeal to create affordable housing, but we want it to be in fertile ground as well.
9:45 AMIf I could follow up with one comment, you are absolutely right, this one project because you are talking about bringing an heb, some of the office space designated as medical office space whereas residnts in del valle are driving quite a ways to get to a doctor point right now. You are talking about beefing up the road system and the connectivity and providing infrastructure that is going to facilitate an acc going in there. Those things are catalytic to this community and go a long way toward changing the opportunity as you are discussing. These are discussions that staff has been having for quite some time and we are planning a work session, but we are waiting until we get a comprehensive housing market study in august because that is going to give you the goals that you so very much want to be able to see and it will be done by zip code and will include all of southeast travis county and all of the county.
9:46 AMI think travis county has underutilized properties that perhaps it could make available for some of this affordable housing as well.
9:47 AMAnd thank you very much for the airport boulevard property, which is one of those unit utilized properties, and we have a couple more within the city limits in austin in precinct 4.
Staff are working on all of this with the other departments that also have very central roles, for example on the fair housing analysis, affordable housing, that's christie moffett and the affordable housing policy committee, we have a couple of staff people who serve on that committee. So they bring all the information from corporations and the knowledge from economic development and pids into that process also. But on that one we are definitely taking christie's lead and she has a very good calendar of actions that they are taking at the staff level and when they will come back to court. But I think august 2019 is the big date for that committee and that report, and in the meanwhile we're still putting together and reviewing different ideas and policies and strategies. But christie is on top of that all the way.
9:48 AMAnd she should be bringing an update to the court in february.
So when we do it, when we pull everything together in august and actually get the comprehensive report, I would like to put a community education 101 together and to use the quality of life apparatus at the city to work with our chambers of commerce and to work with some of our church organization that have cd cs so that we can talk to them about what the strategy is, what the goals are and how community can be involved in that. So those institutions can be informed.
Your point is well taken. I will say the comprehensive market study, and I do not want to speak for christie, i'm not an expert in cdbg, but I know it's part of the larger work of the consolidated plan and analysis of impediments and they May already be talking to those folks or inviting them to these meetings to have that dialogue.
9:49 AMLet's look at it and be sure because these are often groups that aren't included. And I think that we can go a long way towards community education. And it's not just recent, not trying to cast aspersions, this is historical. Just haven't been included.
That would be so helpful to also bring in the community development corporations.
Yes. and we will help. We won't just ask you to do it, we will help. We have a list, you know, we can develop the precinct 1 list, we can work to develop the precinct 4 or other lists, but got a method to the madness and an outreach list for you.
9:50 AMAnd staff are working with i. T. S. I. T. S. Has been very helpful with us. Staff have gone with justice planning, tnr, hhs, all the different staff people that have -- that participate with community engagement and try to get community input, and we're putting together -- i. T. S. Is putting together a data base, a contact data base basically that every time we have event we can go and see who all has been invited that the countyist hosting for different purposes, so that we all know who has been touched and how many times as far as what meetings have come to, public hearings have attended or spoken at, that way we know who we are missing. Right now it's hit or miss and so we're really excited that that work has been started with i. T. S. And they've been very forthcoming with us and helpful in getting this data base started. We think it would be very helpful.
9:51 AM[inaudible] on that list, just so you know. I'm very excited about this work. As you say, Commissioner Travillion, to bring a methodology to this is so important. Commissioner Gomez, looking at our properties, I was very grateful to staff tore doing an analysis of all the properties we own that could be ripe for redevelopment, co-locating affordable housing and county services in areas where the market isn't producing affordable housing. Very important that we hold some property in some key areas.
There's one thing that we discussed in one of our committees on affordability last weekend and I wanted to make sure the information got back to you. There are a number of properties that the school district owns, some of them will be redirected -- some of the buildings, and they were looking for opportunities to partner with us to build affordable housing, particularly for teachers and for community folks. So if that's something that we can look into as well, there might be sites inside the city that target teachers and low-to-moderate income communities.
9:52 AMWe have had one meeting with school district staff about this and we've been thinking it's time to circle back again and we were just trying to get some dominoes to fall on other projects before we started really focusing on new projects.
And I would also say that corporations -- [multiple voices]
Over there at aisd helping them on those properties. Very nice relationship.
Especially around schools that are closing. And we know there's room around there for some affordable housing.
9:53 AMRight, for families especially so then they can have the right number of --
Julie, are you about to say we've run too far afield of the agenda posting?
[no microphone on].
Thank you. do we have --
One more. the notes will be at the regional affordability committee, the regional affordability.
Okay. anybody else here on the public hearing with regard to velocity crossing pid? We'll leave it open.
Do you want to leave this open again?
We're leaving it open for another week and will take action on the creation of the velocity pid next week. The creation of the pid is not the end of negotiation with regard to the public benefits that the county will expect to see as -- in exchange for making this capital available.
Motion to close the public hearing?

9:54 AMSorry, we're leaving it open so never mind. Let's go to our public hearing for agenda item number 2. 2 is receive comments regarding a request to authorize filing of an instrument to vacate a public utility easement located along the common lot lines of lots 38 and 39, lake austin village, a subdivision in precinct 2.
Move the public hearing be open.
All in favor? that passes unanimously. Good morning, ms. Bowlin.
Good morning, anna bowlin, travis county tnr. The purpose behind this request to vacate this public utility easement is so that the owner can build across the common lot lines and not encroach into an easement. I know of no objections. This meets our requirements and we recommend this item.
Is there anyone in the public who would like to give comment, ask questions or have information to bring on this public hearing?
Move the public hearing be closed.