BG Note | News - What We're Reading (July 28, 2017)

House approves tree removal bill, breaking from Abbott and Senate (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

"The Texas House added a potential wrinkle to Gov. Greg Abbott's special session agenda on Thursday, giving early approval to a bill that would allow property owners to plant new trees to offset municipal fees for tree removal on their land. The initial 132-11 vote on House Bill 7, a compromise between builder groups and conservationists, is a replica of legislation from this spring's regular legislative session that Abbott ultimately vetoed, saying the bill did not go far enough. His preference: barring cities altogether from regulating what residential homeowners do with trees on their property. "


Link to HB 7 by Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), Relating to a tree planting credit to offset tree mitigation fees imposed by a municipality.

Lawmakers scaling back provisions in ‘hyper-grandfathering’ bill (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

"Senate Bill 12, the so-called hyper-grandfathering bill that has the potential to roll back land use codes on some properties by decades, has been lanced after lawmakers expressed concerns over how it could undermine health, fire and safety codes. The bill, one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s priorities for the special session, was one of the few that did not pass during Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s breakneck week at the Senate in which he vowed to go “20 for 20” with all of Abbott’s legislative priorities. It became mired in a Senate committee over the weekend and never made it to the floor."


Link to SB 12 by Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) Relating to limiting the applicability of municipal and county regulations affecting real property.

Will Merck IT hub anchor Central Health redevelopment? (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

"The future of the high-profile tract will be clearer this fall when officials with Central Health, the area health care nonprofit that owns the land, selects a master developer from the three groups still in the running to bring new life to the area. A selection is expected to be made in early October, according to the request for proposal documents for the project, but Central Health’s executive in charge of real estate said the decision may be delayed if the evaluation process takes longer than anticipated."


Link to the Central Health Brackenridge Campus Master Plan (PDF) 

County still wants a piece of the ‘downtown puzzle’ (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

“Concentrated investment in the ‘eastern crescent’ would serve our common goal of promoting equity, opportunity, and prosperity in a historically neglected area that could be transformative,” [Travis County] Judge Sarah Eckhardt wrote.

Austin no longer holds No. 1 spot on list of America’s best cities to live in (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

"According to WalletHub’s new list, which considered factors like affordability, economy, safety, quality of life, education and health, Austin is only the sixth best place to live in America.  The same list, which looks at the 62 biggest cities in the country, had Austin ranked as the top city in 2015."