Council discusses 'Texas Mall' project and vaping ban

A victory for Christie Garbe with Central Health during Thursday's Austin City Council meeting.

Council voted to expand the city's current smoke-free ordinance to include vaping.

That means no more vaping in bars, restaurants... even city parks

"We don't know what kinds of chemicals are in vape and whether or not it's safe and so we want the make sure that everybody has the right to breathe vape-free air," Garbe said.

"Initial indications are that there are health concerns there as well so we just said we'll all treat them the same way which means that there is in this city generally a prohibition against smoking inside...now covers E-cigs as well," Mayor Adler said.

Another hot topic, an interlocal agreement with the State of Texas. 

The Texas Facilities Commission is developing the north side of the State Capitol.

"It's to create in essence a Capitol mall area that runs north of the Capitol for 3 or 4 blocks all the way up to the University of Texas.  It would feel a lot like the mall in DC, I've heard comparisons," Adler said.

The state is asking Austin for some fee waivers. "It's about $6 to 7 million in fee waivers, those are waivers that were not considered part of our forecasted revenue to start off with," Adler said.

Council ended up approving the item with 2 council members abstaining and 2 voting no, including Council Member Ann Kitchen. "We're talking about $6.9 million in unrealized revenue...again which may be appropriate but we have no time for public response to let us know what they think nor do we have time ourselves to analyze that," Kitchen said.

The item approved by council today involves the $581 million Phase 1 of the project. 

The overall finished product is a $1.4 billion asset.

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