SRCC General Membership Meeting Minutes 5/4/15

SRCC GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
Monday, May 4, 2015 7:15 PM
GRACE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
205 E. MONROE, AUSTIN, TEXAS

AGENDA
To be sure you get a vote, become a member. You can join or renew online www.srccatx.org. Not sure if you are current? Email membership@srccatx.org and we’ll let you know.

CALL TO ORDER/APPROVAL OF MINUTES
1. 7:15 Meeting procedures, etiquette, welcome newcomers. Verification of quorum. Reminder: state your name when presenting or seconding a motion. If an acronym is stated during the meeting and you don’t know what it means, please feel free to raise your hand and ask (see also footnote*).
Presenter throughout: Sounthaly “Tune” Outhavong, SRCC President, unless otherwise noted. (5 min)

2. 7:20 Membership and voting announcements. Pay multiple years in advance and get a discount. Single membership: 1-yr $20; 2-yr $35; 3-yr $50 / Family membership: 1-yr $35; 2-yr $65; 3-yr $95
NOTE: In order to vote, dues must be paid a month in advance, with the exception that if a former member’s dues have lapsed no more than 2 years, they may renew at the meeting and be eligible to vote. (2 min)

3. 7:22 Approve minutes from April 6, 2015, last regular monthly meeting (available at www.srccatx.org). (3 min)

MOTION: Arif Panju / Charlotte Bell – to approve the meeting minutes from April 6th, 2015 = PASSED

4. 7:25 Treasurer’s Report – see attachment to agenda distributed at the meeting; all reports are available upon request to the Treasurer.
Presenter: Nancy Byrd, Treasurer (5 min)
Please email Nancy Byrd at treasurer@srccatx.org for a copy of her report.

5. 7:30 Committee Chairs reports
1) Parks, Schools, Environment; 2) Planning & Zoning; 3) Transportation & Public Safety; 4) Norwood; 5) Historic District–item below; 8) Finance; status of projects funded by SRCC; 9) ANC*; 10) Communications (10 min)
Manuel Jimenez was present to talk about restarting a patrol through the neighborhood by Constables. Maria Conchola will not be seeking re-election and is endorsing Manuel as her replacement. You can contact Manuel with questions at manuel.jimenez@co.travis.tx.us
ANC – ANC General Meeting Highlights – April 22nd, 2015
Sabino Pio Renteria, Councilmember for District 3 spoke at this month’s general meeting. (some SRCC members are within District 3) He said affordability is the key issue for constituents in his district. This extends beyond taxes to the transportation difficulties some residents have in getting to jobs in other parts of Austin. The problem is particularly acute for renters in his district. He believes we need to bring more 2 to 3 bedroom housing as part of denser development as well as tax credits for low-income buyers.

Professor Thom Hardy from Teas State spoke about data modeling in support of comprehensive planning. His team pulled together spacially consistent data across land use, soil, topography, agriculture etc. in the Upper San Marcos Water Shed. They took aerial photographs and digitized it to delineate impervious cover and its correlation to water quality for rainfall events. The data clearly illustrates significant problems if we continue current trends in land use – and how they can be mitigated through best practices in land use and flood mitigation. San Marcos has formally adopted this data to guide their development. Austin currently does not do any modeling like this and he urged the ANC to advocate for this kind of modeling with city leadership.

Judge Sarah Eckhardt came to speak about plans for the new Travis County Courthouse next to Republic Square Park. She highlighted the growing need for civil court space and why it should be downtown (to reduce sprawl and be located near mass transit and legal offices). The main structure will be 14 floors and will have a greater set back than nearby structures to provide greater security for civil judges. It will include private office space as part of the development to help cover costs of the court building.

Matt Lewis, the new Assistant Director if the City of Austin’s Planning and Zoning Department presented. He is in charge of the Imagine Austin and CodeNext Project. He acknowledged there is still ambiguity around the language used in Imagine Austin. He welcomes more input as the details of the land use code are determined.

Laura Morrison, former Austin City Concil Member came to offer her perspective on Imagine Austin and ongoing problems in how the comprehensive plan is being interpreted. She reiterated that the vision behind Imagine Austin is greater than just the density inferred by “Compact and Connected”, but also includes other focus areas set forth in the plan such affordability, sustainability, and community health. The land development code rewrite must be oriented to all these issues.

Jeff Jack, former ANC President and Member of Land Development Advisory Committee Member presented. He stated that there still is not confirmation from City Leadership that neighborhood plans will be respected as per the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan. City staff are still working on a formal response.

Representatives from the appraisal district came to address increasing concern around tax appraisals. They are expecting a 12-15% increase in taxes this year. They discussed their limitations to granting tax relief based on state legislation around how appraisals are done.

Resolutions
1) A significantly rewritten Resolution for Clean, Affordable, Energy was introduced. The Resolution urges the City of Austin to:
Create full transparency around selection of consultant and all information related to studies of generation capacity.
Retire the Decker Creek gas-fired power plant and not approve any new fossil fuel-burning capacity.
Direct Austin City Council to direct Austin Energy to invest in renewable energy.
As per vote at the last General Meeting, SRCC will vote in favor of this resolution when it is introduced at the next ANC meeting. The current text should soon be released on their Web site.
2) A Resolution Regarding Flood Mitigation was proposed. It calls for the City to bolster flood mitigation efforst including:
Reduce variances granted for impervious cover, detention ponds and watershed restrictions.
Work with other Central Texas counties and agencies to fund and plan for abatement projects and limit inappropriate development in flood prone areas.
Use residential and commercial drainage fees to fund flood abatement projects
This resolution will be put to a vote at the next SRCC general meeting.

MOTION: Diane Presti / Jeff Kessel – for SRCC to support ANC’s resolution regarding flood mitigation = PASSED

OLD BUSINESS
6. 7:40 Executive Committee meeting votes on finance-related items
Presenters: Sounthaly Outhavong, SRCC President; Sam Martin, SRCC Finance Committee Chair (10 min)
The Finance Committee asked for a vote at the Executive Committee meeting last month regarding some of the funds allocated to various projects outlined and approved by SRCC members. One of the proposed projects is expected to be delayed until after the summer at the earliest so the money was reallocated to support the Norwood House and Heritage Oaks Park. David Todd was present with an update about the Blunn Creek Preserve trail markers which is still moving along as expected.

7. 7:50 Unveiling of official logo as voted by membership in March
Presenter: Sounthaly Outhavong, SRCC President (5 min)
In March, at our annual potluck meeting, we voted on resident submitted logo ideas and there is a winner. Thanks to Matt Lynaugh and Gloria Lee for giving us this parting gift before they move just across Congress.

NEW BUSINESS
8. 7:55 South-Central Waterfront initiative–update on progress, public talk on May 6
Presenter: Alan Holt, City of Austin Planning and Zoning Department, 512.974.2716 | alan.holt@austintexas.gov (10 min)
This 97 acres comprised of 31 private properties that spreads from Hooters to Joe’s Crab Shack is under intense pressure to be redeveloped to the tune of 1.2 billion dollars of investment under current rules. Along with input from our SRCC reps, neighbors and stakeholders, they have been working on a plan to develop this area with higher standards that include the creation of more green spaces, public spaces, ped/bike connectivity, better water quality controls and mixed use development. The current report is available online as a 67 page document and lays out a vision for cooperative development. A great example of how this can be done is already a reality in Portland, OR, and we are building on their experience and surprisingly similar conditions. Alex Krieger, an internationally renowned architect, urban designer, Harvard professor, writer and global expert on riverfront planning will be speaking on Wednesday, May 6th at 7pm at the Mexican American Cultural Center. Austin won a grant through the EPA to pay for the cost of a consultant to start this process and work hands on for the next three months to develop a green infrastructure system. There will be more public meetings in the near future so stay tuned at www.austintexas.gov/waterfront

9. 8:05 Stacy Park–plans to restore the damaged trail at the bridge between playfields and THES
Presenter: Clayton Ernst, City of Austin Watershed Protection, 512.974.9792 | clayton.ernst@austintexas.gov; Mike Kelly from Watershed Protection; Jeff Larsen from PARD (10 min)
Clayton, with Watershed Protection, showed plans for improvements to Stacy Park near the wooden bridge over the creek. Erosion issues have persisted and they are looking to resolve it by addressing the source of the runoff. The fields above the creek are very compacted so the soil will be turned and worked to become more pervious as well as adding small berms to slow the water down and give it a chance to absorb into the ground rather than rush into the creek. It was asked if some of the mowing could be reduced to allow for grass to establish themselves as well if the City can include the school in on the project. This project includes cleaning out the nearby rain gardens so that they also function better because over time they have filled with sediment. Concern was voiced about where the school kids will play during the duration of the project which can last a couple months. A large heritage pecan tree will also be protected during this process.

10. 8:15 Travis Heights Art Trail–Recap of how last year’s event went and plans for this year
Presenter: Charlotte Bell, SRCC member and Art Trail organizer, charwolf100@gmail.com, (10 min)
This year’s Travis Heights Art Trail is moving along as an official City of Austin event. THES will have a space to promote and raise money for their art program. This year Fulmore Middle School will also promote their music program but is looking for a house sponsor to host them. There will also be a literary component this year for writers to share their work. Travis High School’s culinary program is being invited to provide food to promote their program also. This event is rapidly expanding and they are always looking for more help. If you have a home you’d like to offer as a host home, please contact Charlotte. Visit www.travisheightsarttrail.org for more information.

11. 8:25 1813 Brackenridge St. demolition–possible vote
Presenters: Angela Reed, SRCC member, reed.as@gmail.com; SRCC P&Z Committee? (10 min)
Angela talked about a Late Victorian 1909 cottage on a property that was recently purchased along with the property next door and is looking to tear them both down. They met with the Landmark Commission and it was suggested that the developer talk with the SRCC about the historic designation. The location of the home contributes to the “entrance” of the neighborhood and there are also Heritage Oaks on the property. Current lot zoning is multi-family and it is located at Mary and Brackenridge. The second house is behind it on Drake making this a large lot with two homes. A notice was sent in March to the SRCC but the Planning and Zoning Committee is going to look closer at the request. May 18th is when this issue goes in front of the Landmark Commission.

MOTION: Angela Reed / Kent Anshutz – for SRCC to support preservation of the house at 1813 Brackenridge St = PASSED

12. 8:35 Bluebonnet Hills Local Historic District–request for vote
Presenters: Sounthaly Outhavong, SRCC President; Angela Reed, SRCC member, reed.as@gmail.com (10 min)
Last month through our meeting, website and newsletter we shared differing opinions on the creation of this Historic District. There are 109 homes directly affected by this LHD. After our last meeting the Planning Commission met and asked both sides to work together to resolve disagreements on the design standards and revisit support for the LHD. May 26th is the next Planning Commission meeting so she is asking for a vote on the application.

MOTION: Arif Panju / x – to request a full membership vote (versus a quorum) and require that the voters read the design standards = no second was provided

MOTION: Angela Reed / Jeff Kessel – for SRCC to support the Bluebonnet Hills LHD application = PASSED

GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
Presenter: Gretchen Otto, SRCC Vice President

NEWSLETTER SUBMISSIONS: It’s time to begin pulling together articles for our summer newsletter. If you have a story idea, please email Gretchen at vicepresident@srccatx.org. It was requested by Jean Mather that we include the Stacy Park improvements information and diagram.

BRIDGE CLOSURE: The little bridge at the end of Eastside Drive will be closed for a couple of weeks, mid-May to end of May, to install the memorial art installation approved by the City and SRCC. It is costing the project $150 a day to close the bridge so they will work as fast as they can. It is unclear but sounds as though the bridge will still be open to bike and pedestrian traffic.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! We still need a volunteer to chair our neighborhood watch program, and also someone to coordinate a 4th of July parade and/or picnic. Please email vicepresident@srccatx.org if you’d like to help organize this event.

Archiving Voting Records: If you’d like to head up an effort to go through the past meeting minutes and enter the motions and voting information into a spreadsheet for easy reference, please let me know.  secretary@srccatx.org

Account reconciliation, Profit & Loss and Balance reports available upon request from treasurer@srccatx.org
Presenter: Nancy Byrd, Treasurer

*Frequently used acronyms: ACF: Austin Community Fund; ANC: Austin Neighborhood Council; SF: Single Family zoning category; FLUM: Future Land Use Map; GSRC NPCT: Greater South River City Neighborhood Planning Contact Team, NCCD: Neighborhood Conservation Combining District

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