SRCC Meeting Minutes — November 2019

Minutes
SRCC GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING  (www.srccatx.org)
Monday, November 4, 2019     7:15 PM
LIFE IN THE CITY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (formerly Grace UMC)
205 E. MONROE, AUSTIN, TEXAS

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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.   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.*   

Presenter throughout: Eric Cassady, SRCC President, president@srccatx.org, unless otherwise noted.

Eric had a family emergency, so Dan Fredine, SRCC Vice President, vicepresident@srccatx.org, called the meeting to order at 7:22 pm.  The Vice President reviewed meeting procedures and etiquette.  Kathy Tovo introduced herself to the group.

2.   Membership and voting. 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 or make motions, 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.

3.   Treasurer’s Report – see reverse of agenda. All reports available upon request to the Treasurer treasurer@srccatx.org  

Presenter: Sam Martin (Finance Secretary Chair)

The chair of the finance committee shared the treasurer’s report and shared that we are a little short of membership money this year and encouraged those present to join.

4.   Committee Chairs reports

1) Planning and Zoning–see item below; 2) Historic Preservation; 3) Finance; 4) Mobility; 5) Public Safety;  6) Parks and Environment–see item below; 7) Schools; 8) Communications; 9) Executive Committee–see item below; 10) Land Development Code Rewrite ad hoc committee –see item below

Representatives: 11) ANC*; 12) SCC*; 13) South Central Waterfront; 14) St. Edward’s; 15) S. Central Affordable CDC

Planning and Zoning—Nothing to report (will address an issue later in the meeting).

Historic Preservation—The chair of Historic preservation shared that the meeting regarding National Preservation meeting (that was scheduled for this month) will be postponed until the spring.

Finance—Nothing to report.

Mobility—The chair of Mobility said that we can find information about the Blue Line and Orange Line on the website.  There will be a meeting at the High Road on Dawson to discuss the SOCO parking study.

Public Safety—Nothing to report.  The chair shared that they are still looking for folks to patrol on the east side of I-35 and in Sherwood Oaks.

Parks and Environment—A neighbor shared that neighbors worked at the Blunn Creek Preserve and Heritage Oaks Park, collecting trash and cleaning up the parks.  Some volunteers from St. Andrews HS came to the Blunn Creek Preserve to remove invasive plants.

Schools—The Chair of Schools shared several events that are happening at Travis Heights Elementary, including Prospective Parent Tours (Nov. 8th), Community Potluck (Nov. 18th), a Fund-raising Dinner for Project-Based Learning (Nov. 19th), the Tamalada (Dec. 4th) and the Cultural Festival (Dec. ).  They also shared the changes that AISD is considering closing, and Simms, Metz, Pease, and Brooke Elementary.  There will be more meetings where they will be taking community input. For times and dates see the AISD website.

Communications—Nothing to report.  If there is anything you would like posted to the website, you can send it to communications@srccatx.org

Executive Committee—The VP for SRCC shared that our last EC meeting was held at another location (more to be shared below).  A neighbor suggested that those who are regular attendees might consider driving over there to check out the parking situation.

Land Development Code Re-Write Ad Hoc—Will be presenting later.

ANC-The Chair of ANC said that they voted on officers, and he 

St. Edwards—Shared that Zilker neighbors expressed concern over the precident set by a development proposed in our neighborhood on Sunny Lane.  The St. Ed’s police chief resigned. He was our main contact for SRCC (designated by St. Eds). We were not notified that he was leaving.  A neighbor suggested that we contact Liz Johnson, as she has had contact with neighbors. The Boudin NA questions whether changing our meetings to Tuesdays, it would conflict with Planning Commission.

South Central Waterfront—Our representative shared information about a PUD amendment for what is going to be developed at the Statesmen Property. A neighbor shared that the Statesman Site was known as industrial, as there was a printing press there.  There was a public meeting where representatives from SRCC confronted …..(Eloa, Wendy, and Paula please add/revise here).

S. Central Affordable CDC—The representative from the CDC has trouble making progress, as there have been some issues with board members and they are need in having more people to be involved.

5.   Approve minutes from the October 7, 2019 monthly general meeting (available at www.srccatx.org)

MOTION:  Claudette Lowe, Vickie Moerbe  to approve the minutes from the October 7, 2019, General Membership Meeting For: 38, Against: 0, Abstaining: 0 PASSED

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

6.  SRCC is considering changing the location for the General Membership meetings from Life in the City to Good Shepherd on the Hill (1700 Woodland). The SRCC Executive Committee held their October meeting at Good Shepherd. This issue was discussed at the October General Membership meeting and feedback was positive. Discussion with and input from the membership is being solicited. 

Presenter: Eric Cassady

The October EC meeting was held at the Good Shepherd on the Hill.  At this time the EC is seeking input. One reason we are looking at changing is the difficulty with using Life in the City earlier, because they have another meeting before ours.  That means that we have to hold the Potluck on a night other than our typical meeting night. There is a parking lot at Good Shepherd. In addition, Good Shepherd is more accessible for anyone having any mobility disability.  The space at Good Shepherd would allow for a prominent display for meetings, and the space is comfortable, with better acoustics. An issue with moving is that we would need to change our meeting nights from Mondays to Tuesdays, as they don’t have availability on Mondays.  A neighbor pointed out that Tuesdays conflict with meetings of the Planning Commission, and we need to get numbers out to the Planning Commission to have influence. The Planning Commission meets the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of the month.  It was suggested that we could meet on the 3rd Tuesday.  Everyone was encouraged to email your thoughts and questions to president@srccatx.org  In addition, there will be a poll sent out to get an idea of preferences and a vote would occur at the February meeting.

7.  8:05  The City has released the draft of the Land Development Code Rewrite on October 4th, and there was an opportunity for public comment at the Planning Commission meeting on October 26th. Serious concerns remain about the impact of the proposed changes to the SRCC neighborhood and the rest of Austin. 

Presenter: Paula Kothmann, Land Development Code Rewrite ad hoc Committee Chair, paula.kothmann@gmail.com

The Chair of the Land Development Code Re-write Ad Hoc Committee shared maps.  She shared that suggestions could be made about a particular area. See SRCC Website:  http://www.srccatx.org/proposed-zoning-changes-for-neighborhood/.  Recommendations are due by 5 pm by Wednesday, Nov. 6th, to 505 Barton Springs Road, 5th Floor.  It appears that there is a lot of density proposed on streets a few blocks in from Congress Avenue.  You can comment on other people’s lots, and help neighbors. If you look at district 6, there is less density planned there.  Many in the NA are suggesting that we suggest that density be moved to District 6, where they have more modern infrastructure.  BCNA & SRCC have asked for a meeting with the mayor and council members to talk about the infrastructure that currently exists and how much it would cost to update it.

The chair also shared that we should get more affordable housing for what exists in our neighborhood (such as on St. Edward’s University) and projects that are already proposed are already being considered (for example, the Statesman Property development).  A neighbor asked how our NA looks compared to other neighborhoods, like Hyde Park and Clarksville. Kathy Tovo shared that most of the up-zoning is slotted for District 9 which would look like re-development (rather than new development), since that is where most density already exists.  She shared that some other neighborhoods she represents are being impacted as SRCC is. The first special meeting is scheduled for the council in early December. She suggested that we consider presenting an alternative map. A neighbor asked about heritage trees and watershed. Ms. Tovo said that there were changes in the works for the heritage trees ordinance.  She also shared that the Watershed Department is looking at the maps and looking at the city as a whole rather than lot-by-lot. She pointed out that for houses not in transition zones which have been zoned SF3 is changing to 3 units with a bonus for preservation.

Dec. 9th  a special meeting for council members will be held.

8.  8:15  Earlier this year construction was being done at 504 Sunny Lane that did not follow applicable codes. At the February 2019 SRCC meeting the membership voted to ask the City to work with the owner to assess the situation and resolve the issues. The owner is now requesting variances related to increasing the impervious cover from 45% (required) to 59.5% (requested) and increasing fence heights. The issue will be coming before the Board of Adjustment in November. [VOTE EXPECTED]

Link to the Board of Adjustment Review document.

Link to February SRCC Minutes where issues with this construction were previously voted on – see item #8.

Presenter: Russell Fraser, SRCC Planning & Zoning Committee Chair, Russell_Fraser@msn.com

The Chair of Planning and Zoning shared that the developer of 504 Sunny Lane asked for 2 variances.  He shared slides showing views of the wall along Riverside. The variances are for a raised terrace (and inverted footer that overhangs Riverside) and walls (or fence) along the north side of the property.  (Russel shared variances and motions.)

MOTION:  Russell Fraser/Elloa Matthews  We, the South River City Citizens Neighborhood Association, oppose both pending variance requests (excerpted below) for 504 Sunny Lane, City of Austin (Case C15-2019-0045) for the following reason:  The requested variances should have been submitted prior to construction, and granting them, we feel, sets an unacceptable precedent for the increased construction that we have seen in our neighborhood, and which construction we anticipate will only accelerate in the future. 

25-2-492: Maximum Allowable impervious coverage for SF-3 lots is 45%.  

o   Requested variance is to allow impervious cover to reach 60%.

25-2-899: Fences as accessory uses–Section (E) Limiting solid fence height to 6′ without written consent from adjacent property owner.

o   Requested variance is 7’2″ North side of property (City of Austin neighbor), 7’2″ along east and west property lines.

For:  40, Against: 0, Abstaining: 2 PASSED

NEW BUSINESS 

9.   The National Weather Service has completed a historical rainfall study, called Atlas 14. This study shows that Central Texas is more likely to experience larger storms and resulting flooding than previously thought. A change to City code is proposed to protect the public from flooding; an interim 100-year floodplain will be based on the current 500-year floodplain. 

Link to the City’s Atlas14 website.

Presenter: Kevin Shunk, City of Austin Watershed Protection Division Manager, Kevin.Shunk@austintexas.gov (15 min + 5 min Q&A)

Mr. Shunk shared that the understanding of flood risk in Austin has changed, due to a new study.  This means that more people in Austin are at flood risk. Atx flood pro.com input your address, school, etc. and find out what the 100 year flood plain looked like based on the old data and the new data.  He suggested we use the 500 year flood plain maps instead of the old 100 year flood plain map, and the 100 year flood plain map instead of the old 25 year flood plain map. He shared other recommendations the staff is proposing about redevelopment of property, rules for infrastructure to deal with storm water, and flood risk evaluation city-wide.

A neighbor clarified that this information relates only to flooding that occurs along creeks and rivers, and not those who are flooded by water coming downhill from parking lots and new developments nearby.  Another neighbor asked about parking garages that are being built below level within a flood zone. Other questions: is the new Land Code taking this information into consideration? The answer was that the flood plain regulations supercede any other codes.  There was discussion about fencing (hogwire fencing is suggested) and infrastructure that is already having difficulty handling storms (in older neighborhoods). View slideshow  from presentation.

10.  8:45 Although fireworks are illegal in Austin, there is a city process that allows commercial displays to be permitted. Past displays have created problems for residents and their pets, and there is inherent danger of fire. It is being proposed that we ask the City to strengthen the permitting process to better protect the public.  There is not any expectation that civic displays for community events on appropriate public property (like the Fourth of July celebration at Auditorium Shores) would be affected. It is proposed that we request that the City considers the need for safety for neighborhood residents, public input to the permit process, mandatory notification in the area to be affected, sound-level control, and cost control for these commercial events.  [VOTE EXPECTED]

Link to City Auditor’s Wildfire Report. 

Link to Burn Ban Ordinance.

Presenter: David Swann, SRCC Member, expfc@att.net

Mr. Swann is of the opinion is that the public is not protected.  One of his neighbors had a commercial fireworks display was held during a burn ban.  Our insurance prices are affected by fires. Losses to property are allowed as a loss on our income taxes only.  He would like SRCC to write a letter bring this public safety issue to the City’s attention. (He shared a copy of the letter he has sent) He would like the letter to ask the city to review the fireworks ordinance. A neighbor suggested that this concern be presented to the Public Safety Commission because his opinion is that they might have more weight with the City.  Assistant chiefs of the police and fire departments are represented at each Public Safety Commission Meeting.

MOTION:  David Swann/David Karoly That SRCC writes a letter requesting that the City review the Fireworks permitting process. (This would include the City Council and Fire Department, Public Safety Commission and State Fire Marshall.)

For: 35, Opposed: 2, Abstentions: 2 PASSED

8:55   GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! We need volunteers for open positions including 
    • CO-VICE PRESIDENT
    • OUTREACH COMMITTEE MEMBERS/CHAIR
  • SRCC has restarted the NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH program, and is looking for participants. Anyone interested should contact Tom Groce, SRCC Public Safety Chair at tgroce71@gmail.com to get involved! 
  • Twin Oaks Library would like everyone to know there is a fun crafty event happing Nov. 9th at noon.  Events at the library are a great way to meet neighbors.
  • Greater South River City Neighborhood Planning Contact Team members are stewards of our 2005 Neighborhood Plan. To join or for information, visit this page: 
  • http://www.srccatx.org/about/greater-south-river-city-neighborhood-plan/  Contact Terry Franz if interested: tmfranz@airmail.net

*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; PUD: Planned Unit Development; SCC: South Central Coalition of NAs

Agenda Prepared by Dan Fredine, vicepresident@srccatx.org 

Agenda subject to change. Please check www.srccatx.org for most updated version.

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