SRCC GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING (www.srccatx.org)
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 7:00 PM
Zoom Meeting via
CALL TO ORDER/COMMITTEE REPORTS/APPROVAL OF MINUTES
1. 7:00 Meeting procedures, Zoom tools, 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 see acronyms at the end of the agenda.
Presenter throughout: Cynthia Milne, SRCC President, unless otherwise noted.
The Chair called the meeting to order at 7:02. It was noted that there is a vote at the end of the agenda.
2. 7:08 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 no less than 2 days prior to the online meeting and be eligible to vote. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to renew. (2 min)
3. 7:10 Treasurer’s Report. All reports available upon request to the Treasurer @ email@example.com
Presenter: Will Andrews, Treasurer (5 min)
The treasurer’s report was shared. Most of the annual income was membership dues, some donations, and some interest. No expenses in October. Between now and the end of year we will send out donations to the 3 public schools in the SRCC area ($500 each). There was a question about an organizational expense; typically proposed expenses are included in the annual forecast which is approved by EC. Other proposals for expenditures are reviewed by the Finance Committee who will make a recommendation to the EC, who will then vote on the expenditure.
4. 7:15 Reports of Committee Chairs
1) Planning and Zoning; 2) Historic Preservation; 3) Finance; 4) Mobility; 5) Public Safety; 6) Parks and Environment; 7) Schools; 8) Communications
(15 min TOTAL)
- Planning and Zoning: There was a property line dispute near Alta Vista; a surveyor came out and resolved it. P&Z is coming up to speed on 305 S Congress (Statesman PUD), and will be meeting this Friday with the City and the developer. There are a handful of questions for the City related to how space gets calculated – open spaces, streets, parking – and these translate into the additional heights requested. A lot of questions about mobility – parking, traffic, and Blue Line questions. Also discussion about affordable housing. The developer is asking for heights over 500’ and on their renderings they show a line at about 400’ height and represent that as the height allowed by the SCW plan, but that plan/detail hasn’t yet been adopted and they are not entitled to that height.
- Historic Preservation: Nothing to report
- Finance: working on the 2022 Forecast which will be presented to the EC in December for approval.
- Mobility: Nothing to report
- Public Safety: Still doing Neighborhood Watch patrols, and soliciting additional people to perform patrols. Krimelabb.com is a good source for neighborhood crime info.
- Parks and Environment: Nothing to report
- Schools: Next week is a holiday for Thanksgiving – no school all week. Lively MS will have their Evening of Wonder – Tues Dec 7, 5:30 – 7:30 for current and future students – allows students to show what they’re doing, and share it with potential future Falcons. This will be an in-person event. THES is hopeful that they will be able to have a Spring Carnival. AISD will be offering vaccines to kids on several dates (2 doses, at least 3 weeks apart).
- Communications: Nothing to report
Reports of Ad Hoc Committees & Representatives:
9) Norwood 10) GSRC NPCT 11) EROC NPCT; 12) ANC; 13) SCC; 14) South Central Waterfront; 15) St. Edward’s; 16) S. Central Affordable CDC; 17) Land Development Code Rewrite Ad Hoc committee (10 min)
- Norwood: Nothing to report
- GSRC NPCT: Nothing to report
- EROC NPCT: Nothing to report
- ANC: Megan Spencer attended the recent ANC meeting, which was the last of the year. Suzana Almanza, founder of PODER, presented on President Biden’s order to tackle the climate crisis. Susan Fraser of TXDoT gave an overview of the I-35 project. The project is expected to start in 2024, with major construction in 2025, and will take 5-9 years to finish. Jeff Bowen provided info about smoke detectors – should have one in garage near the water heater. Take old smoke detectors to hazardous waste – do not throw them in the trash. Barbara MacArthur (ANC VP) talked about myths in Austin regarding Land Development codes. They held ANC elections.
- SCC: Dan Fredine attended the SCC meeting. The main topic was the proposal for Rewilding in Zilker Park. The concept is to mark off an area of the park, prepare the soil, then let nature take its course. This is intended to help reduce erosion, and is less costly than other options. Small grants have allowed some rewilding to be done already. The intent is that this would not preclude other uses (ACL Fest, soccer, etc.). They are looking for other neighborhoods to support the report. SRCC may want to bring David Todd in on this as well. There was also discussion about the potential addition of VMU-2 zoning (vertical mixed use), which would allow for additional height but require on-site affordable housing and adherence to compatibility standards.
- South Central Waterfront: Nothing new to report. Last meeting there was a resolution to move forward with the Statesman PUD project, subject to agreement on some conditions. No SCWAB meeting in November, this topic was removed from the Council agenda.
- St Edward’s: Nothing to report
- S. Central Affordable CDC: Nothing to report
- Land Development Code Rewrite Ad-hoc Committee: There is discussion about updating sections of the code without an entire rewrite.
5. 7:40 Approve minutes from the October 19, 2021 monthly general meeting (available at www.srccatx.org). Reminder: Schedule for General Membership meetings: 3rd Tuesday of the month, 7:00pm -8:30pm. Location: teleconference during 2021 (eventually will return to Good Shepherd on the Hill). (5 min)
Remaining meeting dates in 2021: EC Dec 7
Meeting dates in 2022: GM Jan 18 2022; EC Feb 1 2022; GM Feb 15 2022
No corrections or additions were noted – minutes were approved as published.
6. 7:45 Austin ISD: Long Range Planning
Austin ISD is beginning conversations around long-range planning which will ultimately determine which improvements and new facilities are included in the next AISD bond. They want to connect with our neighborhood to share about the process and learn more about our experiences and hopes for our schools. The buildings that house our three local schools are some of the oldest in the entire district and are due for renovation or replacement. Current and former AISD parents are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts! More information here: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/4f49e0bd4c4a4b84901a99ebf20d35ea
Presenter: Gretchen Otto; Guest: Abigail Weiss, AISD Senior Planner (45 min)
Gretchen introduced Ali Ghilarducci from AISD (Assistant Director of Community Engagement & External Communications), and mentioned that the 3 schools in the SRCC area are Travis Heights Elementary School, Lively Middle School, and Travis High School.
In September AISD kicked off their long range planning. The goal is to have conversations over the next year with the communities of all schools. This used to be called Facilities Master Planning – now looking at more than just facilities. Trying to address changing needs of students and the aging of facilities. In 2017 AISD identified over $4B of improvements; 2017 Bond Program addressed $1.05B of that and was passed, without impacting tax rates. They are about 75% complete with those bond projects.
This plan will determine which improvements go into the next bond package, hopefully in front of voters in Nov 2022. Looking at academics/CTE (career & technical education) , athletics, visual performing arts, facilities, safety/security/resiliency, transportation/food service/maintenance, technology.
Using an Equity by Design model to develop the plan, in order to serve the entire community, not just those that are able to show up to meetings. Looking to interact with people that the system has failed in the past. AISD is talking to a group first based on 3 layers: facilities in disrepair and how aligned they are with modern teaching, student demographics, and vulnerable neighborhoods. Used this to identify the first group of communities to focus on. Travis HS was one of the communities that was identified to be in this group.
The planning process is in 4 phases. Pre-planning (how to shape the engagement and what the process will look like), Kick off, Develop the PLan (wrap up by May), Bond planning. AISD developed 7 planning committees (academics/CTE, athletics, visual performing arts, facilities, safety/security/resiliency, transportation/food service/maintenance, technology); these have started meeting, but would be interested in getting more people involved in the committees.
Feedback should be submitted via the “Let’s Talk” interface: text questions and comments to (512) 856-6123, and via weblink https://www.k12insight.com/Lets-Talk/DialogueCustom.aspx?k=PR9Z88G2G5LT@WF4B4ZLT@DY9Z4Z9LT
There is a City/AISD partnership to put in sidewalks near schools. Several streets in our area don’t have sidewalks. Who would we want to talk to?
Probably the safety/security/resiliency committee; can contact Let’s Talk.
Interest in projects at the intersection of AISD and PARD (like outdoor learning). Is that something that will fit in to this program?
Should contact Let’s Talk. Because of the pandemic, encouraging outdoor spaces is becoming more of a priority.
AISD has analyzed some of the initial feedback. Issues identified include transportation, use of outdoor space.
What do we see as critical unmet needs in our area schools?
- A lot of disparity amongst schools related to fine arts performances (large theater spaces), at Lively MS there is not a performance space. At THES sometimes use gym or cafeteria, but not a specific space.
- Seems like drinkable water is an issue – multiple locations where water fountains are broken or not available. Especially in the THES kindergarten wing and the portables; the school is really spread out, so a metric of students per fountain wouldn’t really reflect well.
- Some of the portables at THES are in poor shape. (The district has a portable reduction strategy). It was stated that when portables were new, they are good spaces, but the current ones are really old.
- Concern that there was a mold issue in some of the portables – might want to introduce a program for testing for mold or air quality.
- Indoor air quality work – some of this was provided due to COVID. If this were to be addressed by the bond program, it would need to come up as priority in the discussions.
- Was an effort made to interact with families from Afghanistan, in their own language? AISD has a refugee department, and there will be an outreach to those families.
- Are there enough teachers and administrators, and are they well trained? No, there are not enough teachers. There is a program in preK through 3rd to help students that aren’t learning on grade level or are having trouble. There are programs to partner with universities to help recruit teachers. There is an issue with being able to pay enough for the cost of living and the lack of affordable housing. There is a Professional Pathways for Teachers program that helps to incentivize teachers to get certifications and get paid more. A lot of parents are concerned with teacher retention and pay. It was stated that better facilities contribute to teacher satisfaction and retention.
- Are there ways to partner with private companies to raise funds for specific initiatives at local schools? Yes, there are programs that can be an asset to the school community, provided by private companies.
- With growth and property values going up, would that result in new schools? We are seeing concentrations of population moving away from the central city due to cost of living and gentrification. When a lot of these schools were built, they were built very small and close together. Smaller schools are difficult to keep funded.
- Gifted and talented program – does AISD have real supplemental program? The district-wide model is for the teachers to differentiate, and not specific enhancement programs.
One of the main takeaways: our district has a wide range of kids from different economic backgrounds. Those from more affluent areas tend to outperform, and those from disadvantaged areas underperform.
7. 8:30 200 Academy: Area 1 Coordinator, Claudette Lowe, recommends that SRCC be represented pro bono by the attorney presently representing neighbors of 200 Academy negotiating with the proponents of this project. The attorney, Nikelle Meade, has suggested that her position will be stronger if she also represents SRCC. Please see the SRCC position page one here and page two here.
Motion: That SRCC approve pro bono representation by attorney at law Nikelle Meade in regard to the 200 Academy Project.
Presenter: Claudette Lowe, Area Coordinator Vote Expected (15 min)
During the neighborhood planning process this property was zoned as Office due to the problems that the Opera House had caused in the past. The developer is proposing a big venue with a bar, retail shopping, and to move from 22 apartment units to over 200 units. There is only one exit and entrance from the development, on Academy. Attorney Nikelle Meade is already representing the immediate neighbors to try and negotiate with the developer to lessen the impact on the neighborhood. SRCC members have worked with Ms. Meade on previous projects (Magdalena Hotel restrictive covenants), and generally have a lot of positive things to say about her.
Motion by Claudette Lowe (Marilyn Orton): Allow Attorney Nikelle Meade to represent SRCC pro bono in negotiations regarding the development at 200 Academy. Vote 22 for, 0 opposed, 1 abstention : MOTION PASSES
It was suggested that we invite Ms Meade to our next meeting so that we can discuss specifics, such as potential liabilities.
8:45 GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
The August 2021 SRCC Newsletter is now available on the SRCC website. We hope you enjoy it! Please send your submissions and ideas for the next newsletter to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SRCC currently has the following volunteer position open: SRCC Vice President: A replacement for the current VP is needed by December 31, 2021.
SRCC has restarted the NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH program, and is looking for participants. Anyone interested should contact Tom Groce, SRCC Public Safety Chair at email@example.com to get involved!
Do you have questions about using the Neighborhood ListServ? This link will take you to information about subscribing, unsubscribing, posting a message, and more. https://groups.io/g/SouthRiverAustin
The next SRCC Executive Committee meeting is December 7, 2021. The next General Membership meeting is Tuesday, January 18, 2021.
Frequently used acronyms: ACF: Austin Community Fund; ANC: Austin Neighborhood Council (https://www.atxanc.org/); BoA: Board of Adjustment; SF: Single Family zoning category; EROC: East Riverside/Oltorf Combined Contact Team; FLUM: Future Land Use Map; GSRC NPCT: Greater South River City Neighborhood Planning Contact Team; NCCD: Neighborhood Conservation Combining District; NHPA: National Historic Preservation Act; PC: Planning Commission; PUD: Planned Unit Development; SCC: South Central Coalition of NAs; ZAP: Zoning and Platting
Agenda Prepared by Megan Spencer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Agenda subject to change. Please check www.srccatx.org for most updated version.