SRCC GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING (www.srccatx.org)
Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 7:00 PM
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. Please see acronyms below.
Presenter throughout: Wendy Todd, SRCC President, unless otherwise noted. (8 min)
The chair called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.
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 to 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 gave the report. For the month of January SRCC took in more money than was spent.
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. (10 min)
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 Ad Hoc committee. (10 min)
- Planning and Zoning – at Planning Commission there were two votes about amendments to the PUD request on the Statesman Tract. Developer to pay 100% of the traffic analysis cost. If the TIRZ is not approved prior to Council, there were some bonus calculations. This essentially means that the project has been approved. 1100 Manlove. Neighbors agreed to a postponement requested by the owner (after initially expecting to oppose postponement); the case may not be postponed beyond March 24th, and the applicant must provide a plan by March 1st. The neighbors plan to work with Council once we get closer to the hearing dates.
- Historic Preservation – have had 3 houses slated to be demolished in our neighborhood, and one is a contributing structure to the National Register Historic District. A duplex is planned to be demolished or significantly remodeled. Are working to encourage the City to provide training for Realtors in relation to tax benefits of historic preservation. There are also 3 properties in Sherwood Oaks that were demolished but somehow didn’t trigger a historic review. All 3 were over 50 years old, and 2 had notable owners, and should have included a review.
- Finance – Nothing to report
- Mobility – see later item
- Public Safety – looking for Neighborhood Watch participants. See later item with ACM Arrellano.
- Parks and Environment – looking forward to It’s My Park Day at Blunn Creek, Sat March 5th, 8:30 – noon, meeting at SW corner of Blunn Creek, near 900 St. Edward’s Drive. Also, Keep Austin Beautiful Day is coming up soon. Registration and more information is posted at: https://givepul.se/2mv6l3
- Schools – THES is having the “I Heart THES” fundraiser. To donate to Travis Heights Elementary, you can do so from the website by clicking on the blue button that says “Donate” (about half-way down the screen). https://www.travisheightselementary.com/
- Communications – at the Executive Committee meeting there was discussion about transitioning ownership (and financial responsibility) for the SRCC website from a former president, who has been paying for it all these years. We will be working on that. We expect to have our next (printed, hand-delivered) newsletter in the middle of April. Now accepting articles or ideas for articles through March 7th – send items to Ruth Casarez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Norwood – still negotiating about project details. The house is near Riverside and I-35, adjacent to the dog park. SRCC has been trying to restore the Norwood House for decades. The intent is to use it as an events center.
- GRSC NPCT – see later item.
- EROC NPCT – see later item.
- ANC – At the Jan 23rd meeting there was a presentation about the South Central Waterfront; referred to the TIRZ as a 278M tax giveaway. There was recognition of Carol Gibbs who served for many years as the City’s neighborhood liaison. The ANC president had to move due to housing costs, so a new president was in place.
- SCC – met Feb 12th. Discussed Zilker rewilding, 200 Academy, SCW, and there was a presentation about the demise of single family zoning, and the stealth implementation of CodeNext. Some folks will come up with a proposal to ask neighborhoods to carry to talk about the kind of things that we want to have in the land development code rewrite. The intent is to promote green development and affordability.
- South Central Waterfront – there was a Council working session on the TIRZ on Feb 1, that went into some detail about how the TIRZ would work, but no decisions were made.
- St. Edward’s – there is a new president at St. Ed’s, the first hispanic female president. There will be fireworks at 7:50 pm on February 26th. A member spoke about concerns related to the fireworks during a burn ban and drought. It was asked that SRCC be able to provide input in the permitting process for fireworks displays.
- S. Central Affordable CDC – nothing to report, though there was a meeting in January.
- Land Development Code Rewrite Ad Hoc Committee – the committee has been paying attention to the SCW and negotiations related to the TIRZ. There was discussion about incentivizing the on-site inclusion of affordable housing, as opposed to fee-in-lieu.
5. 7:35 Approve minutes from the January 2022 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 (Late Spring 2022 may return to Good Shepherd on the Hill). (5 min)
Motion to approve (Mark Thompson/Betty Weed) – no comments or clarifications, minutes were approved.
Upcoming Meeting dates in 2022: EC Mar 1; EC Apr 5; GM Apr 19; EC May 3; GM May 17; EC Jun 7; GM Jun 21; GM; EC Aug 2; GM Aug 16; EC Sept 6; GM Sept 20; EC Oct 4; GM Oct 18; GM Nov 15; EC Dec 6
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: None.
6. 7:40 200 Academy
Update regarding ANCC vote, possible motion and support re: approval of project with limitations including 3,000 sq. ft. music venue [VOTE EXPECTED]
Presenters: Laura Toups, Elloa Mathews. (15 min)
This is a complicated case, and the site was used for many things, in addition to being a music venue. The main sticking point between the developer and the neighbors is the size of the music venue. The case was passed at Council on first reading, without a specified size for the music venue. There is also a bar and restaurant proposed, as well as housing. The neighborhood proposed that it would be a venue the size of the Continental club. The developer is proposing about 1200 people coming to view national acts, all entering and leaving the neighborhood at one time.
The neighbors are asking for support for staff recommendations, but limiting the venue to 3000 sf (the developer is asking for 17,000 sf and has not changed their position). The neighbors would also like to include a portion of affordable housing on-site. The applicant has not proposed an alternative to the venue size to the neighborhood.
It was noted that the Music Lane development includes a restrictive covenant that limits a gathering size to 150 people (to limit large event spaces), in order to reduce these same concerns. Compared to Music Lane, St. Cecilia, and Hotel Magdalena (all of whom have event size limitations), 200 Academy is further into the neighborhood, and we would expect the previous developments to form a precedent, with respect to the limits of capacity. If you don’t limit the venue size to 3000 sf, it wouldn’t be historic preservation within its 4 walls, but would be creating a new venue. There was support for preservation of the venue, but there were concerns about the size.
SRCC has previously voted to support the position of the NPCT, and no vote was taken at this time as our position has not changed.
7. 7:55 EROC and SRCC
Provide overview of EROC and areas of overlap with SRCC
Presenters/Guests: Malcolm Yeatts and Fred DeWorken. (10 min)
The presentation highlighted the common concerns between the East Riverside Oltorf Combined (EROC) Neighborhood Planning Contact Team (NPCT) area and the SRCC Neighborhood Association area. The EROC planning area includes some portions that are part of the SRCC neighborhood association.
SRCC Areas 6 and 7 are in EROC, and these areas are constantly being targeted by developers for building additional multifamily housing. The only park in this area is the Heritage Oaks park, and SRCC convinced the City to purchase the land that it sits on. EROC is trying to get a Pedestrian-Hybrid Beacon and trail to get to the park. With the changes to the Council districts, there is overlap between representation in some areas of SRCC and EROC. The residents of single family homes are having their voting power diluted by the large amount of multifamily. This area also includes the largest crime rate in Austin. This area has a 50% resident turnover per year.
The East Riverside Corridor Plan removed many properties from the EROC NP, and was passed after the NP was adopted. This could happen to other areas of SRCC via the corridor plan mechanism.
There have been requests for properties to be treated as if they were in a transit hub, in order to get additional entitlements, even though they are not on a transportation corridor.
This is a very high density area, with a lot of poverty and not much green space at all.
8. 8:05 Public Safety Discussion
How to engage and participate in public safety programs in Austin including Neighborhood Watch
Presenters/Guests: SRCC Public Safety Chair Tom Groce and Austin Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano (15 min)
ACM Arellano is over Public Safety, among other groups. The intent of this presentation is to overview some of the tools, services, and programs that are available to citizens. The police academy just graduated 66 cadets who have now joined APD; another 60-80 to join the next class starting march.
Emergency Management – As an individual you should make a plan, build a kit, know your neighbors, and stay informed. There is some training available to help prepare you during an incident.
Fire – significant interest in wildfire risk. There is a wildfire home assessment, where they can make recommendations. AFD will check/install smoke alarms for free. Will do in-home safety/hazard assessments and health checks.
EMS – provide basic courses in first aid and CPR.
Police – there are district representatives, who are assigned to a patrol sector. Travis Heights is in the Henry District, and Kevin Kelley is their rep – we may want to invite him to a meeting. There are marketing materials to help set up a successful Neighborhood Watch program. If you have exterior cameras, you may want to position them to also cover adjacent parks, corners, and public spaces. One offering is a Business Security Survey – will make recommendations about the building and landscaping to make it less attractive to criminals. Can also provide personal tips for safety, including for people who are walking in the neighborhood. If you see anything suspicious, call 911.
There was a question about the review of transportation plans, in particular about emergency vehicles. This was in relation to the proposed closure of Woodland at I-35. Woodland is currently a major path for these vehicles. It was stated that they do participate in reviews of the traffic plans and make adjustments to the emergency services routes as needed.
It was mentioned that there is an “orphaned” piece of property near Heritage Oaks that is currently inhabited by homeless people. This piece of property is privately owned but it is not buildable. The City has some services to help in this situation, and should make a complaint through 311 or the district representative.
ACM Arrellano will send a link to all of these resources and more, after the meeting.
9. 8:20 Zilker Rewilding Project
Discussion regarding plans to expand natural areas in the park, rewild using natural vegetation management and other plans to protect and enhance this natural beauty.
Presenter: Betty Weed (10 min)
Bill Bunch (director of SOS, and president of Zilker NA) presented about the Zilker Rewilding Plan. Several entities have come together to present this proposal on Zilker rewilding.
The City is in the middle of developing the Zilker Vision Plan, to define the future of the park. There are 2 competing views – more park and nature, versus more parking and more commercial uses. Neighbors commissioned Elizabeth McGreevy to develop the rewilding plan. There are vast expanses of mowed areas with no shade (and remain unused, or for parking – such as the polo fields, the great lawn, the Butler landfill). Would like 75 acres of these empty lawns to be rewilded. This is better for wildlife, carbon capture, reduces mowing, and reduces the heat island effect. This would mostly be outside of the special events area – this could be done in conjunction with the events, with smaller, wide-open fields and more trees. There is not much planning or planting involved – you mostly allow nature to take its course.
There is already an example of rewilding in the park.
The presentation includes a map of the proposed wilding areas. It was suggested that folks review the presentation, and we would like to discuss more and take a vote on whether to support the rewilding plan at the April meeting.
10. 8:30 I-35 Widening Project
Discussion regarding plans to widen I-35 through downtown Austin, including options for the Woodland Avenue and Riverside Drive exits and surrounding areas.
Presenters: Mark Thompson, Fred DeWorken (Frances Jordan of TXDOT schedule permitting) (15 min)
There is a proposal to close Woodland to vehicles at I-35, but leave it open to pedestrians and bicycles. In a poll by SRCC’s Area 7 Coordinator, 83% of respondents asked for it to remain open. There were comments about disconnection this would cause from the schools, and the difficulty to bicycle up Woodland on the the west side of I-35. TXDOT asked to be provided the comments from the poll.
As part of designing I-35 in this area there are a lot of competing interests, including avoiding displacements (taking land from private owners along I-35), keeping roads low (so there will be less noise in the neighborhoods), and accommodating Project Connect. Modified Alternative 3 is the main one under discussion. By leaving Woodland open at I-35, it would result in displacement among apartments on the east side, and would eliminate the Aria Grande affordable housing complex which was recently constructed. The modified Alt 3 reduces or eliminates the additional right-of-way.
There was discussion about how to get to Woodland from various directions, in both the Alternative 2 and Modified Alt 3, though it focused on entering/exiting from I-35, and not so much about crossing between the neighborhoods. Alt 2 includes a typical intersection at Riverside. The Blue Line will be running down the middle of Riverside (the frequency of trains will greatly reduce the amount of automotive traffic that can get through). Therefore Alt 3 includes a single point urban interchange (SPUI) at Riverside and I-35. This results in frontage road going below the intersection, which can allow the train to run without interrupting the Riverside traffic. In the modified Alternative 3 everything would be at or below the elevation of the existing frontage road.
There were concerns about getting fire/EMS from S Congress to east Riverside. TXDOT is meeting with first responders, to include reviewing access and evaluating response times.
Environmental studies are currently going on, to include noise suppression. Will include an in-depth community impact analysis; this is currently underway.
There were concerns that closing Woodland will present some barriers not just in the neighborhoods, but also reduce the ability for students and teachers who live on the east side of I-35 to get to the zoned neighborhood schools west of I-35.
TXDOT would like to come back and answer questions at a meeting or in person.
TXDOT expects to wrap up the environmental studies and then have a recommended alternative later this year. Construction to start in 2025.
8:45 GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
Early voting has begun, and some of us have been redistricted, so pay attention to the races that affect you.
The chair adjourned the meeting at 9:37 pm.
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 March 1, 2022. The next General Membership meeting is April 19, 2022.
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 neighborhood associations
ZAP: Zoning and Platting