SRCC General Membership Meeting Minutes 4/6/15

Monday, April 6, 2015 7:15 PM

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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.

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.

3. 7:22 Approve minutes from March 3, 2015, last regular monthly meeting (available at

MOTION: Ray Weaver / Joe Day – To approve the minutes from March 3rd, 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. 7:30 Committee Chairs reports
1) Parks, Schools, Environment; 2) Planning & Zoning–item below; 3) Transportation & Public Safety; 4) Norwood; 5) Historic District–item below; 8) Finance; status of projects funded by SRCC; 9) ANC*; 10) Communications
Transportation – Michael Sledge – Construction on Annie/Woodland between Congress and I-35 should begin in the next month.
ANC – Ann Kitchen, Councilmember Ann Kitchen spoke about mobility issues. She said the committee will be looking at new issues with respect to transportation infrastructure including:
· how development will need to be more contingent upon the ability of infrastructure to serve it.
· Traffic impact fees – potentially implement payments for develppment impact on infrastructure that will help fund it.
· A more comprehensive view beyond rail including sidewalks, buses and new roads.

Raymond Slade, Certified Professional Hydrologist provided context on water issues in central TX. Current drought is second only to 1950’s in severity this century.
Beyond drought, a big problem is that Inflow into highland lakes is dropping significantly. This is because watershed had been greatly reduced. Upstream major reservoirs are capturing bigger portion of watershed water.

Five key water conservation measures that can overcome major shortfall in next 20-30 years are:
1. Conveyance – fix pipes
2. Xeriscaping.
3. 90% of water lost in texas lost to evaporation or transpiration.
4. Greywater systems.
5. Rainwater harvesting.

Bryan King, South Lamar Neighborhood, former ANC Director commented on the Zucker report ( which sites a number of problems with the zoning and planning department. He feels that the biggest problem is in the department’s seniormost management where the same person in charge of economic development oversees the permitting process. He feels that this leadership must change soon.

A Proposal is in place for double decker highway for Mopac over Lady Bird Lake. Many have criticized the project for lack of transparency and public input. The project will tower over the lake. To learn more (and why many oppose it) go to

State legislature is looking at rules that could affect Austin. These include:
· Preventing municipalities from limiting drilling within their borders.
· Letting large electricity consumers petition rate increases, and buy energy on open market. It also wants to limit amount Austin Energy can commit to General Fund. This would make it more difficult for Austin Energy to invest in Energy conservation measures

6. 7:35 Executive Committee email vote to approve the Heritage Oaks Park landscape plan submitted to SRCC by PARD; update on grant and progress of project
Presenters: Sounthaly Outhavong, SRCC President; Carol Martin, SRCC Membership Chair
This park effort has grown from the hope to install a bench to a much larger project. Austin Parks Foundation (APF) has given a grant supplementing SRCC funds to be used for the full development of the Heritage Oaks Park plan, including 4 benches, 2 picnic tables, new trash receptacles and a loop trail. PARD has completed the landscape technical specifications and is going through the permit process. The final plan has been submitted to the contractors who have revised the costs to reflect the required PARD specs. Carol will brief the Finance Committee and EC on small changes SRCC can make to reduce costs and ask for their approval. APF is working with PARD to adjust the budget as needed. The project is on track and may be completed this year.

7. 7:40 500 Lockhart–Board of Adjustment variance request
Presenter: Jean Mather or other representative of SRCC Zoning Committee
The notice was received the day of the General Membership Meeting and the owner was not present so the issue was tabled.

8. 7:45 Request for Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) on Riverside at Alameda–discussion and possible vote
Presenters: Betty Weed, SRCC Member,; Michael Sledge, SRCC Transportation Committee
Ever since the City’s new boardwalk was completed there has been a growing need for a safe way to cross Riverside to access the entrance from the neighborhood. The options for crossing Riverside from Alameda, the natural gateway to the entrance, include walking uphill for two blocks to cross at the Travis Heights light or dash across 4 lanes of high speed traffic. The priority ranking for this pedestrian crossing project is very low so we are exploring ways to expedite the process. A Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) costs about $60,000 and the list of requested installations has us at 88th out of 90 installs. About 10 PHBs get approval for installation each year. There is currently little to no funding available. A comment was made that PHBs are disruptive to vehicular traffic flow that they felt should be prioritized on Riverside. Questions about using the path going under Riverside were answered as the city estimated that solution to be $300,000 and prone to destruction during floods. Will this create more non-resident parking in the neighborhood? When the boardwalk was pitched to the SRCC it included connectivity with the neighborhood so that residents could safely access the new amenity that is within our boundaries.

MOTION: Betty Weed / Jeff Kessel – for SRCC support to install a PHB at Riverside and Alameda or some proposal by the City for an alternative safe crossing at Alameda = PASSED

9. 7:55 RPP on 1600 block of Nickerson–petition being filed to increase days/hours per recommendation from city Presenters: Joe and Elizabeth Day, SRCC Members
Joe is the Residential Parking Permit (RPP) leader for the proposed area. It is being requested that the hours be expanded due to the opening of a hotel, restaurant and coffee shop next door and the lack of driveways for residents on this stretch. New hours would be Mon-Sat 7am-10pm, Sun 1pm-10pm.

MOTION: Elizabeth Day / Diane Presti – to support the updated RPP request to expand times to Mon-Sat 7am-10pm, Sun 1pm-10pm = PASSED

10. 8:05 Larry Monroe Memorial in Stacy Park–update on progress and plans for dedication
Presenter: Ave Bonar,
Ave is managing the project and hopes to install in the middle of May with a small ceremony, possibly a ribbon cutting. PARD expressed concern that parties of 40 or more might create parking problems in the neighborhood. She is looking for some support from SRCC for a Saturday morning event. It was recommended that she not worry about it and go forward with the event. There might possibly be acoustic music and she knows that a sound permit would be required. If you have any questions about the event, please email Ave.

MOTION: Danette Chimenti / Kent Anshutz – to support the dedication ceremony as described = PASSED

11. 8:15 Proposed new gas plant–concerns about cost and environmental impact
Presenters: Jere Locke, Director of Texas Drought Project,; Kaiba White of Public Citizen and/or Karen Hadden of the SEED Coalition
Austin Energy is proposing a 5.5 billion dollar gas plant at Decker Lake. The same production from a solar farm would cost approximately 3.5 billion dollars. Georgetown is claiming to go 100% renewables. 50% of the gas produced in Texas comes from fracking and it has been banned in New York. There are 700 chemicals used in fracking and millions of gallons of water. Fracking emissions are equivalent to that of coal production. Jere would like a vote of support from SRCC. This appears to be going to Council by August and to ANC for a vote this month. SRCC has not been presented with any specific plan on which to vote on.

MOTION: Jean Mather / Michael Sledge – to direct our SRCC ANC representative to support a renewable energy option if a vote is taken at the next ANC meeting = PASSED

12. 8:25 Bluebonnet Hills Local Historic District–for and against
Presenters: Arif Panju,; Angela Reed,; and Steve Sadowsky, Historic Preservation Officer. City of Austin, 512-974-6454,
Steve Sadowsky – Steve provided a brief bit of background and an update on this particular application. There are 3 established LHDs in Austin already. This application has been approved and is moving through the process.
Tune, SRCC President – In response to whether SRCC has an official position on LHDs, yes, the SRCC supports LHDs within the GSRC NP boundaries.
Angela Reed – The effort started with 58% support amongst residents, 51% is the threshold. The “duty to preserve and repair” is not a requirement enforced only on historic homes, it is a city requirement that residents maintain their homes and the process for bringing them into compliance is lengthy and not intended to create a hardship. The proposed standards do not require specific door or windows. Design standards are triggered when you demolish a house, add square footage or make major changes to the home.
Arif Panju – He is a two year resident who opposes the LHD. The votes and meetings, he felt, did not allow for adequate time to respond and he was able to delay the process through a legal process. He presented examples of what he felt were oversteps and required homeowners to follow standards that don’t necessarily align with the individual visions of each.
Q&A – A question was asked about the historic SRCC support for LHDs. The SRCC expressed explicit support in the GSRC NP for the identification and establishment of LHDs.
51% of the property owners must approve of the LHD and this effort gathered 58% by the time of submission. Arif stated that the level of support has changed. When it is presented to City Council and Commission the level of support will be revisited.
A disconnect that happens in the City process is that these efforts take quite a bit of time.
Can a contributing property change their mind to be a non-contributing or opt-out at a later date? No. The initial survey is a snapshot in time and evaluated by a professional to determine if they are in fact a contributing property. Arif questioned the rules in place and the following of them by the City. The survey was originally done by Terry Meyers before later joining the Landmark Commission as a volunteer.
Can the guidelines dictate the style of new construction and can a certificate of appropriateness be rejected? LHDs do not dictate style but instead set forth a “spirit of compatibility” for additions. The goal is to maintain as much of the character of an older neighborhood as possible.
The “sequence of appropriate options” encourages you to consider your options before demolition. New construction design standards were pulled from the existing City standards outlined in the NCCD.
Closing statements by Arif called into question the existing support for the LHD based on his experience walking around presenting information to neighbors.
Angela encouraged everyone to ask questions and there were people present with experience in LHDs and willing to chat.

On April 14th, Planning Commission is hearing this case. If you’d like to express your opinion directly to the PC, please attend the meeting or email us your comments.

Presenter: Gretchen Otto, SRCC Vice President

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.

HUGE THANKS to Laura Gass Weaver for stepping up to be the new Area Coordinator for Area 6.

KUDOS to Justin Chang for producing the new SRCC Monthly Review.

Keep Austin Beautiful Clean Sweep–Come join your neighbors in this fun event. April 11, 2015 at 9:00am. There will be groups at Big Stacy Park, Blunn Creek Preserve, and the Norwood House.

Travis Heights Elementary 75th Anniversary Celebration–Also on April 11th! All sorts of activities will be happening.
The Mission 75 campaign has raised $51,000 but still short of the $75,000 goal, please give. There is currently a $5,000 matching offer so now is the time to act!

We are looking for people who want to carry the torch of Neighborhood Watch and organize patrols.

Account reconciliation, Profit & Loss and Balance reports available upon request from
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

Agenda Prepared by Gretchen Otto,

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