ANC General Meeting Summary – 9.23.15

  • Councilmember Greg Casar came to speak. Affordability remains the number one priority for him and his district. He supports changes proposed by CM Kathie Tovo to the city’s Density Bonus Program. A key change would be to make sure developers actually provide affordable units vs. paying “fees-in-lieu” when they are granted zoning variances. A City Council Resolution would direct the City Manager to provide better data on the creation of housing units that are actually affordable. He also is pushing for better distribution of transportation dollars across all neighborhoods in Austin, not just those in the core.
  • Henry Evans from University of Texas spoke on community flood response using data and lessons learned from the Onion Creek and Blanco floods.. More accurate flood maps and targeted warnings for citizens based on cell phone towers would have prevented loss of life and property.  Currently these measures are not in place for the majority of the state.
  • Raymond Slade, a hydrologist spoke on the impact of urbanization on Austin’s water resources. Impervious cover in cities has almost doubled peak flood levels in urban areas.   It has also increased bank erosion due to more frequent elevated water levels as seen in Shoal Creek. Degradation of water quality is even more severe than flood issues. This includes increases of up to 20X in dissolved solids, phosphorous and fecal coliform counts. Sediment from construction projects are the single greatest threat to aquatic resources. Current mitigation requirements (e.g. silt fences) are not nearly adequate to prevent this. More meaningful measures would include phased construction to avoid clear cutting of vegetation which exacerbates run off. Mats, hay mulching, and hydroseeding can also help prevent sedimentation.
  • Jeff Jack, Architect and former ANC president spoke (and continues to warn) about CodeNext. There is still real a very real risk that neighborhood plans will not be reflected in code rewrite and he urged attention to every step of the process. Nov. 16th -21st is what the city calls a “soundcheck” or workshop where they will test initial ideas for code rewrite. This will be an important meeting for citizens to attend. Late summer, early fall 2016 the first draft code will be created.
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