SRCC GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES (www.srccatx.org)
Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 7:00 PM
1. 7:00 General Membership Meeting Welcome
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 unless otherwise noted: Wendy Todd, SRCC President (5 min)
The Chair called the meeting to order at 7:05
2. 7:05 Membership Report 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, pay dues one month in advance, except when a former member’s dues have lapsed no more than 2 years, they may renew at least 2 days before the online meeting to regain eligibility to vote. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to renew (5 min)
3. 7:10 Treasurer’s Report
All reports available upon request to the Treasurer: email@example.com
Presenter: Will Andrews, SRCC Treasurer (5 min)
The Treasurer presented the report from Jan 2022 through the end of April. There is a net income for the year, after income from membership dues and interest, with costs for ANC dues, newsletter, and the annual QuickBooks fee.
4. 7:15 Reports from Standing 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)
- Planning and Zoning. The new P&Z chair reminded people of the 2 big projects currently ongoing. There is 200 Academy, at the old Opry House, where they want to build offices, residences, and a somewhat large music venue. Currently under negotiation with the NPCT and others. Is set for Council 3rd reading on June 9th, which is when a final decision is likely to be made. There is concern that a larger venue will be approved than neighbors want. The other project is the Statesman PUD at 305 S. Congress – it is still going before Council. SRCC has supported the recommendations and comments from other City boards and departments.
- Historic Preservation. Reminder that there are some incentives and grants on Austintexas.gov website for things such as insulation and weatherization. Those in historic districts can have additional benefits.
- Finance. The Finance Committee has not met. Expecting a couple proposals regarding the cost of newsletters and signs.
- Mobility. Nothing new with the I-35 project. There is some talk regarding the PTMD for South Congress and the surrounding areas. There are plans for meters on Congress, and there may be paid parking within the neighborhood.
- Public Safety. Please sign up for neighborhood watch. You can also download and use the 311 app on your phone to report issues.
- Parks and Environment. At Little Stacy Park the sculpture installation from Talbot is underway. He is looking for help on the 21st to move pieces of the sculpture to the park. On June 4th there is a Blunn Preserve cleanup day to pick up litter and pull invasives.
- Schools. This Friday is the spring carnival at THES. May 27th is the last day of school.
- Communications. A new ad-hoc committee has been formed to increase outreach efforts. The newsletter was delivered to all houses in the SRCC area. Discussed coming up with a document for block captains and area coordinators with some details about delivering newsletters. Also discussed planning for next newsletter, and that the response to the new format was positive; the printed newsletter was of higher quality, and more costly, so will be discussing with Finance Committee. The next Newsletter will be Sept-Oct, to include the SRCC 50th Anniversary, and include photos. Talked about outreach in general, and how to get more people involved in SRCC. This includes improvements to the website, and doing more with social media. Also discussed getting an estimate for making new signs to advertise SRCC and gain more awareness.
5. 7:25 Reports from Area Coordinators and 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)
- Norwood. Nothing to report.
- GRSC NPCT. Nothing to report.
- EROC NPCT. Nothing to report.
- ANC. Nothing to report.
- SCC. Met this past weekend, discussed VMU, strategies for reporting illegal short term rentals, ANC will begin meeting with the mayor.
- South Central Waterfront. Nothing to report.
- St. Edward’s. Nothing to report.
- S. Central Affordable CDC. Nothing to report.
- Land Development Code Ad Hoc Committee. Expect this to be rolled into the Planning and Zoning Committee. There are a lot of work arounds to create additional density without passing a new code, such as VMU2.
6. 7:35 Approve Minutes
March 2022 monthly general meeting (available at www.srccatx.org)
Presenter: Dan Fredine, SRCC Secretary (5 min)
It was noted that the most recent minutes were for the month of April 2022, and those were being voted on for approval. Motion to approve minutes by Noah Balch, seconded by Carol Martin. Minutes were approved as posted.
Upcoming Meeting dates in 2022: 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
7. 7:40 Vertical Mixed Use
Discuss relaxing or removing compatibility standards as they relate to vertical mixed use (VMU) on the designated transit corridors of South Congress Avenue and East Riverside Drive.
Presenter: Sarah Campbell, SRCC Planning and Zoning Chair (10 min)
VMU has been around for about 15 years, which was introduced as an overlay which neighborhoods could opt-in certain streets; in SRCC we opted in for S Congress and Riverside. Compatibility standards were adopted in the 1980s to protect residential properties from non-residential properties. Late last year a discussion began about VMU2 that would allow up to an additional 30 feet of height (from 60’ to 90’), in exchange for additional affordable housing. Only 34% of current VMU sites could take advantage of VMU2, because of adjacent zoning and compatibility standards.
Council began discussing if we needed compatibility standards, or if they should be relaxed. Seattle, Atlanta, and Denver standards were compared to Austin, and ours were more strict. At Council this week there will be more discussion about compatibility standards. CM Tovo had a meeting with District 9 neighborhood leaders – most wanted to keep the standards in place as they are. Last night several CMs held a community meeting to discuss VMU2, compatibility standards, and project connect, and how they were interrelated.
It seems that a majority of CMs are leaning toward reducing compatibility standards. This may be such that we can’t oppose all changes, but will need to negotiate to protect the most important aspects. One thought is to take another look at that study and expand it beyond the 3 cities that were originally included.
It seems that they are placing the importance of generating more housing near transit above other aesthetic concerns, neighborhoods, keeping long-term residents in their houses, etc.. There were a lot of people in attendance last night who were speaking in favor of increasing the quantity of housing over all other concerns.
There is a concern that VMU2 would not just apply to specific corridors that were decided by neighborhoods, or by the old map; if this were applied to all potential “corridors”.
A link to the recorded VMU2 meeting will be shared on the SRCC website, once it is provided to us.
8. 7:50 1100 Manlove
Discuss “Use Restrictions and Compromise Agreement” and implications for SRCC in the context of neighborhood monitoring and planning: is it better for SRCC to enter into multiple restrictive covenants or let neighbors handle on their own?
Presenters: Gayle Goff and Noah Balch, SRCC Vice President (15 min) [VOTE]
At 1100 Manlove, the owner applied to the City to rezone the property from single family (SF-3) to mixed use (NO-MU-NP). In exchange for SRCC’s letter of support to the City, the owner agrees to maintain single family (SF-3) residential zoning for the front portion of its property (re-zoning only the rear corner to NO-MU-NP), prohibit commercial access from Manlove to the rear portion, and screen any commercial development on the rear portion with proper landscaping. If anyone notifies SRCC of an owner violation at a general membership or executive committee meeting within the next 50 years, SRCC will have 90 days to notice the owner’s default and pursue its legal remedies. Although the restrictive covenant does not address the initial payment of SRCC’s legal fees (it does, however, entitle the prevailing party in any dispute to its legal fees), the neighbors realize that SRCC would not fund its own legal challenge. Instead, the neighbors would have to pay those costs. Importantly, there is no obligation for SRCC to pursue such legal remedies, which makes legal action voluntary rather than mandatory.
The case has been going on for a long time, and the neighbors met to identify what compromises were acceptable. There have been situations where neighbors have agreed to compromise and put together agreements with developers and owners, in order to improve the overall neighborhood. The reason that SRCC is involved is that neighbors needed an entity that outlasts the individual neighborhood residents. The neighbors at Manlove have been able to finalize the agreement with the property owner.
In a broader context, this type of agreement provides benefits for the neighbors of a project such as Manlove and increases SRCC’s role in fostering community goals and objectives. Over time, the composition of the neighborhood may change, but SRCC would remain a viable organization that can enforce the neighborhood’s rights.
Motion (Noah Balch/Ken Burnett): SRCC to support the 1100 Manlove project to include entering into a restrictive covenant and sending a letter to Council.
Approve: 22, Oppose: 2, Abstain: 6; MOTION PASSED.
9. 8:00 CapMetro
Update regarding the Blue and Orange Lines, including the Blue Line Bridge project with a Q&A to follow.
Presenter: Jocelyn Vokes, Austin Transit Partnership (10 min)
The population is expected to double from 2 million in 2019 to 4 million in 2040. There is a goal to get more than 24% of the population (this was the % in 2019) to use a different mode of transportation than driving to work alone. The plan will include a light rail system, expanded bus system, etc.
Blue Line. This will run About 8 miles, from downtown (Republic Square, where it will meet the orange line), east to the airport, with 10 light rail stations. The rail line will mostly be at street level, will include tracks, stations, bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Key options for the bridge over Lady Bird Lake; light rail on its own structure which includes pedestrian/bike; the other option is to also include bus access along this same bridge. Between Academy and THB the light rail line will be elevated a little above the roadway (using retaining walls) in order to flatten the grade of the tracks. The light rail will go through the middle of a new bridge at Riverside and I-35 as part of the new Single Point Urban Interchange (SPUI), to allow the rail to move through the intersection without stopping traffic.
Orange Line. The focus of this presentation is on South Congress to Oltorf, but it runs much further. Initial investment is from Stassney/S Congress to 183/ N Lamar. The future plans will expand it further north and south. The Capitol View Corridor is affecting the ability for the tunnel to come above grade. As a result they needed to add a tunnel starting at Cesar Chavez, headed southbound, and the current plan is for the portal (where it comes above ground) to be near Live Oak. The South Congress station will be a 3-level underground station, and it is a little longer than one block.
Both Orange and Blue line designs are at 15% design. It is expected that the 30% design will be released in the summer of 2022 (to include a draft environmental impact statement). Expect an FTA record of decision in Winter 2022-23.
It was stated that it is key to pay attention to the location of the stations and the impacts on the neighbors.
There was discussion about the Blue line segment on Riverside Dr, the retaining wall heights and the intersection at Alameda. The greatest height of the retaining wall is 8 feet; the rail will be at the same elevation at Alameda and THB. There will be bicycle and pedestrian facilities on both sides of Riverside, and there will be a PHB near Alameda to allow crossing Riverside. This PHB would be very near Blunn Creek (near the existing boardwalk connection); will not dig into the bluff, but they are putting in a sidewalk. The 8’ wall will support the tracks; there is no wall higher than that, though there may be a handrail above the tracks for emergency access. There was concern about the train being at the same level as the windows to peoples’ houses on Riverside. Right now they are looking at big picture issues, but will identify the aesthetic issues later.
Will both the Orange and Blue lines be built at the same time, affecting both S. Congress, and Riverside (as well as I-35 construction, and potential closure of Woodland)? Cap Metro is coordinating with TXDoT to minimize disruption. On South Congress the tunnel will be bored underground, and should not disrupt all the traffic. There is consideration for staggering the construction. Also, the TXDoT work at 35 and Riverside will need to be completed prior to building the Blue Line crossing I-35.
What is the assumption about how riders will get to the stations? Particular concern is people driving to a station, parking their cars in the neighborhood, and getting onto the train. This is considered a last-mile issue. Possibilities are rideshare, biking, walking, etc.. Cap Metro is considering park and rides for the Orange Line, outside of the city core. A Blue Line park and ride is planned near 71. Would like to encourage the use of buses by providing high frequency service for people.
Riverside is pretty narrow and there are 2 lanes in each direction between Congress and I-35. Is there room to keep 2 lanes and include the rail? Yes, they will include all existing lanes and possibly take some land to the north, west of the pinch point; to the east of the punch point may need to take some of the ROW on the south side of the street.
Question about the magnitude of cost regarding the tunnels. If we were to have more tunnels, could that reduce the cost? How does federal funding help to build this? There will be some local funding required for almost all transportation projects right now, and it is expected that the federal government will contribute, though there may be some tough decisions to be made about priorities. it is typically more expensive to build tunnels as opposed to building on the surface; most of the cost related to the tunnels is just the cost of the expertise and machinery related to the boring process.
SRCC received a copy of the presentation from Cap Metro, and no action was taken.
8:10 GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
SRCC has restarted the NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH program, and is looking for participants. Anyone interested should contact Tom Groce, SRCC Public Safety Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!
Early voting for state primaries is going on right now.
On Friday July 8th or 9th, it will be the 85th anniversary of Big Stacy Pool, and there will be a celebration.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:45
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 June 7, 2022.
The next General Membership meeting is June 21, 2022.
Frequently used acronyms:
ACF: Austin Community Fund
ANC: Austin Neighborhood Council (https://www.atxanc.org/)
BoA: Board of Adjustment
CDC: Community Development Corporation
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
NPCT: Neighborhood Planning Contact Team
PC: Planning Commission
PUD: Planned Unit Development
SCC: South Central Coalition of neighborhood associations
SF: Single Family zoning category
ZAP: Zoning and Platting