January 9, 2006 SRCC General Meeting Minutes

Grace United Methodist Church

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

1. Introductions.

2. Treasurer’s Report (Terry Franz): The balance as of December 6, 2005 was $1,338.17. Expenses related to neighborhood planning and for Officer Scott’s plaque were paid out. Received $97.00 in dues, giving a current balance of $1,380.69. The balance will be increased after receiving reimbursement from the ACF Environmental Fund for expenses. The ACF balance is $45,810.93. There is no change to the ACF July 4th fund. There is $6,716.26 available for neighborhood parks.

3. APD District Rep. Shauna Griffin, our new APD representative, attended Fulmore Middle School and graduated from Bowie High School. Her direct line is 974-8676. Officer Griffin reported on the closing of Club Latino, the Code Compliance pilot program targeting the mobile food vendor units on E. Riverside, the Mexican tour buses that illegally operate out of E. Riverside parking lots, and neighborhood parking problems.

Code Compliance has started a pilot program to ensure that the mobile food vendor units ("MFVU") operating on E. Riverside are properly licensed. Vendors will receive a warning ticket the first time. If they do not comply, the next ticket will result in a fine of $1,000, and the subsequent fines increase. There are two vendors that can’t be ticketed, however. One is El Taquito. Officer Griffin could not remember the name of the other vendor. Because these two vendors are in the process of building restaurants, Code Compliance has been advised not to ticket them.

Club Latino (E. Riverside) lost its liquor license and has been closed for approximately two weeks. Police have noted a decrease in calls since its closure. Officer Griffin is concerned that Club Latino may attempt to re-open at another location, possibly under another name. She asked that any information regarding this be passed along to her. Officer Griffin provided a brochure from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission ("TABC") concerning protests to the issuance or renewal of a license or permit to sell alcoholic beverages. Officer Griffin stated that protests from the public are taken into consideration by the TABC when issuing licenses/permits and do make a difference. Officer Griffin asked that anyone interested in working to keep Club Latino closed provide her with their contact information.

Most of the Mexico tour bus lines that have been operating out of some of the parking lots on E. Riverside have been notified that they are in violation of City zoning regulations. The City has not been able to contact one of the owners, but will be taking the other three to court in the near future.

Parking violations in the neighborhood should be called in to 311 for handling. Officer Griffin distributed copies of the parking ordinances, Sections 12-5-9 through 12-5-11.

Neighborhood Watch Programs can help reduce the number of burglaries. It was suggested that the program could be covered in one neighborhood-wide meeting, rather than separate meetings for each participating neighborhood.

4. 2006 Test Census: Lisa Bayliff, U.S. Census Bureau. Austin is one of two areas chosen for the 2006 Test Census. The other site is the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. It is anticipated that this test program will pump $10 million into the Austin economy. A test census will be conducted in the Neighborhood. The U.S. Census Bureau needs job applicants to fill the jobs (approximately 3,000) associated with this task. The jobs pay around $14.50/hour and allow for a flexible schedule. You can set your own hours. The Census Bureau needs applicants to commit to working 20 to 40 hours per week. The test census is being held to test new equipment and procedures to make the census easier and more cost-effective. Census day is usually April 1st. The third week of March, census questionnaires will be mailed. Census takers will visit households that do not return completed questionnaires. If there is no one home at that address, the census taker may ask neighbors for information on that household. The forms that are mailed out are short form questionnaires. If interested in applying for any of the positions available, the number to call is 1-888-814-6711.

5. CapMetro Rapid Bus & Transit Center at Ben White/Congress: Brad Ehlers, CapMetro Community Relations – CapMetro has a 500 square mile service area and has the highest ridership in Texas, with 3300 stops. The location for the Center at the southwest corner of Ben White and South Congress has been purchased. TxDOT varied from its usual practice and gave CapMetro an easement for a pullout so that the buses can enter and exit the property safely. The City is installing a traffic light at S. Congress and Radam [sp?]. CapMetro will be adding pervious cover to the site and improving its appearance. It will be well-lit. Rapid buses have a different look than regular buses. Rapid buses have light changing capability. They use the same technology emergency vehicles use to keep green lights green longer and to speed up the changing of red lights to green. They will have bus pullouts where possible. Most pullout locations will depend on property owners. There will be a Rapid Transit stop in front of Rob Lippincott’s development at 1400 S. Congress. Unlike the current buses, Rapid Transit buses will stop on the far side of traffic lights. CapMetro is holding a Future Connections Workshop on February 4, 2006. Two service areas to be discussed are the Seaholm area and Robert Mueller development. Mr. Ehlers briefly mentioned urban commuter rail as opposed to heavy rail. Leander is expected to have a rail station near the new, large HEB that is planned.

6. E. Riverside/Oltorf Combined Neighborhood Plan (EROC) (Toni House): Due to its work in creating the Country Club Creek Hike & Bike Trail, the Southeast Austin Trails & Greenway Alliance will be honored for Community Involvement on February 8, 2006 at the 21st Annual Keep Austin Beautiful Awards.

EROC Neighborhood Planning Update – Sixteen EROC zoning cases are on the consent agenda to be heard by City Council on January 12, 2006. Toni House made a motion that SRCC notify the Council by letter that, in the event any of these cases are objected to by the property owners at the time of hearing, the City Council send the cases back to the EROC Neighborhood Planning process. Terry Franz raised the question of why these zoning cases have been pulled out of the Neighborhood Plan and are going through prior to adoption of the NP. (The EROC NP is scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission on March 28, 2006.) The City did not advise EROC stakeholders of their reasons for doing this. Gayle Goff and Toni House assume the City pulled these cases out to move forward because the interim NPCT agreed they would not oppose these zoning changes. The motion that SRCC notify the Council by letter that, in the event any of these cases are objected to by the property owners at the time of hearing, the City Council send the cases back to the EROC Neighborhood Planning process, was seconded by _________ [sorry, I can’t read my own writing here, Danette, Jean?] and passed with no opposition and one abstention.

Lakeshore Redevelopment – A meeting is scheduled for January 11, 2006, to meet with representatives of Cypress Real Estate Advisors regarding their proposal to redevelop approximately 70 acres of the Lakeshore Blvd. area. They want to know whether the neighborhood will support their request for a zoning change to MF-6, which is higher density than the current MF zoning in place.

2100 Parker Lane (Andrewarthe Mansion) The property owner, FS Ventures, wants neighborhood support for changing the zoning from SF-3 (single-family residential) to SF-6 (condos). During neighborhood planning, stakeholders were adamant that this property remain zoned SF-3 and it is so designated on the proposed FLUM. An initial meeting was held with Mike Hamilton (FS Ventures) and his architect, Stuart Sampley of Black & Vernooy Architects. Neighborhood attendees were Toni House, Mary Jo Osgood and Drema Albin. Mr. Hamilton’s position is that the Mansion is structurally unsound, is going to be leveled and cannot be saved. Mr. Hamilton wants the neighborhood to support his upzoning based solely on good faith. His initial position is that he will not enter into any agreements with the neighborhood. The neighborhood is considering whether to send a written proposal to Mr. Hamilton to enter into a Restrictive Covenant with the neighborhood that would limit density and height, create a buffer along Windoak, restrict vehicular access to Windoak, address flooding problems that may be exacerbated by the increased impervious cover, and that would address the location of units and the destruction of trees. Due to the fast track this application has apparently been placed on, there may not be time to work out an agreement prior to the Planning Commission hearing, set for January 24, 2006. A petition against the rezoning is currently being circulated in the event it is needed.

Toni House moved for a resolution that SRCC support the neighborhood in its opposition to the zoning change. Terry Franz made a friendly amendment to make it clear that SRCC would support the neighborhood in its opposition to the zoning change in the event the neighborhood is unable to reach agreement with the developer. Helen Fleming seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

I-35/Riverside/Summit (Schuler property) zoning case – The zoning case is scheduled for City Council hearing on January 26, 2006. Mediation is ongoing and it is not yet known whether the hearing will be postponed so that mediation can continue.

7. Greater South River City Neighborhood Plan (GSRC) – Update on Reagan Signs (Sage White) – The Reagan Signs case is set for hearing by City Council on Thursday, January 12, 2006. The public portion of the hearing is closed, so it is very important to have large turn-out for the hearing with everyone holding up the sign fans used previously. Letters to the Council Members and Mayor need to make clear that GR zoning allows for accessory uses, including industrial use if limited to 120% of the square footage. Therefore, if the Council member votes for GR zoning, Reagan Signs will be allowed to put its sign shop, an industrial use, in a residential neighborhood. Traffic issues are another major concern. Danette, et al have continued negotiations with Reagan Signs, asking that Reagan Signs agree to not engage in industrial use under GR zoning, but so far Reagan Signs has refused to agree to that limitation. If anyone would like additional information on how to structure your letters, contact Theresa Griffin. The neighborhood must convince at least six members of the Council to vote against the GR zoning.

8. Variance Issues/Updates – 127 Riverside Project (Crescent Machinery site) (Danette Chimenti/Sarah Campbell) – SRCC previously supported the variance requested, but now there may be problems due to changes to the project plan. SRCC needs to meet with the principals again to ensure that SRCC can still support the variance requested. Our understanding is that Applicant is pushing to go before the Planning Commission and has not responded to SRCC requests for another meeting with SRCC regarding concerns about changes to the plan. A current site plan has been requested. Sarah Campbell is very concerned that the variance not be given a blanket okay. It will set a precedent for other property owners along Riverside to also request variances to the Town Lake waterfront overlay. Joe Arriaga confirmed that once a precedent is set, it becomes very difficult for City Staff and City Council not to grant the same concessions to other property owners. Elloa Matthews noted that during the previous meetings with the developer, both Matt Hollon and Jeff Kessel (who are very knowledgeable about water quality issues) did not oppose the variance and were in favor of the positive effects to be gained. Sarah Campbell noted that perhaps Matt was not that familiar with the waterfront overlay. Sarah suggested that the Executive Committee meet with the Applicant again, then make a decision whether to support the variance.

Carl Betancourt made a motion to rescind the SRCC previous support for the variance until the Applicant meets with the Executive Committee to address the changes to the plan and SRCC concerns regarding those changes, and give the Executive Committee authority to decide whether SRCC will support the new plan. Sage White seconded the motion and it passed unanimously, with no abstentions.

The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for January 16, 2006, and the developer will be encouraged to address SRCC concerns at that time.

Don Mar Variance Update (Danette Chimenti) – The Board of Adjustments approved the variance requested, to the delight of the Applicant. The project is for mixed-use with condos and 7,000 square feet of retail on South Congress at the Don-Mar Motel location. A restrictive covenant will be prepared for execution by the Applicant and SRCC requiring that the project will have no access to Nickerson (including vehicular, pedestrian, and commercial); all parking must be onsite with no option to request a variance for on-street parking in the future; no outdoor entertainment, and a performance bond to cover legal fees should the developer breach the restrictive covenant. The variance requested was to allow smaller square footage for the condo units than City Code currently allows. With the variance, the project will have more units. The developer was very appreciative of the cooperation of SRCC in this matter. One concern raised during the general meeting is the safety of Fulmore students crossing the vehicular access to the project. We need to clearly articulate those concerns and recommend solutions. The impression is that Don Mar will continue to work with the neighborhood to address any concerns we have.

Gables Development (Jean Mather) – "The proposed Gables Development adjacent to Seaholm has great significance to . . . the Austin community because of its highly visible location along Town Lake Park and [its] importance as a transportation corridor." The Austin Neighborhoods Council and other local parks, neighborhood, environmental and housing advocates oppose the granting of the Gables Development Package because it "(1) provides public parkland and other public assets for private development without adequate public compensation or community benefits; (2) requires taxpayers to pay almost $1.5 million for a road for a private development without proven public need; (3) publicly subsidizes luxury condos with no provision for affordable housing, and (4) fails to respect existing community plans protecting the Town Lake Corridor with a closed process that excluded the community." It is recommended that prior to consideration of the Development Package (1) a full accounting of the public costs and benefits of the proposed development should be provided; (2) the Community should be included in negotiations and other decision making that impacts the Town Lake Master Plan, and (3) a higher standard of community benefits in City development agreement negotiations should be required. David Coufal moves to endorse the Gables letter; the motion is seconded by several members, including Toni House, Danette Chimenti, and others, and passes unanimously.

Hyatt Hotel Development (Danette Chimenti) – A presentation is being made to the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association at Becker Elementary School at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17, 2006, concerning the property owner’s plans regarding the redevelopment of its parking lot. Michael Whelan will be making the presentation on behalf of the Hyatt. It is anticipated that the Hyatt will be requesting variances. Anyone interested is invited to attend. Danette and Jean plan to attend.

Meeting adjourns at 9:00 p.m.