SRCC minutes, meeting May 1, 2006

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Minutes of South River City Citizens (SRCC) Membership Meeting May 1, 2006

The meeting began with introductions of all present, followed by a rousing treasurer’s report. Tobacco, Alcohol, and Beverage Commission (TABC) Lieutenant Robert Saenz then gave a talk on TABC’s brief period of enhanced enforcement prior to the recent Dallas Nightclub debacle. Robert reported that Texas leads the nation in DUIs, and he hopes the Texas Legislature will allow enforcement efforts to resume (they are on hold due to the negative Dallas Nightclub press). He brought pamphlets describing Protests. A Protest is what TABC calls the process for individuals and government officials to object to issuances of licenses and/or permits. He said that violations may be reported by calling 1-888-843-8222, and neighbors with questions may call him at 451-0231 or email him at

In response to questions from neighbors, Robert said that TABC and Austin Police Department (APD) computers don’t talk to each other, so there is very little or no sharing of information between the two.

Tim Mahoney, Chair of Austin’s Urban Forestry Board, presented the Board’s recent report entitled The First Step in the City of Austin’s Urban Forestry Management Plan: The Case for an Inventory, which the Board approved on January 18 of this year. Tim’s work with the Board began more than two years ago when the Board passed a resolution opposing Save Austin Oaks because they (the Board) had not prepared a comprehensive plan for protecting Austin’s trees. Under Tim’s leadership, the Board is becoming stronger and more effective; recent recruits include the UT Forester and near neighbor Jim Temple (appointed by neighbor and Council Member Jennifer Kim). Jim is a landscape architect who has done a lot of volunteer design work on the developing Country Club Creek. The Board hopes to have its first ever Urban Forestry Comprehensive Plan by about the end of this year. Tim was also appointed to be a part of a City Council appointed Task Force, which has been called The Tree Cutting Task Force. That Task Force will report to the City Council subcommittee on Land Use and Transportation on May 8 at 3:00 p.m.

Saundra Kirk reported on the recent Neighborhood Planning Workshop that brought students and faculty from the UT School of Architecture’s Neighborhood Planning Program, Austin residents and staff from the City’s Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Department together to evaluate neighborhood planning in Austin. Saundra credited Tim Mahoney with being a major force behind this bringing together of neighborhood representatives who had been affected by City neighborhood planning. She reported that SRCC was well-represented; of approximately 200 participants, 12 were from SRCC. UT School of Architecture students reported on the survey work they had conducted prior to the workshop; the experiences and frustrations of neighborhoods across the city were very similar, including inadequate education about zoning by the City, and City staff’s actual role as stakeholder in neighborhood plans and their stated role as facilitators in the neighborhood planning process.

Saundra described the process that workshop attendees went through to develop recommendations for a more collaborative neighborhood planning process, and she reported on the major outcomes of the workshop.

Gayle, Toni and Dawn reported on the four major zoning cases the East Riverside Oltorf Combined (EROC) neighborhood is involved in that are all in conflict with staff’s and the neighborhood’s recommendations in the proposed neighborhood plan. These are Willow Creek (City Council on May 4), Constellation (goes to Planning Commission May 9 at 6:00), Schuler (City Council on June 8) and Cypress, which just filed a zoning application. All four cases have been pulled out of the neighborhood planning process. In addition to meetings at Planning Commission and City Council regarding each of these cases, EROC is preparing for their plan to go before the Planning Commission on May 23.

The City has not yet -provided the maps showing the Mixed Use tracts in the Greater South River City (GSRC) Neighborhood Plan. Once the City provides the map, the Neighborhood Planning Contact Team will have 90 days to respond regarding the applicability of Vertical Mixed-Use development standards to those tracts.

Danette Chimenti represents South Austin neighborhoods on the Single Family Compatibility (McMansion) Task Force (TF), which meets every Friday from 1:30 until 4:30, and the first part of the meeting is reserved for Citizens’ Communication. There are four subcommittees; (1) Floor to Area Ratio (FAR), Setback & Height, (2) Building Cover (BC), Impervious Cover (IC) & Drainage, (3) Interpretation, Enforcement & Policy, and (4) Use, Occupancy & Parking. Danette chairs 1; she is also on 2 and 3. The TF expects the interim ordinance to be extended until June 24.

Betty Weed announced that she does not want to coordinate the 4th of July parade this year. Neighbors discussed alternatives including designating a route that doesn’t cross a major street, which would eliminate the need for a parade permit and would eliminate the need for a coordinator. The starting location can be announced, and neighbors can march to the park from there. The parade will be discussed at the June meeting.

Returning to the agenda, Jeff Kessel reported on his meetings with the City regarding Blunn Creek issues resulting from St. Edwards University overdevelopment. Jeff spoke with representatives from the City’s Watershed Protection and Development Review and Public Works departments; they reported that they had found no cost effective water quality measures to address the problems. However the flooding problems can be addressed. According to City Project Manager, the City will send a proposal to St. Edwards within two weeks regarding a shared use facility for stormwater detention and recreation.

David Todd reported on Its My Park Day in Stacy Park that volunteers had a good time uprooting invasive trees, which LCRA mulched at the park so the mulch could be used at the park. Rene Barrera worked with David to plan the project. They hope that by removing the invasive trees, sunlight can nourish the groundcover so that it can prevent erosion.

Gayle reported that EROC neighbors worked on the Country Club Trail to celebrate Its My Park Day.

Elloa reported on the police Chief’s Forum. She said she had given the Chief a report of all the festivals on South Congress Avenue, and now he wants a report of all the events in the neighborhood. She said our neighbor Carl Braun can’t get police to respond in his neighborhood east of IH-35 on First Thursdays because the police are all on South Congress, but she is working with the police to get more coverage or more representative coverage for the neighborhood.

Ellen reported no news from the South Congress Committee.

Finally, Danette announced that there will be a potluck at Little Stacy park at 5:30 on May 13. This event is being organized by a group of volunteers from the neighborhood in order for neighbors to have a good time together. No business will be conducted.

[rec'd 5/15/06]

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