W.A.N.G. Newsletter SEPT -2018
PO Box 5722, Austin, TX 78763-5722
in this Issue.....
- President's Message: Proposition J by Cathy Kyle
- Brackenridge Tract update by Mary Arnold
- Prop K - by Michael Searle
- W.A.N.G Monthly Meeting Minutes for Sept
- ACL - Austin City Limits Festival Info
- WANG Board & City Council Contact info
- West Austin - This is your wake up call! by August Harris
- Zoning & Variances - 2017-2018 by Blake Tollett
- Mayfield Park News by Blake Tollett
- Neighborhood Real Estate Stats - Sept12, 2018
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension - Widow Spider
- Letters to the Board - Election Day Information
OUR NEXT NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING......October 2nd
Tuesday, Oct. 2nd, 6:30pm
2500 Exposition Boulevard
Please join us at the Howson Library
(the first Tuesday of each month!)
To get an item on the Agenda, send email to President@WestAustinNG.com
Optional RSVP below if you would like to let us know you are planning to attend and receive an agenda as it becomes available (usually the day of the meeting)
RSVPs are enabled for this event.
SAVE THE DATE ! - NEIGHBORHOOD ANNUAL MEETING
Sunday, Oct. 21st, 11am-1pm
Lions Municipal Golf Course Clubhouse, Enfield Road, Austin, TX, USA
What's next: Prop J
W.A.N.G. President's Message
by Cathy Kyle
Mayor Adler’s announcement last month abandoning CodeNEXT ,the widely unpopular turgid rewrite of the City’s Land Development Code, was something of a shocker. The Mayor argued that the process had become too divisive (true) and that the proposal did not have adequate support on the Council to pass (arguable). In the months running up to the Council’s vote on the rewrite, it had become clear that the Mayor would have to vote in favor of CodeNEXT for it to pass – he would not be able to abstain from this vote. And, he slowly realized from his downtown condo that the political fallout of such a vote might severely hamper his bid for re-election.
Perhaps it’s only a coincidence, but Adler’s announcement came on the heels of District Judge Naranjo’s order requiring the City to include on the November ballot an ordinance allowing citizens to vote on any amendment to the development code. The proposition landed on the ballot after a successful petition drive, garnering over 31,000 signatures. The petition supported “a proposed ordinance requiring that there shall be BOTH a waiting period and voter approval by election before CodeNEXT (or any subsequent comprehensive revisions of the City’s land development laws) is legally effective.”
The City’s legal department disputed the legality of the petition, and in May, the Council voted 6-4 against including the petition on the ballot. Kudos to those who supported the petition drive and voted against the resolution, including District 10 representative Alison Alter and District 9 rep Kathie Tovo. At the same time, the Council passed a second resolution agreeing to include the measure if the Court ordered the City to do so. On July 16, 2018, Judge Naranjo ordered exactly that, and less than two weeks later, the Mayor issued his about-face.
In a couple of weeks, we’ll be faced with a ballot with eleven propositions. Mayor Adler has urged support of all except the last two – the two propositions submitted by the good people of the City of Austin, rather than by the Council: Prop J, which approves an ordinance that would require a waiting period and a vote on any rewrite of the Land Development Code; and Prop K, which calls for an independent audit of the City’s finances. Adler has called both a “joke.”
With the Council in full retreat on the adoption of CodeNEXT, we’d hope that we could relax and enjoy fall football. But, we still need to be sure that Prop J is passed, especially considering the Mayor’s derision. While CodeNEXT may be dead, efforts to revise the Land Development Code are not. And the current code should be revised. Last rewritten in 1984, it has become bloated and unwieldy, not to mention a nightmare for those attempting to remodel, redevelop, or undertake something entirely new – in short, anyone who wants to make any alteration, however slight, to the existing fabric.
Opticos, the Bay Area consultant firm that brought us CodeNEXT, pocketed $8 million while producing a failed product. The Council is walking away from that pay-out, and Adler has tasked the new City Manager, Spencer Cronk, to create a “new process” for revising our community’s land code. That process should include all members of the community, and should produce a new code that protects neighborhoods rather than creating a money-printing machine for real estate developers. Yes, we support providing affordable housing in West Austin – but increased density does not reduce land values. Nothing proposed by CodeNEXT addressed Austin’s skyrocketing property values – property values that undermine efforts to increase affordable housing stock in central Austin. Until City staff and the community come together to solve the riddle of increasing affordability in the City’s urban core, it will remain an unachievable goal. Instead, market-driven escalating prices will force long-time residents out of established neighborhoods.
A new land development code is inevitable and well-advised. Prop J at least gives those impacted the most, those of us who live and work here, a waiting period to fully vet the revisions and the opportunity to vote on whether the rewrite should be adopted. When November’s election rolls around, vote in favor of Prop J.
Brackenridge TRACT: WHAT WILL HAPPEN ON MAY 25TH 2019
Brackenridge Tract Background
- 1924: The Lions Club got a 25 year deal in 1924 and built the first public golf course in Austin.
- 1936: The City of Austin took over the Lion’s lease in 1936, and got a 50 year deal - til 1987.
- 1973: In 1972-73, UT Regents tried to cancel the lease, and got the city to make another deal, just to keep the lease until 1987. (Deal = City pay to move and repave Red River near UT)
- 1987: The deal in 1987 was not worked out until 1989, and another 30 years was secured, with lease payments totaling $9,929,920, plus development approvals on the rest of the Brackenridge Tract, except the Field Lab.
- 2009: In 2009 a Texas Historical Marker was approved for Lions Muny for its early Desegregation (1951), and in 2016 Lions was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, important for that early, quiet desegregation.
- 2011: In Feb. 2011, the UT Board of Regents voted to let the golf course lease expire at the end of its 30 yr. term, which is May 25, 2019.
Here we are in 2018 — Will we finally get the green, historic golf course FOREVER this time????
Owned by the City of Austin , or a Conservancy, and NOT by UT??
What would it take to do that Deal?
1) Approval by Austin City Council as well as UT Board of Regents
2) Providing something that UT wants
3) Passage of Austin Park Bonds in November could help as Council voted some of those bonds could help pay UT for the Lions Municipal Golf Course tract.
4) UT will still want some non-UT development approved for the rest of the Brackenridge Tract - particularly fronting Lady Bird Lake. - How much?
5) AND ????
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1) Support the Parks Bonds, Proposition C
https://www.austintexas.gov/ sites/default/files/files/ Finance/CFO/2018-Bond/Prop_C_ Parks_and_Recreation.pdf
2) Contact the Austin City Council in support of preserving the historic green space called “MUNY” (This is Important!)
3) Urge a “DEAL” - at least a partial one, by November 25 -
6 months before May 25, when the current lease could end.
What is proposition k? and why should Austin support it?
Article reprinted courtesy of
"Yes on Prop K PAC" Treasurer
Due to high property taxes and utility bills in Austin and an increasing desire for governmental transparency and accountability, residents of Austin want to know that their money is being spent as effectively as possible to deliver essential services at needed levels. This summer more than 33,000 Austin residents signed a petition, asking for the City to undergo a third-party, independent efficiency audit.
What is an efficiency audit? It is not a new idea, but it is a good one. Similar to National Performance Reviews implemented by the Clinton/Gore administration in 1992, the Texas Performance Review championed by Texas Comptroller John Sharp under Governor Ann Richards, or the Grace Commission led by former President Reagan, efficiency audits are systematic reviews of expenditures and operations which are also used by large corporate entities to eliminate waste and inefficiency while renewing a sense of responsibility in government spending.
The Austin efficiency audit (Prop K) has four major components:
1. It requires the audit be conducted by a third-party, independent firm with great experience in these audits.
2. It requires the audit be conducted on the entire City enterprise, including all city departments such as the
General Fund Departments, Austin Energy, Austin Water, Austin Transportation Department, and so on.
3. It requires the firm be given unfettered access to the information they need to conduct a thorough audit.
4. The audit ends with an “implementation plan” which includes a list of recommendations and associated tax savings, which the City Council will have the sole authority to implement with input from the public.
The savings generated as a result of implementing the recommendations of the audit, which will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, could be redirected to any other purposes such as public safety, parks, transportation, holding the line on tax increases, affordable housing, or homelessness.
In addition to conducting a comprehensive budget analysis, the efficiency audit looks for opportunities to improve service delivery, consolidation of shared services, technological solutions, revenue enhancements, long-term debt restructuring, and maximizing use of city facilities, among others.
Examples of Efficiency Audit Results in Other Municipalities (although there are MANY MORE).
● Wyoming, $ 222.7 Million in annual savings
● Detroit Public Schools, $53 Million million in annual savings.
● Louisiana, $2.4 Billion in savings over 5 years ( $480 Million annual savings)
To SUM it up, Proposition K is intended to :
Save Money by ensuring your tax dollars are being spent wisely and effectively
Uncover waste, inefficiency, duplication and fraud .
Make History approving the first comprehensive efficiency audit in Austin history.
The ballot language could be far better worded with a more precise and detailed description of what the audit actually does. A vote for Prop K, the very last item on the ballot, will provide the City Council and the residents of Austin with a tool to assist in making the most informed decisions ensuring our tax dollars are spent effectively and those expenditures reflect the values of our city.
Proposition K, as it will appear on the ballot: “Without using the existing internal City Auditor or existing independent external auditor, shall the City Code be amended to require an efficiency study of the City's operational and fiscal performance performed by a third-party audit consultant, at an estimated cost of $1 million - $5 million?”
Please Vote Yes on Prop K
Fore more information or to donate, go to www.VoteYesOnPropK.com
WANG AUGUST 2018 Meeting Minutes
WEST AUSTIN NEIGHBORHOOD GROUP
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING MINUTES
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
These are the minutes of the meeting of the West Austin Neighborhood Group Board of Directors held Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 6:30 p.m., at Howson Public Library.
I. Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order at 6:35 PM by President Cathy Kyle. Board members in attendance included: Mary Arnold, Joyce Basciano, Joe Bennett, George Edwards, Holly Reed and Blake Tollett. Board members Elizabeth Adams, Mike Cannatti, Happy Harris, Haidar Khazen, and Craig Lill were not in attendance.
Citizens in attendance were Mary Beth Murphy, Ralph Hasson, Zenobia Joseph and Hershall Shelley. Representatives from Cap Metro, Roberto Gonzalez and Lawrence Deeter, also attended the meeting.
II. Approval of Minutes:
A motion was made to approve the July Meeting Minutes by Holly Reed, seconded by Joe Bennett and approved by the Board unanimously.
George Edwards made a motion to approve the August Meeting Minutes, which was seconded by Holly Reed and approved by the Board, with President Kyle and Blake Tollett abstaining.
III. Neighbor Communications:
Ralph Hasson and Mary Beth Murphy are planning to submit a variance request to the City in order to install a rainwater collection tank in the yard of their home at 2201 Stamford Lane. Because the home is located on a corner lot, the rainwater collection tank would have to be installed within the 25’ setback on the side street, Stamford Way, requiring a variance from the City. The 3200 gallon tank would be 8’ in diameter and 102” tall, and would be concealed with landscaping.
Mr. Hasson and Ms. Murphy have contacted all neighbors within 500 feet of their residence and have had no neighbor objections to their proposed variance. They asked that the WANG Board consider sending a letter to the Board of Adjustment, not opposing their variance request.
Blake noted that the request must be submitted before WANG can send a letter. He added that it would be helpful to note, when submitting the request, that this rainwater collection system could help alleviate flooding along Stamford during heavy rains.
IV. Land Matters:
Blake Tollett reported no new Land Matters cases at this time.
A. Cap Metro representatives Roberto Gonzales and Lawrence Deeter were available to answer questions about the new bus routes (Rt. 335 and Rt. 18) which have replaced the 21/22 route. Mr. Gonzales explained that the 21/22 route was evaluated for changes, as Cap Metro does every 5 years, and a section of Exposition was eliminated. That section is now “covered” by a pilot program with RideAustin. Riders needing to get from one Exposition bus stop to the other must call RideAustin.
Hershall Shelley, who rides the bus every day, brought up several issues he has with the new bus routes:
1. The 335 bus stops and waits for the driver to take a break in an unsafe location near Casis Elementary. Cap Metro has received calls about this situation. Mr. Gonzalez explained that city traffic engineers intend to change this location.
2. The 335 bus turns left onto Westover Road and must go through the school crosswalks every 15 minutes. The bus also has to navigate speed bumps on Westover, coming to a full stop for each bump. There is no bus stop on Westover.
3. Mr. Shelley needs to get from the 335 bus stop to Randall’s and there is no longer a bus covering the part of Exposition between Westover and Enfield. He was told that the RideAustin pilot program option takes 25 minutes to pick up a rider. He also pointed out that if you are not using a smart phone with an app, it is more time consuming for the RideAustin driver to find a Cap Metro rider.
Mr. Shelley asked the Cap Metro reps who to call about complaints regarding these issues. Mr. Gonzalez said he would email the WANG Board contact information for this person. The Board also asked if Cap Metro would consider extending the 335 route to Windsor Road, instead of going east on Westover. This would allow riders access to Tarrytown Center, the Post Office, and Howson Library. The WANG Board will send a letter of request to Cap Metro.
Zenobia Joseph voiced concern that Cap Metro’s remap has created hardship for riders who are bus dependent in some parts of the city. By increasing frequency on some bus routes, in order to encourage people to ride the bus rather than drive, Cap Metro has decreased frequency or removed bus stops in areas of the city where people are bus dependent. She noted that low ridership pulls resources from these other areas and presents an equity issue.
President Kyle added that she didn’t understand why Cap Metro chose to set up their pilot ride share program in West Austin rather than another area of the city where the need is greater.
Joyce Basciano also pointed out that the 335 and 18 bus routes circle two large undeveloped tracts of land in West Austin, the Austin State School and the MUNY Golf Course.
Blake Tollett asked if the Metro Rail would ever extend west of the Convention Center to Republic Square, and was told that it would not.
B. Exposition Sidewalks/ Parking Improvements:
The City of Austin Transportation Dept. is planning to make changes on Exposition Blvd. between Enfield and Westover in order to construct missing sidewalks and add pedestrian access to the high frequency bus service south of Enfield. Part of the plan involved removing parking on the east side of Exposition at Woodmont, south of Clearview to Gilbert St. and north of Bowman to provide space within the ROW to construct a sidewalk. Some neighbors are opposed to this elimination of parking on the east side of Exposition as offsite parking is not possible in these blocks. August Harris notified the COA Transportation Dept. that there was no community outreach prior to their notification to make these changes. He invited representatives to attend a WANG Board meeting. He received a modified plan from the Transportation Dept. which they said will be distributed to the neighborhood.
C. Parking District on SFA Drive:
Council Member Alter informed the Board that the City Council has voted to install parking meters along SFA Drive, as well as Veterans and Atlanta St. Blake Tollett pointed out that this may drive people who normally park in this now free parking area to seek free parking elsewhere (such as in the neighborhoods or Deep Eddy Parking lot.) Deep Eddy is already having an issue with restaurant patrons parking in their lot, and the parking district may exacerbate this problem.
CM Alter told the Board that the money from the parking district will be used by AISD and for Town Lake Trail improvements.
Joe Bennett reported that membership is up, and that the majority of members will renew in October, around the time of the Annual Meeting. He also reported that WANG has a new sustaining member at the 500.00 level and proposed offering advertising in the newsletter to all new "Sustaining" level (business) members.
Haidar said content for the Newsletter is due September 7th and ads need to be in by September 14th. This Newsletter will go out in print format as well as online, and will be distributed to all neighbors within the WANG area. The Board discussed the following content for the Newsletter:
1. A piece about Proposition J and the CodeNext petition written by President Kyle
2. An article about Propsition K provided by Joyce Basciano
3. An update on Cap Metro’s remap and rout changes by President Kyle
4. A Brackenridge Tract update by Mary Arnold
5. Annual Meeting Information and Membership by Joe Bennett
6. ACL Raffle/ Neighborhood Information by Joe Bennett
7. September Meeting Minutes by Holly Reed
VIII. ANC Liaison Report:
Joyce reported that the ANC Candidates Forum will take place Wednesday, Sept. 26th at the Austin Energy Building, 721 Barton Springs Rd.at 6:00 PM. ANC is supporting Proposition J.
Joyce also reported that during an interview on KVUE, Mayor Adler called Prop J and K a “joke” after confusing the two bond election propositions. The ballot language of Propositions J and K was written by City Council.
IX. Treasurer’s Report:
George Edwards reported that WANG has $6,401.62 in the Business Account, $437.41 in the Tarrytown 4th of July Parade Account, and $1,207.52 in the Oak Wilt Account for a total of $8046.55.
Blake Tollett proposed using the funds available in the Oak Wilt Account to help pay for the Newsletter printing. WANG has not heard of new cases of Oak Wilt in many years, and the funds have not been utilized for this purpose.
The Board concurred.
X. Old Business:
A. Annual Meeting:
The meeting will be held on either Oct. 20th or Oct. 21st. Proposed locations include Lions Muny Clubhouse, LCRA or the American Legions Post/ Charles Johnson House. Program and refreshments were discussed by the Board. WANG will invite an arborist to speak at the meeting. Holly Reed will call Muny’s event coordinator to set up a time on one of the dates.
Joe Bennett reported that 8 three-day ACL Passes have provided to new Benefactor Level members benefitting WANG. 8 Benefactor Level memberships with free 3-Day passes are (were) still available at the Benefactor Level of 250.00 each. There will also be a drawing for two tickets for patron-plus level and higher memberships. ACL weekends are Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 12-14.
C. Westminster Manor Expansion:
President Kyle reported that Westminster is seeking a zoning change for their parking lot in order to construct a new building, expanding north of the current location. They would like a letter of support (or non opposition) from the WANG Board. WANG will discuss the matter again after the zoning change request has been submitted.
XI. New Business:
A. Next Meeting: Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 6:30 PM at Howson Library.
XII. Adjourn: The meeting was adjourned by interim President Cathy Kyle at 8:40 PM.
ACL Festival Neighborhood Info
Austin City Limits Festival
WANG meets with the City of Austin and the Organizers of the Austin City Limits Festival three times a year to coordinate and discuss any issues in the neighborhood during the two-week festival. We have coordinated with the City to locate enforceable “No Parking” signs, typically on one side of some of the more narrow streets in order to facilitate the passage of emergency vehicles through the neighborhood during the festival. This year the Festival is being held October 5-7 and 12-14.
The no parking signs will be set out on Oct 3 and will remain up until Oct 15. Please remember, If you are parked on the street side where the signs are located you must move your car to the other side of the street or you may be ticketed or towed.
Neighborhood Call-in Line
512-806-7906 or 311
Use if someone is parked in front of your driveway or you see any other parking violations or any other issues with fest-goers in the neighborhood.... There will be dedicated APD officers patrolling and ticketing the entire even and surrounding area.
The streets affected with no parking signs (see maps) will be
- Upson St (east side),
- Deep Eddy Ave (east side),
- Hearn St (west side),
- Meriden Ln (east side),
- W.7th St (north side), and
- Atlanta St (west side)
Click on the no parking map to the right to see the proposed sign locations. We will post the final one. If you would like to send us your comments and requests we will be be providing additional input to ACL in the next several weeks. ACL@westaustinng.com
WANG will be posting on our Web Site (www.WestAustinNG.com) a specially provided Call-in phone number that will be available to call to report any illegal parking or other issues happening in the neighborhood during the festival. This number will directly connect you to a City Staff member that will be able to dispatch police officers directly. We will send out a special newsletter mail out with the neighborhood phone in number before the festival. You may also send an email to ACL@westaustinng.com and request the number and we will provide you with the Call-in number when it is available.
ACL Fest - click on the bars (links) below for .....
Direct links to CITY ACL postings:
o Weekend 1 - http://austintexas.gov/event/austin-city-limits-2018-weekend-1
o Weekend 2 - http://austintexas.gov/event/austin-city-limits-2018-weekend-2
- Informational pdfs in each of the event weekend entries include: (click on blue text)
- Open/Closed Area Impact Map - Park Use
- Barton Springs Pool - User Access Map
- Barton Springs Road, Toomey/Sterzing Area
- Road Closure, Taxi, TNC and Drop Off Area Overview Map
- Bike Route Map
- Barton Springs Pool website also contains the access routes map for event days
W.A.N.G. ACL DRAWING
ACL (2) 3 DAY PASS DRAWING
WANG will again be holding a drawing for two free ACL 3-Day passes to current PATRON Plus level or higher members. A PATRON-PLUS membership is $150 annually which includes you in the free drawing. You can upgrade your current Patron Level membership for $50. Two 3-Day passes are valued at $510!
Congratulations to the Cortez-Neavel Family! of Velasquez Dr. They won the (2) 3-Day passes
Join WANG for your chance to win next year!
Please mail application and check to: West Austin Neighborhood Group PO Box 5722 Austin, TX 78763-5722 Annual Memberships (Nov 1-Oct 31) $50-Friend Level; $100-PATRON Level; $150PatronPlus $30-FAMILY Level; $15-SENIOR Level; $250-BENEFACTOR Level
WANG Board of Directors & Committee Members
Organized 1973......"To preserve our neighborhood and protect it from deterioration"
Board of Directors
- President: Cathy Kyle President@westaustinng.com
- Secretary: Holly Reed Secretary@westaustinng.com
- Assistant Secretary: Blake Tollett AsstSecretary@westaustinng.com
- Treasurer: George Edwards Treasurer@westaustinng.com
- Past President: August "Happy" Harris III PastPresident@westaustinng.com
Committee Members (click on name to send email)
- Elizabeth Adams
- Mary Arnold
- Joyce Basciano
- Joseph M Bennett
- Michael Cannatti
- George Edwards
- Haidar Khazen
- Craig Lill
- Holly Reed
Honorary Committee Members
- Honorary Mayor Steve Adler
- Honorary Alison Alter
- Honorary Kathie Tovo
CITY COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES
Contact your City Council Representatives:
(click on name to send email)
- Mayor: Steve Adler 512-978-2100
- District 1: Ora Houston 512-978-2101
- District 2: Delia Garza 512-978-2102
- District 3: Sabino Renteria 512-978-2103
- District 4: Gregorio Casar 512-978-2104
- District 5: Ann Kitchen 512-978-2105
- District 6: Jimmy Flanigan 512-978-2106
- District 7: Leslie Pool 512-978-2107
- District 8: Ellen Troxclair 512-978-2108
- District 9: Kathie Tovo 512-978-2109
- District 10: Alison Alter 512-978-2110
Email All of the Council: Entire Council and Mayor
ATTENTION WEST AUSTIN !!
THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL !!!
It’s Brack Tract Time
By August Harris, Past President
On July 27th, the University of Texas issued a Request for Proposals for Lease or Leases With or Without Existing Improvements for two parcels of land within the Brackenridge Tract. Those two are the 2.6 acre tract at Lake Austin Boulevard and Exposition which is home to Randall’s referred to as the Safeway Tract and the 0.6 acre tract across Norwalk where the 7-Eleven is and which is referred to as the Deep Eddy Tract. That the existing leases to those two businesses may be of legitimate concern to some, what should be of paramount concern is what development might take their place. The fate of these two sites and the potential development plans that might be submitted should be a shot across the bow to each of us for what could transpire in the next two months (and beyond) in regard to the whole Brackenridge Tract as a whole – which includes Muny, WAYA and the lakeside parcels that make up the rest of Colonel Brackenridge’s gift to the University.
For our community, it is imperative that the Brackenridge Development Agreement that guides all development on the Tract be continued without substantiative revisions. While this document has some flaws that couldn’t be anticipated when this carefully crafted compromise was put to paper, agreed to by the University, the City of Austin and ultimately blessed by the Legislature in 1989, it represents a thoughtful, structured document that provides guidance for the development of the land for non-University purposes. To reopen wholesale negotiations could only result in an inferior product, community infighting, costly controversy and perhaps even litigation. One need only look to the morass of the “Grove” as an example. We have lived with the existing guidelines of the Agreement for nearly thirty years fairly successfully and its continuation should be considered a positive.
Under the Brackenridge Development Agreement, the Safeway Tract is currently constrained to a floor to area (FAR) ratio of 0.45 to 1.0. This means that the total development can’t exceed approximately 52,000 square feet and can’t be taller than three stories or 40 feet in height. Other requirements under the Development Agreement provide for a building coverage limit of 50% of the parcel and a limit of 90% impervious cover. Meanwhile, the Deep Eddy Tract has similar requirements allowing nearly 11,000 square feet of development though it allows for 80% impervious cover. The 31,000 square foot Randall’s grocery store reaches neither the FAR nor the height limits in the Agreement while the 7-Eleven only occupies approximately 3,000 square feet, again well below the threshold.
If we look to the current Land Development Code (heaven forbid CodeNEXT) to understand what could be done on this site were it not owned by the University of Texas, both parcels likely would be zoned “CS” or general commercial services, among the most permissive zoning categories outside of Downtown Austin. If we apply what is allowed under that zoning, most notably, the Safeway Tract would be allowed a maximum FAR of 2 to 1 or the equivalent of 230,000 square feet - approximately four times the development now on the site. Now, there are additional constraints such as compatibility setbacks that govern the gradation of height adjacent to residential properties as is the case here, as well as watershed restrictions that further limit impervious cover that would subsequently limit the effective FAR. However, it does suggest that under our existing Land Development Code, significantly more development could go on both the Safeway and Deep Eddy Tracts. It is no accident that the University’s RFP requires that the proposals remain valid through December 31, 2019, perhaps in anticipation of either substantive modifications to Brackenridge Development Agreement or, our worst case scenario, their expiration in May of 2019.
Many of the University’s goals, our community’s objectives and West Austin’s concerns can all be reasonably addressed within the existing Agreement. If negotiations are reopened to increase or otherwise alter entitlements on either of these two sites, it could be a precursor to a cataclysmic fate that awaits other parcels within the Brackenridge Tract. It is time to pay attention.
ZONING AND VARIANCE REQUESTS 2017-2018
by Blake Tollett
This report contains the past year’s noticed requests to the Board of Adjustment (BoA) for variances from the City’s Land Development Code (LDC) and other noticed land use change requests, such as zoning/rezoning, Conditional Use Permits (CUPs) or resubdivision, that after review and deliberation by the Board of Directors (BoD) were voted on to be either opposed by WANG or not opposed with/with out conditions.
Board of Adjustment
2303 Quarry Road
Applicant: Jessica Ozmun 512-971-2694
Owner: B. Lee
The applicant has requested a variance from the LDC 25-2-515 (Rear Yard of a Through Lot) to decrease the minimum lot setback from 25 feet (required) to 16 feet (requested, existing flatwork) in order to construct a detached garage, screened porch and bath in an SF-3-NP zoning district.
The variance was granted conditioned on the WANG request that the detached garage remain non-habitable.
2515 Winsted Lane
Owner/Applicant: Robert Ettinger 512-478-4754
The applicant has requested variance to § 25-2-492 (D) (Site Development Regulations) to decrease the minimum lot width from 50 feet (required) to 45.3 feet (requested for lot 193) in order to complete an amended plat of the 2 lots which will enable the current house to be located entirely on lot 192 and a new single family home to be built on the currently vacant lot 193 in an SF-3-NP zoning district.
NOTE: §25-1-22 (measurements) (C) of the LDC requires that lot width be measured both at the front setback line (57.47 in this case) and at a distance 50 feet to the rear of the front setback line (45.3 feet in this case). A minimum of 50 feet is required for each point on the lot.
This variance was not opposed and was granted. Both the WANG BoD and the BoA noted that this variance would create another legally buildable lot in the neighborhood.
2605 W. 8th Street
Applicant/owner: Evan & Kristina Baehr (512) 994-6240
The applicant has requested a variance from Subchapter F: Residential Design and Compatibility Standards (McMansion), to increase the maximum allowable floor to area ratio from 0.4 to 1.0 (required, permitted) to 0.44 to 1.0 (requested) in order to add a 37 square foot elevated hallway to connect the main portion of the home to an existing detached air condition living space previously built as an art studio located above a garage in an SF-3-NP zoning district.
Upon revisions by the applicants, the WANG BoD voted to not oppose the requested variance with the understanding that the applicants intend to remove the outside staircase to the upper garage habitable space and that they will not, subsequent to the granting of the requested variance, install an internal staircase within the garage to access the upper level. It was also noted by the WANG BoD that there appears to be no close by neighbor opposition to the requested variance.
The variance was granted upon the conditions requested by WANG.
There were no other public hearing predicated land use requests that came before the WANG ExComm other than requests for historic zoning.
News from Mayfield Park - 2018
Mayfield Park / Community Project
The Mayfield Council
As always things have been busy inside the walls at the Mayfield Cottage and Gardens. On Saturday March 3rd we participated in the semi-annual “It’s My Park Day” sponsored by our good friends at the Austin Parks Foundation (APF). Using garden funds collected in 2017 at our annual Mayfield Trowel & Error fundraiser, we purchased 10 cubic yards of second grind hardwood mulch from Whittlesey Landscape Supplies and with volunteers from the garden adopters’ group and University of Texas Global Medical Training students, we beautified the paths in the gardens in preparation for Trowel & Error (T&E) 2018 held on April 7th. A big “Thank You!” to this year’s sponsors of T&E 2018, Friends of the Parks Austin, Friends of Reed Park, Barton Springs Nursery, West Austin Neighborhood Group, McCarthy Print, The Natural Gardener, the law firm of Scott, Douglass & McConnico, and Austin’s Parks & Recreation Department; we had an informative and well attended event, as usual. T&E 2019 will be on Saturday 6 April 2019!
As reported last year, in the spring of 2017 we applied to the Austin Visitors and Convention Bureau (AC&VB) for a Heritage Grant in order to incorporate a wrought iron picket fence into the section of the rock wall overlooking the creek as well as to do repairs to the rock waterfall that circulates water in the hourglass pond. We were subsequently granted $41,630 from AC&VB (N.K.A.-Visit Austin!). Under the guidance of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) and the Historic Preservation Office, we chose Allied Fence to work with Brian Ash’s Historic Masonry group to install the fencing. If you haven’t been to the park in a while I think you will find it not at all intrusive. And the anxiety of seeing our small visitors to the park standing on the wall and looking down at the ravine below is now diminished.
Using another allocation from the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT), PARD had the repairs completed to the collapsed portions of the historic rock wall facing the parking lot and W. 35th Street. An additional allocation of HOT monies is being used to affect a much-needed rehabilitation of the two auxiliary sheds. This rehabilitation work is ongoing and should be completed by the end of September. The sheds are looking very nice.
We applied for and received a grant from Preservation Austin to do repairs to the stairs leading down to and the pathways inside the historic rose garden area where the sundial is located.
Thank you very much Preservation Austin!
Jeannie Ferrier and The Austin Pond Society continue to do amazing work at Mayfield. As stated last year, we are truly blown away by what this organization has done to rehabilitate the flower ponds (you have noticed the central ponds are in the stylized shape of a flower haven’t you?).
Our current project is an emergency repair to the stone arch leading into the gazebo space at the back of the gardens. Due to deterioration of the mortar holding the rock apart, it was determined that the arch is in imminent danger of collapse and the area has been cordoned off. The Mayfield Council, in coordination with PARD and the City’s Historic Preservation Office, has privately contracted with Brian Ash’s group to do the repair. Initial estimates are in the 12 to 15 thousand-dollar range, and we have the money but it will definitely deplete our funds. This extraordinary expense aside, we continue to work on implementing the long term historic Landscape Treatment Plan and working with our private arborist on ongoing maintenance of the tree canopy.
There are only limited funds and manpower that PARD is able to allocate to a park, and it is through volunteer efforts that allow Mayfield to truly shine. The Mayfield Council wants to thank those who have given their money, but especially those who have given their time, to the preservation and maintenance of this true gem in the City’s parks system. The Mayfield Cottage and Grounds, a City of Austin historic landmark and a National Registered District, would not be what it is today without these volunteer efforts. For tax purposes, contributions to the Mayfield Park/Community Project are channeled through an IRS § 501(c)(3) entity (Austin Community Foundation, MP/CP Fund) and can be sent to:
Mayfield Park/Community Project
c/o Blake Tollett
3701 Bonnie Road
Austin, Texas 78703
Austin Community Foundation
Mayfield Park/Community Project Fund
4315 Guadalupe Street
Austin, Texas 78751
We also have an endowment fund with the Austin Community Foundation that we opened with an initial donation of $20,000 from the Mayfield Council. Our goal is a million dollars (maybe not in my lifetime) with the long-range well being of the cottage and grounds in mind.
On a final organizational note, our Karen Cannatti has determined that now is the time for her to begin stepping back from the organization. In the mid 1980s Karen, Barbara Watt and Mary Kaiser determined that the Mayfield Cottage and Gardens were worth preserving for future generations, and they did this. We continue their legacy going forward.
Keep us in mind and come visit the park. We are expecting you.
Blake Tollett, Chair
3701 Bonnie Road 78703
The Mayfield Council <Mayfieldpark.org>
Karen Cannatti * Rick Chance * Janice Brown * Tom Kidd,
Tricia Ziegler * Barbara Watt * Sharon Lamb * Shawnee Merriman
NEIGHBORHOOD REAL ESTATE STATISTICS 09/12/18
by Wizzie Brown, BCE
There are four species of widow spiders found in Texas, the best known being the black widow. Coloration for widow spiders can vary dramatically, but Southern black widows are typically jet black with two reddish-orange triangles on the underside of the abdomen, forming an hourglass shape. The triangles sometimes do not touch each other creating a broken hourglass shape. Males and juveniles are smaller and often show more color, with bright markings on their sides or back.
Females lay eggs in an oval sac which can hold from 25 to over 900 eggs. Depending on temperature and time of year, eggs usually hatch after about 20 days. Spiderlings stay near the egg sac for several days where they consume their brothers and sisters. Survivors throw a thread of silk to the wind and are carried off in a process called “ballooning”. They eventually locate a sheltered spot where they build a loosely woven web and remain for the rest of their lives. As time progresses, widows build larger webs to capture larger prey. Males eventually leave their webs to find females for mating. In a natural setting, most females do not eat males after mating.
Widow spiders do not like being in the open. They can often be found outside in protected areas such as rainspouts, shrubbery, firewood piles or unused grills or BBQ pits. It is also possible to find them in garages, cellars, crawl spaces, attics, furniture, or electric or water meter boxes. Widows are shy creatures and often people are bitten when they accidentally disturb a web.
The bite of a black widow sometimes is not noticed, but when it is, it often feels like a pin prick. The bite location will have two red marks surrounded by redness and swelling. The bite reaction is systemic and intense pain usually occurs within 1-3 hours and continues for up to 48 hours. Other symptoms include tremors, nausea, vomiting, leg cramps, abdominal pain, profuse perspiration and rise in blood pressure. It is also possible for breathing difficulties and unconsciousness to occur. If bitten by a black widow, immediately seek medical attention.
When working around the house or in the yard, it is best to wear leather gloves to avoid being bitten by venomous arthropods.
For more information or help with identification, contact Wizzie Brown, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Program Specialist
Wizzie Brown, BCE
My Blogs: http://urban-ipm.blogspot.com/
Instagram: urbanipm, Twitter: @UrbanIPM
This work is supported by Crops Protection and Pest Management Competitive Grants Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27188 /project accession no. 1013905] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
LETTERS TO THE BOARD.......
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ELECTION DAY INFORMATION
Dear Boards and Commissions Members,
As you may know, the City of Austin has called for a bond election on the November 2018 ballot. On Election Day, voters will consider seven propositions, totaling $925 million, that focus on reinvestment in current city infrastructure and cover a variety of projects and programs. Election Day is November 6, 2018.
In preparation for the election, the City has created a 2018 Bond webpage with a comprehensive booklet (attached), one-pager and other informational resources such as an interactive tax calculator. The City of Austin may not advocate for or against the passage of the bond. Its role is simply to provide information and answer questions to ensure its residents are educated and prepared to cast a vote. For more information on what actions Boards and Commissions members may take with regards to the bond program, please read this flyer from the City’s Ethics Office.
In the hopes of reaching the larger community, the City is hosting a series of bond open house in each Council district to give Austinites the opportunity to learn more about the bond and ask questions. Open Houses in Districts 6 and 9 have already occurred. The remaining schedule is as follows:
· District 1: Wednesday, October 10 - Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex, 6-8pm
· District 2: Monday, October 8 - Southeast Branch Library, 4:30-6:30pm
· District 3: Thursday, October 25 - Montopolis Rec Center, 6-8pm
· District 4: Saturday, October 20 - Gus Garcia Rec Center, 12-2pm
· District 5: Monday, October 22 - Manchaca Road Library, 6:30-8:30pm
· District 7: Monday, October 15 - North Village Library, 4:30-6:30pm
· District 8: Tuesday, October 16 - Circle C Community Center, 5:30-7:30pm
· District 10: Wednesday, October 3 - Old Quarry Library, 4:30-6:30pm
In addition to each district’s open house, your organization may also request a bond presentation or materials for your next meeting. The presentation request form is available online here, as well as this materials request form if you would like physical copies of the bond materials.
If you have any additional bond questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 512-974-2000.
Please share this information with your network, and feel free to reach out with any questions.
The 2018 Bond Team
Boards and Commissions
Special Events happening around Austin, the On-line portal to Austin Center for Events (ACE) .......... CLICK ON THE BAR ABOVE ^^^
Click on the link (bar) above for these events and more, happening around Austin !!!!
- Texas Tribune Festival
- Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
- Austin City Limits Festival
- ....and more
Texas Gas Service.............................1-800-700-2443
AT&T (new service)...........................1-800-464-7928
Time Warner Cable (Cust. Svc)...........512-485-5555
Austin/Travis Hazardous Waste.........512-974-4343