January 2013 meeting minutes

Meeting Minutes 1/14/2013
Wooten Neighborhood Association

Steve Rogers, acting as President, called the meeting to order. He explained that the WNA President, Vice President, and Treasurer could not make it to the meeting, so he would be presiding instead. He welcomed all new people at the meeting.

Betsy Thaggard made a motion to approve the minutes from the November meeting. Chris Gregory seconded the motion, and all members were in favor.

Opie Gonzalez gave the Treasurer’s Report. We have a current balance of $1556.41. There is a pending debit of $58 to pay for our PO box, and a pending deposit of $45 from $5 membership dues.

Burton Anderson, the chair of the Neighborhood Watch Committee, was unable to make the meeting, but other members gave a quick update of recent Neighborhood Watch business. Recently, eight neighborhood watch signs were installed throughout the neighborhood, and others will be installed within the upcoming year.

Chris Gregory reported on the city council districts that will drawn soon. Voters approved the 10 single-member districts back in November. At the November meeting, we had discussed whether it would be better for the Wooten neighborhood to be grouped with neighborhoods to the north or south of us, and Chris had volunteered to research this issue. We share recreation and transportation options with the neighborhoods to the south of us, but we share schools and similar demographics with neighborhoods to the north of us. He also pointed out that both of the maps that the Austin Neighborhood Council has drafted place Wooten neighborhood in a district that straddles north and south of 183. He emphasized that we would be better off in a district that does not include downtown because he felt that would detract from our interests.

Deputy O’Shay Garden, a constable with Travis County, introduced himself. He mentioned that North Austin will have 3 representatives of the 10 single-member districts because North Austin is growing rapidly. There will be a special town hall meeting regarding the 10-1 single member districts at St. Albert’s Church off Metric Blvd on January 21 at 7 pm. Elected officials, business owners, and community members are welcome to attend.

Sam McGlamery mentioned that the city auditor is requesting comments regarding the single member districts. Community members can email him at oca_auditor@austintexas.gov. Steve Rogers clarified that we don’t get to pick our district. The committee will pick, and we have 2 more days to submit comments about the process. The committee will pick 3 people to pick the other people who will actually draw the districts, and the city council will be able to veto selections. Even though we don’t have a voice in drawing the lines, it doesn’t hurt to know what we want. Sam McGlamery reiterated that we can comment on how the districts will be drawn.

Deputy Garden shared a little bit about his position. He visits different neighborhood associations and is open to accepting emails or calls about neighborhood concerns. He and his partner frequently patrol the area, and they are happy to help out, especially because APD is short-handed. He left his contact information: oshay.garden@co.travis.tx.us, phone number: 512-854-9697, and fax number: 512-854-9697.

Allan Scheer gave a report on traffic calming on Kromer. He has lived on Kromer for 25 years and has been advocating for traffic calming for many years. Although Kromer is a short street, Allan said that there is high volume of cars and some get up to 35 miles per hour. He recently got 30 of the 35 residents on Kromer to sign a petition in favor of traffic calming. Kromer is #13 on the city’s list of roads that will get traffic calming. The only thing left to get the speed bumps is funding; for 4 speed bumps, the approximate cost is $750,000. This will be a bond issue.

Betsy Thaggard reported on the upcoming “It’s My Park Day” on March 2. This is a day when volunteers get together at various parks around the city. On January 26, there will be a kick-off meeting for the event at the Austin Recreation Center at 2 pm. Anyone who would like to take the lead for the event at Wooten Park is encouraged to attend.

Betsy also announced that on February 16 there will be a youth group from Riverbend Church that will do some improvements at Burnet Middle School. She would like a group of us to participate and will be posting more information on the listserve soon.

Steve Rogers opened up the floor for members to comment on Steven Zettner’s bar density posting. There has been a proposal to build a Little Woodrow’s bar near the Monkey Nest on Burnet Road. Steven Zettner had expressed concern about the increasing density of bars in the area because he was concerned that this development is not family- or child-friendly. Adam Turner commented that Wooten is far more diverse than So-Co, so he doesn’t feel that our area will become a “yuppie”  or “hipster” area. Betsy Thaggard commented that Steven has been wanting our area to become more family-friendly and that there are different interpretations of this goal. Patty Colligan remembered that Steven had mentioned that he wants restaurants to be kid-friendly and that some people took this the wrong way at the last WNA meeting. Adam Turner recalled a proposal to put a bar next to Hobby Lobby a few years ago. He was vehemently opposed because the bar would stay open until 2 am and would attract a huge crowd. He feels that the bars that we currently have in the area are more family-friendly than this type of bar. Patty Colligan said that she is in favor of kid-friendly if it means better sidewalks and bike lanes. Adam Turner reminded the group that Steven Zettner has done a lot to make our area more pedestrian friendly and has advocated for improvement to our neighborhood.

Adam Turner gave an update on the Wooten Neighborhood Plan Contact Team. Generally, they meet the Monday after the Wooten Neighborhood Association meeting, but they will not be meeting next week because they have no new business to discuss. He did receive a letter from the city regarding the 10-1 districts for city council. The city is encouraging input from community members, and they are accepting applications for the applicant review panel. If you’re interested, contact Jason Hadabi at 512-974-2469 or Kenneth Jidabi, the city auditor, at 512-974-2064 or oca_auditor@austintexas.gov.

Opie Gonzalez reported on the recent drop in water pressure in the neighborhood. He has been in contact with the water department. There had been a boundary valve that was open, but this has been fixed. The water department did a complete boundary check of our area. They will also check on the pressure reducing valve near Pep Boys. Opie feels that the water pressure is adequate but not what it used to be. He said that 40 pounds per square inch is the minimum pressure, but it should normally be closer to 60 pounds per square inch. Adam Turner said that he had had a water pressure issue about a year ago, and it took the department about 6 months to address it. Victor Engel reported that dozens of people had called in to report low water pressure, but everyone was told that no one else had reported it. Adam Turner reminded us to take the person’s name when calling the city. He mentioned that our neighborhood pipes are close to 60 years old, and the city’s process is to replace small parts instead of wholesale replacement. Opie said that the city will put a new flexible pipe inside the old pipe. This saves the city a lot of money. Finally, he encouraged neighbors to call the city if they have issues with water pressure. The city tends to make repairs where there are more complaints because there is more data.

Steve Rogers opened the floor to any additional comments or concerns.

A neighbor asked what it would take to get traffic calming like in Crestview. Steve Rogers responded that it would take persistence and unification of the neighborhood.

Jonathan Armstrong suggested that we hold meetings every month. He had suggested this at the November meeting, but he felt that his idea was shot-down. Steve Rogers said that it wasn’t shot-down, but the neighborhood association used to hold monthly meetings and they were very poorly attended. Jonathan Armstrong said that he hated to miss a meeting because then he would be unable to attend for the next 3 months. Opie Gonzalez encouraged Jonathan to read the minutes on www.wootenna.com, email the officers, or participate on the yahoo listserve if he missed a meeting.

Another neighbor wondered if the neighborhood association had ever considered hosting a neighborhood garage sale weekend. Steve Rogers said it was an interesting idea and suggested that she take leadership if she was seriously interested in this. Betsy Thaggard encouraged her to start a discussion on the yahoo listserve or the Wooten Neighborhood Facebook page.

Allan Scheer said that he had called code enforcement recently because a neighbor had been having frequent barbecue gatherings in his front yard. The person with code enforcement said that it was up to our neighborhood to limit front yard gatherings and that up to 20 people were considered okay.

Chris Gregory motioned to adjourn the meeting at 8:13 pm. Opie Gonzalez seconded the motion, and all members were in favor.

September 2012 Meeting Minutes

Wooten Neighborhood Association

Meeting Minutes 9-10-2012

President Joshua Merritt called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm in the Redeemer Lutheran School cafeteria.

Betsy Thaggard shared that a Capital Metro spokesperson had accepted an invitation to
speak tonight regarding a light rail stop in North Austin. However, the spokesperson has since canceled and said that Capital Metro has no further interest in adding a North Austin stop. However, at Sustainable Neighborhood’s September 20 meeting, a Capital Metro spokesperson is scheduled to attend.

Steve Rogers moved to approve the minutes from the July WNA meeting. Patty Colligan
seconded the motion, and all members approved.

Marilyn Rogers gave the Treasurer’s Report. We currently have a balance of $1856.18 with no outstanding bills. If all 65 current WNA members re-join in November, we can expect to collect an additional $325.

Joshua Merritt welcomed all the new neighbors attending the meeting.

Steve Rogers gave a report on the Wooten Neighborhood Plan Contact Team (WNPCT). The WNPCT is an organization that deals with the city or a developer who would like to adjust the zoning of the approved Neighborhood Plan and Land Use Map. Next week, the WNPCT will elect a new chairman and secretary because the current office-holders are limited to 2 years in these positions. The meeting will be held next Monday, September 17 at Mi Casa restaurant at 7 pm. In addition, the WNPCT will approve some modifications to their by-laws.

Next, the WNA discussed the officer election. Steve admitted that he did not make phone calls to the current WNA members informing them of the election, but he did send out an email a couple of weeks ago. The current officers (President Joshua Merritt, Vice President Carolyn Spock, Secretary Sarah Gregory, and Treasurer Marilyn Rogers) are willing to re-up unless someone else wants to serve. No other WNA members expressed interest in becoming officers, so each officer briefly summarized his/her duties. Still, no WNA members were interested in running.

Steve Rogers made a motion to accept the slate of officers by affirmation. Victor Engel
seconded the motion. All members were in favor, and the motion carried.

President Merritt introduced the next item on the agenda: trash on Mullen and Wooten Park Drive. Many neighbors have been commenting on this on the WNA listserve, so Merritt opened the floor for discussion. Mary Lou Gibson mentioned the Wal-Mart carts at the Lulen apartments on Bowling Green and Lanier. She feels that these carts are a mess and is especially concerned because these apartments are at an entrance to our neighborhood. Marilyn Rogers pointed out that comments on the listserve have suggested that a man in a wheelchair is leaving the Wal-Mart carts. She asked that neighbors do not allow his wheelchair to justify him being a slob. Sam McGlamery has contacted the city health department in the past in order to make an owner clean up his property. However, he feels that his recent calls to 311 have been re-routed to people who do not have the authority to address his concerns. Years ago, when neighbors notified the health department, the offenders were given notification that forced them to clean up. He added that the maximum height for grass in the neighborhood is 18 inches. Solana Wooldridge noticed a white liquid that looked like paint thinner in a canal near Burnet Middle School a couple of weeks ago. It turns out that workers from the private cleaning company that is contracted by school had dumped floor wax and stripping chemicals into the canal. Later, the company returned to pump out the chemicals. Solana said that the city did respond to her complaints after 3-4 days. Betsy Thaggard noted the strong smell of smoke coming from El Recio on Ohlen. She feels that the smoke detracts from air quality and wonders
if the restaurant has been cited for this. Marilyn Rogers encouraged all neighbors to contact our district police representative Taber White to address these issues. He is the liaison between the neighborhood and the police department.

Solana Wooldridge suggested that we ask the city to install trash cans around Burnet Middle School. She feels that trashcans around the school would prevent wrappers and bags from blowing into neighbors’ yards. President Merritt agreed to contact the principals at Wooten Elementary and Burnet Middle School to encourage them to speak to the students about littering. He also suggested that someone volunteer to contact the city regarding the installation of trashcans around Burnet Middle School. Solana Wooldridge agreed to do this. Further, President Merritt encouraged neighbors to bring trash bags when walking in the neighborhood. Steve Rogers pointed out that the more that people see litter in the neighborhood, the more likely it is that people will continue to litter.

Kevin Luke suggested that someone start a shopping cart recovery service. Someone could approach the management at Wal-Mart and offer to return carts for $5-10 each.

Brandon Wollerson asked about WNA’s outreach to the apartments in the neighborhood,
specifically those on Wooten Park Drive. President Merritt said that historically the WNA has not had any outreach to the apartment residents, although they are welcome to join. He is aware that the school PTOs reach-out to the apartment communities. Kay Pruett suggested that we reach-out to the apartment communities through the school PTOs. Carolyn Spock mentioned that in the past the WNA had sent postcards to apartment residents. President Merritt said that realistically we would need a bilingual interpreter. Brandon Wollerson said that he thought it would be helpful to have a representative from the apartments on Wooten Park so that we could maintain contact with the community. He said that neighbors tend to project problems on the apartment community, but we have no communication with residents there. President Merritt suggested that we form a small task-force in order to reach out to the apartment residents. He noted that we have several active WNA who are bilingual in Spanish and English. Steve Rogers wondered what we could offer to the apartment residents in terms of support. President Merritt suggested that the task force meet and discuss before visiting the apartment community. President Merritt and Brandon Wollerson agreed to start up this task force.

Betsy Thaggard and Victor Engel spoke about a new website that they have been
experimenting with called www.wooten.nextdoor.com. It is another way for neighbors to
communicate, and people can create photo albums. Betsy pointed out that groups can create private forums and that it might be a good way for task forces and committees to communicate. Kevin Luke questioned the privacy policy. He pointed out that sites like Facebook own everything that people post on their site. Betsy said that the nextdoor privacy policy is similar to Facebook’s privacy policy. President Merritt and Victor Engel recommended that we stick to our official form of communication with the yahoo listserve and that people are still welcome to use the Wooten Facebook page as an alternative.

Jonathan Armstrong wondered if we could make the Wooten Facebook page more private. Every time someone comments on the page it pops up on his friend’s home pages. President Merritt pointed out that the creator of the Wooten Facebook page could make it more private, but he is not sure who he/she is. He recommended that we use the yahoo listserve, wootenna.com, and the newsletter as WNA official modes of communication.

Patty Colligan gave a re-cap of the Neighborhood Watch committee business. Burton Anderson led 2 trainings for volunteers interested in neighborhood watch patrols this summer. The trainings were well-attended, and Burton is asking volunteers to pick an hour each week when they can patrol the neighborhood, either by car or on foot. Burton is developing a calendar to organize the patrols. President Merritt added that the premise is to foster good communication among neighbors and to increase awareness.

Betsy Thaggard asked the WNA members if anyone would be hosting a gathering for National Night Out in October. President Merritt would like to compile a list of all the sponsors, and he added that his family would be hosting an event on Mullen Drive. MaryLou Gibson told the WNA members that she registered for National Night Out with the fire department last year, and they brought a fire truck and kids were able to explore the truck.

President Merritt opened the floor to WNA member discussion. Brandon Wollerson has noticed a house on Belford that was damaged by fire and has not been repaired. He is concerned because he does not want the house to affect home values. He wondered if anyone had advice. Sam McGlamery said that the problem is that the owner is haggling with the insurance company because the fire with started due to negligence. He suggested that Brandon call 311.

Marilyn Rogers has been contacted by a woman who is running for Austin ISD school board of trustees place 3. The woman had wanted to attend a WNA meeting, but Redeemer Lutheran (where the meeting is held) does not allow political candidates in their facility. Marilyn has the woman’s business cards if anyone would like to meet with her at another time.

Victor Engel wondered if any WNA members would be interested in monthly meetings, so
that he if missed a meeting, he would be able to come the next month. Kay Pruett said that as an infrequent attender, she would probably skip meetings more often if they were held once a month. Jim Bedrich said that when WNA meetings were held monthly, the attendance plummeted. Betsy Thaggard pointed out that if you miss one meeting, it will be 3 months before the next meeting. Chris Gregory pointed out that the WNA meeting minutes are posted on wootenna.com. Steve Rogers mentioned that not everyone wants to attend meetings, although they may volunteer or participate in WNA in another way (by reminding neighbors to put up WNA meeting signs, for example). Kevin Luke said that Facebook and the listserve provide alternatives for neighbors to stay informed. President Merritt said that he understands the desire to have monthly meetings, but he feels that attendance would be negatively affected.
Jeb Kendrick said he supports more frequent meetings because he has missed several, but he feels that we could have “special meetings” if there is something in particular that WNA needs to discuss. President Merritt said that the best way to determine the effect of having monthly meetings would be to try it and see what happens.

Whitney Michael mentioned the gravel pile by Burnet Middle School. Victor Engel brought up the dirt pile by Wooten Elementary that is “starting to get ugly.” Opie Gonzalez said that it looks like fill dirt not topsoil.

President Merritt brought up Sustainable Neighborhood’s plans to plant 15-20 trees along
Burnet Road and Lamar. Sustainable Neighborhoods (SN) is asking for volunteers to help
plant and donations. SN has a strong record of maintaining the trees that they have planted.

The donations will go toward waterers for the trees. Betsy Thaggard said that SN will need
volunteers for the tree planting on Saturday, September 22 from 9-noon at ShuShus on Burnet and Ohlen. She will make sure that the notice is put on the listserve. President Merritt said that SN’s president and founder, Steven Zettner is a tireless leader and that his events are well-organized. Anyone who shows up to volunteer will be used, and the organization is grateful for any help. President Merritt asked the WNA members if we would like to consider making a small donation to SN from our $1800 budget. Carolyn Spock said that Steven was asking for $500. President Merritt said that even a couple hundred dollars would be a nice gesture. Opie Gonzalez said that the money in our account came from membership dues and newsletter advertisements. It took WNA several years to build up our account. Marilyn Rogers said that we spent $798 on signs. Steven Rogers made a motion to donate $200 to Sustainable Neighborhoods. Carolyn Spock seconded the motion, and all members were in favor. The motion carried.

Betsy Thaggard announced that the next Sustainable Neighborhoods meeting will be held on September 20 at the Village Christian Apartments at 7 pm.

Marilyn Rogers pointed out the current cost of WNA newsletters is $200. This does not include newsletters for residents in the apartments and duplexes in our neighborhood. If we are wanting to reach out to renters, we would need to increase our printing costs. Victor Engel pointed out that we could post a WNA newsletter in the common area of the complexes. Carolyn Spock asked if anyone had reviewed the bond information that Steven Zettner had sent out. He held a meeting with various representatives from north Austin neighborhood associations. If the bond issue passes, these representatives would address this. Steven sent out a 15-page pdf regarding bond projects, and he would like a response by December. President Merritt suggested that we either get him to come to the next WNA meeting or get him to summarize his 15-page document.

Jonathan Armstong wondered if anyone in WNA had ever supported adding bike lanes. He would like to see bike lanes on Burrell and Ohlen. Victor Engel said that bike lanes would help to calm traffic. Betsy Thaggard suggested that Jonathan get in touch with neighbors on Ohlen who are advocating traffic calming on Ohlen.

Also, Jonathan wondered if the Wooten Park is affiliated with the city or Wooten Elementary. Steve Rogers explained that it is a city park. Jonathan explained that he would like to see improvements to the park, such as a public restroom. President Merritt explained that we have to make a commitment to issues if we want to address them–there is no one person who we can contact in order to get a “quick fix.” We would need to form a group and stay on top of the issue. Betsy Thaggard said that the “Friends of Brentwood Park” was a private group that helped get so many improvements at that park. President Merritt explained that it takes a long, patient battle to effect change with the city. We have to commit to our causes. Jonathan said that he would be willing to attend a Crestview neighborhood association meeting in order to learn more about how the neighborhood made improvements to their park and bike lanes. Victor Engel pointed out that the Crestview Neighborhood Association meets at the same time as ours every
month. Carolyn Spock said that she would be willing to go through our city plan and find things that have not been implemented yet. She will sort the improvements according to category (traffic, bike lanes, etc.). Betsy Thaggard said that WNA could use these categories to create special interest groups. Marilyn Rogers cautioned that there was a time when a woman claimed to represent WNA at a city meeting when she did not. She emphasized that WNA needs to work as a group and not create vigilante groups. President Merritt said that he likes the model of task force that Burton Anderson created with Neighborhood Watch. This was really effective.

Whitney Michael wondered if someone was serious about an earlier comment regarding a pile of dead rats. She had thought that she had read about rat problems on the listserve. Two of her cats have died because they ate rat poison and now they have a rat problem. President Merritt assured her that he had been joking, and that if there were a pile of dead rats that this would be a code violation.

Marilyn Rogers reminded members that dues are due on October 1st and that members
should bring $5 membership fees to the November meeting or send to the WNA PO box. Also, members are welcome to pay after the meeting.

Chris Gregory moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:45 pm. Sam McGlamery seconded the motion, and all members approved. The motion carried.

July 2012 meeting minutes

Wooten Neighborhood Association

Meeting Minutes 7-9-12

President Joshua Merritt called the meeting to order at 7:07 pm in the Redeemer Lutheran School cafeteria. He outlined the agenda for the evening: reports on Neighborhood Watch, neighborhood ordinances, and the Wooten Neighborhood Plan Contact Team.

President Merritt opened the meeting by welcoming all new neighbors to the meeting.

Carolyn Spock made a motion to approve minutes from the May WNA meeting. Betsy Thaggard seconded the motion, and all members were in favor.

President Merritt congratulated the Neighborhood Watch committee for the progress that they had made. Chris Gregory brought an example of the Neighborhood Watch signs that the committee has ordered. Our group now has 25 signs, and 8 have been delivered to the city for free installation. Marilyn Rogers said that these 8 signs will go around the periphery of the neighborhood: Ohlen/Burnet, Teakwood/Burnet, Ohlen/Spearman, Putnam/Joy, Gault/Dale, 8202 Burrell, Lazy/Anderson, and Burrell/Dale (at the southwest corner of the park). The city has said that these signs will be installed in July. The sign supervisor has the final say if they can be installed. Ninety percent of all requests are approved.

Marilyn explained the committee’s process for installing signs. First, they took an inventory of the current signs and their condition. Then, they decided where to take down and replace existing signs. Next, the committee pursued a grant that covers the cost of the installation of 10 signs per year. Also, they ordered 25 signs at the cost of $798, and they created a prioritized list of locations for the signs. Before installing or removing signs, the committee had to get permission from the adjacent property owners. Because we get 10 free sign installations per year, the committee will wait until next year to install the next 10 signs.

Burton Anderson reported on other Neighborhood Watch business. We have 2 upcoming trainings for Neighborhood Watch Block Captains and Patrols on Monday, July 16 at 7:30 PM in the Redeemer Lutheran school cafeteria and on Saturday, July 28 at 10:30 AM at the North Village branch library meeting room. Also, we have ordered and received 2 pairs of magnetic car signs for the neighborhood patrol. These car signs will increase visibility of the Neighborhood Watch. Also, we have ordered Neighborhood Watch business cards at the suggestion of our police district representative.

One of our new neighbors asked the long-time residents how crime is in the neighborhood. President Merritt answered that we experienced a rash of break-ins 9-10 months ago, but that these seemed to have tapered off in recent months. Burton Anderson said that crime in the neighborhood is on par with urban areas. The pattern is really citywide. Police are spread thin, so the Neighborhood Watch committee is trying to do everything they can to address crime. The group is focused mostly on property crimes (burglary and break-ins). Steve Rogers reported that vehicle break-ins are the most prevalent crimes in Austin and are most common along the 183 border of the neighborhood. President Merritt commented that vehicle break-ins seemed to have slowed down according to chatter on the WNA listserv. Chris Gregory reported that he spotted a suspicious vehicle in front of his home and immediately called 311. Ten minutes later, he noticed a police patrol car. President Merritt encouraged neighbors to be proactive and to relay concerns to the city. Also, if you notice a unfamiliar vehicle or person, he advises making yourself visible.

A new couple just bought a house on Palmwood Cove. Before they lived in a rental property in the neighborhood. Their rental home was burglarized twice. The second time, they noticed a child’s footprint on the counter, so they assumed that the burglars used the child to enter through a small window. Another neighbor reported that she had seen a small child get arrested for trying to break into a car yesterday. Another neighbor reported that her house had been broken into last November. The burglar must have entered through the small kitchen window, which was intact. Perhaps a small child had entered through the window?

Betsy Thaggard gave a short reminder about code violations. Be sure to call 311 if you notice someone parking in their yard or any abandoned vehicles. President Merritt has seen results with his calls to 311 to report abandoned cars and mattresses. He encouraged neighbors to report non-emergency situations to the city.

Steve Rogers gave an update on the Wooten Neighborhood Plan Contact Team (WNPCT). They will be meeting next Monday, July 16 at 7 PM at the Mi Casa restaurant on Peyton Gin. The neighborhood plan was passed in 2004 and is available on wootenna.com. The contact team is a group of people to contact in the event that someone wants to amend the Future Land Use Map, which reflects zoning of land in the neighborhood. No one has tried to amend the plan in the entire time since the plan was passed. However, at some point, a developer may want to build high-density apartments or the city may develop a comprehensive plan that conflicts with the goals of the neighborhood plan. The group is important because they must be willing to respond to these conflicts and alert everyone in the neighborhood in these situations.

Steve Rogers explained that the WNPCT will need to elect a new chairman and secretary at the September meeting. They would like to have some idea of nominees at next Monday’s meeting. President Merritt made a call to action for people to volunteer for these positions and pointed out that these positions do not require much effort beyond attending dinner meetings every couple of months. Marilyn Rogers added that the WNPCT works as a team, so there will be lots of experienced people to help the new officers.

President Merritt commented on new businesses in the area. He noticed that Eastside Pies is opening in the tiny pizza stand near Anderson/Mullen. Betsy Thaggard commented that she is happy to highlight new businesses in future WNA newsletters. Opie Gonzalez encouraged neighbors to submit content for the newsletters by contacting Betsy at betsy@bthaggard.com.

Marilyn Rogers gave the Treasurer’s Report. Our account is with TETCO Federal Credit Union. On June 30 we had a balance of $2951.84. We spent $100 on patrol signs, $202 on the July newsletter, $798.75 on 25 Neighborhood Watch signs, and $25.08 on Neighborhood Watch business cards and laminated maps. We spent a total of $1125.83, and we have $1826.01 in available funds.

Marilyn is trying to set up a charge account at Office Depot in order to make it easier for Neighborhood Watch committee members to pay for copies, etc. She plans to open an account in which the WNA Treasurer will pay off the balance within 30 days of purchase. The only downside is that she will be personally responsible if WNA does not have the funds to pay off the balance. There were no objections raised about this arrangement.

President Merritt reported that officers will be elected at the next WNA meeting in September. All the current officers are eligible to run again and plan to serve an additional term. However, any current WNA members are free to run. A Nominating Committee was formed to spread the word about the upcoming election. Sarah Gregory, Opie Gonzalez, Burton Anderson, Steve Rogers, and Billy agreed to serve on the committee. They will make phone calls to current WNA members to inform them about the election and other upcoming Neighborhood Watch events.

President Merritt provided an open floor to any neighbors with issues that they would like to discuss. Carmen Maverick expressed appreciation to all the neighbors who had commented on the Honeywell salesman on the yahoo listserv and Wooten Neighborhood Facebook page. President Merritt explained that this salesman had been making neighbors uncomfortable by asking them personal questions about their home security and requesting to enter their homes. He was aggressive and persistent. Carmen asked if it would be appropriate to contact the company to tell them that their sales representative is unwelcome in the neighborhood. President Merritt acknowledged that members of WNA felt threatened or harassed by the sales representative. He encouraged neighbors to ask to see salespeople’s credentials and to call the police if someone seems suspicious. Carmen suggested that this topic be addressed in future newsletters.

Chris Gregory moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:55 PM, and Burton Anderson seconded the motion. All members agreed, and the motion carried.

May 2012 meeting minutes

WNA Meeting Minutes 5-14-2012
Wooten Neighborhood Association

Vice-president Carolyn Spock called the meeting to order at 7:07 pm in the Redeemer Lutheran School cafeteria. President Joshua Merritt was out-of-town.

Steve Rogers made a motion to approve the minutes from the March meeting. Marilyn Rogers seconded the motion. The motion carried.

Marilyn Rogers gave the Treasurer’s report. We have $2,891.41 with no outstanding bills.

Steve Rogers gave a report on the Wooten Neighborhood Plan Contact Team (WNPCT). He describes the development at 8100 Burnet as “90% settled.” The property has been re-zoned to MF6 with a conditional overlay that limits the height of the buildings to 60 feet and the number of units per acre. In order to change the conditional overly, it is just as difficult as changing that zoning. Our neighborhood association would have to be notified again. North Shoal Creek Neighborhood Association’s planning committee has not approved the zoning change yet and is still negotiating with the developer. They have gotten the developer to agree to build a maximum of 282 units. Sustainable Neighborhoods is still not satisfied with the developers’ plans.

Steve reviewed the developers’ plans for 8100 Burnet. There will be 282 apartment units with a parking lot adjacent to the car dealership. The apartments will be mostly 1 or 2 bedrooms and will not be low-rent. The property is 5 acres, but the re-zoning is for 4 acres only. The corner of Ashdale and Burnet will remain commercial. The rumor is that the commercial corner might become a P. Terry’s.

Steve pointed out that the developers have agreed to chip in approximately 20% of the cost of a traffic light at Teakwood and Burnet. He asked the WNA members if we would be in favor of a light there. Marilyn Rogers said that she would prefer a “smart light” that is triggered only when people are waiting at the light. Kevin Luke said that he believes all lights have this capability but some haven’t been programmed. Chris Young said that he prefers not to have a light. Kevin Luke wondered if people would also want a light at Ashdale and Burnet, but Steve Rogers said that the city considers this intersection too close to the light at Anderson and Burnet.

Steve also mentioned that the city is getting ready to talk about short-term rental rules. Currently, there is hardly any city regulation of short-term rentals. He pointed out that many short-term rental owners do not charge the state hotel tax, but they should be collecting this.

Vice-president Carolyn Spock said that the city is drafting code amendments regarding short-term rentals (defined as renting for 30 or fewer days per year). There will be a meeting in which these proposals will be open to public comment on May 22. On May 24, there will be a meeting with city council in which short-term rentals will be discussed. The current draft of the rules states that if the property has a live-in owner, they will have to register with the city and must collect 15% hotel tax. If the property is non-owner-occupied, they will have to apply for a license with the city. The property must be at least 1,000 feet from a similar property. There will be a yearly fee of approximately $200. If neighbors complain, there would be written rules to follow. Possible consequences are getting the license revoked or letting it lapse.

Carolyn pointed out that the not everyone who leases a short-term rental opted for that. Sometimes property owners can’t find someone to fill the regular lease, so they resort to short-term rentals.

Steve Rogers reminded us that the WNPCT will need to elect a new chairman soon. The chairman’s basic duties are being alert to changes in zoning/the use of land and protecting the neighborhood plan. The election is in September; the new terms for chairman and secretary will start in October. Email snm2@clear.net if interested.

Although the WNPCT usually meets the Monday after the WNA meeting, there is no business to discuss, so they will not be meeting next week.

At WNPCT’s March meeting, they discussed supporting Sustainable Neighborhood’s white sheet, which showed support of the city’s plans for Burnet and Lamar Corridor Improvements. The WNPCT agreed to show support of this.

Steve reminded us that we can access the WNPCT’s bylaws on www.wootenna.com and the neighborhood plan on the city’s website ftp://ftp.ci.austin.tx.us/npzd/Austingo/crest-wooten-np.pdf. Also, Steve has physical copies that are available to neighbors. The plan was designed in 2004 jointly with members of the Crestview Neighborhood Association. The plan is to keep business on the perimeter of Wooten without encroaching on the residential inner area.

Burton Anderson reported on Neighborhood Watch business. He attended the Commander’s Forum and was able to meet our new district police representative, Taber White. He has 10 years of experience patrolling the East Side. He is eager to participate in Neighborhood Watch trainings, ride-alongs with patrol members, and Meet and Greets. He was also interested in checking homes for security.

Burton reported that recent crime statistics show that burglary of vehicles is still huge. Also, 34% of home burglaries are not forced entry. This means that the homeowner left a door or window unlocked or open.

At the Commander’s Forum, the Chief of Police spoke. He reported that there are 2 officers for every 1,000 people. This year, they are dealing with a $5 million budget cut. Also, Occupy Austin cost the APD $1 million.

Burton reported that the Neighborhood Watch committee is still finalizing decisions about the Neighborhood Watch signs. They have chosen the top 20 locations to place signs, and they are making an effort to get the signatures of the adjacent property owners. So far, they are only missing 3 signatures. They plan to put a map of the proposed sign locations on www.wootenna.com, Facebook, and the Yahoo listserv. After residents have had a chance to review the map, they will order signs, tentatively around Memorial Day. It takes approximately 6 weeks for the signs to be delivered. They have already gotten pre-approval for 15 signs, but they would like to purchase 25 signs, which Chris Gregory will price check.

Marilyn Rogers reported that we will get 10 signs installed for free. The most important signs are at the entrance areas of the neighborhood. Steve Rogers encouraged Burton to go ahead and purchase the signs because the money has already been pre-approved by WNA. Burton promises to order the signs by the end of the month.

Burton also reported that he is planning a training for the first week of June. He is also still thinking about ways to offer real-time alerts to neighbors regarding crimes in the area. Also, he would like to order business cards for the Neighborhood Watch. This would be a cheap way to recruit people and to give to district police representatives. He would also like to order car signs for neighborhood watch patrols. He plans to develop a Google calendar for using the signs.

Betsy Thaggard reported that the car patrol signs cost $100 for 8 signs (4 pairs). Essentially, we could get by with 1 pair, but other neighborhood watch patrols report that it is good to have extra signs in case they get lost.

Steve Rogers made a motion to allocate $100 to purchase 4 pairs of magnetic car signs. Betsy Thaggard seconded the motion. All members were in favor.

Betsy Thaggard asked WNA members to please send contributions to the upcoming newsletter. She plans to mention the Neighborhood Watch signs in the upcoming newsletter. She also plans to mention the Wooten Facebook page and WNA Yahoo listserv in the newsletter.

Sarah Gregory mentioned the large amount of graffiti on the side of Enchiladas y Mas. Marilyn Rogers encouraged members to call 311 immediately to report graffiti. Steve Rogers suggested that WNA could contact businesses and offer to help, but Marilyn pointed out that she would rather have the Crestview NA make that effort on the south side of Anderson Lane.

Judge Sam “Buddy” McGlamery reported the turn-out for the recent election. Our precinct #248 voted at Burnet Middle School. We had a 12% voter turnout with 119 people voting early and 178 voting on Election Day. He noted that our group was handing out the League of Women Voter’s guide on the upcoming election, and he encouraged us to vote on the upcoming May 29 election.

Judge McGlamery has noticed many cases of people parking cars in their yards. He knows that our neighborhood has voted against allowing this. He has noticed 2 places on Ohlen, as well as places on Doris and Belford. He has been calling 311 to report this, but the 311 operator has told him to call the liaison officer for the neighborhood association. When he called the liaison officer, he told him to call 311 again. He spoke with the 311 operator’s supervisor and has been transferred to code enforcement. The person in code enforcement was not able to help either. Judge McGlamery noted that this code is not citywide, but is voted on by each neighborhood, so that may be why it is so difficult to know who is enforcing it. He would like WNA to do something about this. He has lived in the neighborhood for 43 years and doesn’t want to see the neighborhood go down. He feels that yard-parking could affect property values and neighbors’ abilities to sell their homes. [Link to Code Compliance on the City of Austin website: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/code-compliance.]

Steve Rogers confirmed that we are opted in the “No Parking on Yards” ordinance. However, the ordinance is not enforced by the police unless neighbors complain. If it is not being enforced, we need to keep complaining. We need to be persistent. Marilyn Rogers also suggested that we report it to our APD district representative.

Lisa Golden said that she had to call the city 8 times about getting Wooten Park mowed. When they finally mowed, the grass was so thick that it broke the mower. Then, they had to come out with a tractor to shred the park.

The next WNA meeting will be July 9 at 7 pm in the Redeemer Lutheran School cafeteria.

LaVerne moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:08 pm. Burton Anderson seconded the motion. All members approved.

Sarah Gregory
WNA Secretary

January 2012 Meeting Minutes

Wooten Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes

January 9, 2012

President Joshua Merritt called the meeting to order at 7 pm.

Vice-president Carolyn Spock made a motion to approve the minutes from the November meeting. The motion carried.

Steve Rogers, chair of the Wooten Neighborhood Plan Contact Team (WNPCT), updated us on notices concerning ordinances that his committee has received from the city. First, we discussed the Restricted Lawn Parking Ordinance, which makes it an enforceable offense for neighbors to park in their front yards outside of the driveway. After discussion, Burton Anderson made a motion that we opt in for this ordinance. Seventeen members voted to opt-in, and six members voted to opt-out, so the motion carried. Also, Steve told us about the Mobile Food Vending Restrictions Ordinance which limits the hours of operation for mobile food vendors in the neighborhood and the distance that they must maintain from homes. Betsy Thaggard moved that we continue to stay opted in for this ordinance, and the majority of members agreed. The motion carried. Also, Steve agreed to either post details of these ordinances on the wootenna website or bring the particulars of these ordinances to the next WNA meeting.

Steve Rogers encouraged WNA members to come to the next WNPCT meeting on Monday, January 16 at Genuine Joe’s at 7 pm. At the meeting, the committee will opt in for both the Restricted Lawn Parking and Mobile Food Vending Restrictions ordinances, as decided by the WNA voting members. Also, the WNPCT will be discussing the application to change the zoning at 8100 Burnet Road and the possible development there. Finally, the WNPCT will electing a new chairman and secretary by September. The chairman will serve as a liaison with the city regarding any issue related to zoning and will need to commit to a 2 year term. Steve encouraged anyone interested in this position to attend the upcoming meetings.

President Merritt shared a bulletin that he had received from the city regarding local street closures during the upcoming “Get Your Rear in Gear” race on Sunday, March 4. Several streets, including parts of north Shoal Creek and Burnet Road, will be closed between 8 and 10 am. He offered to scan the map of street closures and upload it onto the wootenna website.

President Merritt spoke about possible development at 8100 Burnet Road. This is the 5 acre area that houses Ross and the now-vacant Chuck E. Cheese. Joshua was invited to a meeting with the board of the North Shoal Creek Neighborhood Association, Steve Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods, a representative from Alliance Residential, a development company, and an attorney who represents Alliance. Alliance Residential has filed an application with the city to change the zoning of 8100 Burnet. They have applied for Multi-Family 6 (MF6), which has no density cap. They plan to build wood-framed, 3 story apartment buildings with a total of 270-300 units (ranging from efficiencies to 3 bedroom units) and a large parking garage. Alliance describes the apartments as “upscale” and “slightly higher end.” Efficiencies would start in the mid-600s/month. The developers intend to sell a small area on the corner of Ashdale and Burnet for retailers to develop 2 street-front shops. The development would not be “mixed-use” because the shops would be separate from the apartment buildings.

Joshua and the other community leaders had the opportunity to voice concerns at the meeting. Joshua and the North Shoal Creek neighborhood representatives shared their concerns about the increase in traffic and the change in traffic patterns. Apparently, the Alliance Residential representatives cited a study that claims that the number of trips in the area would actually decrease. Also, the neighborhood leaders expressed concern about the density of the apartments, which is unlimited under MF6 zoning.

Adam Turner questioned the developer’s choice of MF6 zoning over VMU (Vertical Mixed Use). Joshua explained that it’s more difficult for developers to get funding for VMU as opposed to MF6. Also, VMU would require the developer to use steel infrastructure instead of wood, increasing the cost of the building materials. Joshua understands that developers increasingly push for MF6. Once an area is zoned for MF6, it is difficult to change the zoning.

Steve Rogers wondered if there is a way that we could request that the developers limit the density of the apartment buildings. Joshua assured us that the developers would put in writing the number of units and exact height of the buildings before they began construction.

Joshua explained that Sustainable Neighborhoods has a stance which they are currently drafting. Because our interests are similar, he suggested that we band together with Sustainable Neighborhood and the North Shoal Creek Neighborhood Association. Even if we have additional concerns, he feels that we share many concerns. Steve pointed out that North Shoal Creek does not have a neighborhood plan, which makes them more vulnerable to developers. Adam Turner agreed that North Shoal Creek has been good to us. A few years ago, they helped us work with a business owner who wanted to install a massive LED sign in a business park near 183 and Burnet.

Victor Engel wondered about the impact of the new apartments on the older apartment complexes in our area. Joshua said that the developers addressed this issue at the meeting. They believe the area is “up and coming” and that development is sure to coming to the area soon. Joshua sees their point that development is inevitable; however, he would like to see that the development be well-made and well-managed. He pointed out the current Ross store and abandoned Chuck E. Cheese is not ideal. Adam agreed that he would like to see responsible development. Opie Gonzalez expressed concern about the condition of wood-frame apartments 10 years from now.

Victor also wondered if neighbors would experience a loss of privacy with the added height of the apartments. Joshua replied that the proposed 3 story buildings would not be significantly taller than most homes.

Joshua agreed to continue discussing this potential development with North Shoal Creek and Sustainable Neighborhoods. He will continue to keep us informed. At some point, there will be a public hearing that we can all attend, but he has not received notification yet. Also, he suggested that we invite an Alliance Residential representative to an upcoming WNA meeting.

Next, Burton Anderson, the chair of the Neighborhood Watch Committee, updated us on his committee. He has been leading committee meetings at Genuine Joe’s over the past month to gather resources and ideas for increasing safety in the neighborhood. Burton is planning a lunch with John Luther, who leads a patrol program in the Barton Hills neighborhood. Burton invited anyone interested in becoming a Neighborhood Watch Captain to attend the “Train the Trainer” program. The next training sessions will be Saturday, January 31 and February 28. He has also invited Officer Chris Megliorino, our district police representative, to attend. Also, Burton plans to include a recruitment piece for Neighborhood Watch Captains in the upcoming newsletter. Also, Burton announced that the upcoming Commanders’ Forum will be on February 7 at 6:00 pm in the McCallum High School cafeteria; this meeting will provide community members an opportunity to communicate with police. He also plans to attend the upcoming Citizen Led Austin Safety Partnership (C.L.A.S.P.) meeting.

Chris Gregory reported on Neighborhood Watch signs. We can order “Crime Watch” signs that are personalized with Wooten Neighborhood Association name. These signs are 24” x 18” and cost $494.25 for 15 signs (about $33 per sign). This does not include the cost of posts. Patty Colligan has created a map of the locations of all the existing Neighborhood Watch signs; many are old and rusty. She has also starred areas on the map where she feels crime watch signs would be good to have (such as near entrances to the neighborhood). Marilyn Rogers reported on sign installation procedures. The city must install any signs; we cannot dig up or install new signs on our own. There is a grant (Neighborhood Partner Program) that will cover the cost of installation. The city wants to install all the signs at once and needs permission from the adjacent property owners in order to install or replace signs. Without the grant, the cost of installing a new sign would be $80 and the cost of replacing a sign is $50.

Adam Turner suggested that we cover the signs with clear contact paper in order to protect them from graffiti. He made a motion that we approve up to $600 on signs and that we pursue the grant to cover the cost of installation. Victor seconded the motion, and all members voted in favor of the motion. Joshua pointed out that we can re-address the motion if the committee has additional fiscal needs. He also encouraged the committee to make the map of potential signs public so that everyone can have input on where the signs will be installed.

Next, Joshua opened up the meeting to community concerns. Suzanne expressed concern about the dangerous crossing conditions at the crosswalk that goes across Anderson near Genuine Joe’s. She has taken video of herself crossing while cars are zipping by. She has already filed a complaint with the city, but they have not followed up. She requested a flashing pedestrian light, but the city claimed that this would “impede traffic.” Adam wondered if she had spoken with the owners of Genuine Joe’s. He feels that they might be able to help her advocate for safer crosswalk conditions with the city. Joshua promised to bring up this issue at the next Sustainable Neighborhoods meeting and to follow-up with us at the next WNA meeting.

A WNA member wondered if Joshua had been in contact with the Crestview Neighborhood Association regarding the families who had been displaced due to the recent gas fire. Joshua agreed to contact the Crestview NA president later tonight.

Adam Turner wondered if we had considered holding a Wooten Festival of some sort, such as a kite festival. Joshua said that we had discussed the possibility of a neighborhood barbecue in Wooten Park. BJ Golden had agreed to chair this group, and Joshua will follow-up with BJ. In the meantime, Adam will contact Violet Crown to see what kind of permitting is needed in order to plan this type of event.

Betsy Thaggard moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 pm. The motion carried.