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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.