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.

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