WNA September Meeting Minutes, 9/14/15

Wooten Neighborhood Association


Minutes from the WNA Meeting, September 14, 2015


President Chris Gregory called the meeting to order at 7pm. The minutes from the July meeting were approved.

Treasurer Victor Engel provided a Treasurer’s Report: The current WNA balance is $2,059.36 new balance, which includes a $25 savings deposit.

APD Officer Judson Chapman provided a crime update. Officer Chapman encouraged neighbors to visit www.austintexas.gov/gis/crimeviewer/crimereportsearch.html for full crime report information. Since the last WNA meeting in July, there has been one robbery, three aggravated assaults, three non-residential burglaries, nine residential burglaries, 15 vehicle burglaries, and 27 thefts in and around the Wooten neighborhood.

Officer Chapman reminded neighbors that October 6 is National Night Out, and APD will make an appearance at all NNO parties held that night. Officer Chapman said that the homeless camps have started to reform under the 183 bridge after a cleanup earlier this year, but there are talks about cleaning up the area again.

Kevin Wier from the North Shoal Creek Neighborhood Association provided an update on CodeNEXT. Councilwoman Leslie Pool appointed Wier to the CodeNEXT Advisor Group, which advises on how to rewrite the land development code in Austin, based on the vision established by Imagine Austin. Wier said that City Council will hopefully approve the new land development code in 2016. One of the current “test corridors” that City Council has selected is on North Lamar between Justin and Denson, and now would be a good time for neighbors to voice concerns or preferences about code rewrites to Wier. Neighbors who wish to contact him should email the WNA president at president@wootenna.com to be put in touch with Kevin.

Hannah Frankel announced that CodeNEXT staff will be coming to the La Reunion co-op for a “rolling roadshow” presentation on code. Hannah will post the details of the session on social media, and interested neighbors are invited to attend.

Councilwoman Leslie Pool spoke to neighbors about legislative accomplishments and an update on the property at 8007 Burnet Rd. Pool explained that she was working with Councilmembers Casar and Kitchen on a Residence Advocacy Project so that prosecutors in the City’s law department can prosecute violations of boarding homes more robustly, and more adequately respond to concerns of neighbors and residents of such homes. The Project will be looking at bad landlords/apartments, and party houses/short term rentals, and will be getting one full-time employee from the law department to head the effort.

Councilmember Pool explained that the complaints received by her office about Zoe’s Place, at 8007 Burnet Road, had seemed to taper off for a while. Pool said that she found out about the Texas Division of Family and Protective Services investigation that occurred in August by seeing it on the news, and was not informed of it before then. Pool said that City staff had gone to Zoe’s Place to inspect issues related to food, bed bugs, etc. but did not see anything that rose to the level that would prompt further action. Pool said that she was not satisfied with this response, and hoped to amend the ordinances that govern City staff’s ability to inspect medication systems at boarding homes, among other issues.

Pool reiterated that everybody deserves a safe, clean place to live where they aren’t abused or mistreated. Zoe’s Place failed on all counts, Pool said, and she feels some responsibility for this.

Adam Turner asked about the City’s ability to reach out the State about their concerns at certain properties, and Pool said she had asked this very question and wanted to know how the communication could have been improved. Adam also asked about what the City could do about repeated EMS calls to the location, and Pool said that calls about reports of abuse go directly to the State, but the City does have access to data regarding EMS calls.

Pool emphasized that this Council takes boarding homes very seriously, and it is their job to look at this issue “from a policy perspective,” and find a broader policy solution. Pool encouraged neighbors to continue to contact her about their concerns, at district7@austintexas.gov, or to contact Rey Arellano, the Assistant City Manager who oversees the issues related to Zoe’s Place.

Marilyn Rogers provided a crime watch signs update. Marilyn suggested exploring alternative options for installing WNA’s new crime watch signs on existing posts in the neighborhood. Adam proposed a motion for up to $125 from WNA’s account to pay for the hardware necessary for replacing and hanging the crime watch signs on posts where legally acceptable in the neighborhood. The motion was approved. Most of the signs will be installed along the periphery of the neighborhood.

Betsy Thaggard explained that she has hosted WNA’s website wootenna.com for a number of years, and needs to clear out that hosting account. Another neighbor may host the account, or WNA can pay roughly $100 a year for someone else to host it. Interested neighbors should contact Betsy.

Elections for new WNA officers were held, and Joel Simmons was elected President, Hannah Frankel was elected Vice President, Joanne Clem Garrett was elected Treasurer, and Donny Goff was elected Secretary.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:31pm.