Minutes of Wooten Neighborhood Association
March 14, 2016, 7 pm, Redeemer Lutheran Church
Hannah Frankel, Vice President, Presiding
Good News Reports
Marilyn Rogers reported that a neighbor recently joined the association thanks to the newsletter.
Joanne Garrett is sending a welcome letter with our website (wootenna.com) through a neighborhood realtor to our new neighbors when they move in.
Approval of last month’s minutes was tabled.
Treasurer Report: Joanne Garrett
We opened a second account for the Park Fund, with the same authorized signers as the first account.
Our balances are:
General fund: $1149.98
Park fund: $1149.47
The newsletter costs were $283.50.
Officer Chapman’s Report
Officer Chapman is our district representative: talk to him about crime prevention, education, etc.
This has been a crazy month for the Austin Police Department with the South by Southwest events happening.
Note that to report crimes that are NOT currently in progress, use 311.
Officer Chapman led a Neighborhood Watch training meeting. Items of general usefulness:
• How to give a suspicious person report. Note the gender, race if possible. Then apparent height (using yourself as a guide), weight, and age. For the physical description, work from the head down. Note hat, hair, sunglasses/glasses, marks, tattoos, shirt / undershirt, etc. Particularly note anything that stands out as unusual. Note the direction the person was travelling, and the time you last saw them.
• How to give a suspicious vehicle report: Note the make and model if you can, then color and number of doors, type of wheels/rims, window tint, any stickers on the vehicle and anything else notable about the vehicle.
• In general, Officer Chapman prefers we call in anything suspicious, even if we aren’t entirely certain something is wrong.
• In response to a question about using 911 versus using 311 to make a report, Officer Chapman said to use 311 of a crime is no longer in progress. If in doubt, use 911, and the call can later be downgraded in priority.
• In response to a question about whether to approach people in a possible crime situation, Officer Chapman recommended we not approach, but call it in and be a good witness.
• In response to a question about apparently truant children seen in the neighborhood during a school day, Officer Chapman recommended we call 311 to report it (unless a crime is in progress); this will achieve a better and quicker response than calling the school, and the police on the scene will handle the situation with the school.
Adam Turner circulated a letter thanking City Council Member Pool for her work on our behalf on several issues.
There was a proposal to confirm our Friends Of Austin Neighborhoods representative. The FAN representative will vote on FAN resolutions, send our communications and concerns to FAN, and communicate FAN’s issues and activities to us. The term of the position is up to Wooten NA and has not yet been set.
Motion was made by Hannah Frankel to select Corey Williams as FAN representative from Wooten NA. Motion was seconded and passed.
Park Committee Update
Joanne Garrett reported that the Austin “It’s My Park Day” event last Saturday was a success. The raised beds were weeded and 6 cubic yards of pea gravel were laid around the beds, picnic tables, and some nearby playground equipment. There were about 18 volunteers present. $200 was spent on plants for the beds, some 20 of which remain to be planted. Funds for the gravel were provided by Austin Parks Foundation.
Joanne reiterated that we are always taking donations for the Park Fund.
Hannah Frankel reported on raising money for the shade structure currently proposed. The structure will have a concrete slab roughly in the area of the existing rubberized surface. We are waiting on an estimate from the Parks and Recreation Department, and will soon post an IndieGoGo fund raising campaign online.
Adam noted the need to be careful of the property line between school and city property, which runs along a former road diagonally across the park.
Update from Council Member Pool’s Office
Michael Gaudini of CM Pool’s staff reported:
– The next town hall meeting will be May 1st.
– CM Pool helped get Northwest Pool restored, as significant unexpected damage was uncovered during renovations. The pool’s lifetime has been greatly extended.
– The Council is working successfully to keep APD officers still patrolling neighborhoods during the busy time of SXSW.
– The Austin Energy Rate Case (review of rates) is going on now. The Consumer Advocate has now been given more time to review the rate case documentation.
– The Power Supply Adjustment on the utility bill will be dropping in April, yielding a $40/yr average savings for utility customers.
– CodeNEXT (the major city zoning code rewrite) is being reviewed by the Code Advisory Group, whose meetings can be seen on ATXN online.
– The Burnet Corridor Plan seems to be getting delayed
– The Mobility Committee may be having some success getting large scale expansion of transportation infrastructure funding.
– Connect with the District 7 Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter account: district7staff
Roger Cauvin from Friends of Austin Neighborhoods brought a proposal for discussion:
CodeNEXT was birthed by the Imagine Austin comprehensive plan. He would like to see put into action the principle of linking current City discussions to the Imagine Austin goals. Imagine Austin introduces the concept of Complete Communities, which have 7 measurable attributes. To measure progress towards these 7 attributes, the Plan puts forth some 58 metrics that can be used. In addition, the CodeNEXT work will have impacts on these metrics, some of which include water use, vehicle miles travelled, and affordability (as measured by cost of housing + utilities + transportation).
The City currently has a tool (called Envision Tomorrow) to help predict the effect of policy decisions on these metrics going forward, and can ask City staff to run scenarios to determine impacts of proposed policies. He would like to call on the City to use this approach in decision making.
The proposal put forth for Wooten NA to support is to ask the city to guide the Imagine Austin implementation with a metrics based approach, with the metrics being the Complete Communities indicators as put forth in Imagine Austin.
Roger noted that this was his own initiative, and he would like several neighborhoods to endorse it to change the way City decisions and discussions are currently proceeding. In addition, the Downtown neighborhood association has already endorsed this position.
A concern was brought about increasing density and the increased use of (and cost to) infrastructure. Roger answered that the Envision Tomorrow tool helps project changes in infrastructure costs due to density and other development decisions.
A question was brought as to why Council was not yet using this approach or this tool. Roger felt that not all Council was probably aware of the Envision Tomorrow tool. Michael Gaudini also answered, that management staff at the City may use these sorts of tools, but due to a wall between the Council and City management, discussion and information flow doesn’t always happen.
A question was brought was to Councilmember Pool’s thoughts about the metrics and tool-based approach. Michael Gaudini answered that he was not sure, but that he was excited about this tool.
A discussion followed about the benefits and risks of using a specific tool with specific assumptions for predictions. There was general support expressed for a data/metrics driven approach and for an approach that tied in City decision making to the Imagine Austin goals.
It was mentioned that a Google Search for Imagine Austin would allow one to quickly locate a PDF of the plan, and that the Complete Communities portion was on pages 224-226 for further reference.
A decision on endorsing the proposal was tabled to a future meeting. There was discussion of an electronic voting system that Wooten NA may try to bring online, and that perhaps this could be used to decide on this endorsement.
It was moved by Adam for Joel to sign and send the thank-you letter to CM Pool, which was signed and circulated throughout the meeting. This proposal was seconded and passed.
There will be a Wooten Contact Team meeting on March 21st, 7 pm, at Shu Shu’s.
There will be a Bike Austin presentation at the next Wooten NA meeting.
There may be a CodeNEXT presentation next meeting.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:27 pm.