Opening & Introduction
The meeting was called to order at approximately 7:10 pm. The meeting was held at the lunch room in the Redeemer School. The meeting was called to order by the president. The attendees went around introducing themselves, including how long they have lived in the neighborhood and where they live. There were about 20 Wooten neighbors attending the meeting.
Committee, Contact Team, and Officer Reports
Various committees and positions discuss current events.
The current balances are $1,429.59 for the general Wooten account and $25 in savings. The Park Fund has a higher balance at $2,093.56.
The secretary went over the previous minutes that we posted on the website.
It’s your Park Day in early November. There were about 25 people who participated. The volunteers helped mulch all the trees and planted two Yuccas trees. The next event will be in March. More details to come in the future.
Wooten Contact Team
The Wooten Contact team discussed the meeting held by the City of Austin around the middle of October regarding the zoning change request. The Contact team and others provided information on the discussion, including how the City seemed interested in connecting the neighborhood through Dale Street. The city will make recommendations to the commission/council as next steps.
The next Contact team meeting will be held at Shu Shu’s on December 11.
City Council Update
Councilman Chito Velo was present to discuss the Home Ordinance that was proposed by Leslie Pool. The ordinance moves the housing from for lots that are zoned as SF3. Currently, homes that are zoned as SF3 can have a house and an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on their lot. The new proposed ordinance would allow up to three houses on a lot.
This proposal is attempting to reduce the cost of home by bringing down the cost of land. Cities of Portland and Minneapolis have made similar changes to their zoning and they have seen a reduction in home cost by 20 to 25% with these changes.
While an additional unit can go in the lot, Vela clarified that the proposal does change impervious cover and set back requirements. In addition, the Heritage Tree Ordinance is still in effect.
The Planning Commission is planning to take this up at the November 14th meeting. Then, the city council will discuss this information at a special meeting on December 7th. The Councilman provided documents that spell out information on the ordinance.
WNA members had several questions on the HOME ordinance.
- How will adding more housing reduce the cost? Answer: Occupancy rates are 95% right now so there isn’t a supply out there to help meet demand. We need to have a larger supply to reduce the demand. The city has very limited tools to reduce the cost of housing here in Austin. The city cannot require affordability so this is one thing that it can do.
- With the potential for additional houses on lots, what will the implication be to the tax appraisal? The Tax Appraisal should compare similar homes/comparable homes so unless you are building new homes on the lot, it should not impact it.
- How will we maintain the infrastructure with the additional housing? When you do a project like that, there are some fees associated with it that will help with the infrastructure. For example, the city would require that each unit have its own water meter which would help the city with the infrastructure. In addition, new construction is not capped for tax appraisal purposes so that will help in the cost.
- There seems to be a surplus of housing right now. Why do this now? This policy is to help Austin with its continuous and estimated growth. We anticipate that this policy will impact Austin in the future, not right now, and will help the city with affordability. Many neighborhoods are already changing even without this change. Neighborhoods like Wooten are now considered Central Austin because of the cost of the city and those that can afford to live in this type of neighborhood are no longer the working class.
- The initial notification indicated the RV were going to be allowed on properties. Is this still the case? No, RV provisions are not going to happen and have been removed from the ordinance. RVs were initially included because Tiny Homes have been classified as RVs. The ordinance has been clarified that only Tiny Homes can be part of this.
Wooten Elementary School
The school is going through a modernization effort. There will be a community meeting (hosted in Spanish and in English) on November 14 and the meeting will be recorded and posted on the school’s project page for those that cannot attend. The meeting will cover project goals, improvements, and educational specification designs
Navarro High School
- VIking Fest:The school held its Viking Fest in early November. The Wooten neighbors donated their leftover candy for the event.
- Banners: The PTA is looking for companies or individuals that are interested in advertising on the school fences on a 4’x8′ banner. Besides the banner, sponsors get thanked on various outlets. The cost of the banner is $600. Restaurants may get some in-kind arrangement if there is interest. Those that are interested, please use the following form: Fillable_NavarroPTABannerSponsorshipForm_8-2023_English.pdf
- Poinsettia Sale: The Poinsettia are back! The FFA is having its annual holiday plant sale. Those that are interested can fill out the following Sales Order Form:Lanier FFA/Navarro Agriculture Department Holiday Plant Sale Order Form 2023
Updates coming soon!
Wooten Holiday Activities
Holiday Decorating Contest
There was interest to conduct a neighborhood holiday activity. It was suggested that a Holiday Decorating Contest be held. Those interested in participating can fill out the following form: WNA Holiday Decorating Contest Submission Form. Chito Vela has agreed to be a participating judge!
We will be doing a holiday Wootenannie at Nosh and Bevvy on December 6. Those that plan to attend, please consider bringing a toy to donate for Blue Santa.
An update was provided on updating the website. We are having some difficulties finding old documents and information. We should explore some storage for WNA so we can digitize our documents and have all our artifacts in one place. It was suggested that we explore opening up a GMAIL account for the association and use the storage with the email address for our documents. The volunteers looking at the website will consider opening a GMAIL account as well as explore if there are storage options within the hosting site.
Terms were up for the President and there is still an open Vice PResident position. Melinda Taylor was nominated and approved to be the new Vice President. Sandra Menjivar-Suddeath was nominated and approved to be President. As Sandra was the secretary, it created an opening. Ryan Nill offered to be secretary and was nominated. He agreed. Transitions for the roles will occur before the next meeting.
Newly elected officers gave a big thank you to Brian Maher for his years as president and helping keep the association going.
The President opened up the meeting for new items. Neighbors brought up various issues/concerns:
There are no WNA meeting signs on the other side of the track. Neighbors stated that they will try to get more people to sign up on the other side.
Homeless people are living on Teakwood and Burnet as well as a couple of other buildings. Neighbors were concerned about whether these people were being serviced by the City. This item was noted as a follow up to the council.
As part of this conversation, neighbors expressed a desire of having WNA build consensus to present a unified decision to council and other boards. There were mixed reactions to this proposal, however, there was interest in ensuring that our concerns are being voiced to the appropriate folks.
There has been an increase in car thefts in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, our APD representative has not responded to our calls or request to discuss the issue at the neighborhood association meeting. However, Curry has been doing an outstanding job working with other APD folks to get more patrol and notoriety on the neighborhood issue. Neighbors also wanted to thank Will Henderson for dealing with the issues related to dumping dirt.
Large, unfriendly, dogs
There are still two brindle dogs at large. They have attacked several outdoor cats. They have, allegedly, gone after a couple of humans that were near the cats as well. If seen, call 911 immediately.
Shu Shu’s has updated their dining room and have put dividers throughout the room.
The second block party was held in October. It was at Villanova. There were a bunch of children and people there. Neighbors would like to see more of the events. It was commented that the City of Austin is looking for opportunities to use the barricades through its Living Streets initiative to allow for more neighbors to collaborate. After the meeting, the application process began for all of Wooten Drive has been started. For more details, go to our Facebook group and search “Healthy Streets”.
The meeting adjourned around 8:30 pm.