Barton Hills Neighborhood Association

Barton Hills Neighborhood Association
General Meeting Minutes
April 13, 2004
Introductory Remarks
President Don Long called the meeting to order at 7:20 pm. Approximately 58 members were present.

Long welcomed and thanked members for their attendance, acknowledging their participation in BHNA is essential for the vitality of our community and greatly appreciated. He thanked St. Mark's for accommodating BHNA in spite of competing events including run-off elections and a book fair that used the community hall where we usually meet. Instead, BHNA met in the facility’s new Bennett Wing.

Long announced that beginning with this meeting, BHNA is offering babysitting services. Michelle Parilla, the babysitter for St. Mark’s, and her daughter are available at a nominal charge and will care for children in one of the church’s day care classrooms.

Long appealed to neighbors for a volunteer to head the July 4th parade committee and to contact him if interested as soon as possible.
Minutes
Long asked for a motion to approve the minutes for the General Meeting on January 27, 2004. The motion was made and seconded and the minutes were approved.
Neighborhood Watch

Officer Dawn Leonard discussed the benefits of having a Neighborhood Watch program in Barton Hills and explained the procedure for re-launching it in this neighborhood.

Neighborhoods can set up the program in any way that works for them but usually they will have block captains and assign shifts or specific coverage areas. The key is to be a “nosy neighbor.”

Long said that about ten volunteers have expressed an interest in participating in the program. An organizational meeting is required and covers crime prevention and safety issues. Long asked that a volunteer was also needed to organize this first meeting to set the Watch up and after that the Watch should run itself without needing a chair or leader. He asked members to contact him if interested as soon as possible so we can get the Watch up and running again.

Leonard said that there is increasing mail box theft in the area and the primary reason is identity theft. She encouraged people to be sure their newspapers, mail, and flyers are picked up daily. Mail theft is a federal crime and should be reported to the postal inspectors – call the local post office and they will provide the number. Leonard also encouraged residents to call the police at 311 so that they can be alert to the issue. If the mailbox is damaged, definitely call 311.

With vacation season starting, she encouraged prevention procedures. When you are away, stop the mail and paper, and have a neighbor watch that these items are accidentally delivered. Put lights on timers and don’t leave shades or drapes open. Put out a dog bowl – even if you don’t have a dog!

She is also seeing theft of potted plants which are then sold at flea markets. If a suspect boards a bus, you can report the bus number to police and they will stop the bus.

Neighborhood Planning

Long introduced Lisa Kocich of the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Planning Department. Barton Hills will begin the neighborhood planning process in January 2005 along with other South Austin neighborhoods (South Lamar, Galindo, Zilker, and a homeowner’s association).

Kocich said that in the last two years the COA has changed the planning process to include larger areas over a shorter timeframe, with a focus on taking a more comprehensive, broader view. Long envisions Barton Hills getting a jump on the process by starting to come together now to begin the consensus process.

Kocich reviewed the planning process. Barton Hills falls within the city’s urban core which is the area from Braker on the north to William Cannon on the south, east from 183 to MoPac on the west. Within this core there are 64 planning areas. The process takes 9-12 months.

The process has these steps:

  • Initial stakeholder meeting
  • Survey of neighbors (on paper as well as online)
  • Compile survey with demographics
  • Community workshop to produce a vision statement
  • Focus groups (8-10 meetings including forums on urban design, land use and zoning, transportation, parks and environment)
  • Open house forum to review all work
  • Final survey
  • Two public hearings (Planning Commission and City Council)

It requires three readings before the City Council can vote to make the plan an ordinance.

The Planning process creates a map of future land use and zoning recommendations. There will be some funds available for some sidewalks. It will not address traffic calming, code enforcement, or parking permits.

Kocich provided BHNA with a large, color-coded land use map, which Long showed members and said would be made available at all future BHNA meetings. It was also suggested to post the map on the BHNA website. The land use map will provide a framework for future development in the area. It provides greater protections about land use and will be difficult to amend the zoning later. The larger issue now is how to accommodate the greater density that Austin will have to absorb in coming decades.

Among the questions raised by members was the issue of deed restrictions and the planning process. Kocich responded that the COA doesn’t enforce deed restrictions, seeing these as private agreements made when lots were platted. Long stated that the alignment of neighborhood plans and deed restrictions seemed to be a good objective and that the four neighborhood associations should look into this together, along with the other common areas of research and concern.

Other questions included whether the COA had a specific density goal for our area. Kocich responded by stating only the various options available to our neighborhood like ours (zoned primarily as single family, 2SF and 3SF) for increasing density.

Kocich welcomed members to forward any further questions or comments to her, whether directly or through BHNA (Long).

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Long introduced Charlie Jones and Jody Goode from Capital Sports & Entertainment, the producers of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Jones also introduced Charles Attal who is the music coordinator for the event and also lives in Barton Hills. Jones said that the festival is a signature event for Austin and that they want it to be around for a long time. The event has put the ACL TV show and KLRU in the black.

He acknowledged that there have been concerns about issues such as noise, trash, and parking but he said that the organizers are committed to learning from their mistakes and solving problems. He promised to do more to control the noise and the time bands get off stage.

Capital Sports has volunteered to pay the city $1 per head for the city to use as it sees fit; this offer has now become COA policy for all such sponsors. To correct parking problems they are looking at a south shuttle location, parking permits, more volunteers to discourage people from parking in the neighborhood.

Neighbors expressed concern about audio levels and Jones explained that the levels are within city codes. They will work on positioning the stages to minimize intrusion into the neighborhood. Scott Johnson suggested that Capital Sports look into using renewable energy credits and Jones encouraged him to make a presentation. Jones encouraged BH residents to forward concerns to Long and he will meet with neighborhoods on a regular basis.

Open Forum

Glee Ingram encouraged everyone to participate in the next Greenbelt Guardian workday which will be Saturday, April 24, 2004, at the Gus Fruh entrance at 2642 Barton Hills Drive, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The event will be in conjunction with the citywide Austin Parks Foundation’s “It’s My Park Day.”

Ingram said that Live Oak wilt is moving north from Arthur Lane. Neighbors should check their trees and have them treated.

Scott Johnson mentioned the city’s rebate program for electric lawnmowers. Johnson is the coordinator for the program which provides rebates for both corded and rechargeable models.

Johnson also asked BHNA for support in approaching the city to restrict cars from parking in bicycle lanes on Barton Hills Drive. Discussion followed and Johnson was asked to research the issue and present a formal proposal to the association.

Nan Clayton encouraged voters to support the proposed hospital district. The election will be May 15 and will include elections for ACC and AISD. Information is available at www.healthytraviscounty.com or at 473-8926.

Mike Sullivan, fire fighter assigned to the Kinney Avenue fire station (# 11), talked about the other issue on the May 15 ballot which is seeking collective bargaining for fire fighters. More information is available at 441-7572.

Next Meeting The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for May 25.
The next General Meeting is June 22.
Adjourn The meeting adjourned at 9:25 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Debby Kalk
Recording Secretary


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