HPNA Minutes – February 1, 2016

Before the meeting convened, members enjoyed a potluck dinner and social time.

The meeting was called to order at 7:32 pm by co-President Reid Long at the Griffin School, 5001 Evans Avenue.

The first agenda item consisted of brief presentations by the seven declared candidates for the State Representative District 49 vacancy left by the retirement of Elliott Naishtat.

  • Gina Hinojosa, a civil-rights and labor lawyer and the immediate past president of the AISD School Board, emphasized her interest in public education. She opposes school vouchers and supports an opt-out for public universities on the campus-carry gun law.
  • Huey Rey Fischer stressed his experience working for progressive Democrats in the legislature and stated his intent to promote a proactive agenda that includes health-care expansion and LGBT rights.
  • Aspen Dunaway, a trial attorney, detailed his neighborhood roots and declared that his primary interests were rebuilding the middle class through property tax and student loan debt relief and the expansion of health care funding.
  • Heather Way, a UT law professor with experience in community advocacy, described her main interests as countering right-wing extremism in the legislature, reducing the influence of interest groups, and addressing the growing economic divide.
  • Kent Johnson, who described his experience as prosecutor, judge, and attorney, emphasized the need to find solutions to growth in Austin, such as integrated transportation, flexible employment, and support for commercial ride-sharing options. He opposes the use of local tax dollars to support other school districts.
  • Matt Shrum, a former prosecutor now in private practice as well as a small-business owner, declared his primary interest as fiscal responsibility, public safety, transportation improvement, and economic growth. If elected, he wants to serve on the House budget committee.
  • Blake Rocap, a public-interest lawyer, emphasized that his ten years of experience working with the legislature enhances his ability to pursue an agenda that includes cutting property taxes, protecting the rights of public employees, and expanding early childhood education.

The second agenda item was consideration of a resolution to support the request for a zoning variance for development of a congregate care facility at the Triangle complex on 45th Street. Jeff Howard, an attorney representing the developers, who provided details of the proposed project at the January meeting, returned to HPNA to report additional revisions to improve drainage in response to members’ expressed opposition to reducing impervious cover that will exacerbate neighborhood flooding risks. Mr. Howard stated that the revisions included the addition to the proposed building of a holding tank that would enhance drainage capacity to the level of 80% impervious cover. The resolution published in the February issue of the Pecan Press was read and discussed. Several members requested amendments to the resolution to include more specific language about the drainage issue. The amendments passed unanimously with a vote of 28 in favor. The amended resolution reads as follows:

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association supports the request for The Village at The Triangle by W2 Real Estate Partners for a change in zoning and variance for impervious cover to build a congregate care facility on The Triangle property contingent upon the developers’ maintaining runoff at an 80% impervious cover level and enhancing detention capacity to reduce the rate of discharge. This development represents a significant need in our community while using a smaller impervious cover footprint than other potential developments on the property.

The resolution passed by a vote of 26 in favor, 1 opposed, and 1 abstention.

The third agenda item was a resolution on occupancy limits. Discussion was brief and no amendments were proposed. The resolution reads as follows:

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association (HPNA) supports maintaining the current occupancy limits of four unrelated adults in single-family zoned properties. The HPNA views the current occupancy limits as essential to maintaining affordable housing in the neighborhood because it removes the incentive to remove older, more affordable housing in favor of newer and more expensive housing stock. Furthermore, the current limit helps ensure that new housing stock is useful for all resident types rather than for a single segment of the residential population. Finally, the current occupancy limit of four unrelated adults has reduced incidents of excess trash, overflow street parking, noise disturbances, and the demolition of older homes.

The resolution passed with a vote of 22 in favor, 1 opposed, and 3 abstentions.

Announcements included concern about the movement of a perimeter fence at the UT Intramural Fields; it raised concerns about neighborhood access and excess water run-off. The upcoming Development Review Committee meeting agenda includes a proposed building project across from Baker School. Several upcoming Shipe Park activities include It’s My Park Day (March 5) and a City Parks Department presentation on the new Shipe Pool design (March 23, Griffin School, 5:30 pm). Cap Metro provided handouts about its Smart Trips program to reduce traffic. Finally, a moment of silence honored recently deceased neighbors.

The meeting adjourned at 8:42 pm.

Submitted by Susan Marshall
Co-Secretary, HPNA

HPNA Minutes – June 2015

Co-President Kevin Heyburn called the May meeting of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association to order at 7:09 PM at the Hyde Park Theater on 43rd Street.

The first item on the agenda was the consideration of a resolution asking the city to select Hyde Park as one of the four areas to evaluate potential Code Next changes. Co-President Lorre Weidlich presented the resolution on behalf of the Steering Committee. If Hyde Park is accepted, none of these changes would be adopted earlier, but it would allow evaluation and understanding of the impact of the changes on zoning within the neighborhood.   Analysis would likely be shared with the Hyde Park Neighborhood Planning Contact Team and the HPNA would coordinate any analysis of the proposals with the Contact Team. The resolution was adopted 34 for, none against, and no abstentions.

The next item on the agenda was a resolution supporting the application of the Griffin School for a variance to allow the school enrollment to increase to 125 students. In particular, the school is seeking a variance regarding street width. City code requires that private schools be located on 40’ wide streets. Two of the streets that the Griffin School is located on are 27’ and one is 30’ wide.

Adam Wilson, Head of the Griffin School, presented some background on the request and the school. The Griffin School is a 9-12 grade college preparatory school that has been operating about 20 years, including 17 years in Hyde Park or in the Hyde Park area. When the school moved into the current location, the school applied for a conditional use permit that restricted enrollment to about 65 students. The current enrollment of the school is 93 students and thus it needed a new conditional use permit.

Since the original conditional use permit was issued, the school has worked to get more parking, which was a key issue with the original restricted enrollment. The school has since reached an agreement with Ridgetop Baptist Church to provide off-site parking. The Griffin School has been meeting with its immediate neighbors to address any concerns that they might have. Some initial proposals include entering into a restrictive covenant with the HPNA, limiting student parking to off-site parking only, one-way flow of traffic on Martin and Evans streets from the school for drop-off and pick-up, and enrollment verification.

Several neighbors spoke against supporting the variance. Several issues were raised about increased traffic, additional people in the neighborhood, and the school being out of character with the neighborhood. Concerns were also raised about issues that might arise if the school loses its current parking situation. Supporters of the variance raised the points that the increase is only about 30 more students than current enrollment and that the Griffin School has a long history of support for the neighborhood and a history of working with its neighbors to address any concerns.

The resolution passed 27 for, 4 against and 5 abstentions. It was noted at this time that Kathie Tovo was in attendance.

The next item on the agenda was a presentation by Ken Webster regarding the Hyde Park Theater. The theater holds about 75 people and typically has about 15 shows per year. Normally, a show runs every weekend during the year. The theater hosts Frontera Fest during January and February, which supports independent and small producers and playwrights. The contest has two different groups: Small Fringe, which is typically less than 25 minutes, and Long Fringe, which is less than 90 minutes. The theater focuses on American, Canadian, and Irish producers and playwrights. The theater has won numerous awards, including two acting awards this year for one of their earlier productions.

Finally, the meeting ended with announcements. Kevin announced that the Steering Committee would be meeting on June 8th at 7 PM at Trinity United Methodist Church. Additionally, the Board of Adjustment is meeting on June 8th at 5:30 to discuss, among other things, the variance for the Griffin School. The DRC is meeting on June 4th at 7 PM. Planning has begun for the Hyde Park Homes Tour. The committee is always looking for new volunteers to help with putting on the tour. The tour will likely be the first weekend in November. The opening party for Shipe Pool will be June 20th and will include food vendors, a movie, and possibly a puppet show. All are welcome to attend. A bench is being installed at Huffstickler Green by the Park’s department. Kevin adjourned the meeting at 8:45 PM.

Hyde Park Neighborhood Association Minutes – May 2015

Before the meeting was officially called to order, the neighborhood association held a potluck. The attendees brought dishes including salads, appetizers, and desserts for everyone to enjoy. Co-President Lorre Weidlich called the May meeting of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association to order at 7:29 PM at the Griffin School.

The first item on the agenda was a presentation from Jeff Jack about CodeNext and other development-related initiatives at the city. Jeff is a member of the CodeNext Citizens Advisory Group. The Citizen’s Advisory Group has 11 members, one member selected by each Council Member of the previous City Council and four members by the city manager. It also has three working groups: Affordability; In-fill, Compatibility, and Missing Middle; and Small Business. Jeff talked about the origins of the current CodeNext process and its roots in the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan. An important upcoming part of the process is the evaluation of the effect of the new code on four neighborhoods within the city. Jeff accepted questions and comments from the floor throughout the presentation. (See related article, page 3).

The meeting moved to announcements. Lorre Weidlich announced that the Steering Committee would meet at 7 PM on May 11th at Trinity United Methodist Church. David Conner announced that the DRC would meet at 7 PM on Thursday. Adam Wilson announced that Shipe Pool is expected to reopen as planned but lifeguards are still needed to staff the city pools. Adrian Skinner announced that the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association has offered to support 2-3 individuals to become lifeguards for the City. Those interested should contact him. The City is also in the process of hiring someone to oversee the Shipe Pool restoration. Finally, it was announced that the vacant lots on Duval are going before the Historic Landmark Commission in the next couple of weeks.

Co-President Lorre Weidlich adjourned the meeting at 8:43 PM.

HPNA Meeting Minutes: March 2, 2015

Lorre Weidlich, co-president, called the March meeting of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association to order at 7:06 p.m. She announced that the DownHome Diner had cancelled its appearance. Instead, Kathy Lawrence brought coffee and cookies.

Alison Young spoke about the stickers that she had printed to notify people that the resident does not want dog poop in his or her garage bin. Stickers will be on the bulletin board at Fresh Plus, as well as inside the store. Kathy Lawrence requested that HPNA purchase the next batch of stickers. The Steering Committee would consider that request at its next meeting.

The next item on the agenda was a presentation by the Mobility 35 group regarding proposed changes and improvements to the IH-35 corridor. The plan includes 65 miles of improvements from SH-130 in Georgetown to San Marcos. The goal is to increase traffic carrying capacity, as well as improve safety. In addition to such presentations as the one at the meeting, the group has virtual open houses for many of its projects. Proposed changes include signal optimization, modifications to the service roads, realignment of the ramps, and the addition of additional lanes. Realignment of the ramps and modifications to the intersections at 38th Street, Airport and 51st are planned.   More detail can be found by visiting the Mobility35 website at http://www.mobility35.org/.

A representative of Sunshine Gardens at 4814 Sunshine spoke about its plant sale on March 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be about 25,000 plants, including more than 150 varieties of tomato and over 70 varieties of pepper. The proceeds help support the garden as well as the Texas School for the Blind.

Kathy Lawrence also announced that the Hyde Park Baptist Church was having a family movie night on March 27 with a screening of Frozen. Another recycling collection is being planned for hazardous materials such as batteries and CFL’s on April 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.   She also mentioned that HPNA would try to bring neighborhood businesses to each of the HPNA meetings. Requests were voiced to invite NeWorld Deli.

Kevin Heyburn announced that Kathy Tovo had attended much of the meeting. There was a reminder about It’s My Park Day on March 7 from 9-12 at Shipe Park. The Lost Pines will play for the volunteers and the cleanup will include some of the Ney Museum property. Lorre announced that the Steering Committee will meet as usual on Monday, March 9 at Trinity United Methodist Church.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:48 p.m.

–Submitted by Artie Gold & Reid Long

HPNA Co-Secretaries

HPNA Meeting Minutes: January 15, 2015

The January 2015 Hyde Park Neighborhood Association meeting was called to order at 7:06 p.m. by Lorre Weidlich, co-president.

The first item on the agenda was discussion of the budget for the neighborhood association. I. Jay Aarons, treasurer, presented the proposed 2015 budget adopted by the Finance Committee, along with 2014 budget and 2014 actual expenditures. The two largest sources of revenue and expenditures for the organization are the Pecan Press and the Hyde Park Homes Tour. Early in 2015, Pecan Press ad rates, as well as other potential new revenue sources, will be explored. Additionally, the proposed 2015 budget included increases in the allotment for treasurer and parks and public spaces.  The increase in the treasurer’s budget is to offset the increase in the cost related to accounting services, and the increase in the parks and public spaces budget is to support a new community garden project.

Some discussion occurred regarding the amount of money spent on events and volunteer appreciation activities. I. Jay Aarons said it was his understanding that the money being spent is consistent with IRS rules for 501(c)(4) organizations like HPNA, but he would look into the rules to ensure that the organization is in compliance. Additionally, the new budget contains donations for both the Griffin School and the Trinity United Methodist Church since the organization has been using both sites for meetings.

Adrian Skinner made a motion to approve the budget and the motion was seconded by Doris Coward. The budget was approved 24 for and 0 against.

The meeting then turned to recognition and appreciation for the volunteers within the organization that assist in putting on the numerous events. Adrian Skinner, co-vice president, led the recognition. Some of the events and activities that the organization relies on its volunteers for include the DRC Committee, Fire Station Festival, Graffiti Abatement, Homes Tour, Egg Scramble, Parks Committee, Holiday Party, Adam Wilson and the Griffin School, Trinity United Methodist, the Membership Committee, and the Officers and Steering Committee. Volunteers for each of these groups were asked to stand and be recognized. Dorothy Richter noted that the strength of the organization is its volunteers and spirit of volunteerism. Cake from Quack’s bakery was provided to all in attendance.

The meeting was adjourned at about 7:30 p.m.

–Submitted by Artie Gold and Reid Long

HPNA Co-Secretaries