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