The Hyde Park Neighborhood Contact Team regular meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm on May 27, 2015 at Trinity United Methodist Church by co-chairs Jennifer Berbas and Adrian Skinner.
The CT welcomed John Eastman, City of Austin Public Works Office, Sidewalks Department, to discuss the City’s 2009 Master Plan and future goals. According to the most recent survey of sidewalks, about half of Austin’s street frontage has a sidewalk. Mr. Eastman explained that there are no dedicated tax dollars applied to sidewalks, instead they rely upon bonds, grants, fees and builders to construct sidewalks. When there is money, they follow a set of priorities explained in the Master Plan and on the City Website Public Works page. Mr. Eastman reminded members to call 311 if there is a sidewalk issue, such as a needed repair, an obstruction, or the need to address a gap.
Mr. Eastman concluded by informing the CT that the City is getting ready to update 2009 Sidewalk Master Plan. He advised that neighbors take advantage of opportunities for public comment and communicate with elected officials that sidewalks are a priority and should be funded. He also asked that Neighborhood Plan requests should be kept up to date as they help set priorities. [CT Secretary’s note: Hyde Park is scheduled to review priorities in January, 2016.]
The meeting continued with a discussion of bylaws revisions led by bylaws sub-committee chair Reid Long. He presented an overview of changes under consideration and noted that most revisions reflect the need for updated or clarified language and do not change the substance of the bylaw. No votes were taken and discussion will continue at the July CT meeting. This summary lists sections in which substantive changes are proposed. The sub-committee has not yet addressed sections 12-17.
- Section 3: Boundaries – Include the apartments on 51st behind Rowena.
- Section 4: Membership – Request that a representative of any neighborhood association in Hyde Park be included, as long as the representative owns property or a business or rents property in the neighborhood.
- Section 6: Voting – Clarify that elections are to be held every other year and add that voting discussions will be managed by parliamentary procedure (Robert’s Rules of Order).
- Section 7: Meetings – Add language that allows additional meetings to be called by a majority of elected officers or seven voting members and add language to allow an agenda item to be added at the request of two or more CT members, during meeting or in writing to the listserv.
Discussion focused primarily on voting. Currently, in order to vote a member needs to have attended at least one meeting in the last nine months. The sub-committee asked for feedback on removing that requirement and allowing anyone who is qualified to vote. The discussion balanced the common concern that the CT should welcome the involvement of all neighbors with the concerns that those who vote be well-informed and that meetings are not stacked (as other CTs have experienced). A number of possible compromises were suggested that allow for a reasonable restriction that allows for more openness but prevents such abuse of the system as stacking meetings.
The bylaws committee continues to meet and discussion will continue at the July 27 meeting.
The meeting concluded with brief updates of old business items and general announcements:
- Adrian Skinner and Jen Berbas have submitted a request to Kathy Tovo to submit the new FLUM map and are still waiting to hear back from her staff.
- The CT heard a brief update of CodeNext planning.
- The next City quarterly CT training meeting will be held May 20, 2015, from 7 to 8:30pm, at One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road, in the 3rd floor training room. See http://austintexas.gov/department/neighborhood-plan-contact-teams.
The next quarterly meeting will be held Monday, July 27, at 7pm. All residents, renters or tenants, property owners, and business owners in Hyde Park are encouraged to become members of the CT and participate in discussions. An agenda will be posted two weeks before the meeting.