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HPNA Meeting Minutes – December 2014

HPNA Meeting Minutes: December 1, 2014

The meeting was called to order at 7:11 p.m. by Kevin Heyburn, co-president. In opening remarks, Kevin introduced the various officers, welcomed everyone and particularly encouraged those who were not regular attendees to attend future meetings.

The agenda was announced. The two specific resolutions that needed to be acted upon were (1) a re-vote on the resolution regarding ADUs (the new vote was necessary because in the previous month the agenda had not been posted to the bulletin board at Fresh Plus, a technical violation of the bylaws) and (2) a vote on resolutions regarding the proposed restaurant (and associated zoning changes) at 4500 Speedway. In addition, all were invited to the HPNA Holidays Party, to take place on December 14 at the Ney Museum. At a later point, it was announced that early voting had begun and that the dates for the Contact Team and the Steering Committee meetings were Dec. 2 and Dec. 8 respectively.

ADU Resolution

The proposed resolution was as follows: “City Council resolutions concerning Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) should not override the neighborhood planning process or neighborhood plans. Therefore the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association does not support a city-wide or blanket policy change pertaining to the construction of ADUs, such as resolution #20140612-062 passed by the City Council on June 12, 2014. We see our neighborhood plan, which grew out of a process of civic participation, as central to maintaining the character and the quality of life of our neighborhood.”

It was mentioned in advance that the resolution was open to amendment but not substitution. Despite that, a substitute motion in support of the city ADU resolution was proposed and considered. There was a vote taken, with 59 opposing and 12 favoring the substitute resolution.

As the meeting then returned to the business of the original resolution, there was a proposal to amend, retaining only the first sentence since city staff had yet to come back with details. This amendment was rejected by a vote of more than 40 to 6.

Then the resolution as originally offered was brought to a vote, with 59 favoring and 17 opposing.

4500 Speedway Resolutions

The two resolutions under consideration were (1) “The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association does not support the zoning change and the changes to the neighborhood plan” and (2) “The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association supports the restaurant with minimal zoning changes.”

A proposed amendment to add the words “and NCCD” to the end of the resolution (1) was accepted.

After much back and forth about the relative advantages and disadvantages of accepting resolution (1), a vote took place. The amended resolution read as follows: “The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association does not support the zoning change and the changes to the neighborhood plan and NCCD. This resolution passed, with 47 favoring and 28 opposing.

Mayoral Forum        

Mr. Adler went first on the basis of a coin toss. His opening statement included the information that he had lived in Austin since 1978, some of that time in Hyde Park. He noted the spirit of Austin and that he was running for mayor to preserve what he felt made it special. He noted in particular two issues: property values that have been growing well ahead of incomes and transportation challenges. Zoning and inequality in general were also noted as being important.

Mr. Martinez remarked that this was a particularly important election due to the move to single member districts and that institutional knowledge would be specifically important during this transition. He also mentioned that he would not revisit closing Firehouse No. 9 or ADUs; local input was important. Issues should go in the direction wanted by “regular people.”

A lively question and answer period followed.

The meeting was then adjourned around 9 p.m.

–Submitted by Artie Gold and Reid Long, HPNA Co-Secretaries


Contact Team Minutes from 2014 Q4

October 27, 2014

The agenda for the Hyde Park Neighborhood Contact Team’s regular quarterly meeting at Trinity United Methodist Church included a discussion of the possible redevelopment of the Austin State Hospital property (ASH) and sidewalks. New business included a proposed letter to the city expressing the Hyde Park Neighborhood Contact Team’s opposition to City Councilmen Riley and Martinez’s accessory dwelling unit (ADU) proposal.

A new subcommittee has been formed to prepare Hyde Park Contact Team’s response to any possible redevelopment of the ASH property. John Williams, Mike Pikulski and Adrian Skinner invited those in the neighborhood who are interested in this issue to join their committee. Although the most recent Texas General Land Office’s (GLO) report in 2014 does not recommend ASH for redevelopment, there is interest by lobbyists in the possibility and one of them has already met with neighbors. One possibility, and preferable for Hyde Park, is that the city purchase the land. Possible uses that have been mentioned include moving homeless services there where more innovative support services could be offered, excluding a shelter.

Another subcommittee concerning neighborhood sidewalks has been formed and is looking for members. This subcommittee will use the neighborhood plan and the updated priority projects developed by the Contact Team to communicate with the city. The city has set aside money for sidewalks. Those interested in working on this project should contact Pete Gilcrease.

The Contact Team voted to schedule a special meeting on Monday, November 17 at 7 p.m. to consider a proposed resolution communicating the Contact Team’s opposition to the City’s ADU proposal that could allow ADU development across the city regardless of neighborhood plans. The proposed resolution requests that any ADU decisions respect neighborhood plans. The Contact Team also voted to use HPNA’s resolution on this topic, which will be up for a vote on November 3, as a starting point for its discussion.

At the Contact Team’s next quarterly meeting on January 26, the City’s proposed land development code plans and the committee’s voting bylaws will be discussed.


November 17, 2014

The Hyde Park Contact Team met in special session to consider an ADU resolution. After Karen McGraw read the proposed resolution, there was much back and forth discussion.

The resolution that was voted on was as follows: “City Council resolutions concerning Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) should not override the neighborhood planning process or neighborhood plans. Therefore the Hyde Park Neighborhood Plan Contact Team does not support a city-wide or blanket policy change pertaining to the construction of ADUs, such as the Martinez-Riley resolution passed by the City Council on June 12, 2014. We see our neighborhood plan, which grew out of a process of civic participation, as central to maintaining the character and the quality of life of our neighborhood.”

The resolution passed with 23 votes for and 9 against.
December 2, 2014

The Hyde Park Contact Team met in special session to consider the request for zoning changes to the Neighborhood Plan and North Hyde Park NCCD at 4500 Speedway. The Contact Team voted 19 to 4 to accept Resolution Two: “The Hyde Park Contact Team does not support the zoning change to enable restaurant use at 4500 Speedway and the changes to the Neighborhood Plan and North Hyde Park NCCD.”

To conclude the special meeting two requests were made from the floor for agenda items to be considered at the January 26 regular quarterly meeting. The first is to discuss CodeNEXT and its implications for Hyde Park’s Neighborhood Plan and NCCDs. And the second is to hold a special election to replace the chair of the Hyde Park Contact Team. The second request passed with a vote of 19 in favor and 5 abstentions.

–Submitted by Mity Myhr, CT Secretary (10/27 and 12/2 minutes) and Lianna Mills, CT Vice Chair (11/17 minutes)

Around and About the Avenues – January 2015

In January at the Ney: The museum is reprising its Drawing Salon Series, every Saturday this month, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Participants draw from an extensive collection of sculptures, examining the human form in splendid poses, garbs, and action in plaster and Carrera marble. Staff will be there to provide instructive lessons and art materials. Remember—you don’t have to be good! Dates are January 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31. At 304 E. 44th.  For more information, call 512-458-2255.

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More of the Same: The latest update from the city on the Airport Boulevard Form-Based Code Initiative is similar to the one sent last spring regarding Opticos Design as the lead consultant for the review of the City of Austin Land Development Code (LDC). According to Jorge Rousselin, Process Coordinator for the City of Austin Planning and Development Review Department, Opticos Design consultants will now assist staff to finalize integration of the project with CodeNEXT, the Imagine Austin program begun in 2013 to revise the city’s LDC. After the creation (integration?) of form-base standards specific to the Airport Boulevard corridor between Lamar and IH-35, a series of public meetings and neighborhood roundtables will be held to present the code and to gather community input. –Doris Coward

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Contact Team Meeting: The regular quarterly meeting will take place 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., Monday January 26 at Trinity United Methodist Church. Agenda items include (1) a discussion of CodeNEXT and its implications for Hyde Park’s Neighborhood Plan and NCCDs and (2) a vote on whether to replace the chair of the Contact Team. A possible additional item is a guest speaker from the city to talk about sidewalks.

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Dubious Distinction for Austin: According to a recent study by Trulia, Austin ranked 9th among most unaffordable U.S. cities. The less affordable cities are mostly in California, except for the New York City metropolitan area. By Trulia’s definition, a city is affordable if “the total monthly payment, including mortgage, insurance, and property taxes, is less than 31% of the metro area’s median household income.” Thus, what’s affordable varies from city to city. The link to the study is as follows:

From the Desk of the Co-Presidents – January 2015

Follow-Up to the December Rezoning Vote

After the very intense HPNA meeting in December, members no doubt want a follow-up report on the issue of rezoning 4500 Speedway for restaurant use.

The case went to the Planning Commission on December 9. Half a dozen Hyde Parkers attended, which meant they outnumbered the Commissioners; only five of nine Commissioners attended. As a result, the case went forward to City Council without a recommendation from the Planning Commission.

The case was part of the 2 p.m. agenda for the December 11 City Council meeting, but it wasn’t considered until around 10 p.m. Again, half a dozen Hyde Parkers attended to speak in opposition at the public hearing, and several of them had taken time off work to be there. Imagine the surprise of those people when the applicant abruptly changed his request from restaurant use to simple office rezoning. After several Hyde Park speakers made the point that HPNA had not been notified about the change, Councilmember Morrison asked for a postponement to return the case to the Planning Commission for reconsideration. Some people who attended the meeting to speak against rezoning left believing that the applicant had planned this strategy from the beginning, to ask for something in excess of what he wanted in the hope of having room to negotiate for what he actually wanted. Or perhaps the applicant changed his plans because he saw neighbors present at the City Council meeting that he knew did not support his original plan.

The applicant will be returning to HPNA to ask for support for office rezoning, which would require changes to the Neighborhood Plan and North Hyde Park NCCD. He has stated he wants to “meet the neighborhood half way.” Hyde Parkers need to consider this carefully. If Hyde Park agrees to give every rezoning applicant half of what he or she requests, what effect will that have over time on Hyde Park protections?

The larger issue here is whether a requested rezoning affords the neighborhood or the city something of greater value than whatever protection the rezoning takes away. Rezoning this property to office use takes away a residential unit. Does Austin want to lose housing at a time when housing in Austin is already undergoing a shortage? The appearance of Christmas decorations on the house at 4500 Speedway makes it clear that someone still considers it a home, and the applicant already has a permit to add an additional dwelling unit. Also, any rezoning from residential to commercial use on 45th Street opens the door to future similar rezoning. Right now, commercial properties on 45th Street are primarily limited to the commercial areas at Guadalupe and Duval. Is additional commercial property on 45th Street beneficial to the neighborhood? How will such commercial property impact nearby homeowners? Overall, does the rezoning of this property create added value for anyone but the property owner? These are some of the tough questions the neighborhood needs to address as the applicant moves forward with his alternative proposal.


Recognitions and Thanks

We want to thank Michael Nill for getting the December Pecan Press out early, so that neighbors could be informed about the upcoming meeting and votes in a timely way. We also want to thank Tammy Young for all her work organizing our holiday party, including coping with the possibility of rain! And we want to recognize George Wyche, the recipient of the 2014 Walter and Dorothy Richter Good Citizen Award. George had contributed to the neighborhood consistently and steadily, without need for recognition or acclaim, for decades. He exemplifies the ideal of being a good neighbor.

–Kevin Heyburn & Lorre Weidlich
HPNA Co-Presidents



Pecan Press January 2015

Pecan Press January 2015

Fire Station Festival 2014 Pictures

Lizzie Chen - Fire Station Festival 2014

Photo Credits: Lizzie Chen

Bill McCullough - Fire Station Festival 2014

Photo Credits: Bill McCullough

Deaton Bednar - Fire Station Festival 2014

Photo Credits: Deaton Bednar

Kailey Griffin - Fire Station Festival 2014

Photo Credits: Kailey Griffin

Suzanna Griffin - Fire Station Festival 2014

Photo Credits: Suzanna Griffin

Victoria Goodman - Fire Station Festival 2014

Photo Credits: Victoria Goodman

Window on Hyde Park

This haunted house was just one of many that dotted the streets of Hyde Park this Halloween. Decked out in costumes of all sorts, hundreds and hundreds of children and their families from Hyde Park and around the city took to neighborhood streets as “trick or treaters” on a beautiful fall evening. The biggest throngs were to be seen along Avenues F and G. If one tried to drive a car anywhere near there on Halloween, the goblins probably got the driver, passengers, and the automobile too.

Hyde Park Halloween House

Voting Matters at December 1, 2014 HPNA Meeting

At the HPNA general meeting on December 1, 2014, the following resolutions will be voted on. The first two resolutions concern proposed zoning change to allow a restaurant at 4500 Speedway. The third resolutions concern City resolutions regarding accessory dwelling units. A vote on this third resolution occurred at the November meeting, but later was declared invalid because the resolution was not posted in all required venues. (This third resolution was also up for a vote at a special called meeting of the Contact Team on November 17.)

In order to vote, one must be a dues-paid member of HPNA for a period of 30 days before the vote takes place.

Resolution One

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association does not support the zoning change and the changes to the neighborhood plan.

Resolution Two

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association supports the restaurant with minimal zoning changes.

Resolution Three

City Council resolutions concerning Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) should not override the neighborhood planning process or neighborhood plans.  Therefore the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association does not support a city-wide or blanket policy change pertaining to the construction of ADUs, such as resolution #20140612-062 passed by the City Council on June 12, 2014.  We see our neighborhood plan, which grew out of a process of civic participation, as central to maintaining the character and the quality of life of our neighborhood.

Hyde Parkers To Mark the End of the Year in Grand Style

This year’s annual HPNA-sponsored party to celebrate the holidays will be held at the Elisbet Ney Museum on Sunday, December 14, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Light hors d’oeuvres, white wine, and bubbles will be served, along with hot cocoa and sweets.  Outside, there will be a holiday classic movie running, so partygoers should remember to bring a warm blanket for cuddling up!  The weather has been asked to cooperate.

Neighbors and friends will be invited to write personal wishes for the coming New Year on tags provided at the party. These wishes will then be tied to branches of the community “Wish Tree” inside the museum. Wishes can also be written and tied to the tree any time after December 15 through January 5.  The museum is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

HPNA Holiday Party 2014

In the spirit of the giving season, attendees are asked to consider bringing an unwrapped gift for our neighbors at Helping Hand Home for Children, which provides a nurturing and healing setting for children who have suffered severe abuse and neglect. Recommended donations include gift cards in any denomination to Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, or JCPenney. A complete wish list can be found on the Helping Hands website.

If you haven’t already, please consider joining the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association for just $5 a year ($1 for those 65 or older, $6 online). Membership signup will be available at the party.

This is a very special occasion for residents and friends to relax, socialize and enjoy this very special community which is Hyde Park.  And of course, a huge thank you is due to the co-host, the Elisabet Ney Museum, for generously opening its doors for this event and for being a part of our community.   For more information, email Tammy Young.

–Tammy Young

Event Chair

Fire Station Festival Celebrates Its 40th Year

On October 19, Hyde Park neighbors and firefighters rallied in celebration of the 40th Annual Fire Station Festival. Hundreds and hundreds of neighbors were in attendance. Each year, the festival marks a time to be thankful for the fact that Fire Station 9 is still up and running after it was first threatened with closure 40 years ago. Initially organized by Hyde Park resident Dorothy Richter, the fall festival represents a rich history of community-building and advocacy.

Festivities were kicked off in Shipe Park with a lively parade along Avenues G and F and down 43rd St. Excitement was high as children, parents, and even pets donned their Halloween best and marched to the beat of the Eastside High School Panther Drum Line. Led by a Station 9 fire truck, the rear was brought up by recognizable neighborhood vehicles like Carol and Amos Burton’s red truck. When nearing the fire station, kids on bikes, scooters, and foot rushed ahead of the banner to meet the hefty crowd that had already gathered.

Everyone needs a hand sometimes. Photo: Lizzie Chen

Everyone needs a hand sometimes. Photo: Lizzie Chen

Festivalgoers were then treated to a drumline performance and, later, music by Eggjam, a Beatles tribute group who regaled the audience with banter between playing best-loved tunes on request.

Younger attendees enjoyed a good offering of activities including hair sculpture, henna, and face painting. Plenty of games were also available to play for prizes; and as a testament to the fun being had, kids were seen carrying plastic fire hats brimming with goodies. When asked if he enjoyed playing hoops, four-year-old Jack (sometimes known as Spiderman) could only smile. His mother had more to say. “We come every year. My oldest loves the photo booth, and it’s just a great time. We’ll definitely be back.”

These attendees hone their firefighting techniques. Photo: Lizzie Chen

These attendees hone their firefighting techniques. Photo: Lizzie Chen

Of course, the annual Fire Station Festival would be incomplete without a few firefighters walking around, and this year there were plenty more than usual to share in the fun. Lieutenant Wiese spoke of the behind-the-scenes excitement at the firehouse. “We look forward to this every year. We appreciate the support we get around here because it’s not common around the city, where plenty of fire stations shut down and people don’t care. That is definitely not the case here.” Fireman Fry, who was selling T-shirts for the event, agreed with the sentiment, adding that he was amazed at the community interest in Station 9 compared to similar events at other stations where he’s worked.

The drum line gets ready to rock the neighborhood. Photo: Lizzie Chen

The drum line gets ready to rock the neighborhood. Photo: Lizzie Chen

Liz Lock and Eric C. Hughes of the Adams House B&B announced the costume category winners. This year’s recipients were as follows:

  • Scariest: Glenis Luce as a murderer attending her own funeral
  • Funniest: Henry Ross as Nacho Libre
  • Most Creative: Lily Pierce as Frieda Kahlo
  • Best Pet: Lisa Moomaw’s Daisy the Dog as a “cat princess”
  • Best Family Costume: The Coopers as “The Frankenfurters.”


Who can resist the charm of this princess? Photo: Lizzie Chen

Who can resist the charm of this princess? Photo: Lizzie Chen

The firefighters showed their appreciation by posing for pictures and giving safety demonstrations with the help of a state-of-the-art safety trailer.

Adding another highlight to the afternoon, Friends of Shipe Park proudly awarded Austin City Council member Laura Morrison the first-ever Neighborhood Hero Award for securing funds to repair Shipe Pool, which had been faced with closure earlier this year. Thanks to her efforts and those of others, Hyde Park will have an even better neighborhood pool at Shipe to enjoy on those hot summer days for years and years to come.

Partners—neighbors and firefighters. Photo: Lizzie Chen

Partners—neighbors and firefighters. Photo: Lizzie Chen

In the same vein, the HPNA recognized the following individuals for their contributions to the Hyde Park neighborhood:

  • Kathy Lawrence: for producing programs that educate Hyde Park about Austin issues
  • David Conner: for Development Review Committee leadership that preserves and protects Hyde Park
  • Mark Fishman: for protecting and preserving Hyde Park’s public and green spaces
  • Adam Wilson: for helping HPNA meetings with space, recording equipment, and more
  • Michael Crider: for improving and freshening the HPNA website.

Once again this year, neighbors generously donated books before and during the Fire Station Festival in a drive organized by Anne-Marie Grieger. In all, 200 books were collected for BookSpring, a local organization that provides reading experiences and books to children and their families.

The outstanding success of this year’s festival was of course only made possible by the scores of volunteers. As HPNA Social Chair and main festival organizer Deaton Bednar noted, “One of the joys of creating the Fire Station Festival experience is participating in this effort with my Hyde Park neighbors. Their enthusiasm, creativity, innovations, and dedication make this the ‘best festival ever’ each year.” Indeed, the influence of our Fire Station Festival has even reached Israel, as a participant’s brother living there was also inspired to hold a fire station festival!

HPNA funds the Fire Station Festival every year. Photo: Lizzie Chen

HPNA funds the Fire Station Festival every year. Photo: Lizzie Chen

The following dedicated, talented leaders have served three or more years in creating this festival: Linda van Bavel, Judy Gurgiolo, Lynne Hohfeld, Liz Lock, Paula Rhodes, and Joan Yamini. Our thanks goes to these and many others for their excellent efforts on behalf of the neighborhood. And of course, a huge debt of gratitude is owed to Deaton Bednar herself, who has just completed a decade (yes, a decade) of chairing this event.

–Mary Lyman

Staff Writer Intern

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