Update on South Lamar Mitigation Plan

Do you remember when our neighborhood was peaceful and quiet, and this time of year you could, at long last, open your windows to enjoy the cool fall weather? It’s hard to even imagine that now with all of the construction noise, dust, and smells wafting through the neighborhood!

This seems like a very good time to update you on the status of the South Lamar Mitigation Plan. As you recall, the City Council passed a resolution directing the City Manager to come up with a mitigation plan to address the negative effects of infill development in our neighborhood. The City Manager was to give a presentation to the Comprehensive Plan and Transportation Council Committee by August 4, and report to Council by August 15, with a timeline for the Mitigation Plan and a detailed approach to develop the recommendations for the enhanced tools and related opportunities for the CodeNext effort.

Here’s what has been happening and the results to date of this Resolution:

  • May 1 – City Council unanimously passed the South Lamar Mitigation Plan, Resolution No. 20140501-042
  • July 9 – residents met with city staff to present issues of concern
  • September 4 – City Staff gave their Briefing on the South Lamar Neighborhood Mitigation Plan to the Comprehensive Planning and Transportation Committee, addressing the South Lamar Neighborhood infill issues, city staff’s general findings, possible revisions to the Land Development Code, and next steps. The presenters were Mark Walters, Planner Senior, Planning and Development Review; Robert Spillar, Director, Austin Transportation; and Jorge Morales, Engineer, Watershed Protection. You can view the video of the presentation here (it is Item #5) and view their presentation document here.
  • October 3 – Greg Guersney, Director of the Planning and Development Review Department, sent a Memo to City Council which is the City Staff response to the resolution with their recommendations. You can read that memo here.

There are certainly some items of concern in this memo and we hope you read it and get engaged in this ongoing process!

 

District 5 Candidate Forum on October 9

Neighborhoods all over Austin are experiencing rapid growth, and certainly South Lamar Neighborhood ranks among the top for development and density increase. You have probably heard or read about the “South Lamar Neighborhood Mitigation Plan”, a resolution passed unanimously this year by City Council directing the City Manager to develop a plan to address the negative effects of infill development specifically in our neighborhood. The resolution strives to address the years of development we have experienced which has led to our problems of flooding, traffic, and lack of supportive infrastructure.

The mitigation plan is a positive development towards improving our future. But perhaps even more important, we now have the opportunity to influence our own future by electing our District 5 representative in the upcoming City Council elections.

In order to get acquainted with the candidates, SLNA is participating in the District 5 Three-Neighborhood City Council Candidate Forum, along with our neighbors in two adjoining neighborhood associations Barton Oaks and Zilker.

This forum was originally scheduled in September, but cancelled on account of threatening weather.  Now it has been rescheduled  for Thursday Oct. 9, 6:15-8:30 at Faith United Methodist Church, 2701 S. Lamar.

We will be conducting 15-minute interviews of all (we hope) of the District 5 candidates.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Dan Buda        http://www.danbuda.com/

Jason Denny    http://www.dennyfordistrict5.org/

Dave Floyd     http://www.floydfor5.com/

CarolAnnRose Kennedy         no website

Ann Kitchen   http://kitchenforaustin.com/

Mike Rodriguez          http://www.mikerodriguezforaustincouncil.com/

David Senecal             http://www.davesenecalatx5.com/

The idea is to ask questions of each candidate in isolation, so that they won’t pick up from each other and there won’t be interplay between them during the interview.

We have an important job opening to fill. We hope to see you there on Thursday!

Not So Crazy About Crazy Ants

One of our neighbors, Ed LeBrun is a biologist with UT who studies invasive ants, and he recently sent us this informative and disturbing message:

There is a relatively new invasive ant species that is spreading in Texas and the SE US: tawny crazy ants. Until recently, in Texas this ant was mostly confined to areas around Houston. Unfortunately, this year many populations have been reported within Austin. These ants most commonly colonize a neighborhood by hitchhiking on landscape materials and nursery products. Their arrival in our neighborhood would be a very bad deal. These ants can reach truly enormous densities and they nest and forage inside people’s houses in large numbers. There is no proven way to eradicate them once they are established. Control inside structures requires continual treatments with nasty pesticides that only licensed pest control operators can apply. Expensive and very undesirable. With all the new construction in the neighborhood, I thought that it might be wise to contact the builders and make them aware of this threat. Many populations start as a result of commercial scale landscaping projects. The message for the builders is to get nursery products from local (absolutely not from the Houston area or East Texas), trusted sources, and inspect them for ants prior to planting. I am attaching a fact sheet that might be useful to incorporate into the neighborhood news letter.

Let’s all be on the lookout for these ants and take action to alert Wizzie Brown or Ed LeBrun if you see them. The information on how to identify and collect the ants, and how to notify these experts is in the Tawny Crazy Ant fact sheet. A big thanks to Ed LeBrun for keeping us informed about this invasive ant.

Important Announcement – Pocket Park Name Nominations – Voting Aug 15

At our next neighborhood meeting on Thursday August 15th, we will be voting for the proposed name of our pocket park that we present to City Council. This does not guarantee that the park will be given this name, but our nomination will be considered in the City’s naming process. Here is a note from the Park Committee regarding the nominations.

——————————————————————————————————–

Hi all,

I wanted to share the names that were submitted for our neighborhood park.

There were 5 names submitted (in no particular order):
South Lamar Pocket Park
Del Curto Park
South Lamar Neighborhood Park
Frank and Iva Del Curto Park
Freedom Park

Voting for the park name will take place at the August 15th SLNA meeting.

If you are unable to make the meeting you may absentee vote. Click HERE for the voting form.

You may only vote one time and you must be an SLNA member by August 5th to vote.

To become a member, visit the Membership Page

If you have any questions please let me know!

Thanks
Kassi
SLNA Secretary
Park Naming Committee Member

TreeFolks NeighborWoods Program

We received the following information from TreeFolks that we wanted to pass along to you.

TreeFolks, a local nonprofit organization, is offering free street trees to residents throughout the Austin Energy service area as part of the NeighborWoods program.  Each year NeighborWoods delivers roughly 3,600 trees within the Austin Energy service area to shade streets and combat the urban heat island effect.  Our staff places flags in eligible homeowners yards where the trees should be planted and doorhangers on their door. Eligibility for this program depends on the amount of space available to plant a tree along the street.  If you were offered one or more free trees through this program, please send in your postcard to receive your tree(s).  For more information about the NeighborWoods program, please visit http://treefolks.org/neighborwoods/ or call (512) 443-5323.

Additional flyers:
NeighborWoods Flyer
NW One Page Summary

Neighborhood Park Construction Update

Hello Neighbors!

We want to update you on the progress on our very own neighborhood park which, as we speak, is being constructed by the City of Austin on the site of the old Unity Church on Del Curto. As you may or may not know, residents of SLNA have been trying for over a decade to get a park built within our neighborhood boundaries. These efforts are finally seeing the light of day.

If you drive along Del Curto past the new park, you might have noticed the area is completely fenced off. It’s easy to miss with the whirlwind of construction taking place both across the street and behind the park. The anticipated opening of the park is in September, just a couple months away.

Here is the construction timeline given to us by the City of Austin about a month ago:

 1.       Tree protection/ removal:  PARD completed the tree protection and temporary erosion controls and has removed the trees scheduled for removal.  June 2013.

 2.        Site Work:  Grading at the park for the installation of the sidewalks, playscape, pavilion and basketball court is expected to begin in late July 2013.

3.       Playscape:  The installation is expected to be towards the end of August 2013.

4.       Benches and Trash Receptacles:  These items have already been purchased and will be delivered to the Parks Department by mid-July, 2013.

 5.        Kiosk/ Pavilion:  PARD is finalizing the contract with the City of Austin Contract Management Department for the purchase of the kiosk and pavilion. Installation is expected to be a the beginning of September 2013.

6.       Basketball Court:  Installation of the court is expected by mid-September 2013.

I hope you and your family are just as excited about our new park as we are. As a reminder, you will be able to vote for the new park name nomination. See the details about that at the July 1, 2013 post on the SLNA website. The vote will take place at the next neighborhood meeting on August 15th. We will not be voting for the name outright, but for the name that we suggest to the City. The City has a formal policy it uses to decide the actual name and the name that we suggest is part of that process.

We would like to thank our Park Committee Chair, Bruce Evans, for diligently guiding/pushing/shoving the City of Austin into getting this project on track. We are getting closer to having our very own neighborhood park!

Calling all Neighbors – Help Name your New Park !

Hello everyone and Happy Summer. We hope you are staying cool! It won’t be long now until our new park is officially open. In anticipation of that day, please submit nominations for the new park name! Here are all the details:

South Lamar Neighborhood Association
Park Naming Nomination and Voting Process

Park Naming Committee members: Mario Champion, Kassi Darakhshan, Bryan King, Nancy Maclaine

Questions? Email kassi.darakhshan@gmail.com

Nomination Process:

  • Request for park name nominations can be submitted via a Google Form and via mail (by mailing in the bottom portion of this document). Click HERE for the online voting form.
  • Neighbors are being notified of nomination process at the June 20th mtg. and via the SLNA Yahoo Group
  • Incomplete nominations will not be accepted and neighbors may nominate more than one name
  • All neighbors can nominate, but only SLNA members can vote
  • The Park Naming Committee will narrow down the nominations to the top 10 (if there are more than 10 nominations) and the top 10 will be announced via SLNA Yahoo Group on August 1st
  • Any neighbor can join the Park Naming Committee. Members must be able to commit time to nomination process. To join the committee please email SLNA Secretary at kassi.darakhshan@gmail.com or let SLNA President, Nancy Maclaine know at the June 20th meeting
  • Committee will use an instant run-off voting system
  • Nominations are due by Saturday, July 20th

Voting Process:

  • Voting will take place at the August 15th mtg.
  • If the nominator(s) is present at the meeting he/she will be invited to make a 1-minute case for their nomination
  • Voting will be completed by an “instant run-off” system where voters will rank the nominations from 1 (top choice) to 10 (last choice)
  • Anyone wanting to vote must be a SLNA member 10 days prior to meeting (per neighborhood bylaws) which in this case is August 5th, 2013. Neighbors can become members online at southlamar.org
  • At the June 20th meeting, SLNA members APPROVED absentee voting by email on just the issue of Park Naming. To absentee vote, members must submit their vote via email before 11:59pm Sunday, August 12th, 2013 to South Lamar Neighbor Secretary’s email address: kassi.darakhshan@gmail.com
  • The top name will be announced at the end of the meeting on August 15th and then be submitted to Austin Parks and Recreation Dept.

Flood Mitigation Work on Del Curto

We’ve got some good development news! The flood mitigation project on Del Curto is well underway.

100_8480

As you are most likely aware, several of our neighbors along a stretch of Del Curto near Bluebonnet have had their homes flooded one or more times due to new development activity. Homes that have been here for decades and never had an issue with flooding, all of a sudden were flooded, some even after just modest rains. The City of Austin (correction) The Developer is installing new curbs and driveway cuts to divert the water down the street. We are certainly hoping for our neighbors that this flooding nightmare is nearing an end.

One can’t help but wonder where all this water will go? The hope is it will run south down the hill on Del Curto to the creek. Hopefully this happens without incident to the downhill, uncurbed neighbors. Stay tuned.

It’s My Park Day!

Hey Neighbors! Mark your calenders for It’s My Park Day, this coming Saturday March 2 from 9:00 am till 12:00 pm.

Time to sign up for It’s My Park Day and get your FREE IMPD T-shirt on Saturday March 2, 2013. This year we will be cleaning up trash and debris and raking the trail. If time permits we’ll repair the fence as well.

Additionally, We will be removing and covering the graffiti that had marred our park lately.

Go to this link and signup.

To receive a FREE T-shirt you must signup online.

See you Saturday in OUR PARK on Del Curto!