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!
UPDATE 10/6/2015 – Recent proposals by COA Watershed Protection Department to address flooding and drainage issues were presented at a public meeting on September 3, 2015. See details in this post: Del Curto Storm Drain Improvements – West Bouldin Watershed
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!
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.