Seasons Greetings!

We would like to wish everyone in South Lamar NA a very Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! We hope you enjoy this holiday season with your family and friends, and of course, your neighbors. We are glad you are here.

There is a whole host of holiday happenings going on in Austin. You can find out about them by visiting the Austin Christmas Guide website. Enjoy!

And of course, don’t miss our SLNA Holiday Party! Happening tomorrow night, Thursday, December 13 at 7PM at the Faith United Methodist Church on South Lamar. Join us for some food, some caroling, and fun. Bring a dish if you like, it’s a pot luck of sorts.

2013 will be a year of unbelievable change for us. By the end of 2013 we probably won’t recognize much of our neighborhood! We look forward to working together with you through these changes towards ensuring the best future possible for all of us – both the current residents and the new.

Happy Holidays and have a very Happy New Year!

‘Smart Growth’ or Debacle?

We are on the brink of incredible change in SLNA, and our once pastoral, quiet, little neighborhood is quickly being transformed. Transformed into what? We don’t yet know. On the one hand is the ideal of “Smart Growth”: compact, walkable urban areas of sustainable housing and open space where community is nurtured in concert with the existing neighborhood. On the other hand is development run roughshod, where every available square inch is paved over to maximize density and profit. In SLNA, the ball is rolling, but we don’t know in what direction. Whether we end up looking like an urban planner’s glossy flyer, or simply a bunch of condos and houses all crammed in together is yet to be seen. A few rain barrels does not “Smart Growth” make.

In SLNA we sit squarely in the “Desired Development Zone”: This yellow area on the map is the urban core that the city of Austin has designated for major growth. You have already seen the large number of development projects starting up on South Lamar. This development is not stopping at our neighborhood boundaries!

We have already seen one neighbor on Del Curto sustain substantial flood damage due to new development. The flood cleanup alone cost over $15,000 out-of-pocket, and the situation is not yet resolved. How this legal entanglement will unfold is not clear. The flood potential at the site still exists, leaving the homeowner in limbo.

On Del Curto alone, there are 7 large properties where development is either taking place or soon could be. How will this affect our neighborhood? What infrastructure improvements need to be made to sustain the cumulative impact of all of these developments? How will this affect flooding along Del Curto and Cinnamon Path? Will you be building a sandbag wall? How will this affect traffic and other issues of public safety?

If you’d like to hear more about the current developments being planned in our neighborhood, meet your neighbors and share your opinions, please join us for our neighborhood meeting tomorrow night, Thursday, June 21 at 7PM. The meeting is taking place at the Faith United Methodist Church at 2701 South Lamar Blvd. We will be in classroom Alpha-2.

We hope to see you there!

Summer is Here!

And unfortunately that means more break-ins in SLNA are likely to occur. We’ve already had reports from a few neighbors about cars and homes being broken into, and of suspicious ‘security alarm salesmen’ going door-to-door. This is a good time to remind everyone to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. If you see something in progress, please call 911. If you feel something is amiss but don’t feel it is of an emergency nature, then call 311 to report it. In either case, let your neighbors know.

This is a good time to get on the South Lamar Yahoo group email list to share and get updates on this type of information. Visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SouthLamarNA/ for more information.

Austin Police Department provides a Crime Viewer utility where you can see what crimes have occurred in your area. Find that site here: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/GIS/crimeviewer/CrimeViewer_disclaimer.html.

Another useful sight is Jack Darby’s Krimelabb. Many of you remember Jack from our April 2012 SLNA meeting where he talked to us about the valuable services that Krimelabb provides. Visit Krimelabb here: http://www.krimelabb.com, and get up-to-date Krimelabb tweets at: https://twitter.com/#!/krimelabb. Krimelabb just tweeted some interesting news and also posted a security alert about these ‘salesmen’.

Remember to lock your doors and windows, and keep valuables out of sight!

It was OUR Park Day!

Last Saturday, March 3rd was “It’s my Park Day” sponsored by the Austin Parks Foundation and many corporate donors. A group of us met at our park on Del Curto Road — no it doesn’t have a name yet — under the leadership of Bruce Evans. Our charge was to remove the debris and undesirable plants from the creek bed — to keep the water smooth flowing. We were introduced to the tool called a “weed wrench” — what great little device to pull out really big ‘weeds’. Even a one inch diameter ligustrum couldn’t resist.

It was a beautiful day and much brush was piled up for subsequent pick-up by the city. Plus the participants got great looking t-shirts and yummy snacks.

Meanwhile — what is happening with the plans for improving the park with equipment and amenities? Well we hear from the PARD Landscape Architect assigned to our park that there will be a formal update submittal for the Del Curto Park site plan Thursday 3/8. That will be followed by another 14 day review. Then we can get it on the agenda of the Planning Commission for approval. SO slowly, slowly wending our way through the system. We’ll get a real park yet!

Change is Afoot in 2012

Yes, change is afoot in SLNA. It’d be pretty hard to miss the construction now taking place in the 2600 block of Del Curto, as development is in high gear on the Milestone homes being built there.  It also appears that Sola City Homes are ramping up the next phase of their project next door.

Development along Del Curto

These are only two of a number of locations in our neighborhood where significant developments are being planned, including the corner of Del Curto/Lightsey, and on Clawson.

What will these developments look like? How will they impact our neighborhood? We will be discussing these issues at our next SLNA meeting taking place on Thursday, January 19th, 7PM at the Eco School on Manchaca. Please join us to learn more about what is being planned, and share your thoughts about the future of our neighborhood. There are a number of items on the meeting agenda that you won’t want to miss. We hope to see you there!

Road Beautification Projects

Jennifer Hoskins has been instrumental in launching beautification and traffic calming projects in two key locations in SLNA. The first one is a traffic calming device at the cul-de-sac on Dolphin Drive. This location is famous for drivers executing ‘flying turn-arounds’ which endanger those who live, walk, and play along that area. The second is a beautification of the reflector field at the intersection at Lightsey and Clawson. The stop sign at this location has been run over literally countless times, and now, while the stop sign remains safe, the unsightly reflectors surrounding it fall victim to drivers on a regular basis.

Jennifer has requested the city partner with the SLNA to help with these two projects through the “Neighborhood Partnering Program”. The city has made two trips out to both sites and has decided they are both feasible projects and have invited us to apply.

Jennifer reports that she has received the first round of schematic design drawings. There were two requests from the November SLNA meeting regarding the project at Clawson/Lightsey: consider adding a curb at the residence to prevent possible encroachment into the lawn, and to create a more pedestrian friendly concept. Jennifer passed the comments back to our COA contact Sara Krause and she is currently awaiting her response.

After the plans are approved we can move forward with the official application. Our neighborhood will be responsible for a portion of the project that can be paid back in dollars or sweat equity. There may even be opportunities to use sweat equity from the park in the future to transfer over.

Thank you very much Jennifer for all of your efforts! We look forward to hearing the response from the city.

View the schematic for both projects here:

C-CLAWSON-DOLPHINE-SCHEMATIC PLAN

 

Neighborhood Crime

As recently reported by the Austin American-Statesman, the Barton Hills area has seen a decrease in crime activity in their neighborhood due, in part, to their increased vigilance and neighborhood watch program. We, in SLNA, have seen an increase in crime in recent years, and were greatly alarmed by the home invasion  that occurred on Waterloo Trail over the Halloween weekend. Officer Robert Barboza, our APD District Representative, attended our last neighborhood meeting on November 17, and relayed information about this incident to us. Above all, Officer Barboza encourages us to be vigilant and to call 911 whenever we observe suspicious activity requiring an immediate response, or to call 311 with other concerns. We have been talking with the Zilker neighborhood about their neighborhood watch activities and are considering what we can do within SLNA to be a noticeable force against crime. If you’d like to get involved, please contact us.

Park on Del Curto — update!

The final site plan for our new neighborhood park located at the old Unity Church site on Del Curto will be presented to the City of Austin Site Plan Review Staff the week of November 14th. The review staff will likely take about 28 days to assemble their comments, then a back and forth with the Parks Department until the issues are resolved. To review the site plans, click here (photo #1), here (photo #2), and here (photo #3),