NACN – Reminders!
16 January 2012 - 17:12, by , in Neighborly Activities, No comments

    North Austin Coalition of Neighborhoods
Jan 16th, 2012
We usually try to keep these reminders short, but there is a lot of stuff going on in North Austin this week! 

The next North Austin Meeting is January 18th, 6:30-8:00pm
Location: Pok-E-Joe’s – Parmer/Lamplight Village (2121 Parmer Ln)

 

We will have a special guest speaker from the Homeless Association to talk to us about how

we can better address homeless issues in North Austin. This is an open meeting and we hope everybody can be there! We will also be discussing the Walnut Creek Crossing development being proposed by Realtex (see the article below) and the Candidates Forum in April.

 

Which is a good time to remind you to please take the survey! We will be asking the mayor, his opponent(s), and those running for City Council to come to North Austin and address our issues in April.

 

Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey so we can ensure this forum meets your needs:

 

http://www.lovenorthaustin.com/please-take-our-survey.html

 

Also, have you been keeping an eye on our new website? Because we have been posting links to articles about the candidates running for Austin, and putting them under one tag so you can find these articles easily:

http://www.lovenorthaustin.com/1/category/voting/1.html

 

Very Important Open House – January 19th

 

The City of Austin team that has been putting together a plan for changes to Lamar and  Burnet, and will present their initial findings and proposals at an open house on Thursday, January 19, 10 AM to 7 PM, at Crestview United Methodist Church (1300 Morrow St, in the Fellowship Hall.)

The study results will be used to define short-, medium- and long-term projects.  The short-term projects may be included in an upcoming bond package.  Team members have warned that not everything can be top priority, but there was strong neighborhood feedback last year to fill in sidewalk gaps along Burnet and on the first block of streets leading to Burnet.

 

Other Important Meetings!

 

*Constable Ballesteros will be having a fund raiser on January 19th as well, at Falcon Pointe, in Pfluggerville. For more info, you can send an email to: Linda Bertram,[email protected]

 

*January 19th is also the next City charter meeting, and it is occuring in North Austin.
Thursday, Jan. 19th, Charter Revision Committee meeting in North Austin at 6:30 pm at Lord’s Church of Austin, 301 W. Anderson Lane.  The focus will be on an independent redistricting commission to draw the lines for geographic districts

 

Undecided?

 

North Austin’s Stance is here:

 

http://www.lovenorthaustin.com/petition—single-member-district.html

 

And Austin Bulldog has done a balanced piece of the pros and cons here:

 

http://www.lovenorthaustin.com/1/post/2012/01/austin-bulldog-article-on-the-voting-district-debate.html

 

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Here is our current stance  on the Realtex proposal to develop low-income housing at Walnut Crossing.

 

North Austin neighborhood leaders have been approached by Realtex Development Corporation with a proposal to locate low-income housing in the Walnut Creek area.   We need to examine this proposal carefully and ask some questions of Realtex before deciding if we want to support or oppose this development.

 

First, the proposal (see letter from Realtex below):

 

To whom it may concern, Cedar Hills, Ltd., an affiliate of Realtex Development Corporation is making an application for Housing Tax Credits with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for the Cedar Hills Apartments, located at 12200* Walnut Park Crossing, Austin, Travis County. This proposed new construction development will be an apartment community comprised of approximately 184 units of which 100% will be for low-income tenants. There will be a public hearing to receive public comment on the proposed development. Information regarding the date, time, and location of that hearing will be disseminated at least 30 days prior to the hearing date.

 

Sincerely, Rick J. Deyoe
Authorized Representative of Cedar Hills, Ltd.
1101 S. Capital of Texas Highway, Suite F-200
Austin, TX 78746
Phone: 512-306-9206
Fax: 512-306-9010
[email protected]

 

 

* We believe this to a be a typo: it should be 12220 Walnut Crossing:

 

google map:

 

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=30.394551,-97.677582&spn=0.003344,0.005262&t=h&z=18&vpsrc=6&layer=t&lci=com.panoramio.all

 

At first, this sounds fairly reasonable. Austin desperately need more housing for low-income, and this seems like one step in the right direction. However, we can also see some possible red flags, ones that need to be addressed now.

 

1. When Realtex says low income, what will the income critieria be? There is a difference between Section 8 low income and what is considered low income for a family of 4 in Austin (about $40,000/year). We need an explanation of what exactly they mean.

 

2.There is another property in Austin built by this company we have looked at: Riverside Meadows

on Montopolis Drive. It appears to be a nice development, but there is a question as to whether or

not these apartments have a Energy Star rating. Considering that utility costs can be a problem for low-income families and the newly proposed rate increases from Austin Energy, we would like Realtex to discuss how energy efficient they intend to make this new development, and if they are willing to go beyond current regulations/code to ensure lower utility costs for these families.

 

3. Flooding/Drainage. The property lies in the 100 year flood plain and is zoned for multi-family.

This means the property will have to be developed with the current zoning regulations for flood areas. Historically, developing these pieces of property in North Austin has proved very costly, because

the City of Austin has chosen not to put the infrastructure into our area to handle flood plain issues.

 

In the past, we’ve had problems with developers trying to do a switch and bait. They propose a development in an area they know is lacking the infrastructure needed, then they try to secretly con

the City into forking out our tax money and making the upgrades so they can skip having to pay the additional expense. We would like Realtex to openly address this issue, and tell us how they intend

to raise/pay for these upgrades.

 

4.The area is not easily accessible for people who have transportation issues. Residents who

already live in the Walnut Crossing area are facing issues with lack of bus access and lack of sidewalks. We would like to know how Realtex is going to address the transportation and

pedestrian needs of the residents of this location. We would also like to see Realtex offer to have onsite daycare – again, this would not only help these families, but would also alleviate some of the transportation issues with this location.

 

5. What school district will these children go to? North Austin’s AISD schools are over capacity. We could quote numbers, but we will let AISD speak for itself:

 

See slide no 10 in the link below:

 

http://alt.coxnewsweb.com/shared-blogs/austin/education/upload/2011/10/austin_school_district_officia_1/Northcentral.pdf

 

and what they’ve said on their website:

 

http://www.austinisd.org/fmp/facilities-recommendations/north-central-overcrowding

 

There is also a news article on the overcrowding here:

 

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/education/new-scenarios-for-n-austin-overcrowding

It boils down to the fact that we have 2600 extra kids in North Austin, and we currently

 

need two more new elementary schools just to catch up. Considering the location, we would like to suggest two solutions:

 

One, have the children sent to Pfluggerville ISD, which has more capacity to handle these extra children, or two, have Realtex be willing to either fund, or find the funds, for a family resource center (like the one at Dobie) at the AISD elementary school(s) that will absorb these additional children.

 

As you can see, we have NOT said we are opposed to this development. There are definitely some things, though, that need to be addressed before we can accept this development as a workable solution for both families in need and for our community.

 

North Austin believes that sustainabilty should never be just be another buzz word for our city. We have an obligation as citizens to start insisting that developers, using federal and state monies, actually take the extra steps necessary to make sure that low-income housing is a long-term solution that fits both the needs of their residents and the community.

 

Or to do the math:

 

Solutions+Community Involvement+Caring Citizens=Sustainabilty

 

Quail Hollow  – Walnut Creek – Winsdor Hills –North Star – Gracywoods
North Creek/Georgian Acres – North Park Estates – Mockingbird Hill –  North Austin Civic Association

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