The minutes for the RNA meeting on September 26th have been posted, read them here. September’s Rosedale Neighborhood Association meeting covered Bike Austin, the RNA Nomination Committee, the Zoning Committee Report, an update on the Grove at Shoal Creek Development. Note that the RNA website maintains minutes for most RNA meetings from the past few years.
In anticipation of the PUD for The Grove at Shoal Creek going before Austin City Council on September 22nd, the Rosedale Neighborhood Association strongly urges all Rosedale neighbors (and others) to consider signing the petition (copy below) to help preserve the quality of life in Rosedale and surrounding neighborhoods, and to have The Grove at Shoal Creek developed in a manner appropriate to the site.
Please follow this link: http://tiny.cc/nogrovepud and submit the petition. Also, consider contacting your neighbors to encourage them to do so, as well.
We have worked to welcome reasonable mixed-use development to the parcel of land at 45th St. and Bull Creek Road since 2012, but developer Milestone/ARG wants greater entitlement on the land that the site can support.
We ask that the City Council work on our behalf to scale back the project to reduce impacts on traffic and flooding and to create an opportunity for more quality park space and affordable housing. We support the efforts of the Bull Creek Road Coalition and its member neighborhoods in trying to bring Common Sense to this approval process. We ask that you address the following concerns in hope that we can arrive at a Win-Win outcome for this PUD:
- We support a reduction in the number of homes priced at over one million dollars and a greater emphasis on Affordable and “Missing Middle” housing on the site. Milestone promised 180 units of Affordable Housing for nearly a year, but has fallen back to just 87 units, according to the latest City staff estimate.
- We support a 50,000 s.f. reduction in the Retail use from the 150,000 s.f. proposed to diminish Regional traffic demand and support walkability.
- We support a 100,000 s.f. reduction in the Office use from the 215,000 s.f. proposed to diminish Regional traffic demand and support walkability.
- We support Superior on-site stormwater detention for the project to ensure that no new stormwater will be discharged into Shoal Creek, rather than “fee in lieu.”
- We support a 4 acre increase in usable Park space to accommodate the large number of people who will live on the site and the parks-deficient neighborhoods that surround it.
- We support a requirement for on-street bicycle lanes on Bull Creek Rd., extending through the intersection of 45th/Bull Creek, rather than the dangerous “multi-use” trail proposed.
- We support a 7,500 s.f. reduction in Cocktail Lounge use from the 15,000 s.f. proposed, along with a noise mitigation plan to ensure that the bars are compatible with the neighborhood context.
- We do not support any use of 2627 w. 45th St. (aka “The Road House”) as a street or entrance to the PUD.
- We support construction of a pedestrian/bike bridge over Shoal Creek, connecting to the Shoal Creek hike/bike trail, fully funded by the developer, rather than the taxpayer-subsidized bridge proposed.
- We support a “belt and suspenders” approach to flood prevention along the Idlewild Rd. portion of the site, preferably via a “Greenway” that creates better park access and an opportunity for flood prevention.
Thank you for your time and attention! Rosedale Neighborhood Association This petition will be delivered to: Austin City Council
Good morning, neighbors!
I’ll start with an apology: you’re going to get a lot of Grove emails this week. In spite of the fact that there are massive gaps in the information required to make an informed decision on the biggest zoning case in Central Austin history, City Council looks like it’s bowing to the relentless pressure from Milestone/Topfer to hear this case on Thursday. It’s going to be a busy week, and we’re going to need a ton of help from you.
As you’ve heard, the hearing on Valid Petition rights for the neighbors within 200′ of the site didn’t produce a verdict this week. The judge will come back to the case AFTER the City Council has voted to determine if they violated the rights granted to the plaintiffs by State law. This gives the City Council an opportunity to get the City’s policy in line with State law now, so their vote won’t be overturned by Judge Meacham later.
Below, BCRC’s VP Grayson Cox spells out a lot of the details and explains very clearly why the City’s policy is in conflict with the State law. We know that in 2008, City Council adopted a unanimous resolution to sort out this problem, but City Staff failed to comply with the directive. We also know that in this case, City staff told us that Valid Petition would be in play as late as April 2015. Sources inside the review have confirmed that this was not just an error, there was a plan in place to resolve the conflict with State law, but apparently, pressure from Milestone on Management changed that. What been done to these neighbors in this case is absolutely disgraceful.
Take a moment to read Grayson’s legal wrap-up below, then take a minute to tap out an email to City Council today. We need to flood them with emails.
- Pick any topic- there’s an abundance of issues (Valid Petition rights, Bike Lanes, the “Road House”, Parks, Flooding, Affordable Housing, Traffic, Common Sense).
- Put it in your own words; they’ll get some robo-emails from the other side, but they just trash those.
- Be sure to tell them you’re from Rosedale!
- It doesn’t have to be long or eloquent, just let them know that we expect them to get this right and deliver a truly Superior PUD that’s a win-win for all.
(Council email addresses below)
W. 39 1/2 St.
Council emails: Steve.Adler@austintexas.gov, Ora.Houston@austintexas.gov, Delia.Garza@austintexas.gov, Sabino.Renteria@austintexas.gov, Greg.Casar@austintexas.gov, Ann.Kitchen@austintexas.gov, Don.Zimmerman@austintexas.gov, Leslie.Pool@austintexas.gov, Ellen.Troxclair@austintexas.gov, Kathie.Tovo@austintexas.gov, Sheri.Gallo@austintexas.gov
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Grayson M Cox
Date: Sun, Aug 7, 2016 at 1:14 AM
Subject: Update on Valid Petition Lawsuit on The Grove PUD
Dear Mayor and Council,
You’ve likely heard by now that City staff decided to deny neighbors of The Grove PUD valid petition rights, and neighbors filed suit against to have the District Court determine if valid petition rights – as mandated by the Valid Petition Rights Statute of the Zoning Enabling Act – apply to The Grove’s zoning case.
Although both the City and neighbors wanted this issue settled prior to Council considering The Grove case, Judge Meachum of the 201st District Court decided that Council – you – must act first. Essentially, the judge wants you to decide if the valid petition filed in this case is valid and triggers a super-majority vote. And if you agree with Greg Guernsey’s opinion that the valid petition does not apply even though it meets all legal requirements, the case will be litigated and the judge will decide if that decision was in contravention of State law.
Since this initial decision to recognize the valid petition filed against The Grove PUD is yours, courtesy of the District Court, I wanted to explain why the valid petition DOES apply and Mr. Guernsey’s opinion is wrong:
The issue is simple: Can the City rewrite a State statute with an ordinance? The statute says valid petition rights apply whenever there are regulation changes. There are at least 27 regulation changes proposed by The Grove PUD application, not to mention the necessary amendment to the Land Development Code to create a PUD with its own special zoning. The city ordinance relied upon by Mr. Guernsey’s opinion ignores the statute language on regulation change and goes off on a different concept not in the Valid Petition Rights Statute.
The Texas Constitution says cities cannot do that, and when there is an “inconsistency” like this, the city ordinance is preempted and invalid. No court can avoid that and this issue was not addressed in the Appolo Development case also relied upon by Mr. Guernsey’s opinion.
None of the sound and fury of The Grove’s developer (or the City staff for that matter) can get around what the constitution says and what the courts say regarding the requirement of strict compliance with the Valid Petition Rights Statute. This is not an instance where the City has discretion in how it writes its ordinances, and the Judge made reference to this in her questions to The Grove’s attorney.
The simple solution for you, the City Council, is simply to say it will comply with the constitution and the superiority of the state statute and recognize valid petition rights and the super-majority voting requirement. If the City wants to preserve its ordinance, it should construe this case to be “rezoning” as it did with the 1994 rezoning case of a portion of this same former State tract, and/or because PUD’s always require a rezoning amendment changing the zoning from the base district regulations (Exhibit O of the Staff Report) to the PUD regulations under the City Code.
Another obvious factor in this case is the inclusion of the 2627 45th Street lot in The Grove PUD and how that changes the boundaries of the neighboring SF-2 zoning district – a classic example of “rezoning” under the City Code. None of the silly denials by The Grove’s developer can change the reality, confirmed by the City staff documents, that the 45th Street lot will be part of the PUD “site” and “infrastructure” (as opposed to off-site) and “integral to the viability” of the proposed development, with uses completely alien to its current SF-2 zoning – uses Mr. Guernsey admitted in his deposition would not be allowed without a zoning change. Boundary change is the other ground, in addition to regulation change, for valid petition rights under the State statute.
What’s the bottom line? City staff, at the behest of The Grove’s developer, changed their minds early last year and decided to interpret the Land Development Code in a way that contradicts State law and creates an illegal loophole to deny neighbors their valid petition rights. Neighbors filed a valid petition against The Grove anyways, and City staff verified that the petition meets all the applicable requirements to be valid, but denied it nonetheless.
If Council does not correct this injustice and comply with State law when you consider and vote on The Grove PUD, neighbors are confident that a District Court will determine that the valid petition is indeed valid and will invalidate Council’s vote.
How can we avoid this mess altogether? Council should indicate its support for BCRC’s beneficial amendments to The Grove PUD http://www.bcrcatx.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/BCRC-Amended-Grove-PUD-Summary-for-ZAP1.pdf and that its approval relies on the developer’s agreement to these amendments. (I suspect you might be surprised how quickly The Grove’s developer gets on board.)
These amendments increase residential and affordable housing, decrease traffic, and ensure truly superior community benefits in exchange for an unprecedented amount of development entitlements (1 million square feet over the staff’s baseline). With approval of the BCRC’s proposed amendments to The Grove PUD, all six surrounding neighborhoods and the BCRC will drop their opposition to the case and the valid petition issue will be moot.
There’s a free and clear off-ramp to this traffic jam, and it’s the approval of the BCRC’s amendments to The Grove PUD. Please do the right thing, and thankfully in this case, the right thing is also the way to avoid a legal snarl that would likely invalidate a city ordinance.
Lastly, I understand this is a LOT of information to digest, and you all have a ton on your plate right now. I’ll be happy to answer any questions from you or your staff, and many would support a postponement of The Grove so these and other many issues can be better understood.
Thank you for everything you all do for our city!
2621 W 45th
After a thoughtful conversation with our members and the RNA steering committee at the meeting Monday night, it was decided to have a scaled-down version of the July 4th festivities at Ramsey Park, since so many people will be going out of town for the 3-day weekend. It takes a about 70 volunteers to run the parade and carnival, and as of Monday, we only had 24 signed up. This is not the kind of event that can easily be pulled together at the last minute. So we will not be having the carnival and drinks/bake sale, but we will still be having these fun events:
- 9:30 — Gather at the bleachers to decorate hats, bikes and strollers
- 10 — Parade around Ramsey Park
- 10:15 — Enjoy sliced watermelon with your neighbors
- 10:30 — Water balloon toss
If anyone wants to set up some free activities on their own, that would be great! The Ramsey Park carnival has been the fundraiser for Ramsey Park for many years; thanks to the hard work of Alison Alter and the Ramsey Park Renovation committee, we are not solely dependent on the carnival’s resources to help us finish the renovation projects. We are looking forward to having the carnival again next year, and are hoping more people will be able to volunteer. Thanks and see you on the 4th!
The Rosedale Neighborhood Association will hold its regular monthly meeting on all things Rosedale on Monday evening, May 23, 2016, at 6:45 pm at the Yarborough Library on Hancock.
This month’s agenda will include:
- A presentation by representatives of Bike Austin regarding efforts to work with the City of Austin to fund Austin’s Bicycle Master Plan and high-priority sidewalks in the Sidewalk Master Plan
- A report from our representatives to the BCRC regarding the current status of the Grove, including consideration of RNA action regarding upcoming city Parks Board review of the Grove park proposals and a discussion of the zoning lawsuit brought by neighbors of the proposed development
- An update on Ramsey Park as we wind down the park redevelopment project, including a status report on the inscribed paver walk
- Planning discussions for the 4th of July activities for this year, including the need for volunteers to help us old hands plan and oversee the carnival
- An update on noise from local A/C sources and efforts to alleviate some of the worst offenders around Rosedale
You are welcome to bring up anything else of interest to the neighborhood and to participate in the discussion.
Hope to see you there!
The minutes for the Rosedale Neighborhood Association meeting on March 28th have been posted. Read the minutes here. Note that the RNA website maintains minutes for most RNA meetings from the past few years.
It’s My Park Day is always held the first Saturday of March. Each year, thousands of volunteers work to improve parks and greenbelts throughout the city.
In 2015, they had nearly 100 projects city-wide, 3,000 volunteers, and 10,000 hours of volunteer labor. That’s equivalent to 5 park maintenance employees working full-time for a whole year! All told, including labor, this one day represented an investment of over a quarter of a million dollars for Austin’s parks.
After a well-deserved break for the holidays, the Rosedale Neighborhood Association steering committee will resume its regular monthly meetings on all things Rosedale on Monday evening, January 25, 2016, at 6:45 pm at the Yarborough Library on Hancock.
This month we will update the neighborhood on a number of important issues and ongoing concerns, including:
- The latest developments regarding The Grove
- The proposed PUD code amendment (regarding city approval of the initial development of unzoned land such as the Bull Creek Road tract)
- The Parkland Dedication Ordinance under consideration by the city council
- The city’s regulation of short term rentals (STRs)
We are also happy to discuss anything else you are interested in bringing up… there’s always something!
Please attend if you want to be in the know or participate in the discussion. Hope to see you there!
Have you been by Ramsey Pool after hours or early in the morning lately and noticed the twin jets of water spraying out over the pool and landing with the relaxing sound of Angel Falls? No, that’s not the city’s attempt to mask the irritating noise from nearby dumpsters and industrial air handlers. Those fountains are formed by the newly installed aerator donated by the Rosedale Neighborhood Association to the City of Austin and designed to cool the pool in the heat of summer. And thanks to the laws of physics, it works! The formerly tepid soup-temperature water of Ramsey Pool in mid-August has been transformed into a refreshing dip that reminds one of a swimming hole in a shady grotto on the Barton Springs greenbelt. By sending the water into the air overnight, the aerator allows the heat accumulating in the pool by day to dissipate into the cooler night air. The result: water temperatures that are at least 5 degrees cooler. Come try it out before Ramsey Pool closes for the season (gasp) next Sunday, August 23.
The Ramsey Pool aerator was conceived and assembled by Jeff Archer, with plumbing help from Matt Stamm of Cougar Irrigation. The device and related electric work were paid for with 4th of July carnival revenue and Ramsey Park Project contributions. The RNA donated the device to the city and the pool engineers completed the project.
Looking for the perfect opportunity to test the waters for your own self? Don’t miss the RNA’s annual End-of-Summer Pool Party Saturday evening, 6–8 pm, on August 22. Food, drink, tunes, and cooler than ever thanks to our new aerator!
According to a post on the Rosedale Yahoo Group, Gina and Chris Allen, on behalf of the Rosedale Neighborhood Association, met in July with Mark Smith, director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
The purpose of the meeting was to talk about the fence being proposed for the state library in Rosedale. Much of the fence was to be parallel to the sidewalk along a very long section of Shoal Creek Boulevard . (The library is the big building in Rosedale on the west side of Shoal Creek Boulevard between the street and Shoal Creek itself, a bit south of 45th Street.) The meeting resulted in a different, much more neighborhood-friendly design.
Here’s Chris’ summary from the post:
“We learned a lot about what the facility does and their changing needs, particularly regarding security. Due to changes in State and Federal privacy/security rules, they need a fence to secure the facility ASAP, but Mark gave us his sketch for a much more neighborhood-friendly solution that should make the fence a win-win situation. (see attached, with the revised fence line highlighted). We think it’s a very reasonable alternative to fencing off the whole property at the street.”