Rosedale Neighborhood Assn Meeting
July 2012 minutes
Enjole Armstrong and Gilbert Hernandez with the Parks and Recreation
Dept. came to talk about the commercial use of Ramsey Park.
The Commercial Use of Parks program was formed after the Parks and
Recreation Dept. (PARD) received complaints about folks increasingly
using public parks for private gain. That’s not allowed, and people
complained about wear and tear on the parks and impacting use for others,
etc. PARD first decided to treat all commercial groups as they had in the
past, charging about $500 per use. This, of course, caused an uproar
among the groups wanting to use the parks. PARD understands the value of
fitness and so created a task force of 10 – 15 people and they came up
with a compromise: register commercial groups who want to use the park
and charge them a use fee. All groups had to register for 6 months from
Jan. – June, pay a $50 fee and then pay .45 per day per client. PARD
issued badges to each commercial group with their name, date of permit,
and approved location (park). They permitted 56 trainers from Jan – June
for a gross fee of $7,728. Unfortunately, that fee is going to the
general fund, not the Parks maintenance fund. (The Parks dept. is trying
to change that but not sure if they’ll have any luck.) PARD says they
are not in it for the money.
The task force assembled a list of parks that would allow permitting and
were about to go to City Council when a number of fitness groups came
forward and requested that other parks, such as Ramsey, be added. Gilbert
Hernandez said PARD did not canvass us, the residents, before adding
Ramsey Park to the list. (RP is one of the one of the few neighborhood
parks and one of the smallest parks on the list.) He said out of the 50
or so parks permitted, that only 2 have had significant concerns: Ramsey
Park and Mt. Bonnell. He said commercial use at Ramsey Park is obviously
an issue and they are willing to make adjustments. They are now
considering trying to develop a quantitative process. He said they can
put restrictions on 2 concerns: size of the groups permitted and the time
the groups exercise (such as prohibiting early morning) out of
consideration of the neighbors. He said very few parks are surrounded by
houses like RP. He said they would like to use RP as a model going
forward for a review and approval process but wouldn’t recommend just
wholesale taking it off the list at this time.
Only two groups were registered for Ramsey Park; neither group has
renewed its registration for Ramsey Park for July – Dec. In fact, as of
July 1, only 26 groups have registered for the six-month period
city-wide. If you have concerns or see groups using the parks without a
permit, please call 311 and call Enjole Armstrong at 974-6718. Enjole has
made a couple of visits out to the park for groups that have no permits.
The groups should never be exercising on the basketball or tennis courts,
no running groups are allowed, and they should always be able to produce
Alyssa May with Austinites for Geographic Representation and attorney
Fred Lewis came to talk to the RNA about the two proposed single district
plans that will appear on the ballot in November. (Fred Lewis served on
the Charter Revision Commission 10 years ago, also.) They both strongly
favor for 10-1 plan, where city council members are elected from single
member districts and the mayor is elected at large. More than 33,000
citizens signed a petition to put this on the ballot in November
(anything over 30,000 automatically goes on the ballot). Right now,
everyone is elected at large. Austin is the largest city in the US to
have its CC members elected at large and not have geographic
representation. He said nearly all groups favor this: the Austin
Neighborhood Council (which have 10 geographic districts), NAACP, Tejano
party, Firefighters and APD, Republicans, etc. Right now, nearly all the
City Council live in Central Austin. Fred said that the City Council
doesn’t favor this because if it passes, some of them will not be able to
serve on CC because they’ll live in the same district. Some CC members
live less than a mile from each other.
The CC favor a hybrid plan, the 8-2-1, where 8 are single member
districts, 2 are elected at large, and the mayor is elected at large.
Only one group has endorsed this plan, the Real Estate Council of Austin.
He said then 8-2-1 districts would be drawn up by an advisory panel,
basically appointed by CC and the map will end up looking like a pizza
wedge, with CC members protecting their districts. According to Fred,
this model will in all likelihood disenfranchise East Austin. Fred said
that the 10-1 plan calls for an Independent Redistricting Commission
based on a California model with very strict guidelines about who is
allowed to serve: no political consultants, lobbyists for the last 5
years, and cannot run for City Council for the next 10 years. The 8-2-1
has no such restrictions.
For more information, google Austinites for Geographic Representation or
email email@example.com or call 358-0479.
Josh Wilson, manager of the Draught House, spoke next. The Draught House
owner Glenda Smith and resident dentist on the second floor is moving her
offices and the Draught House would like to expand to the second floor
primarily for parties. It would pretty much double the space of the bar,
which would require more bathrooms and more parking. The Draught House
has arranged to lease the parking lot of the business directly to the
south of them for more parking, but needs to go before the Board of
Adjustments for a variance. All nearby neighbors will be notified by the
city when they apply for a variance. There’s not a lot of windows in the
building, so noise should not be a big issue, according to Josh. They’ll
be asking neighbors to along with this. Chris Allen noted it might be a
good opportunity for the Lewis Lane neighbors to ask if the outside
seating be moved away from the fence bordering their backyards and
congregated on the south side of what is now the parking lot. Anyone with
questions may contact Josh at 468-7132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s time to think about nominating new officers for next year’s RNA
steering committee. Vicki Almstrum will serve as chair and Nicole Wayman,
Diane Mountain and Kim Mosley will serve on the committee.
National Night Out is set for Oct. 2nd. Opportunities for each street to
have a block party. Police will come out and talk about safety.
Applications are due soon – google National Night Out for more info.
Ramsey Park Master Plan – Sunitha Downing reported that the Ramsey Park
committee is waiting on the city to give us feedback on the master plan
that was submitted, just to see if the committee is on the right track.
Sunitha has contacted them several times to no avail. Melanie McLeroy is
contacting designers for the committee to talk to and Nicole is working
on a timeline.
2307 Hancock update: Chris said that construction has begun on the
restaurant. Nearby neighbors are protesting the liquor license with the
TABC. Date of hearing will be set and then the judge will take 30 – 60
days to decide on whether it should be granted a license.
Commercial Short Term Rental update: Right now the 2nd and probably 3rd
reading is set of Aug. 2nd, this Thursday. There are strong opinions on
both sides. Head counts may make a big difference, and certainly those
with a financial interest will be there in force. Wear red if you’re
against commercial short term rentals.
The July 4th carnival netted $1,327! The Rosedale Pool Party is scheduled
for Aug. 25th, the last Saturday before the pool closes. It will be
potluck, so bring goodies to share and come visit with your neighbors.