RNA Meeting Minutes – 2012 April

Monday April 30, 2012
7:45 Yarborough Library

 Recycled Reads

Ruth Jiu gave a presentation on Recycled Reads, which sells books that have been donated by the public and libraries. Books sell for $1, $2; children’s books start at 25¢. They send books to Goodwill that they can’t use. Have limited hours due to small staff. Help the city to meet its zero waste goal by recycling books. Visit website for upcoming events such as puppet shows and parenting classes.

5335 Burnet Road. Also sell collectible books, audio/visuals, vinyl, no magazines. All proceeds go back to the library. www.recycledreads.org

Park Mitigation Funds update.

Sunitha reported on the Brainstorming meeting to gather input on the use for the funds. Meeting was successful with lots of input gathered. There were approximately 30 attendees. Feedback from the brainstorming session will be compiled with feedback received as a result of responses to earlier emails soliciting input on park improvements.

Most of the feedback from emails has been from Rosedale. Brykerwoods, Heritage, and Ridgelea neighborhoods had input. have also provided some input.

Water feature, more shade, updates to the pool were among the suggestions. Vicki is obtaining cost estimates for canvas shading options throughout the various regions of the park.

Meeting this Thursday with Brian Wilson, who will help design a schematic.

Master plan: Depicts vision of our overall goals. The mayor and city council said they don’t want to see major investments in parks unless there is a master plan. Since we are the “guinea pigs” for this project, we may go before City Council with our master plan for our use of these funds.

Will be meeting with City Project Manager, John Wepryck, and others from PARD in the next couple of weeks on how to best leverage our resources and to ensure park is restored to pre-construction condition. Restoration efforts and associated costs do not come out of the mitigation funds total.

 Bond money

Jeff reported that the city is looking at a bond proposal. The city can use available bond money without raising the tax rate. Thursday the city is accepting input from neighborhoods for the need to maintain facilities in our parks.  Jeff asked for the NA’s permission to go to speak in favor of maintenance of facilities in the park.  Motion was made, seconded and approved.

Drainage project

Kim brought to our attention that streets must be returned to their pre-construction state. Many improvements that were promised have not yet been made.

Nicole volunteered to start a punch list of items that should be attended to before the city finishes the drainage project.


Chris reported that Innu Salon, which recently closed, plans to lease the space to a restaurant. A local restaurateur wants to open a French style restaurant. Michael Hsu went to the city and obtained a site plan exemption, which will allow them to put in a restaurant with insufficient parking. They are proposing a 2500 sq ft restaurant which would require 21 parking spaces, the actually lot has 14 spaces.  The process is being questioned in order to prevent a building permit from being issued. RPP was presented as a possible remedy. Chris noted the importance of quick action.

4113 Marathon: Physical Fitness/Therapy has also obtained a site plan exemption.

 Short Term Rentals

Karen reports that the city has done an audit of STRs and will address their regulation soon. The RNA must decide on a position.

Current land development prohibits STRs but there is no enforcement. It defines STR as residential use of a non-transient nature (10 days or less). It was written to eliminate boarding houses, or renting out one of your bedrooms. The STR phenomenon is a recent development that has evolved into a commercial use of residential property. The City is trying to come to terms with ways to define use and legal language in the development code that could legalize it with certain restrictions.  Currently homeowners can rent their homes out for 30 days or more. There is a concern that too much regulation will drive the process underground.

There are three proposals:

 Austin Neighborhood Council: STRs are commercial ventures, which have no place in residential neighborhoods. Allows a Homestead exemption; homeowner can rent their primary residence 60 days or less per year.

HomeAway: Minimal restriction. Provide contact information to neighbors – legalize it, no differentiation between STR and regular rental. Registration, pay a bed tax.

Planning commission: Falls in between. Register, must have a local contact, pay bed tax, there could only be one house every 1000 feet.

There are 1500 STRs currently in the city.  There are not many in 78756 (that we are aware of).  Huge concentrations in 78704.

Several homeowners spoke in favor of having them.

A motion was made to get a sense of what the attendees of this meeting would favor, by show of hands:

ANC proposal:  Large majority

HomeAway proposal:  2

Planning Commission: 0

A motion to endorse the current ANC proposal was made, seconded and passed.

Two opposed.

Commercial use of the park.  Sandy plans to have a petition circulated about whether to allow exercise groups in the park.

The next RNA Steering committee meeting will be held onTues May 22 due to the Memorial Day holiday.