December 9th, 2014 Meeting Notes

I’m going to start writing up our public meeting notes, in case anyone (particularly me) needs to refer to them at some point.

December 9th, 2014 Meeting Notes – Gateway Baptist church

  • Charlotte P is unfortunately leaving Austin, and will be sorely missed. If she had stayed in Austin, I think she might end up running for Mayor at some point, and would easily win. We’re now looking for a new VP to join the HNA. The job involves attending 4 private meetings per year, keeping an eye and ear on neighborhood issues, staying on top of emails, and managing your block captains. More on block captains later. Having an interest in the ongoing things in the neighborhood is definitely a plus. In return you’ll get free beer, learn your way around city hall and how to effect policy change, and meet a lot of very interesting people.
  • A public vote was taken on removing Crestview developments from the area the HNA covers. This area was incorporated into the HNA a few years ago out of concerns for the people who would eventually live there, but this proved to be un-necessary. The vote passed unanimously, so starting on 2015, the HNA boundaries will match those of the neighborhood.
  • Update on The Linc (the old Lincoln center) – they have signed a major tenant, Easy Tiger, a bakery and beer garden(!). The Linc management hopes that this major tenant will convince other local, smaller businesses to make the leap to Highland. The Linc’s sign issues with the City are also progressing well. During a recent Sign Board meeting, the board approved of 7 out of 9 requested signage variances. The Linc is appealing the last two exemptions on 12/11 in a City Council hearing. HAN has fully supported the Linc’s requests to get signs – their point boils down to the fact that no one knows where the Linc is, and their signs need to be visible from I-35. Being hidden in the shadow if I-35 is the main reason the Lincoln center fell out of use when the highway was built. These signs should remedy the situation, and the recent number of businesses signing on supports that line of thinking.
  • A few days ago, a Loan and Title business on Lamar was denied it’s permit when it came up for review. They appealed, but lost the appeal as well. The reason for the denial was the fact the Highland’s section of Lamar now falls into a Transport Oriented Designation (TOD) zoning area, which does not allow alternative financial businesses. As the other title and loan businesses in our neighborhood come up for review, we can expect this trend to continue. In a year or so, they should have all moved on.
  • Block Captains – The HNA publishes a quarterly newsletter, which is needed to reach out to the large amount of neighbors who don’t have regular internet access. These newsletters still require old fashioned delivery by hand, and that requires volunteers. We are always looking for more volunteers in Highland. If you can walk your street 4 times a year, you’re qualified. As a block captain, you decide what area you’re volunteering for. Whether it’s your street, or a bunch of streets, is up to you – any help is greatly appreciated. Contact myself or your area VP – our details are all right here.
  • Marla S updated us on Highland Neighborhood Park matters. Charlotte and Marla managed to squeeze blood from a stone, and secured roughly $100,000 ($80k lump sum and $17k annual maintenance). It’s not much, but it’s a start, and means we can keep working on the first stage of park design without having to wait for funding. Don’t quote me on these figures, I don’t have the details in front of me.
  • Officer Steve Gordon reminded everyone to keep safe over Christmas, lock your cars and homes, and as always, keep an eye on your neighbors properties.

Apart from that: please get out and vote before the 16th. I don’t mind who for, but vote. Our historically low voter turnout has hurt this neighborhood in City Council matters in the past, as the squeaky wheel gets the grease – and it appears Highland doesn’t squeak much. The new 10-1 should help fix that, but if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain 🙂

xmastree

Thanks to S.B. for the Christmas tree pic
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