Minutes from Dec 08 HNA General Meeting, in the Theater room of the Marchesa, door open at 06:30pm, meeting began 07:04pm
For the December election of officers, Alex Schmitz motioned to re-elect all incumbents, no discussion from floor, motion passed with all members in favor, none against.
Councilman Greg Casar was our first speaker. Greg spoke about his ongoing work in District 4, which included:
- Ensuring enough law enforcement officers are available during festivals
- Fair housing items, including
- working against economic segregation
- ensuring the CodeNext process contains regulations regarding mixed housing
- Granny flats / Accessory Dwelling Unit regulations are fair and accessible to all home owners, including reducing minimum lot size, etc
- Development of the TxDOT owned land in Airport, next to Travis County government building (opposite Burger Tex)
- Increasing subsidies for Solar Panels, and decreasing electric / utility rates as a result of making investments into Solar Power in Austin
- Health & Human services improvements, such as AISD funding reforms
- A transportation study on Morrow, in order to investigate possibilities of it’s removal.
- First public meeting was in November, with 2 more to go early next year
- There’s an urgent need to attend these meetings for Highland residents, to influence how this park will shape up. If the developers don’t hear from us, they certainly won’t build the kind of park we want.
Jim Walker, UT’s Director of Sustainability, spoke about the UT owned property at the corner of Airport & Lamar
- Property donated to UT in late 80’s, funds Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History at UT
- Not likely to be sold, UT has a “habit & tradition” of not selling land endowments
After this presentation, I added some info about the property that I had found out in the last few months, working with the developer who bought the lease in April
- Leasehold sold to Misuma Holdings in April 2016, the same company that bought the lease on the Linc
- Intended to install large Austin based grocery as anchor tenant. This turned out to be impossible as most grocery chains require a certain lease period with optional extensions. The lease sold to Misuma prevents them from being able to offer the kind of lease periods most Austin grocery chains require in order to open a new location.
- Developer will still create a grocery store at this site, but stresses that if he owned the land, he would be able to both invest a lot more into the properties’ redevelopment, and be able to attract bigger players in the Austin Grocery market. Worst case scenario, we get a very nice grocery in that building. Best case scenario, the lease holders increase their lease to 99 years or buy the property from UT outright, and the developer builds something much bigger and better for us.
- Highland N.A. is currently working with Greg Casar’s office and UT to explore options. Ultimately, UT Systems owns this land, and can do what they want with it. We’re trying to find an option that better serves this neighborhood’s needs.
Staryn Wagner from Austin’s Watershed Protection department spoke about a project at Reilly Elementary he is leading to mitigate stormwater issues
- Project will start in January 2016, and include raingardens, rain collection, driplines, etc
- Aim is to decrease the quick accumulation of stormwater in Waller Creek, and reduce flooding
- Results of his study will be used by the City to offer rebates for homeowners implementing similar features on their properties, thereby contributing to stormwater mitigation.
Finally, our temporary Community Liaison Officer, Officer Chapman, closed us out.
- We should be getting our new community liaison officer assigned early next year
- Our previous officer, Officer Steve Gordon, was promoted to detective, and will be investigating property crimes in the future.
Our next meeting will be March 8th at Reilly Elementary, 06:30pm. It’s our annual Pot Luck meeting – see you then?