HNA Annual Potluck – Tuesday March 12 6 PM

Come out to the next Highland Neighborhood Association meeting Tuesday, March 12 at 6 PM at Reilly Elementary. It’s a potluck, so bring a dish (or just yourself) and break bread with your neighbors! HNA will provide some non-alcoholic beverages.

We’re also going to discuss the development at St. Johns and Guadelupe, so if you have concerns, please bring them. We’ll be creating a list of issues and coming up with an organized plan to communicate them to the developer. It’s a multi-phase project, so it would be good to start getting organized now.

See you there.

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Minutes for 06/13/17 HNA General Meeting



Nick does intro to share info about notices / permits / etc.

  • Multi-family structure on south side of St. Johns – pretty big structure, 6 lots that zigzags to Kawnee and St. Johns/Guadeloupe
    • Applied for permit, didn’t ask for variance
    • Parking will be underground
    • Four two-story structures (or two four-story structures?)
    • No design or architecture documents attached
  • 608 W St Johns variance has been postponed in order to clarify the language
  • Press release from highland mall redevelopment to announce next phase
    • Some of this money will help pay for Highland Park
  • Water filtration space at Highland Park – will meet to
  • Shoal Creek Trail Planned Committee Advisory Group – needs one person from our neighborhood to help with Shoal Creek trail – Alex P. is doing this (he’s also heading a tree program in Highland – they’re meeting at Blackstar tomorrow at 6 PM)
  • 311 app for code compliance – highly recommend – easy to post, they do respond
  • See newsletter for others


Joann is retiring from Treasurer duties. We all voted to still keep her on the executive committee, even though she’s not Treasurer.


Alicia VanDusen (on Deborah) – been in neighborhood about 5 years, kids go to school at Reily

We all voted to have her as Treasurer.





Officer Hyatt – APD district rep for District 3 (Highland, Northfield, Skyview)


Office hours are Tues-Fri 2-4 PM – won’t answer phone if it’s not during that time


Regional meeting – August 29th 6:30-8:00 PM commanders forum

December 27th


Yellow Brick Road – massage place has been shut down.

Got warrant and last Tuesday. Needed 3 interviews – got 7 in one day after following guys who entered and then left. Unfortunately, no arrests were made because the business was shut down. They handed in the keys to the owner and left.


Abandoned vehicle (ex: silver Honda on Northcrest) has to be inoperable – tires are flat, things are hanging off, doesn’t look drivable. If you need to report a vehicle, call Officer Hyatt – he’ll come out and tag it with an orange sticker. Then they have 48 hours to move it before it’s towed.


The city doesn’t have a dedicated graffiti unit. Now they use work order.


Marcel/St. Johns parking on Marcel leaves just one lane of drivable space. Buddhist Center, restaurants, construction workers for condos, etc. all tell them to park there. If there’s parking signs, they’re allowed to park. But if they’re within 30 feet of a stop sign or over a curb, etc. then can be ticketed.


Parking and speeding on Denson is also an issue. One resident has her driveway blocked by cars almost daily.


O’Dell house has kids smoking pot in front yard.


Austin Regional Intelligence Centers – ARIC





Eric, Central Sector VP talking about the Highland Park Greenbelt Project


Opportunity to improve the way our neighborhood accesses Highland Park. Currently only one entry point. Nothing from the south side. Need to better connect to sidewalks and build sidewalks where there are none on city property along the dry creek. The idea is to make the neighborhood more connected, especially to the park.


Small group has met with the city to see what’s possible. Then will submit proposal and get timeline, cost, etc.


October 1st deadline for application. Late 2018 for completion if approved.

We’re in the early stages but a plan needs to be put together quickly in order to meet the Oct. 1 deadline. Someone could present the plans


Cost is around $150k. They would pay for 70% (120k) and then we would need a separate neighborhood initiative to pay for the last 30% (30k). HOW:

  • Volunteer hours at $25/hour so approxijmately 1400 hours spread over 3 years
  • Donated time and talent (need ideas for how does this become beautified – could someone plan and implement a garden? Birdhouses? Dog cleanup stations? Flower garden? The catch is that we always have to maintain this. But creativity is encouraged. Other communities have built mosaic.
  • Art, etc. cost is determined by cost of materials + hours invested to build it / or if it’s professional services from a business it’s

There was vision for this in the master park plan, but not the paths specifically.


Can only do one extension at a time. Because once you hit $150k cost, the matching from the city goes down drastically

  • North extension would better connect to bike route and bus route.
  • South extension is used frequently by dog walkers. Dead-end at Swanee with piece of plywood. They’re meeting tomorrow to see if city will turn this into an actual bridge. Watershed meeting Monday at 9. Meeting to see if it’s viable per the flood plain. If the bridge can be built Eric thinks we should do this option first. Also currently it’s not legal to access it via this way – there are NO TRESPASSING signs posted.
  • Next step would be to go door-to-door because need 60% of neighbors to sign petition / agree to install sidewalk.
  • Get ideas / community members to volunteer





Natalia from the SAFE Alliance

SAFE PLACE (families & adults) + Austin Children’s Shelter (children in foster care) has merged into one organization.

Intervention (housing / healing / support) + prevention


Need volunteers for all different things – mostly are working directly with clients, some also just do office stuff, some do just one-time events like warehouse, landscaping





Update on 601 St. Johns. – Was going to be 7 units with 4 parking spots.

Now after negotiating with neighbors (because of variance), will be 5 units with 5 parking spots.

Will have one more meeting to talk with architect (Steven Oliver – OPA) about it being a neighborhood friendly design


615 O’Dell no variance so built to the max capacity.





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HNA Fall Meeting, September 12th 2017

Join us for our fall 2017 meeting at Reilly Elementary School, 405 Denson Dr. Guests include:

  • District 4 Council Member Gregorio Casar
  • APD Liason James Hyatt
  • AISD District 3 School Board Member Ann Teich, discussing the upcoming AISD bond
  • A representative from Foster Angels

We will also discuss the impact of CodeNEXT on the neighborhood.

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Meeting notes for 03/08 HNA March meeting at T. A. Brown

We will be meeting in T. A. Brown Elementary school on Morrow, map link here:

Social meeting starts at 06:30 pm, meeting proper begins 07:00 pm.


  • Greg Casar, D4 updates
  • Megan Heynen, Neighborhood Partnering Program
  • Bryan Kaminski, RedLeaf Properties, updating us on ACC / Highland Mall progress
  • Alex S. – Highland Park update

This is our annual pot luck meeting, it’s a lot less formal, there’s free food, bring a dish and check out what’s happening in Highland. Hope to see you there!

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Minutes for 12/08 HNA general meeting

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.

Marla Schmitz, chair of the Friends of Highland Park, spoke about the current status of the Master Planning process

  • 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?

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Porkchop update – ATD findings

Letter below from ATD Director regarding our beloved porkchop:

The Austin Transportation Department (ATD) has reviewed the intersection control devices at the intersection of Morrow Street and N. Lamar Boulevard based on the requests from Citizen organizations on either side of Lamar.


ATD reports the following observations and findings:

  • In 2010, one traffic calming median island and seven sets of speed cushions were installed to slow vehicle speed.  However, the sidewalk along the north curb has not been constructed and no modifications to the intersection of N Lamar Boulevard and Morrow Street have been implemented per staff’s previous recommendation to the Comprehensive Planning Transportation Committee (CPTC).
  • Allowing westbound through movements across the intersection gives transportation system users east of N Lamar Boulevard access to the Crestview Neighborhood, North Austin Optimist Fields, and other locations west of N Lamar Boulevard without traversing multiple arterial and neighborhood streets to reach the same destinations.  This results in fewer overall vehicle-miles traveled and does not require drivers to traverse arterials, which are typically less safe than neighborhood streets due to their higher operating vehicle speed and volume.
  • Nearby intersections at Brentwood Street and Romeria Drive/Denson Street provide connectivity across N Lamar Boulevard without any restricted movements.
  • Daily traffic volumes on Morrow Street, west of N Lamar Boulevard, are projected to increase from approximately 1,800 vehicles per day to approximately 2,500 vehicles per day (a 39% increase) if westbound through movements across the intersection are allowed (See Table 1 below).  These new volumes are well within the normal usage range for this type of street and do not present a notable safety concern if appropriate pedestrian facilities are in place.

Based on these observations and findings, ATD recommends the following with regards to the traffic control device:

  • Unless otherwise directed by Council, the raised island is not recommended to be removed at this time due to the absent sidewalk along the north curb of Morrow Street.  ATD recognizes the positive effects increased connectivity would bring to the transportation network in this area and would recommend removal of the raised island after the missing sidewalk is constructed.  ATD believes that the traffic calming median island and speed cushions currently installed and/or as might be supplemented would effectively control vehicle speeds, given the projected modest increases in daily vehicle volumes that might be expected after removal.


  • ATD will work with the Public Works Department (PWD) Sidewalk Program to pursue prioritization and funding of the sidewalk.


  • ATD traffic engineers will revisit the connectivity issue once a sidewalk is in place.



Daily traffic volume on Morrow Street, with and without the raised islands, is summarized in Table 1.


Table 1 – Daily Traffic Volume on Morrow Street

  Daily Traffic Volume on Morrow Street
Traffic Count Year West of N Lamar Boulevard East of N Lamar Boulevard
Eastbound Westbound Total Eastbound Westbound Total
2009 – Restricted movements 1,261 648 1,909 866 889 1,755
2015 – Restricted movements 1,175 601 1,776 979 1,093 2,072
2015 – Unrestricted movements* 1,175      1,301 2,476 979 1,093 2,072

*Northbound left-turns still restricted


Should you or your constituents have any additional technical questions, please have them contact ATD directly and we will be happy to respond.



Robert Spillar, P.E.

Director of Transportation

Austin Transportation Department

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Meeting notes for 12/08/2015

We will be meeting in the Theater room of the Marchesa Hall, map link here:

Social meeting starts at 06:30pm, meeting proper begins 07:00pm.


  • Greg Casar, D4 updates
  • Jim Walker, UT Director of Sustainability, Lamar / Airport property update
  • Staryn Wagner, CoA Watershed Dept., Riparian Restoration
  • Marla Schmitz, Highland Park update


  • Elections – I’ll be making a motion to re-elect all current HNA VPs and positions.
  • Update on Online membership / online voting progress.
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Minutes for 08/09 HNA general meeting

Meeting minutes for HNA fall 2015 meeting, held at the Marchesa, doors opened at 06:30pm, meeting began 07:05pm

Annette Almendarez, interim principal at Reilly Elementary was first to speak, and gave us an overview of Reilly’s current status and programs they offer.

Jim Wittliff from Land Answers spoke to us about the proposed NXNW development at Dillard Circle, including the rezoning they’re requesting and why it’s needed. Apart from NXNW brewpub, there are other tenants looking at the warehouse as well, including Snap Kitchen – not all are known yet.

Genevieve Van Cleve from Civil and Family Courts Complex Bond Campaign gave a presentation on the New Travis Court house, and the November bond election


At this point, we voted on a few issues about day to day running of HNA

  • The question of whether to allow online voting as an alternative to existing methods passed with 14 in favor & 4 against.
  • The question of what HNA’s new permanent meeting location should be was answered with 12 for the Marchesa, and 4 for Gateway Baptist
    • The sub question of whether to offer a donation to the Marchesa for providing staff to open, run the bar, close and clean up passed with 10 in favor, 3 against.
  • The question of whether to join Friends of Austin Neighborhoods passed 15-1

After these votes, our community officer Detective Steven Gordon closed us down, giving his farewell address. With his promotion to detective, he will no longer remain in the community officer role. We should get a new officer assigned soon.

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Meeting notes for 09/08/2015

HNA will be voting on a couple of issues during this meeting, here’s a quick list of meeting notes to address most questions.

  • Whether to add online voting to our accepted list of voting methods in our bylaws.
    • Online votes will be added to in-person votes for a combined tally. Every HNA member who attends a meeting in person will be allowed to vote in person. All other members, who did not attend the meeting, will be invited to participate in an online vote via email, run by Once the online election is over (usually after a short period of time has elapsed, probably 48 hours), both the online and the in person votes will be added to find the final results.
    • If we agree to accept online voting, online voting will not come into effect before our next HNA meeting in December.
    • Online voting depends on us having a working email address for you. No email, no vote. We will set up a simple system for you to add, and update, your email address if you are a HNA member. Online voting, and giving us your email, is completely optional and not required.
    • If you want more information about the online voting system’s anonymity, vote verification, security, whether it’s possible the the administrator can meddle with the results (hint: they can’t), check out It’s a complicated mathematical system using encryption and designed by legal and maths professors, and well beyond my pay grade.


  • What HNA’s new permanent meeting home should be.
    • During my time, we’ve met at Gateway Baptist Church on Guadalupe and Denson, and at the Marchesa Theatre. We’ll be voting on whether to return to Gateway Baptist, or stay at the Marchesa permanently.
    • Our spring meeting has always been a pot luck at T. A. Brown elementary school, and will remain so.
    • The owner of the Marchesa has provided us this space for free. She has also given us the services of her bar manager, who helps setup, tear down, run the bar, and who knows what else. So far, she has gifted us his services at this, and the previous meetings. This may not last, and I would like us to vote on whether HNA would be willing to reimburse the owner for his services. The room is free, people are not. It’s $18 per hour, twice a year, coming to about $72  per annum (the December meeting already has an event with bar staff, and we’ll meet in the Theater in stead of the lobby).
    • We currently donate $100 to Gateway Baptist church per year for their room.


  •  Whether to join Friends of Austin Neighborhoods (FAN)
    • FAN is a fairly new grassroots organisation that seeks to ensure that all voices in neighborhoods are represented, instead of just the traditional single family home owners.
    • Check out their website here:
    • The first year is free. Once the next cycle comes around, we can decide whether we want to remain paid members.


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Fall 2015 Meeting Agenda


06:30pm on 09/08/2015 at Marchesa Hall, 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd. Austin TX 78752 ::

Meeting Agenda

  • Allow online voting for HNA. Motion to amend our by-laws to allow online voting as an additional alternative to current allowed methods. A sign in sheet, containing all current HNA members, is used at the in-person meeting, where current members can vote on issues. Any current HNA members who did not sign in will receive an invite, via email, to participate in the online vote. Both online vote and in person tallies will be combined into one single tally.
    • There is no given reason that only those able to attend in person should be able to vote. Many people work during our usual meeting times, or require expensive child care, or transport.
    • Some issues are sensitive, and allowing people to vote in privacy may result in a more accurate representation.
    • Online voting is hosted by Helios Voting, which offers anonymous, verifiable voting system. An individual’s vote will remain private at all times, and the final tally cannot be amended by an administrator, and is visible to all. Tampering with any aspect of this system is essentially impossible. This system hinges on HNA having every member’s email address.
  • Join Friends of Austin Neighborhoods, an Austin based grassroots movement that “support the kinds of changes that will enhance the affordability, inclusivity, connectivity, mobility, and quality of life in our neighborhoods.”
  • Decide on HNA’s future home. Current options include The Marchesa & Gateway Baptist Church on Guadalupe.
    • While The Marchesa generously has offered us this space free of charge, our excellent bar tender deserves to be reimbursed by more than just tips. In the past, and including today, we’ve paid for this out of pocket. We’d like to suggest the HNA pays this fee from now on, without reimbursing any past expenditures.


  • Tyler Buckingham, New Travis County Civil & Family Courthouse Bond Campaign Presentation
  • Jim Wittliff, Land Answers, Inc / NXNW developer on Dillard Circle
  • Annette Almendarez, new Interim Principal @ Reilly Elementary
  • Greg Casar (unlikely, will be in middle of council budget session)


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