Join us for the July 4th picnic and PARK GRANT presentation!

We are pleased to invite you to the annual Fourth of July Highland Neighborhood Potluck Picnic being held for the first time at the new Highland Neighborhood Park!

This will be the first of many  events to celebrate together in our new neighborhood park. This year we are excited to announce that HNA has officially adopted the park as Friends of Highland Neighborhood Park, and on July 4th Capital CDC will be presenting us with a grant for $2000! This small business loan company approached HNA wanting to  support the park and our community. According to the City’s Neighborhood Partnering Project, Capital CDC’s grant will turn into $6,667 with a City match and we will be able to start putting some amenities into the park when master planning is completed!

Please join us on July 4th to be a part of the celebration. We will have a keg of beer donated by Black Star Coop, some pulled pork tacos courtesy of your friendly HNA President Alex Schmitz, lots of lovely dishes from your fellow Highlanders, and a little amateur face painting. The picnic is from 11:30-2, we’ll start eating around noon, grant presentation at 12:30, and the firetruck will be there from 1-2. Bring a dish and a chair and come out to meet your neighbors and the folks from Capital CDC who are giving Highland Neighborhood Park its first of many grants and donations!

We are still a few months out from community involvement in the master planning project, but we know that with generous donations, like the one from Capital CDC, we are on our way to our dream park!



Posted in Uncategorized

May 13th, 2015 Exec Committee Meeting Notes

Agenda and results

1. Highland NA has been invited to join a new neighborhood association, Friends of Austin Neighborhoods. Should we join?

– Decided to ask FAN to present at June public meeting

2. Updates on Lamar Working group – working with Crestview, Greg, on prioritising problems on N. Lamar, primarily traffic issues at this point.

3. Crestview’s Morrow Gate – we have been asked if we support the removal of the gate

– We do

4. CoA’s Budget in a Box – should we take part?

– Decided Yes. Will post to listserv / FB once we have more details.

5. CoA’s Community Development Commission – the CDC is made up of 8 council picks, and seven appointees from various Austin Neighborhoods. N. Lamar / Rundberg neighborhood would like their neighborhood to be one of the 7 listed neighborhoods on the CDC, and has asked for Highland’s endorsement.

– We do

6. 4th of July – where, how when?

– Looks like we’ll be doing this in our new Park on St John’s, 4th of July. Free beer from Blackstar, Pot Luck, Fire truck, the usual. More details in newsletter once established.

7. Dorothy John’s Triangle. Who’s our mystery mower? Should we re-hire the professional mower we used last year?

– I’ll investigate some likely suspects. Regular mowing in the summer is extremely important to stop burrs and other weeds. We’ll schedule around wildflowers, events, etc.

8. Property Tax results

– We have a few resources, we’ll collate and send out a package of info to listserv / FB

9. Highland Mall now officially closed – should we ask ACC for an updaet at next meeting?

– Yes.

Motion to adjourn made by Alex, seconded by Nick, passed 8-0. Just kidding.

Posted in meetings, minutes, Uncategorized Tagged with:

Morrow Street notes

This article is a work in progress and in no way final.



Molly Scarbrough, Planning and Development Review, discussed traffic volumes on Morrow Street west of Lamar, and traffic assumptions if the existing traffic barrier is removed. She stated that removing the barrier will increase traffic on Morrow, but the traffic volume will be less than before the installation of the barriers. She said the City does not have a compelling reason to either remove or leave the barrier in place, but noted that there will be staff costs associated with removing the barrier. Options include pursuing long-term improvements to provide better east/west access, a recommendation that the neighborhoods continue to work together to find a solution, and that the neighborhood work with Midtown Commons and others to provide needed neighborhood services.


Council Member Cole said the neighborhoods are in a state of growth and there is a need for a long term solution for two neighborhoods with traffic congestion issues. She said she was not in a position to make a recommendation to Council because the neighborhoods have not come to any agreement on a proposed solution. She therefore suggested that staff hire a facilitator to reconvene the two neighborhoods in order to make a recommendation for a solution to CPTC and the City Council.

Suggestion: staff hire a facilitator to reconvene the two neighborhoods in order to make a solution to CPTC and City Council.



Council Member Cole suggested that the sidewalk issue remain in the staff recommendation, but that it would be open to reconsideration pending feedback from the Crestview neighborhood. She asked staff to review the Sidewalk Master Plan to determine what is contemplated for the area and how it will be funded. She said she was pleased with the staff recommendation and suggested moving forward. No action taken



Short Term Improvements

  • Take traffic counts to determine existing speed and volume trends on Morrow with recently installed traffic calming (COMPLETED)
  • Move speed limit signs to more noticeable locations – (COMPLETED)
  • Request mobile speed feedback signs (IN QUEUE)
  • Review signal pedestrian timing at Lamar/Morrow intersection (COMPLETED – IN QUEUE for countdown signals)
  • Discuss suggested improvements to Lamar/Anderson crossover intersection and Lamar NB access road lane configuration with TxDOT as part of the Regional Bottleneck Committee. (IN PROCESS

Long Term Improvements

  • Complete gaps in sidewalk on north side of Morrow, between Lamar and Grover
  • When #1 has been completed:
  • Remove traffic island to allow westbound through traffic on Morrow & westbound left from Morrow onto southbound Lamar (Maintain prohibition on northbound left from Lamar onto Morrow)
  • Modify traffic signal, NE corner, sidewalks and curb ramps at intersection
  • Evaluate speed and volume trends again after one year

Council Member Cole moved approval of the staff recommendation recognizing that the entire subcommittee has struggled to come up with a compromise to promote public safety between the Crestview and Highland neighborhoods. Council Member Morrison seconded the motion. The motion carried by a vote of 3-0.

Current Status

The recommendations from Feb 14th, 2011 have obviously stalled. Although we could ask that these actions are re-started, the risk is that the condition of “sidewalks first, porkchop removal second” still exists. What it the City takes 4 years to build those sidewalks?

The records also document the level of animosity between the two neighborhood groups in 2011, something that City staff never like to get involved in – see the usual city response in the May 3rd, 2010 document: hire a facilitator and let the stakeholders duke it out until consensus is reached.

The idea: Crestview NA and Highland NA write a joint resolution supporting the removal of the porkchop, without any conditions, effective immediately. This should, in the name of co-operation, bypass any existing recommendations. Crestview requested a pedestrian beacon at Banyon & Crestland, which we gladly accepted.

The 99% complete Resolution: Morrow Resolution

Highland to vote on this 03/10

Crestview to vote on this … April?

Forward to Greg / Leslie as part of Lamar redev package


Posted in morrow

7501 N LAMAR BLVD Use Determination

Use Determination for 7501 N LAMAR BLVD case notes

  1. Nov 10, 2014: CoA BoA denies appeal of Land Use Determination made by zoning staff 10/1/14 regarding legal, nonconforming status of existing use.
  2. Owner appeals to have Use Determination evaluated by Building & Fire board []
  3. Feb 28th: Building & Fire board meeting

CoA Resolution No. 20110818-079: Alternative Financial Services considered harmful ::

…WHEREAS. the City Council believes there is a public benefit to restricting locations of payday and auto title lenders to reduce the negative impact on consumers in our community; NOW, THEREFORE,BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF AUSTIN The City Council initiates code amendments to City Code Title 25 (Land Development Code) and directs the City Manager to process code amendments to regulate the location and use of buildings and land for alternative financial services businesses …

…Chapter 25-2 (Zoning) of the City Code is amended to add a new Section 25-2- 816 to read: § 25-2-816 ALTERNATIVE FINANCIAL SERVICES BUSINESSES. (A) This section applies to an alternative financial services business use.(B) A use may not be located on a site that is (1) within 1,000 feet of a site that contains another alternative financial services business use; (2) within 200 feet of a property in a residential zoning district or on which a residential use is located;

CoA Resolution No. 20120426-139: Updates previous


Update [05/29]: Closed down

Posted in Uncategorized

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 🙂


Thanks to S.B. for the Christmas tree pic
Posted in meetings, minutes, Uncategorized Tagged with:

HNA Autumn 2014 Newsletter released

HNA Autumn 2014 Newsletter released ::

HNA Fall 2014 Newsletter

The September meeting will be at Gateway Baptist Church, Sept 2nd, 06:30pm

Posted in Uncategorized

HNA Spring 2014 Newsletter released

If you wanted an even shorter read than the attached HNA Spring 2014 newsletter, then this might be a summary:

  • The March meeting is on Tuesday, 4th of March, at TA Brown Elementary, starting at 6pm. It’s a pot luck, as usual for the March meetings, so bring a dish and come meet your new HNA members. There’s a whole bunch.
  • We desperately need some block captain volunteers. Block Captains will, 4 times a year, hand out the newsletter to their street. Even in this era of emails and facebook groups, print medium is the only way to reach the majority of Highland, many of who do not have reliable internet access. If you can at all spare an hour 4 times a year, find your area Vice President (check out page 1 of the HNA newsletter), and contact them by phone or email or website or facebook or …

See you all (I hope) at the March meeting.

HNA Spring 2014 Newsletter

Posted in newsletter Tagged with: ,

Another Rail Petition worth signing

Neighbours, a quick update and request for action regarding the City’s attempts to run rail where it doesn’t make much sense.

An advisory board is due to make a recommendation Dec 6th to the City on where to run rail, and November 2014 their plan will be turned over to the voters in a bond election. Their favored choice, and the City’s, continues to be the option that serves Mueller, the new UT Medical School, and the UT stadium. Considering that the advisory board, the CCAG, was appointed by our Mayor, and includes the Mayor, Seton CEO Greg Hartman & UT VP Pat Clubb, we have a sneaking suspicion that their recommendation will, once again, be Mueller / UT Medical School / UT stadium. The UT student government has voted against this, and in fact, supports the obvious Lamar / Guadalupe option as it serves West Campus.

You may notice that the chosen corridor is labelled “Highland”, but this is disingenuous at best. The corridor extends north from UT down Red River to Highland ACC. However, the rail plan terminates at Hancock. While they may connect Urban Rail to the Red Line Commuter Train in the future, you’d need to change trains to move further north. They have however detailed how Urban Rail will be extended to Mueller.

Red River (AKA “Highland”) and East River Side were chosen because, according to Project Connect, they have the greatest congestion and possible economic development. Much of their decision was based on future projections, when current data shows that North Lamar has the highest transit ridership, highest population density, and is one of the top 4 congested roadways in Austin and ranked in the 100 most congested roadway in TEXAS according to TxDot. Additionally, rail on Lamar and Guadalupe would put tracks within a 10 minute walk of 31% of the jobs in the city. The development possibility is based upon where they WANT growth to go, because where the rail goes developers will follow.

HNA has signed a resolution endorsing Urban Rail on Lamar-Guadalupe as recommend in the 2003 Neighborhood Plan, and based upon the support for a Lamar line in an online poll distributed through the list serves. Efficient and convenient public transport down Lamar and Guadalupe would serve Highland residents who are faced with congestion at every southbound route from Highland.

Once again, we need neighbours, friends, Austinites, to take a few minutes to sign the rail petition at the end of this article and to call and email City Council to state support for rail on Lamar and to ask them to put West Campus back into the Lamar corridor. There are groups working against the City’s plans, and as long as they can submit overwhelming evidence for what the people Austin and the people of Highland want, they can get the City to look at ALL the data and see the reality of where rail should go.

There’s a quote regarding this situation that sums it up well –

“Austin cannot afford another badly designed urban rail implementation”.

If the City spends the money to build more rail (and it will do so), it needs to be effective. It needs to serve as many people as possible. It needs to reduce congestion on some of the most congested roads in Texas. What it does not need to do is serve the private interests of our elected officials and large businesses.


Here is the petition ::

If you’d like to read a summary of the current situation, this is a great article ::

A little more detail from Jace Deloney, a member of the Austin Urban Transportation Commission, who is also skeptical of the “Highland” choice

The Central Austin Community Development Corporation is spearheading the grassroots effort for rail on Lamar and Guadalupe, along with the biggest rail advocates in the city. Their Urban Rail page explains in detail why rail to Lamar is superior to Mueller.

If you’d like to see a much more detailed history of what’s going on, have a look at this excellent blog that exposes some pretty distasteful details ::

If you’d like to discuss this or have questions, I would strongly recommend emailing the HNA Chat List – we have a number of neighbors involved who can answer questions and share their knowledge. Join the discussion here




Posted in Uncategorized

HNA Winter 2013 Newsletter released

The HNa Winter 2013 Newsletter has been released.

HNA Winter 2013 Newsletter

Posted in newsletter

Austin Urban Rail Poll

The City has been going through a process via Project Connect ( to determine which corridor should be the first in Austin to get light rail. Mueller has been identified as a priority alignment. Many long time local rail advocates have been working to support an alternate route down Guadalupe-Lamar, and believe that the public should have a part in the discussion. As a result, Project Connect is holding public input meetings this week and next. If you would like to help determine the transit future for Austin and Highland, we encourage you to attend. The schedule of upcoming meetings is at the bottom of the page. This KUT article contains a fairly balanced overview of the two lines with maps of both.

The Austin Community Development Corporation (CACDC) is lobbying for the Guadalupe-Lamar line through our neighborhood, and are asking for Highland’s support. Their website gives a detailed list of the benefits of a Guadalupe-Lamar line, along with a list of proposed stops. It also provides easy to read comparative data between the two lines.

The HNA would like to poll our neighbors’ opinions on which line they would prefer, and have created a quick rail poll, see below.

Other websites that are informative on Austin Urban Rail are:

There is a vision map for long-term high-capacity transit for the region. Click on “expand the map” at:

These sites include articles on why the route up Lamar-Guadalupe is preferable:



*POLL REMOVED* 11/25/2013


Schedule of upcoming meetings:

September 25
5 – 8 PM
Austin Community College – South Austin Campus
1820 W Stassney Lane
September 26
11:30 AM – 1 PM
St. David’s Episcopal Church
301 E. 8th St.
September 26
5 – 8 PM
Givens Recreation Center
3811 E. 12th St.
September 27
12 PM – 1 PM
October 2
5 – 8 PM
Red Oak Ballroom
Norris Conference Center
2525 W Anderson Lane
Posted in rail Tagged with: ,