CodeNEXT comments needed!

A number of Northwood neighbors and others from District 7 attended the May 9 CodeNEXT meeting with Council Member Pool and her staff to learn about the changes and ask questions. The speakers stressed that they want feedback now; changes have been made based on feedback.
To review the code and made comments go to codenext.civicomment.org/. The main CodeNEXT page is www.austintexas.gov/department/codenext. And side by side maps of current and proposed zoning are available at codenext.engagingplans.org/codenext-comparison-map?mc_cid=34c2a62560&mc_eid=e9880136d2

Please review the maps and look for any corrections. it was noted at the meeting that a section of Walnut Creek had been rezoned, when it should have remained open space. Please make comments on any topics on the website and provide any feedback.

A big concern

Code Next proposes a reduction in the required notification for public hearings for zonings and other development applications. Currently, notice is required to be mailed a minimum of 15 days prior to the public hearing. The code revisions reduce that period to 7 days. 7 days doesn’t provide enough time for an organized neighborhood response. As we all know, our response to the apartments took much longer to gather the petitions and other information. The best way to indicate your concerns about this is adding comments at  codenext.civicomment.org/

Additional observations

 The map is divided in to “transect zones” and “non-transect zones”, with most of the inner core located in the “transect zone”, which allows for higher density development. Our area is in the “non-transect zone”, which allows less dense projects than areas in the transect zone.

The changes for our area are minimal, and the apartments will not change. The one big change is setbacks for commercial properties, which shouldn’t impact us too much, but may impact development of two properties on the north side of Northwood, the KAHL property and the Fricke property if they were to go commercial. The compatibility standards are proposed to be reduced as well, which would allow for higher density development closer to the residential property lines.

The parking requirements for residential and commercial properties are being reduced, which could create parking problems for future developments.

The Robinson Ranch PUD is not impacted by Code Next, but the code does strengthen the connectivity requirements, pretty much guaranteeing that the two street stubs on Council Bluff will be connected to any new development to the north at some future date. If the Robinson Ranch property owners requested changes to the PUD, they would be through the new zoning code.

There are concerns about developing in floodplains in the Parmer/MoPac area and how that will affect nearby and downstream residential and commercial sites.

The Watershed Department added some code language regarding on site water detention for future projects, which should help mitigate any potential for increased flooding as property develops upstream. They also added some environmental controls that would require water quality ponds to treat the runoff for particulates and other debris, adding some protection for downstream properties. 

Please add comments; they are being reviewed and the maps are being updated.

Other information

CodeNEXT attempts to address affordability issues. austintexas.gov/codenext/housing?mc_cid=34c2a62560&mc_eid=e9880136d2

CodeNEXT (new zoning guide/maps) meeting with Council Member Pool’s office May 9

CodeNEXT, the new City guide for future zoning and development in Austin, has been recently unveiled. District 7 Council Member Pool’s staff are holding a meeting on May 9 at the Milwood Library starting at 6:30 PM for the northern part of District 7 to discuss CodeNEXT and answer questions.

Link to Council Member Pool’s email about CodeNext (it contains the same links that are listed below and more).

Please review the information in the links below to learn about CodeNEXT and how it affects this part of Austin, and attend the May 9 meeting to ask questions and provide feedback.

  • Compare the current and proposed zoning changes  https://codenext.engagingplans.org/codenext-comparison-map
  • Review the text of the Land Development Code https://codenext.civicomment.org/.Per this page,”CodeNEXT is the new City of Austin initiative to revise the Land Development Code, which determines how land can be used throughout the city – including what, where, and how much can be built.
    The draft Land Development Code will be edited based on the comments you provide on this site, in our public meetings, and through other feedback mechanisms. For more information and for other ways to get involved, please visit our website: austintexas.gov/codenext.”
  • Home page of CodeNEXT www.austintexas.gov/CodeNEXT

 

Northwood Spring garage sale May 6, 2017

Northwood’s garage sale is May 6, from 8:00 am until ?. Check out the map of neighbors who are participating and what they’re selling (click on an address to see items for sale).

Northwood is located at the northwest corner of Parmer and MoPac. To enter Northwood from north of that intersection, be on the MoPac frontage road and turn right on Oak Creek Drive, which is immediately after MoPac Self Storage.  To enter from the south or east, go west on Parmer past MoPac and take the first (Tamarack) or second (Silver Creek) right turns.

Please drive carefully; many families, some with young children, walk or bike our streets.

map of sellers (link removed)

 

Oak Creek Apts. Housing Tax Credits opposition

The developers for the Oak Creek apartments have applied for 9% Housing Tax Credits (TDHCA website 9% page) so they can build reduced rent (affordable housing) units. This is a very competitive process.  There is a public comment period for the TDHCA 9% tax credits which ends June 23, 2017.

During this public comment period we can write to the TDHCA (details below) and attend TDHCA Board meetings to express our opinions and opposition regarding the project.  The TDHCA looks at the public comments when evaluating a project.

Sign petition opposing the tax credits

You can sign the online petition here by June 15 (the Board needs time to prepare the petition for submission). All residents who are at least 18 years of age can sign.

Submit comments  to TDHCA

If you wish to submit comments to the TDHCA by phone, fax or email (details below), be sure to include the following

Application# 17272 Development Name: Elysium Grand
Development Address: N side of Oak Creek Dr, W of Mopac
(Note: the address under the application is not 3300 Oak Creek.  This is because the developer applied for 2 projects under the same land during the pre-application process and they could not put 2 applications under the same address).
Development City: Austin, TX 78727

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
Attn: Multifamily Finance Division
P.O. Box 13941
Austin, Texas 78711-3941
or by email: htc.public-comment@tdhca.state.tx.us
or by fax: (512) 475-1895

 

Easter Egg hunt April 9, 2017 (rescheduled)

Update: The forecast for the original Easter Egg Hunt of April 2 looks like a rainy day so the hunt is now set for April 9 at 2 PM.

Mark your calendar for April 2 (rain date of April 9) for the Northwood Easter Egg Hunt.  The hunt begins at 2.00 at Balcones Park, at the corner of Amherst and Duval. Bring a basket for each child for all the eggs and candy!

Children of association members are free; children of non-members  pay $2.00 each (pay dues).  Questions? Want to help? email northwoodsecretary@gmail.com. Updates – including last minute rain date information – will also be available on our Nextdoor.com  site.

Oak Creek apts rezoning passes on first of 3 readings

Many thanks to the 40ish neighbors who took the time to go to City Hall on February 2. Our 4:00 “time certain” (earliest time the case would be heard) turned into a 6:45 discussion.

This is the first reading; there will be 2 more readings (date not yet set); the vote on the third reading is binding. Normally no public testimony is allowed after the first reading.

Recording of the City Council meeting;  we are item 56 part 2. The first 20 minutes are the developer’s presentation; beginning at 20 minutes the Mayor called one speaker from Northwood then a pro apartments speaker and continued that pattern.

End result: The developer described their plans – including 4 and 5 story buildings – and had some people give “we need affordable housing” talks. They had no other justification. After some truly excellent presentations by Northwood neighbors, covering

  • unsuitability of the proposed zoning for the area traffic/safety
  • limited exits which make it impossible to evacuate everyone during a disaster such as a wildfire
  • environmental issues (flooding and karst terrain, which often contains sinkholes and/or caves)
  • poor mobility/walkability and how this site fails the goals described in Imagine Austin
  • availability of more suitable tracts further west on Parmer
  • testimony from a neighbor/social worker who is familiar with the needs of the target demographic describing the problems with the location (among other points, caregivers who travel to the clients’ homes often use public transportation)

To everyone’s great disappointment, our own Council Member Leslie Pool gave an impassioned speech FOR the affordable housing units. Pool also made the motion to accept the MF-4 zoning.

The Mayor, Council Members Casar and Renteria made “we need affordable housing” speeches and Council Member Houston said she was impressed with the developer and encouraged us to work with them. With our own council member in favor of the rezoning, all other council members also voted for it with very little discussion and  no questions for the neighborhood. To say we were disappointed and disheartened is an understatement. They ignored all of the safety and environmental concerns and the comments from the Watershed Protection department’s representative about “2, possibly 3 known sinkholes”.

We (Northwood) were aware of one “critical environmental feature” (a sinkhole). The Watershed Protection rep noted that the neighborhood’s environmental facts were accurate. The Watershed Protection rep stated there are 2, possibly 3 sinkholes and that would be investigated further during the (intensive) site plan phase” which happens after zoning.  (Note: even if all goes the developer’s way, they may discover site problems that prevent them from developing it. The 3/1/1979 City Council session included a rezoning request for this tract; it includes the quote “they do not plan development of Tract 1 until the sewer is in and terrain problems can be solved“. Unfortunately the location of those records with the terrain problem details is unknown.)

The third reading – date not yet decided – is the final and legally binding vote. There is normally no public discussion at the third reading. However, the developer still needs the tax credits funding from the Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs; there is much competition for these tax credits.

We lost the first round and we are NOT finished yet. Stay tuned to NextDoor and the private Facebook Group for details.

Balcones Park redesign plans discussed at 2 meetings

This information is from  the Milwood Neighborhood Assn website

Our dedicated landscape designers have been working hard using your feedback to come up with two potential site layouts for our new playground and pavilion. Two meetings will be held to discuss in detail both concept plans and gather final feedback on which option our community prefers along with other details. We hope you can join us!

– Thurs., Feb. 9 at 7pm at Milwood Baptist Church 
(map; from Amherst turn right onto Cassady; the church will be on the right side at the corner of Cassady and Coronet)
– Sat., Feb. 11 at 10 am at Milwood Baptist Church 
(child care MAY be available; **There is a chance that we will be able to provide childcare Saturday meeting so please let us know if you need it and would attend by RSVPing.)

RSVP here

If you cannot make one of the meetings, we hope to also make voting available online & at the library, but the meetings do allow for more details viewings, questions and feedback so we highly recommend trying to attend one of the meetings if you can. If you can’t attend, sign up here to get notified about an online survey.

Special thanks to our three amazing designers, Kristy Street, Neal Charles (a Northwood Neighbor), & Kim Gilbertson, for all of their hard work and dedication to this project. It is very much appreciated!!

update: Feb 2 City Council Oak Creek Apts Rezoning hearing-all attend!

Northwood was notified this week that the same developer will be going forward with the zoning case. The hearing will be held January 26  February 2 at City Hall. The earliest it will be heard is 2 PM.  4 PM ; we have a “time certain” for 4 PM, which means that 4 PM is the EARLIEST our case will be heard. It could be much later; that depends on the agenda items ahead of our case.  Please plan to attend! If possible, we will update the time as we learn it via NextDoor

The developer also applied for 2 projects to be funded for multifamily through the Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs (the agency that manages the grants for subsidized housing) for 2017. One is for general affordable and the other is for supportive housing funding. Here is a link to the application spreadsheet on TDHCA:

http://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/multifamily/housing-tax-credits-9pct/docs/17-CompHTCPreAppLog.xls

The General Affordable is basically the project we have been dealing with (“reduced rent” units).

To the best of our knowledge and from what we have read, the TDHCA defines supportive housing as:

“125) Supportive Housing–Residential rental developments intended for occupancy by individuals or households in need of specialized and specific non-medical services in order to maintain independent living.

The services offered generally include case management and address special attributes of such populations as Transitional Housing for homeless and at risk of homelessness, persons who have experienced domestic violence or single parents or guardians with minor children.”

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE SHOW A LARGE REPRESENTATION AT THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING. THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS. WE NEED TO SHOW THE UNITY OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

With the Valid Petition still in place, 75%  – 9 Council Members – must vote in favor for this rezoning application to pass on the third reading. This is the first reading. We need 3 City Council members to vote against it on the third reading to defeat it.

Please email Nancy Grijalva at NorthwoodTreasurer@gmail.com  if you plan on attending the hearing on February 2 and if you either wish to speak or are willing to donate your 3 minutes to another speaker. Each speaker gets 3 minutes; others can donate time to increase that. Several of the officers and other planned speakers need more than 3 minutes.  Important: If you donate time to someone, you must be present when our rezoning case is heard or your donation doesn’t count.

Include the following:

subject: attending 2/2 meeting

1. Name
2. Address
3. Phone number
4. Do you need a ride and the time frame you can attend the meeting
5. Are you able to drive others if so how many and the time frame you can attend the meeting

Background information on the original rezoning case is available at the Oak Creek Apartments: Resources Summary page

Jan. 12 General Meeting

The general meeting is January 12, 2017 from 7:00 PM – 8:45 PM at the Milwood Library on Amherst Drive. We will elect officers, talk about other issues and discuss creating a Neighborhood Watch. Police officer Hank Moreno will join us to describe the neighborhood watch and answer questions.

Please join us!

If you wish to run for office, please contact any of the officers. You can also pay dues at the meeting. There are other ways to become involved; if you want to help keep Northwood a great place to live, just contact one of the officers.

 

Vote for Best Holiday Yards through 12/24

It’s that time of year to vote for your – and your children’s –  favorite holidays yard decorations. Enjoy the lights and choose your favorite Holiday Lights and Children’s Choice through December 24.

How to vote? There are 3 ways – just include the voter’s name and the address of the house that gets their vote:

  • complete the voting form on this site OR
  • email northwoodna@gmail.com OR
  • write your name and the address that gets your vote on paper and drop it in the Association mailbox at 4507 Tamarack. The Association mailbox is on the post of the regular US mailbox (do not put it in the regular mailbox).

Questions? email northwoodna@gmail.com