Tag Archives: oak creek apartments

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

 

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

Apartments rezoning postponed!

Update

8/9/16
First, A BIG THANK YOU to each and everyone of you for your continued support!

As most of you may have heard or read the neighborhood’s rezoning case has been postponed. As it was explained it has been postponed for 180 days. This basically means the applicant can withdraw or the staff can request another postponement. Additional action will be required by the applicant to withdraw the request. There was not a specific date given to rehear the case; they will have to notify us when and if the case is rescheduled.

We are fortunate to have a handful of board members and neighbors that have spent long hours of research, attending meetings, making phone calls and gathering all the information needed to present the neighborhood’s position and to keep the current non-residential zoning in place.

At the August 4 Council meeting the question to be answered was whether or not the zoning case should be postponed. Our responses to the questions asked were limited to only the postponement request. Yes it would have been better if they would have withdrawn, but that did not happen. So for the next few weeks/months we will be in contact with city staff and City Council members regarding the zoning case and other relevant related issues. The Neighborhood Association officers and involved neighbors will be monitoring it closely and will report any and all concerns that may develop as well as keep you abreast of any future actions that may be required.

We know that you may have questions and concerns about this past week’s meeting with the City Council, and we are more than willing to answer any concerns/ comments or questions you may have.

Now we must wait to see what the developer plans to do. We all want answers but at this time we have no way of determining what they will do. So we ask for your patience and please let us know your concerns. As promised we will keep you updated on any new developments.

Please be sure to keep watching for any new information or updates!

Recording of the August 4 hearing (we are item #70)

Statement from State Representative Celia Israel explaining her stand on affordable housing, released 8/8/16 (PDF) We are deeply grateful to Representative Israel for her decision to remain neutral regarding the housing tax credits in this case.

Original Information

We just received word: the rezoning of the apartments has been postponed for (at least) 180 days. Elysium postponement letter from the project manager (PDF).

Why did they take this step? This project was intended to build “affordable housing” apartments using 9% Housing Tax Credits from the Texas Department of Community Affairs.  These tax credits are extremely competitive; this project was not funded and is not on the wait list (see the July 28 spreadsheets listed on the TDHCA page).

Although they have not withdrawn the rezoning case  – the applicant will need to take additional action to withdraw the request – they have postponed indefinitely. This  postponement is valid for 180 days, at which time the applicant can withdraw or staff can request another postponement.  As of this writing (8/3/16) this case can potentially be reactivated with little notice. We will continue monitoring this.

***************

As of this writing (Aug. 3) the case is scheduled to be heard at the August 4 City Council meeting; the officers and workgroup members will attend in case there are any questions. There is NO need for the neighborhood to attend.

Many thanks to everyone who has worked to oppose this case! And cross fingers and toes that the applicant does withdraw the rezoning request.

City Council Rezoning First Reading – August 4 – everyone attend!

Update

meeting recording  (item 70)

Statement from State Representative Celia Israel explaining her stand on affordable housing, released 8/8/16 (PDF)

Original information

On August 4, 2016 the Elysium Park rezoning case will be on the City Council agenda for the first of two times. Council will hear comments from the developer and public about the rezoning of the 7+ undeveloped acres on Oak Creek Drive to MF-4 so that apartments can be built then they will vote. If (as expected) a majority vote for the rezoning, it will continue to the second and third readings, which  will be held on August 11.

On August 4 our case C14-2016-0023.SH Elysium Park will be on the City Council agenda at or after 4:00 PM. We need EVERYONE to be at City Hall, 301 W. 2nd Street (map) to show support for our opposition (the underground garage opening is on the west side on Guadalupe; if driving, get your parking ticket validated to park for free).

We’ve requested a “time certain” of 4 PM so that is the earliest our case will be heard. However, it may be much later – there is no way to predict the exact time our case will be heard.

Agenda for August 4 – draft Elysium Park rezoning ordinance (PDF, 3 pgs)

Sign up to speak & donate your time

We need help at the 8/4 hearing – our speakers will need more than the allotted 3 minutes per person. We need others to sign up to speak and then donate their time to our planned speakers. The catch: the person donating time must be present to acknowledge they are donating their time when the speaker walks to the podium. Our case could be at 4:00 or much later (even very late, as happened at the Zoning & Platting hearing). There is no way to predict when our case will be called.

To be sure our speakers get slots, we are signing up on Monday August 1 at noon.

If you are willing to attend and donate time to our speakers, please email your first and last name, address, phone and email address to northwoodvicepresident@gmail.com and cc northwoodsecretary@gmail.com no later than Sunday July 31.

Contact Council Member Pool before August 4!

Email or call Council Member Pool and the City’s project manager (details here)

Be at City Hall on Aug. 4 from 4 PM until ?

Our Neighborhood Association officers, zoning committee chair and several others plan to speak at the August 4 meeting. We need everyone to attend to show our support and to donate time! Each speaker is limited to 3 minutes unless another person who is present has signed up to speak and donate their time. An important detail: the person who is donating time must be present when we speak… no matter how late it is. 

Your presence is important even if you are not speaking or donating time. We will all wear tree name tags and, when asked by one of our speakers, everyone will stand to show support against the apartments. Council members DO take note of how many citizens attend the hearings.

Carpooling available

We are arranging carpooling: if you need a ride or are leaving from Northwood and can carry passengers, please contact Lynn, 512.341-8989.

MF-4 rezoning application not dependent on this project!

The 80-90 Elysium Park apartments are planned to include reduced rents, aka affordable housing units, thus they have requested 9% Housing Tax Credits (HTCs) from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. This is very competitive and there is no guarantee that the Elysium Park project will get the HTCs. Their project manager has stated that if they do not get the HTCs they will withdraw the project. But that does NOT mean the rezoning application is withdrawn.

Even if the Elysium Park project is canceled, the rezoning to MF-4 continues unless the requestor cancels it. Thus, if the City Council votes for this MF-4 rezoning, another developer could build several hundred market rate rent apartments – as many as the site will handle – on this land.

August 11 – the deciding vote / valid petition

The first reading and vote is on August 4; the public can speak for and against the rezoning.

During the August 11 meeting the second and third readings and votes are scheduled. The third reading’s vote decides the results. We need to attend to show our support. The good news… we have a “valid petition” (at least 20% of property owners within 200 ft of the tract signed a petition against the rezoning). At the third reading, because of the valid petition we only need 3 Council members to vote against it to stop the rezoning.

Contact Council Member re apartments rezoning

The first hearing / reading of case C14-2016-0023.SH Elysium Park, which proposes to rezone the undeveloped 7+ acres at 3300 Oak Creek Drive, located between the Pegasus Drive back yards and Walnut Creek/ MoPac Self Storage, is scheduled for August 4, 2016. Details on the hearing.

Contact City Council

AT LEAST once between now and the August 4 Council meeting, please call AND email our City Council Member Leslie Pool, Leslie.Pool@austintexas.gov, 512.978-2107.

Please also send ONE email to these Council members (emails addresses below).

In all emails cc the Zoning Project Manager Sherri Sirwaitis, Sherri.Sirwaitis@austintexas.gov  and NorthwoodSecretary@gmail.com so we can track the emails.

Email addresses

Please contact our Council Member Leslie Pool at least once now AND again between August 1-4.  Leslie.Pool@austintexas.gov; see below for the recommended subject line and other details.

Contact these Council Members once:
Steve.Adler@austintexas.govOra.Houston@austintexas.gov, Pio.Renteria@austintexas.govDon.Zimmerman@austintexas.gov,
Ellen.Troxclair@austintexas.govSheri.Gallo@austintexas.gov

cc Sherri.Sirwaitis@austintexas.gov,  NorthwoodSecretary@gmail.com

Email and phoning details

When emailing, include “opposed to C14-2016-0023.SH Elysium Park” as the subject. CC the Project Manager so your email is in the packet all Council Members receive and CC NorthwoodSecretary@gmail.com so we can track the emails.

Call Leslie Pool at 512.978-2107; if leaving a message include your name, that you live in (or near) Northwood and oppose the Elysium Park apartments at the start of your message, then add any details you wish.

When emailing or calling state that you are opposed to the rezoning and give reasons for your opposition. Focus on issues such as

  • increased risk of flooding – Oak Creek Drive it has been flooded twice recently and there was even a water rescue. The additional impervious cover of the apartments will increase the risk of flooding nearby and downstream by homes already in the flood plain
  • safety
    • reaching any business such as grocery, restaurant or bus stop on foot requires walking along an unprotected sidewalk next to the high speed frontage road traffic and crossing unprotected right turn lanes.
    • the location is close to railroad tracks; vehicles that want to turn onto Oak Creek Drive must often stop on the frontage road while waiting for the train to pass; adding more residents will only increase this danger.

 

 

 

Meeting: Apartments update June 20

Please attend the neighborhood June 20 meeting at the United Christian Church, 3500 W. Parmer. The doors will be open at 6:00, the official meeting is from 6:30 – 7:00. We arranged it like this so neighbors who are coming home around 6:00 but can’t stay until 6:30 can stop by and get an update.

At the meeting we will get everyone up to date on the current status of the project, expectations of what will happen over the next several weeks, some basic strategies for continuing the opposition, what the everyone can do and when (such as the most effective time to email Council Member Leslie Pool).

Hope to see you there!

Zoning & Platting Commission results; next steps

Our rezoning case, C14-2016-0023.SH Elysium Park, was finally heard on May 17. “Finally” because another very controversial case before us took a very long time. The meeting began at 6 PM; our case was not called until 10:30 PM. The Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the MF-4 zoning with some changes (detailed below) at 11:45 PM. This is a recommendation;  City Council will make the final decision.

Next steps

The zoning case will be scheduled for a City Council meeting; date to be determined. We have a “valid petition” – over 20% of owners  of property surrounding the tract have signed a special petition against the rezoning. Because of this, 75% of City Council (9 members) must vote for the rezoning for it to become effective.

If 75% of the Council members do vote for the rezoning, there will be 2 additional readings. Public testimony is always accepted at the first reading; at the second and third readings public testimony is only allowed if a Council member wants it.

The TDHCA announces the preliminary housing tax credit awards at the end of July (“preliminary” means if a developer doesn’t meet all requirements, such as obtaining the required zoning, the award is revoked).

The developer has agreed to request that the third rezoning reading be delayed until August and has stated to us and (more importantly) at the Z&P hearing that if they do not get the 9% housing tax credits from TDHCA they will cancel the project. if they do not received the award, they will withdraw the rezoning application.

Attend City Council meeting, contact our Council member

The neighborhood workgroup is continuing our opposition to the apartments. Once the City Council meeting has been scheduled, we will ask that everyone contact our Council Member Leslie Pool to let her know of our opposition. Contacting her within a week or two of the meeting rather than much earlier will have a greater impact. We will let everyone know through NextDoor, Facebook and signs.

Z&P meeting details; latest project changes by developer

Video of our hearing (we are item C4; click on that to skip the earlier cases)

Many thanks to everyone who attended, and especially to those who were able to remain until midnight! To show support or opposition, attendees completed a comment card. Before the vote, the Commission chair read the list of names of everyone who attended and opposed the rezoning; it was a lengthy list. When our closing speaker asked everyone who opposed the apartments to stand, over 40 people stood up! Although they didn’t vote as we wished, the Commissioners did take note of how many people attended and remained until midnight.

Developer’s last-minute changes, which were approved by the Commissioners, included

  • most of the parking will be under the buildings, at street level (like a carport)
  • 75 ft setback from the Pegasus back yards, Oak Creek and the north side and 100 ft. from the critical water quality zone (outside the border of the streambed)
  • 3 buildings in a U shape with the bar of the U at the northern side. Revised site layout (looking down) and building elevation (street view)
  • the western building (closest to Pegasus) will be no higher than 35 ft
  • the bar of the U (north building) will be 42 ft tall and the eastern building will be 52 ft
  • a maximum of 30% (of the 7.1 acres) impervious cover

The developer stated that they plan to build 80 units and told us they are willing to accept a conditional overlay (modification to the zoning category) to limit the maximum units to 90.

 

Attend Apts. Zoning and Platting hearing May 17

The Zoning & Platting Commission public meeting is scheduled for May 3  May 17 at 6 PM at Austin City Hall,  Cesar Chavez and South 1st St, Austin, TX 78701 (map). It has been rescheduled from May 3.

On May 17 after both the developer and the neighborhood present their reasons for and against the rezoning, the Z&P Commissioners will vote on this rezoning application. May 17 meeting agenda and details page – agenda (all cases) – staff report and recommendation on the rezoning (PDF)

Once the Z&P decides, the case goes to the City Council. The Council decides to grant or deny the rezoning. The earliest Council meeting where the case may be heard is mid June; we will update with details when we have them.

Even if the Zoning & Platting Commissioners vote against the rezoning, it goes to the City Council; with a negative vote from Zoning & Platting, the City Council must pass by 75% vote rather than a simple majority.

We need EVERYONE to attend on May 17 and show opposition to the rezoning! You can simply be there to show opposition, sign up to speak for 3 minutes if you wish or sign up and donate your 3 minutes to another speaker. We will be in the lobby with tree tags to identify everyone who is attending to oppose the rezoning.

If you are unable to attend (and even if you are), please contact Sherri Sirwaitis of the Planning & Zoning Department. She can be reached by email or phone. Her email is sherri.sirwaitis@austintexas.gov and phone number is 512-974-3057. Please refer to Case # C14-2016-0023.SH.

Z&P hearing procedures

The Commission shall use the following order of procedure for public hearings:

  1. Chair announces requests
  2. Staff presents a summary of the case
  3. Chair calls on those favoring the request
    1. Applicant’s presentation five (5) minutes each
    2. Others favoring the request three (3) minutes each
    3. The names of anyone favoring the request who did not sign in to speak are read into the record
  4. Chair calls on those opposing the request
    1. Primary presentation five (5) minutes
    2. Others opposing the request three (3) minutes each
      A speaker may donate time to another speaker if he or she is present when the speaker begins to address the Commission. No speaker can testify for over fifteen (15) minutes without the consent of the Commission.
    3. The names of anyone opposing the request who did not sign in to speak are read into the record.
  5. Applicant is given an opportunity to answer objections stated three (3) minutes
  6. Staff summation and questions from the Commission
  7. A vote is taken to close the public hearing and no further testimony is taken from the public.
  8. Speaking times in any of the above instances may be extended by the Chair without objection of the Commission.

The officers and Zoning Committee chair will speak and would appreciate others signing up to speak and donating their time; if you wish to speak; be sure to sign in. Please email northwoodna@gmail.com if you are attending and willing to donate time to a speaker.

Parking

City Hall is between Guadalupe and Lavaca. There is parking under City Hall, the entrance is on the west side (Guadalupe) which can be validated by a City staff member.

Carpooling

if you are need a ride or are driving from Northwood and can carry neighbors, please call our carpool coordinator Lynn, 512.341-8989. (Provide your name, phone number and address and if you are driving or need a ride) Another option: comment on NextDoor under the Zoning hearing carpooling post. Include if you need a ride or are driving (allow at least 45-60 minutes to reach City Hall from Northwood).

Tip: to find that post again, bookmark it. To show your bookmarked posts, click the dropdown by your name in the top right corner.dropdown display for adding a bookmark or sending a private message on NextDoor

Details about Rezoning Process

For details about the rezoning process, read the minutes of the April 9 general meeting

 

 

April 12 TDHCA Housing Tax Credits meeting results

On April 12 the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the agency that manages the Housing Tax Credits application process and awards, held a hearing in Austin to gather comments from individuals and groups about projects that have applied for housing tax credits, including the apartments planned for Oak Creek Drive.

TDHCA Finance Director Marni Holloway opened the meeting by stating that the purpose was to gather public comments for the TDHCA board (none of the board members were present). All comments were recorded; attendees were asked to sign in and indicate if they were in favor of, opposed to or neutral on a specific project.

About 20 Northwood neighbors traveled to the hearing that was held at 1701 Congress at 6 PM. Three neighbors, including two of the officers, spoke against the apartments, describing the concerns and dangers of additional traffic, poor and unsafe location for apartment residents (close to the train, distant from grocery and other businesses), increased flooding risk and the issues with the geology of the land (karst – probable underground voids may make it too costly to build multistory buildings).

Place 6 Council Member Zimmerman was present and spoke. He shared some of his objections to the process: to award the housing tax credits the TDHCA has developed a scoring system. The builders can get points by meeting certain criteria but if a neighborhood opposes the project, there is no way to deduct points. And if the City Council endorses the project, that adds points but if the City Council objects, no points are removed.

Many thanks to all who made the trip to the hearing – here’s an after meeting photo of some of the neighbors who made the trip (others had already departed).neighbors after TDHCA hearingc

Contact TDHCA by June 12!

If you have not yet done so, please email Multifamily Finance Division Director Marni Holloway, marni.holloway@tdhca.state.tx.us and Competitive Housing Tax Credit Administrator Sharon Gamble,  sharon.gamble@tdhca.state.tx.us to express your opposition.

We are tracking the number of emails; please notify northwoodtreasurer@gmail.com – either cc that address  when you send the email to Ms. Holloway and Ms. Gamble or send a separate email.

When writing the mail, please include the following:

  1. Use the subject line “Opposition to Elysium Park, application number 16161.”
  2. Include your home address.
  3.  Let them know you are against the proposed housing development Elysium Park, application number 16161 at 3300 Oak Creek Dr in Austin, TX.  Let them know the site is not appropriate for apartments; include as much detail as you wish. Ask them to not grant the tax credits to this project.

Details you may want to mention include:  the location is unsuitable because of possible increases in flooding nearby and downstream, this part of Austin geology sits on limestone and karst which often has caves and underground voids; this geology would not be suitable for heavy multi story buildings. Additionally, there are only 2 usable streets to enter and exit this area; apartments would add more traffic to the nearly 860 homes that already use these two streets.

April 9 Neighborhood meeting

Want to learn the latest on the apartments and other topics? Attend the Northwood Neighborhood Association’s meeting on Saturday April 9 at the United Christian Church, 3500 W. Parmer (just east of Tamarack).  We begin at 1:00. Residents of nearby neighborhoods are also invited.

We will cover general business, discuss the latest on the requested rezoning of the undeveloped section of Oak Creek to MF4 so that apartments can be built (see the apartments links for details), accept dues payments and donations to the legal and research fund, and talk about ways that everyone can get involved.

Representatives from Council Member Leslie Pool’s office will be present to answer questions.