Tovo invites Heritage to CodeNEXT meeting

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: “Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, City of Austin”
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2017 5:26 PM
Subject: CodeNEXT District 9 Open House Invitation

Dear District 9 Neighbors,
Please mark your calendars for June 3 for an important meeting about CodeNEXT and District 9.
As many of you know, City staff and consultants released the CodeNEXT draft Code and maps in recent weeks; both the proposed Code and the proposed maps could prompt significant land use changes in most District 9 neighborhoods.
On June 3, 2017, City staff will host a CodeNEXT Open House at City Hall from 10:00 AM – 12:00 p.m., and I hope you will attend.
As we approach June 3rd, please visit to learn more about CodeNEXT, to read the proposed land use code, and to view the proposed maps. You can also find links on that page for online commenting and to schedule office hours to ask city staff questions about the proposals. City staff has asked for draft comments on the CodeNext text to be submitted by June 7, 2017, and draft map comments the following month.
If you have specific feedback for City staff and the consultants about the proposed Code or the mapping, please also feel free to copy my office ( so that I am also aware of your feedback.
This new Code has the potential to impact every Austinite for years to come. Please come prepared with feedback, ideas, and questions for the CodeNEXT City staff.
Now is the time for community involvement and engagement. Thank you in advance for your important participation.
Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo
Council Member District 9

City Hall, 301 West 2nd St Parking Information:
You can park for free in the City Hall garage in any non-reserved spots; just bring your ticket in with you so that we can validate it. The garage entrance is located on Guadalupe between 2nd and Cesar Chavez. You may take the steps or the elevator to the ground floor.

Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, City of Austin | 301 West 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701

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Kindness and noise in Heritage

Our Heritage neighbor Richard Whittington put together this helpful information about the City of Austin’s noise and sound guidelines to distribute on his block, and offered to let it be shared with the neighborhood at large. 
With increased urban density in central Austin, it is useful to
know what your rights are pertaining to noise and what you can do about it.
Of course, the best strategy for dealing with noise issues is to get to know all your neighbors and to politely inform them if noise is a problem. Using kindness and compassion in every interaction can go a long way in solving almost every problem including noise issues. Keep in mind, our neighborhood has a mix of students, professionals, and retirees in both rental properties and owner occupied residences and condominiums. Everyone has different tolerances for noise and different requirements for rest, relaxation and sleep. Trying to be sensitive to everyone’s needs is key.
Principal elements of the city noise ordinance are as follows.
(A) A person may not: (1) use or permit the use of sound equipment at a business in excess of the decibel limits prescribed by this chapter; (2) make noise or play a musical instrument audible to an adjacent business or residence between 10:30 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
(A) This section applies to property zoned as residential under Section 25-2-32(B) ( Zoning Districts and Map Codes ). (B) A person may not use sound equipment that produces sound audible beyond the property line of a residence in a residential area between 10:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. (C) A person may not use sound equipment audible beyond the property line of a residence in a residential area that produces sound in excess of 75 decibels. Source: 1992 Code Section 10-5-5; Ord. 031023-13; Ord. 031211-11.
75 decibels noise references…
Conversational speech (60 dB); Shower (70 dB); Vacuum cleaner (70-75 dB); Living room music (75 dB); Alarm clock (80 dB); Passing diesel truck (85 dB).
Inexpensive smart phone VU meter apps measuring sound
decibels are an easy way to learn about sound levels.
As a last resort you can call 311 and a city services dispatcher can send a police officer to respond to a noise complaint. The dispatcher might ask if you want to talk to the police or meet the police or have the police report back to you. All you have to say is “no, all I want is for the City of Austin to enforce the noise ordinance”. The police rarely issue citations for noise ordinance complaints. Generally their arrival simply quiets things down.
To learn more about the City of Austin noise ordinance go to:
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Ways to influence CodeNEXT

Community Not Commodity, a grassroots group working to ensure CodeNEXT reflects the wishes of Austin communities, has developed a fact sheet and action plan for individuals and organizations. Click through on the link below to view the PDF. For more information, go to  CommunityNotCommodityCNFactSheet

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Next steps: Heritage and CodeNEXT

From: Gretchen Flatau, HNA President

May 7, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

We had a well-attended meeting of the Heritage Neighborhood Association this past Monday. Our focus for the meeting was to learn more about CodeNEXT and what its impact on Heritage might be. These are some of the issues we discussed:

·        While the city has been working on this for a while the timeline for citizen input is short. The District 9 Meeting hosted by Kathy Tovo to review the plan is June 3rd and comments are due shortly after that. In fact, the Central Austin Neighborhood Planning Advisory Committee (CANPAC) has formerly requested that citizens and neighborhood groups be given more time to review CodeNEXT.

·        While we were promised a simpler, single code, the current proposal keeps the old code for some areas and adds two more types of development codes—one for the more urban areas of town (Transect Zones) and a different code for the suburb areas (use-based zoning). This is not simpler.

·        The proposed  transect zone for Heritage (T4N.SS) is replacing both single and multifamily zoning in the interior of the neighborhood and T4MS is proposed for Guadalupe and Lamar.  The T4N.SS zoning shortens our front setbacks from 25′ to 10′ and allows the “multiplex” use category effectively changing every single family zoned property to multifamily.  The proposed T4MS category for Guadalupe and Lamar prohibits residential uses (no new housing along Guadalupe, does that make sense?).

·        The plan for Heritage does not conform to the neighborhood plan that we are currently operating under. The new plan greatly increases density, allows for smaller setbacks from the street and reduces the amount of parking required in new development.

·        This proposed code will increase the allowed density in the middle of the neighborhood and encourage demolition of existing housing for redevelopment.

Here are ways you can learn more and let the city know how you feel about this code:

1.      Attend the District 9 CodeNEXT Mapping Meeting hosted Mayor Pro Tem  and District 9 Councilmember, Kathie Tovo, at City Hall on June 3rd, 10am to Noon.

2.      You can post comments online about the CodeNEXT text: the deadline is June 6th; go to

3.      You can post comments online about the CodeNEXT maps: the deadline is July 7th, go to .

4.      Take the City survey to evaluate whether the draft code improves the 10 major issues the City has identified. Go to .

5.      Contact Gretchen Flatau at or the Heritage NA at to get more information on getting involved in making sure Heritage continues to be a good neighborhood for everyone.


Gretchen Flatau

President, Heritage Neighborhood Association

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Shoal Creek Trail repair almost complete

The Austin Park and Recreation Department has nearly completed the Shoal Creek trail restoration from 29th to 31st streets and reopened the section after a two-year closure. The city stabilized the stream bank with large limestone blocks and repaired the trail surface that was heavily damaged by flooding and rains in spring 2015.  PARD’s next steps include painting and adding new sections of fence and removing the staging area at 29th & Lamar.  Combined with the HAWK signal light at 31st and Lamar that stops traffic for pedestrians, the length of the Shoal Creek Trail from 31st Street to Pease Park is again easily and safely accessible to Heritage residents.


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May 8: HNA CodeNEXT meeting

The Heritage Neighborhood Associations’ CodeNEXT Working Group will meet Mon. May 8, 2017 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. to examine the impact of the draft code revision on the neighborhood.

If you’d like to attend, contact HNA President Gretchen Flatau at

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New MetroRapid stop coming to Heritage

A new MetroRapid stop will be added by August 2017 at Guadalupe Street and West 31st Street, near Wheatsville Co-op.

From the April 25, 2017 Austin Monitor:

Small change brings big boost to MetroRapid

MetroRapid’s popularity has taken off after a small but significant tweak the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority made in January.

So far in 2017, both lines of the limited-stop service have together seen a 26-percent increase in ridership compared to the same period in 2016.

The service saw its best month ever in March, when the Nos. 801 and 803 were boarded altogether by a record 347,022 passengers. The previous record of 287,177 passengers was posted in October 2016.

The news was delivered to the board of directors at its monthly meeting on Monday afternoon. Staff attributed the positive gains to the fare adjustment the agency implemented in January. Packaged as part of the agency’s new long-term service plan, Connections 2025, the adjustment wiped out the premium fare of $1.75 that passengers paid for each MetroRapid trip and replaced it with the $1.25 the agency charges on the rest of its fixed-route buses.

While ridership did decline somewhat on the locals as passengers switched to the more frequent MetroRapids, the dip did not cancel out the gains made on those two lines.

“After we crunched the numbers, we’re very glad to see that it is a net increase in ridership and not just people moving between services,” Todd Hemingson, vice president of strategic planning and development, told the Austin Monitor.

On the 801 corridor, which is also served by the Nos. 1, 201 and 275, ridership grew by 7.8 percent to 14,486 trips per day.

The news is a rare moment of glory for MetroRapid, which blundered out of the gate amid much hoopla in 2014. The service was sold as a form of bus rapid transit, an enhanced bus line that generally operates at high frequencies in dedicated lanes. However, the premium fare, long distances between stops and minimal use of dedicated lanes (that are shared with regular buses) helped keep ridership below expectations.

The fare adjustment partially corrects that problem, and Capital Metro is planning on additional changes that will likely further boost ridership. As part of the August 2017 service changes the board approved on Monday, the agency will increase daytime MetroRapid frequencies from every 12 to 15 minutes to every 10 minutes. Workers will also fill in gaps along the lines with new stops, including one at Guadalupe Street and West 31st Street, near Wheatsville Co-op.

Hemingson was exuberant about the possibilities.

“I think we’re going to see both corridors quickly exceed what they were pre-MetroRapid,” he said, referring to the peak ridership levels that the new service has yet to reach. “I think we’re going to frankly blow that out of the water when we have the additional stations and the 10-minute headways.”

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