Tom Linehan [Email address: tlinehan #AT# austin.rr.com - replace #AT# with @ ]

It’s been a couple of weeks since the 16-member task force appointed by the City Council to look at development regulations for central city neighborhoods held their first meeting.  Chris Allen, co-president of the Rosedale Neighborhood Association and a member of the Task Force representing North Central Austin, has Development_logo_2provided us an update in the form of a posting to the listserve today (see text of his message below). He also provided us a link to the discussion board that was set up for gathering citizen input. You’ll also find the link under today’s Announcement.

The work of this Task Force is important to Austin’s central city
neighborhoods and is well worth monitoring and providing input. Allandale is
a central city neighborhood. What comes out of this initiative has the
potential for shaping Allandale. The discussion board is seeking
examples of good and bad singl family houses. If you have one in mind,
I encourage you to post it to the board.

"Hi Allandale, Brentwood, Rosedale and Ridgelea Neighbors:

We’re a couple of weeks into the Task Force process to work
out some new regulations for Single Family development, and as a member
of the Task Force representing "North Central" neighborhoods, I
wanted to give you an update and ask for your input.

So far, we’ve been working to iron out some of the kinks in
the Interim Standards adopted by City Council last month. We’ve made some changes to those standards to close some loopholes and address some
concerns from both developers and neighbors, and Council will vote on them this
Thursday.

Now it’s your turn to participate in the discussion! The City has set up an electronic Bulletin Board at: residentialregs.org You can log on and submit photos of "good" and "bad" development in central

Austin,
comment on the process, offer solutions of your own, etc.. We
need this input so we can make informed decisions about what the nature of the problem is, and how we might
solve it.

You’re also invited to come to the meetings, both as a
spectator and participant. There is
more information below on all of the opportunities available for Stakeholder participation.

If you have questions or comments about the concepts, rules
or process, these neighborhood listserv groups are a great way for all
of us to talk as well. I’ll be happy
to answer questions posted at any time.

Thanks!
Chris Allen
Rosedale"

To get you up to speed on this issue, here are links to recent articles in the local papers: Austin American-Statesman ("Austinites up in arms over moratorium over some home construction," and "City seeking a way to avoid fights over bigger houses.") and in the Austin Chronicle, "The Rise of McMansions."  This is not just an Austin issue, however, The New York Time had a related article in this past Sunday’s edition, "There Goes the Neighborhood,"
that likens the process of replacing modest homes in neighborhoods with
small mansions to "building the  residential equivalent of a hummer."

And once you have that perspective, go to the City’s website set up
to cover this initiative. It provides background on the initiative,
related links, and information about upcoming meetings. That is where I
found this link to the Planning Commission’s recommendations on what the task force should consider.
It’s a long list. Coming up with a new floor-to-area ratio is just a
part of what the Task Force is being asked to consider. Again, this is an important  initiative and something very relevant to Allandale as we begin
preparing for the neighborhood planning process. I encourage you to
follow along and contribute.