The following are notes extracted from a draft of the meeting minutes:
The Allandale Neighborhood Association (ANA) General Membership meeting was held on Thursday, September 23, 2010, at Covenant Presbyterian Church.
Diane Swinney gave the following Treasurer’s report: $15,362.43 deposit accounts; $6,820.22 non-profit business; $6,537.20 business savings; and $2,005.01 CD (12-17 months).
Cynthia Keohane, who represents ANA on the Austin Neighborhood Council (ANC), provided a general background on the comprehensive plan. ANC is stepping up efforts to press for single-member districts (with 2 mega members) in City Council.
Neighborhood Safety Coordinator Laura DiCarlo introduced Austin Police Department District Representatives Rolando Gutierrez and Josh Metteauer, who lead a general discussion on area burglaries. These crimes are typically easy to commit but hard to solve. A common entry cited was pet doors; the officers highly recommend that homeowners not have them. Other recommendations included “No Solicitation” signs and alarm systems. The difference between 311 (non-emergency) and 911 (emergency) calls was discussed. Also discussed were concerns as to whether municipal judges are upholding the law, specifically with regard to criminal trespass. Donna Beth noted that these judges are appointed by City Council; she encouraged members to engage the City Council with concerns. A question/answer session followed.
The next presentation was by Paul Tomasovic, Assistant Division Manager for Code Compliance. Paul oversees field operations in North and West Austin, including investigations of vacant properties, dangerous buildings, rental property maintenance, and zoning. There is an ongoing effort to standardize code across cities/states. Paul noted that unkempt properties attract crime. He discussed the investigative process: violations are pursued via verbal education/warning, written notice and certified mail with timeline of 7 to 14 days (30 days for commercial properties). Call 311 to make a report (always ask for the Service Request Number in order to follow-up). He also discussed issues relating to short-term (<30 days) property rentals and the need to reconcile City and State code; currently, there is no city ordinance to address the legality of these short-term rentals.
Carol Gibbs, City of Austin’s Neighborhood Advisor, gave a short presentation next. Carol’s position is new (18 months). The position was created in response to public request for staffing with the sole purpose of helping neighborhood associations deal with the City, specifically with regard to development-related issues.
The election of new ANA Executive Committee Members, led by Diane Swinney, followed Carol’s presentation. The following ANA members were elected: Cynthia Keohane was elected President. Cynthia is a current ANA EC member and Austin Neighborhood Council area representative and sector lead; her term-limit is in January 2011. Karen Knight was elected Secretary. Karen is a dentist; a 20+ year ANA resident with home on Cary Drive. Rob Robinson was elected to the Executive Committee (EC). He is a 35-year ANA resident with home on Pembrook Trail. His interests include zoning and astronomy. Sara Sternberg was also elected as an EC member. Sara is a former City of Austin staff member. She resides on Carleen Drive.