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by Adam Hammons, Tuesday, September 26th 2017, CBS Austin (KEYE)

"A West Austin neighborhood is fighting to slow down traffic on their own street, and they’re working on their own to get the city’s attention.

There is just one street to get in and out of the Lost Creek neighborhood. Lost Creek Boulevard spans from Loop 360 to Barton Creek Blvd. Homeowners say that street has become dangerous.

“Now we have turned into something akin to a highway,” homeowner Sandy Kerr said.

Kerr lives off Lost Creek, and says speed has become a major problem over the years. Years ago, a teenager rolled over and crashed on the edge of her yard. One teen was killed.
That crash is why she planted a palm tree in the spot where the car went into the yard.

“When you see someone die in your front yard, it makes you creative,” Kerr said. “I just didn’t want to have that happen again.”

Recently, phone apps have brought even more cars on the street. That’s because at times the road can be used as a cut-through to get around traffic on Bee Cave or Loop 360.
That traffic doesn’t include just cars.

“These are vehicles that have no business in a neighborhood,” Kerr said.
Commercial trucks also rumble through the neighborhood. Kerr said they shake her house and she’s seen several 18 wheelers she believes have no business with homeowners in the area.

“I think it’s a big issue, I think it’s a big safety issue for the neighborhood,” Paul Schumann with the Lost Creek Civic Organization said.
Schumann has been working with the City of Austin on ways to slow down traffic. The Transportation Department said it’s been talking with homeowners and is working on a speed mitigation solution.

Schumann also wants to point out how big of a problem is trucks going through the neighborhood. That’s why he’s asked all homeowners to help out.
“I sort of enlisted the neighborhood,” Schumann said.

He’s asked everyone to report if they see a commercial truck on Lost Creek Boulevard. If any look like they have no business in the area, then homeowners can go online, fill out a couple questions and even submit a picture.

Schumann said he’s doing this partly because he doesn’t think the city is going fast enough.

“Trying to get their focus on it is always an issue,” Schumann said.

“We’re hoping that this will give them an incentive to show that we’re really interested in it and here’s what we’ve observed maybe we can convince them to do the study legitimately,” Schumann said.

Schumann would like a sign installed that says no truck traffic.

ATD says the speed mitigation program does not include ways to stop truck traffic. They’re just looking at installing speed bumps or other ways to slow traffic.
Kerr said she will help count truck traffic. She says it adds to a problem she knows all too well.

“If it happened just once it might be a freak accident, but if it has happened time after time after time, then something needs to be done,” Kerr said."

http://cbsaustin.com/news/local/west-austin-neighborhood-fighting-back-to-stop-cut-through-traffic

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Lost Creek Wildfire Simulation

Meeting Announcement

Date: October 5, 2017

Time: 7 pm 

Where: Lost Creek Limited District Building, 1305 Quaker Ridge, Austin, TX 78746

Topic:  Wildfire Simulation with a Simtable,  Logan Scherschel, WUI Specialist, Texas A&M Forest Service

To join the LCCO web site, click here.

New Tech to Help AFD Prepare for Future Wildfires
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by Jorge Rodas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Despite the recent rain, most of west Austin is just a notch below being listed as a very high risk of wildfires.

“In a summer like this summer, the wildfire risk is still high,” said Keri Hines of Texas A&M Forest Service.

Hines’ agency has several Simtables, a high tech tool that allows them to map out wildfire simulations and develop strategies to fight them. With a large sand box and interactive projector overhead, the table simulates the area’s landscape using real-world data.

“The Simtable has really changed the game for training and for mitigation,” she said.

You can adjust wind direction and speed, then ignite a simulated fire. Simtable then projects an image of the fire spreading. Fire agencies use that simulation to create strategies for battling wildfires or look at previous wildfires to review how departments attacked the flames.
“The way that it can project wildfires and their progression just really drives home why we should be prepared,” said Hines.

The Austin City Council recently approved using grant money to purchase Simtable for the Austin Fire Department, but there is no clear timeline for exactly when the department will get it.

To view video, click here.

Simtable Wildfire Simulation Video from Texas A&M Forest Service
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Simtable’s unique training uses interactive agent-based fire modeling, bringing sand table exercises to life in your own high risk areas allowing mitigation and fuels planning in a truly interactive experience.

Texas A&M Video

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Through Truck Survey on Lost Creek Blvd.

As you may already know, we are working with Austin's Traffic Department to make recommendations for calming traffic on Lost Creek Blvd. They have made a presentation to the neighborhood and gathered some comments from people. We are waiting for them to come back to us with a recommendation.

In the meantime, I want to gather some anecdotal information of trucks using Lost Creek Blvd. as a low traffic short cut. Please join in reporting any truck you suspect is not making a delivery or service call in Lost Creek on the boulevard. We will not be able to stop through traffic, like they did at Rob Roy, but we may be able to get the city to make a study of the through traffic and prevent through commercial traffic.

Fill out the survey with as much information as you have or want to give. none of the questions require an answer.

Click here to report a through truck sighting.

Purpose: To estimate the number of trucks driving through Lost Creek

Time: September 2017

Report any truck you may believe is not making a delivery or service call in Lost Creek

Safely gather as much information as you can.

Take a picture if you can.

Complete survey and send picture to paschumann2009@gmail.com

Answer as many questions as you can

Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BKW6C82

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Meeting Announcement September 7, 2017

Meeting Announcement

Date: September 7, 2017

Time: 7 pm 

Where: Lost Creek Limited District Building, 1305 Quaker Ridge, Austin, TX 78746

Topics:  Wildfire Mitigation and Suppression,  Bob Nicks, President, Austin Fire Fighters Association

Other topics to be discussed are: TxDOT Billboards, Dark Skies & Apple Lone Star Design Center, CodeNEXT, Lost Creek Blvd. and upcoming programs.

To join the LCCO web site, click here.

Austin Fire: Map of at-risk wildfire areas still not ready
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by Claire Ricke

AUSTIN (KXAN) — "The sight of rain is good news for firefighters who say the rain will help prevent grass and brush fires.

The Austin Fire Department has been busy trying to get ahead of the threat by clearing out heavy brush. However, there’s one tool in their toolbox that isn’t ready yet. The department was tasked with making a fire map that tells you which parts of Austin are considered to have the highest risk of fire danger. The map was supposed to be finished in October, but it has yet to even be created.



AFD Stations

Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks says AFD had a temporary worker dedicated to helping create this map, but that person left for a permanent job elsewhere. Nicks says as long as that position remains vacant, we won’t see a fire map.

“It’s great that the rain is coming today, but we are talking about a 10-year plan to mitigate risk and does anybody listening to this really think that sometime in Austin’s history we’re not going to have dry weather conditions ripe for wild land fires? Of course we will, that’s undisputed. We’ve gotta have a plan, we’ve got to have it staffed correctly to get that plan, we need to make sure that timeline is satisfied,” says Nicks.

Nicks says he spoke at the Public Safety Commission last week urging the department to make room in the budget for a person to create the map. The fire department says they are working on it themselves, but it’s not ready to share until they brief the city council on it.

CodeNEXT, the city’s Land Development Code, depends on this map. It determines how land can be used throughout the city, including what can be built, where it can be built, and how much can be built. The map will specifically look at the topography of the area, the fuels like grass and brush, flame heights, density, and where development could occur."

KXAN Article and Video

 Austin Wildfire Division
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The Wildfire division addresses the potential threat of wildfires through public education, fuel (vegetation) management and effective firefighting response.

The Wildfire division assists neighborhoods in becoming Fire Adapted Communities through public education by incorporating Firewise principles during community assessments and presentations conducted by our Firewise Program Coordinators.  

The Wildfire division mitigates risk through fuel (vegetation) management by following the National Cohesive Strategy in restoring and maintaining resilient landscapes. This is accomplished through reducing invasive plant species in a variety of methods including mechanical treatments and prescribed fire while preserving our delicate ecosystems.

All uniformed Firefighters for the Austin Fire Department receive S-130/190 Wildland Firefighter Training in accordance with National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) standards.

Web Site

Lost Creek: Wildfire Adapted Community
Develop a knowledgeable and engaged community in which the awareness and actions of residents regarding infrastructure, buildings, landscaping, and the surrounding ecosystem lessens the need for extensive protection actions and enables the community to safely accept wildfire as a part of the surrounding landscape.
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New Smart Phone App for LCCO
The Lost Creek Civic Organization (LCCO) has an app for smart phones. This app makes it easy for you to stay aware of the external issues affecting Lost Creek. The app provides listings of new entries in the LCCO web site (www.lostcreekcivicorganization.org) in six categories - News (blog), CodeNEXT, Marshall Tract, Education, Loop 360, Wildfire and Imagine Austin. It also provides news from the Austin Police and Fire Departments, as well as a calendar of events in Lost Creek. I ask that all Lost Creek non-profit, non-political organizations provide me with their meeting schedules for placement on the calendar. You can access this app on your smart phone through this web address or use of the QR Code shown below:  http://theapp.mobi/lcco9 I'm also trying a Chat feature that allows users online to chat with one another. Let me know if this is useful to you.
QR Code for Smart Phone App
LCCO Is Funded by Contributions
LCCO does not charge membership fees. It is an all volunteer organization with funding of operational expenses through donations. Please click button below to contribute any amount you wish.

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Speak Up Austin

You're invited to participate in a new Project

We have exciting news: The FY 2017-18 Public Engagement Report is now available online!

Thanks to Austin residents like you, this year we have received community feedback on City services and residents’ budget priorities through a multitude of venues. This feedback is documented in detail in the Public Engagement Report and includes:

  • Results from the 2016 Austin Community Survey,
  • Results from the Budget Priority Survey,
  • Summaries of 17 Boards and Commissions meetings,
  • Complete Austin Budget Simulator 2.0 data for both Citywide and District-Level results, and
  • Public comments from Austin Budget Simulator 2.0 participants.

 

To read the full report, please visit the Budget Engagement webpage atwww.austintexas.gov/budget  

 

There’s still time to provide feedback on next year’s budget. The City Council currently is considering the proposed budget, found at https://www.austintexas.gov/financeonline/finance/financial_docs.cfm?ws=1&pg=1. The public is invited to provide feedback at two upcoming City Council meetings at City Hall:

  • 4 p.m. Aug. 17
  • 4 p.m. Aug. 31

 

Thank you for taking the time to help us create a budget that works for you!

 

Join Us! Austin Budget Simulator 2.0 - Results Now Available in FY 2017-18 Public Engagement Report


SpeakUpAustin
Powered by: SpeakUp
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Lost Creek Blvd.: Security and Safety

Meeting Announcement

Date: August 3, 2017

Time: 7 pm 

Where: Lost Creek Limited District Building, 1305 Quaker Ridge, Austin, TX 78746

Topics:  Lost Creek Blvd.: Security & Safety - Mario Porras, Traffic Calming Program, Anna Martin, Area Engineer for Lost Creek, and Laura Dierenfield, Active Transportation and Street Design Division

Other topics to be discussed are: Civic Priorities Survey, Financial Report, Marshall Tract, CodeNEXT and upcoming programs.

To join the LCCO web site, click here.

Lost Creek Blvd.

In the recent survey of civic priorities, respondents most mentioned topic not covered by existing LCCO plans was Safety & Security. Lost Creek Blvd. was cited as a specific concern.

The last traffic data I have on Lost Creek Blvd. was taken in the summer of 2013, not during the school year when traffic is considerably heavier.  Traffic count and speed was measured at two points along the boulevard - Mauna Kea and between Arronimink and Wilson Heights - over a 24 hour period. At Arronimink and Wilson Heights, 26% of the daily traffic of 8,573 exceeded 35 mph, and at Mauna Kea, 14% of the daily traffic of 2,335 exceeded 35 mph (3 cars were clocked at speeds between 65 and 70 mph).

The comparison of average annual traffic counts for intersections with Loop 360 is shown in the graphic below. In 2005, Lost Creek Blvd. has the  second highest traffic at the intersection.

Residents of Lost Creek feel that the traffic on the boulevard is much higher than indicated by these old data, and that people are driving faster. 

The advent of GPS enabled driving assistants is directing more traffic through Lost Creek. The boulevard was never intended to be a thoroughfare.  This behavior is clearly observable.

Not only is the through traffic composed of cars, but delivery and repair  trucks as well. I personally have observed two instances of tanker trucks carrying flammable liquids through the neighborhood.

There are two EISD elementary schools across Loop 360 from the boulevard. Creating a safe passage for kids is a concern of residents as well.  Sidewalks are not completed over Loop 360 and to the schools, and the boulevard does not have a complete set of sidewalks along it on both sides.

To complicate matters, the boulevard is listed as one of Austin's bicycle paths (map below). The boulevard is not marked for bicycles, nor is parking defined.

At the intersection of Lost Creek Blvd. and Barton Creek, there are additional problems. This area has become an unofficial access to Austin's Barton Creek Wilderness Area. The low water bridge is the only access for EMS, police and firefighters vehicles. The City does not own any land around this unofficial access point. The land is owned by individuals and the Lost Creek Limited District. Parking limits access to the trails by emergency vehicles, creates a nuisance for neighbors and facilitates poor behavior by visitors.

In case of a wildfire threatening Lost Creek, the boulevard is the primary way for evacuation. And, it is the only way for emergency vehicles to serve Lost Creek.

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Austin Bicycle Map
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New Smart Phone App for LCCO
The Lost Creek Civic Organization (LCCO) has an app for smart phones. This app makes it easy for you to stay aware of the external issues affecting Lost Creek. The app provides listings of new entries in the LCCO web site (www.lostcreekcivicorganization.org) in six categories - News (blog), CodeNEXT, Marshall Tract, Education, Loop 360, Wildfire and Imagine Austin. It also provides news from the Austin Police and Fire Departments, as well as a calendar of events in Lost Creek. I ask that all Lost Creek non-profit, non-political organizations provide me with their meeting schedules for placement on the calendar. You can access this app on your smart phone through this web address or use of the QR Code shown below:  http://theapp.mobi/lcco9 I'm also trying a Chat feature that allows users online to chat with one another. Let me know if this is useful to you.
QR Code for Smart Phone App
LCCO Is Funded by Contributions
LCCO does not charge membership fees. It is an all volunteer organization with funding of operational expenses through donations. Please click button below to contribute any amount you wish.

Read more…

Traffic Safety Resources for Neighborhoods

  • During ReZoning ask Austin Transportation for Sight Distance limits and Traffic Speed Data to assess 1) the percent of speeders and 2) if drivers have enough sight distance to protect themselves from traffic.
  • Comment in the CodeNext Land Development Code.

  • Imagine Austin states in Vision Zero that safety should be in Land Use Development Standards, but it is missing 

  • Performance-Based Practical Design - if you are into safety and traffic management details you can find a brief overview here.

  • Find Crash data for your area

I have asked the city to provide speaker(s) on this subject for Lost Creek Blvd. for our meeting on August 3rd. Stay tuned for more information.

The latest data I have for traffic on Lost Creek Blvd. was in 2013.

These data were taken by Quality Traffic Data LLC on July 9, 2013 (non school data)

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Survey of Lost Creek Civic Priorities

The Lost Creek Civic Organization (LCCO) is conducting a survey of Lost Creek residents to help establish priorities of civic issues. The survey is in two parts - civic issues for Lost Creek and civic issues for the city that Lost Creek should be involved in. Some topics are suggested in each category for you register your view of its importance and additional spaces are provided for you to write in issues that you think should be a priority.

You may access the survey at this link.

The LCCO is a volunteer based organization with a minimal budget. The number of civic issues facing lost Creek and the city are far more numerous than the organization can handle. Hence, we have to prioritize. If there is an issue you'd like to work on, please contact me.

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Short Term Rentals (STR)

Having a problem with neighbor's STR? Here are some steps you can follow.

First look at your deed restrictions. If you don't have a copy, go to the Limited District web site. (http://lostcreekld.org/default.aspx?section=deed_restrictions)

Second, look at the city of Austin code (https://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Code_Compliance/STRs/Revised_Ordinance.pdf).

Then look at what has been proposed in CodeNEXT (23-4E-4310). That can be found on page 831 of the new land development code. (http://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Planning/CodeNEXT/ALDC_PRD_23_LandDevelopmentCode_Combined_2017_0130_web.pdf)

If the use violates your deed restrictions, then the LCLD can help you. If it violates the city code, report the violation through 3-1-1. If you don't like the new code, you have until Tuesday(6/6/17) to complain. You can use the online tool (https://codenext.civicomment.org/) If you miss that deadline, you'll have to wait until the new land development code is updated. In the meantime, make sure you attend meetings of the Lost Creek Civic Organization. We've been covering these issues for quite a while.

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3-1-1

It appears that the best way to get the city to respond to an individual issue or a neighborhood issue is through 3-1-1. Statistics are kept as are response times. Failure to respond satisfactorily is a lever that can be used by staff and elected officials to help get a problem resolved.

3-1-1 has evolved over time.

In 2001 the City of Austin began using 3-1-1 for Police non-emergency calls. This helped to reduce the number of calls to 9-1-1 so they could concentrate on those calls where either life and /or property were in danger.

In 2003, the idea of expanding 3-1-1 to include additional city services came to reality and 3-1-1 became known as the Citywide Information Center, joining the Austin Energy customer care family.

Then in 2007, the service officially adopted the name Austin 3-1-1.

Today, Austin 3-1-1 provides the citizens of Austin with a simple single point of contact for every City department. Austin 3-1-1 receives over 1 million calls a year producing over 200,000 service request for departments within the City of Austin.

What started as Police non-emergency line for the City of Austin has become a robust Citywide Information Center where ambassadors are available to answer residents’ concerns 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

With a mission to provide uncomplicated access to City services and information Austin 3-1-1 is aligned with the City of Austin’s goal to become the best managed City in the country.

3-1-1 is expanding from just a telephone service to a service that can be accessed though email, online and smart phone apps. According to the 3-1-1 web site:

Our City's All Day, Any Day, Info Center

When you dial 3-1-1, your call is answered by a friendly and knowledgeable City of Austin ambassador. Our ambassadors are always ready to answer any question, or assist with any issue you may have regarding City of Austin departments or services.  Our ambassadors are ready when you are; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Dial 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 now to speak to an ambassador.

Social Media

We want to share more information about Austin 3-1-1 with you. Click below to connect with us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter and Instagram!

 

Austin 3-1-1 Mobile App

On the go and need to report an issue to the City of Austin? Download the Austin 3-1-1 mobile app today! You can report potholes, graffiti, loose dogs, broken street lights and much more with just a few clicks. You can even snap a picture to include with your request. Download the app by going to Google Play or the App Store and searching Austin 311.

You can also check the status of your mobile app Service Request or see other requests that have been submitted through the app.

Online Service Request

Quickly and easily complete a Service Request online for many City of Austin services.

You can also check the status of any 3-1-1 Service Request.

Email

We want to hear what you have to say. To share a concern, comment or compliment about Austin 3-1-1 send us an email.

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District 8 Budget Town Hall

From Council member Troxclair:
Join me this Saturday:
District 8 Budget Meeting 



WHAT: District 8 Budget Meeting
WHEN: Saturday, June 3rd 11am
WHERE: Austin Pizza Garden, 6266 W Hwy 290

Please join me Saturday at this year’s annual District 8 budget meeting. Attending is one of the most important ways that you can impact budget decisions, and your participation helps me demonstrate our District's priorities to budget writers and Council. If you think your taxes are too high or you want your tax dollars spent in a different way, then it is critical to make sure your voice is heard.  Please join me in my efforts to make our city more affordable!

This meeting will be moderated by the city's budget writers, and your feedback is valuable to the budget creation.  We will be using a tool that allows you to choose how to fund a variety of city services and shows in real time how those choices impact your combined annual tax and utility bill. The results from this meeting will help the city’s budget staff set priorities as part of this budget development process.
 
                                            
 
If you can't make the meeting, please take a few moments to submit your feedback using the budget simulator here.
 
***LUNCH WILL BE PROVIDED!  Please RSVP by responding to this email so  we have enough food to go around!

Sincerely,
 

Ellen Troxclair
Austin City Council, District 8
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Lost Creek Civic Organization

2017 Priority Programs

The following programs will be focused on by the LCCO in 2017. Other issues will certainly surface and require responses.

Wildfire Adapted Community

A fire adapted community is defined by the United States Forest Service as "a knowledgeable and engaged community in which the awareness and actions of residents regarding infrastructure, buildings, landscaping, and the surrounding ecosystem lessens the need for extensive protection actions and enables the community to safely accept fire as a part of the surrounding landscape." The National Wildfire Coordinating Group definition, which was developed approved by the Wildland Urban Interface Mitigation Committee, is "A human community consisting of informed and prepared citizens collaboratively planning and taking action to safely co-exist with wildland fire." See A Fire Adapted Community at http://tinyurl.com/zf9f8es for more information.

Las Cimas – Westbank 360 Corridor

High density centers are forming in suburbs. For example the area along 360 between Bee Cave (2244) and Westbank. It has multiple neighborhoods, about 1 million square feet of office space, 3 schools, a fire station, a shopping center, and an athletic/community center. It also incorporates areas of Austin, Westlake and Travis County.

Within this type of center, we need local area transit.

For the section of Loop 360 between Las Cimas Drive and Westbank Drive that all the neighborhoods and businesses on this section, together with EISD, City of Westlake Hills, and Travis County be involved in conceptual design of the improvements to Loop 360.

The improvements should be designed to increase mobility within the corridor and connect the corridor to other areas of the city. Walkability should be a high priority.

Marshall Ranch Project

For the third time, Lost Creek is going to have to engage with a developer and the City of Austin over the Marshall Ranch property on Lost Creek Blvd. Near the entrance to Lost Creek, the tract is zoned for single family housing and will have to be rezoned if it used for any other purpose. The first developer was Cousins Properties. The development failed after neighborhood and some city council members opposition, and the property owners failed to extend the contract to Cousins. The second was a team led by the land owner, Dan Marshall. Their proposed development was acceptable to many residents of Lost Creek. Dan and his sister have instead sold the property to Riverside Resources for development. The plans for their development are currently unknown.

This 38 acre tract of land, the last piece of the Marshall Ranch, has historical significance and has a historical cemetery. It is difficult to develop because the land has steep slopes and has three zoning overlays with severe restrictions – Loop 360 Hill Country Roadway, Barton Springs Zone and Eanes Creek Watershed. In addition, Lost Creek is sensitive to its development because it is bounded on two sides by residential and was never intended for any other use. The peak of the land is the highest point in Lost Creek. Residents fear the development's impact on their homes value, their quality of life, their privacy, and the already congested traffic. There are also concerns about the impact of the new 10+1 city council structure and the new urbanism concepts embedded in CodeNEXT, the new land development code, on the development of land like the Marshall Ranch.

Neighborhood Unity

Lost Creek is a collection of neighborhoods. There are 19 sets of deed restrictions. This has prevented the formation of a homeowners association. Lost Creek has six different nonpolitical organizations:

For Lost Creek to have a homeowner's association(s), all the different deed restrictions would have to merged into one, or 19 different homeowner's associations could be formed. None of the organizations can truly claim to represent Lost Creek on all issues. As result, we lack political, legal and financial power.

TxDOT Billboards on Loop 360

The Texas Transportation Commission should rescind permission for TxDOT to place so called Logo Signs on Loop 360 (actually billboards advertising mostly fast food restaurants) and consider adopting a rule for TxDOT to follow on these logo signs where they are in conflict with local signage laws, especially along designated scenic roadways in the Cities of Austin, West Lake Hills and Rollingwood. Loop 360 is a designated scenic roadway by the City of Austin.

The results1 of the petition to remove the signs to date are:

  • 1,080 signatures

  • 142 different neighborhoods

  • 404 comments (19 pages of single spaced text)

In addition resolutions asking that the signs be removed were passed by:

  • Cities of West Lake Hills and Rollingwood

  • Neighborhood Organizations - Rob Roy HOA, Lost Creek Civic Organization, Barton Creek North Property Owners Association, Davenport Rim Condominium Association, Davenport Ranch Patio Home Owners Association

Moreover, several newspaper articles and a TV new's story have discussed the issue. Social media coverage has appeared on Facebook and a blog.

CodeNEXT

"CodeNEXT" is the name given by the City of Austin to the ongoing total rewrite of the City's land use and building rules, known as the Land Development Code. It will rezone every parcel of land in the city, including allowing uses not previously allowed in many neighborhoods. It will address what can be built, where it can be built, how much can be built, and how it can be used. Our concern, which should be yours, is that the new code not change what Mayor Adler calls the soul and spirit of Austin.

The initial draft was released January 30th. The City staff and consultants have conducted three years of public meetings with individuals and have accepted position papers from organized groups; however, the process did not result in meaningful engagement with neighborhoods or their representatives.

The new code will give new zoning designations to all of Austin, but just where these new zones will be applied is still unknown. Draft zoning maps won't be released until April 18th. There is no process yet for neighborhood input into the mapping process.

In addition to changing the zoning rules, the new code will address a variety of other important rules, such as limits on impervious cover, drainage, landscaping, and tree protection, all of which could have dramatic effects on the safety and quality of life in your neighborhood.

The Planning Department calls the new code "Draft 1". It will be considered first by the Planning Commission and the Zoning and Platting Commission, and there will be citizen comment and input pathways before the Council takes it up later this year. We need to use them to communicate our concerns.

Draft 1 creates two different zoning systems. One creates Transect Zones, and the other creates Non-Transect Zones. There will no longer be SF2 or SF3 lots. Transect lots will have design criteria focusing on the form of buildings. This is called "form-based zoning". The theory is that what a building looks like is more important than what it is used for. Non-Transect lots will not be subject to the design criteria. Both types of zoning will have specific use tables that apply to specific categories.

When the maps are released, it is likely that the suburban lots that are not now "walkable" will have Non-Transect Zoning. Apparently, Draft 1 does not define "walkable" but it is a criteria that the mapping teams will apply in deciding how to zone your property. Except for lots having at least 10,000 square feet, Draft 1 is calling for auxiliary dwelling units to be approved uses in all Non-Transect zones. Some Non-Transect zones will allow duplexes. Today's SF2 zoning allows neither duplexes nor auxiliary dwelling units. SF3 zoning allows both. The closer a neighborhood is to downtown, the greater the chance that it will have Transect zones. If so, allowed uses in some residential zones may include not only duplexes and auxiliary dwelling units, but also cottages, multifamily, and businesses. In all Transect categories, required on-site parking is just one space per dwelling unit.

Read more…

Meeting Announcement May 4, 2017

Meeting Announcement

Date: May 4, 2017

Time: 7 pm 

Where: Lost Creek Limited District Building, 1305 Quaker Ridge, Austin, TX 78746

Topics:  EISD Update, Ellen Balthazar, Eanes ISD Trustee  and New Zoning for Lost Creek: Now What Do We Do?, Paul Schumann

Other topics to be discussed are: TxDOT Billboards on Austin Designated Scenic Roadways, 2017 Projects, Austin Firewise Alliance, Tax Appraisals and upcoming programs.

To join the LCCO web site, click here.

Eanes Independent School District Board of Trustees

School board members, elected from and representing their local communities, are entrusted with the responsibility of policy making and promoting educational excellence for their local school district. In Texas, school board members receive no compensation except the satisfaction derived from rendering an important public service.

School districts, governed by locally elected school boards, are political subdivisions carrying out a state function. The Eanes ISD Board of Trustees, like many Texas school boards, is composed of seven members serving three-year staggered terms so that the entire board is never up for election at the same time.

Because a school board is a governmental body, it can take action only by a majority vote at a legally called public meeting.

New Zoning for Lost Creek
The new zonning map for Lost Creek has been released for review and comment. Now that we know what's been proposed for us, what does it mean and what do we do about it if we don't agree with it?
New Smart Phone App for LCCO
The Lost Creek Civic Organization (LCCO) has an app for smart phones. This app makes it easy for you to stay aware of the external issues affecting Lost Creek. The app provides listings of new entries in the LCCO web site (www.lostcreekcivicorganization.org) in six categories - News (blog), CodeNEXT, Marshall Tract, Education, Loop 360, Wildfire and Imagine Austin. It also provides news from the Austin Police and Fire Departments, as well as a calendar of events in Lost Creek. I ask that all Lost Creek non-profit, non-political organizations provide me with their meeting schedules for placement on the calendar. You can access this app on your smart phone through this web address or use of the QR Code shown below:  http://theapp.mobi/lcco9 I'm also trying a Chat feature that allows users online to chat with one another. Let me know if this is useful to you.
QR Code for Smart Phone App
LCCO Is Funded by Contributions
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LCCO does not charge membership fees. It is an all volunteer organization with funding of operational expenses through donations. Please click button below to contribute any amount you wish.

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New Smart Phone App for LCCO

The Lost Creek Civic Organization (LCCO) has an app for smart phones. This app makes it easy for you to stay aware of the external issues affecting Lost Creek. The app provides listings of new entries in the LCCO web site (www.lostcreekcivicorganization.org) in six categories - News (blog), CodeNEXT, Marshall Tract, Education, Loop 360, Wildfire and Imagine Austin. It also provides news from the Austin Police and Fire Departments, as well as a calendar of events in Lost Creek. I ask that all Lost Creek non-profit, non-political organizations provide me with their meeting schedules for placement on the calendar. You can access this app on your smart phone through this web address or use of the QR Code shown below:  http://theapp.mobi/lcco9 I'm also trying a Chat feature that allows users online to chat with one another. Let me know if this is useful to you.

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Some Thoughts on Affordability

I'm in favor of a data driven definition and analysis of affordable housing. It's clear we have a serious problem when half the households can't afford an average priced home in Austin. Out of curiosity I did an analysis of home sales 79704. I know that this is oversimplifying the issues, but the only real predictors of lower home prices was the age of the home and its size. And, through CodeNEXT and market forces, we are busily destroying the base of "somewhat affordable" homes.

(By the way, one of the tools I used in this analysis was Watson Analytics, a free data analysis tool from IBM. It takes some knowledge to use the tool but makes analytics more broadly accessible.)

I am not in favor of a strong focus on subsidies. To me this does nothing to change the causes of the issue.

I am in favor of exploring new concepts of a home, the use of new technologies to reduce the cost of building a home, the examination of design rules that disproportionately add more cost that societal value, and the permitting of micro homes.

I am in favor of helping the bottom 50% of our households make more money through education, training, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

I am in favor of incentivising the development of enterprises that create jobs suited to the skills and abilities of the lower 50%.

I am in favor of building communities that understand and practice activities that create community wealth.

Attached are copies of my analysis and my comments on the Code Prescription on affordability.

Household%20Affordabilty%20Code%20Prescription.pdf

Analysis%20of%2078704%20Data.pdf

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