Meeting Minutes from May-07-2018

Minutes from the May 7th quarterly meeting are now available.

Topics include:
  • Highland Happenings: waste water upgrade project update
  • Austin 3-1-1
  • Updates from APD Baker 3 District Representative Officer Beldin
  • New RNA Mailing List Update
  • Danielle Skidmore Candidate for Austin City Council – District 9
  • Travis Flats Update

Read the full minutes in PDF format.


Meeting Minutes from Sep-19-2016

Meeting started at 7:03pm – Minutes from meeting on June Meeting accepted (end of this meeting)

Travis County Presentation

Mark Gilbert and Karen Thigpin with Travis County are contacts for this project and kicked off the presentations.

Previous presentation was given in October of 2015; Travis County is currently in purchasing negotiations with the developers. See attached overview and slides for more details.

Below are the architects and developers on this project.

The mixed used residential portion of the building will provide meeting space for Ridgetop Neighborhood. Nelson Partners will look into rainwater collection system. Building will be under Austin Green Energy program.

You can watch the video of the presentation by selecting “video” for the September 6, 2016 meeting date and then clicking on Item 32.

The parking garage will be in the center of the building complex and will have housing and retail surrounding the garage blocking visibility. There are planned 350 parking spots for residents and Travis County employees. Entry and exit will be separate with flow going onto 53 ½ Street with direction exit toward Airport.

DMA is working with Travis County offering affordable housing to it employees at this site.

Suggested a traffic study for 53 ½ Street and working together with Ridgetop Neighborhood, TxDot and Travis County Planning team to improve traffic flow and safety in our neighborhood.

Commissioner Court Precinct 1 is supporting this project.

Draft timeline is attached. DMA is hopeful to have multi-living starting mid-year 2018.

Treasurers Report

$654 in the bank after dues and crawfish boil

$10 dues are yearly and can be paid at the below link:

Austin Community Tree Program

Important Dates and events

On September 17th trained volunteers canvased the entire neighborhoods (Northfield and Ridgetop) and identify locations where new trees would be appropriate. Locations were flagged and door hangers with instructions for opting into this program were left at the homes

October 1st: Last day to contact the city to opt in and request your tree(s). This establishes the number and types of trees the city will provide so it’s very important that home owners call in.

October 28th (Friday): trees and mulch are transported to Ridgetop Elementary.

October 29th (Saturday): “THE BIG DAY”. 100 volunteers, pick-up trucks, breakfast tacos, coffee, shovels, and people with clipboards…… all comes together and we distribute and plant up to 400 trees on that day.


1) We need a lot of volunteers and community engagement. There are many types of volunteering options on several dates. Kris Schludermann is the volunteer coordinator. Volunteer for the Oct. 29 tree distribution day. We will be soliciting volunteers at UT Austin and other locations, but a big neighborhood draw would be very helpful.

2) Tree types: Tall trees are: Pecan, Bur Oak and Texas Ash. Understory trees are Possumhaw Holy, Red Bud, and Mountain Laurel. Please see attached door hangers for more details.

3) Essentially all open land can receive a tree assuming it meets the requirements (i.e., A tree could survive there). We need to solicit permission from owners, and this could take some leg work. Look around the neighborhood, and if there are obvious locations you think trees would benefit the neighborhood, please contact the owners and make them aware of this program. In the case of renter homes and apartments, we should engage the tenants early to contact the property owners. One efficient scenario is to contact owners of multiple properties. My take on this is: if there is a location that you really want a tree, your leg work will help accomplish this.

4) Houses will need to be surveyed by Austin 8-1-1 for buried pipes PRIOR to October 29th. This is necessary for the volunteers to be able to dig in yard.

5) Owners of the trees do accept the responsibility of maintaining and watering the trees so the trees will establish. But all the work of planting the trees can be done by trained volunteers on October 29th.

Meeting Adjourned at 8:20pm

Meeting Minutes from Jun-20-2016

Meeting opened at 7:03p by President Lisa D

-Introductions from all attendees

-Call for volunteers- although we try to keep the work as minimal as possible, we are sorely in need of some volunteers. There are always opportunities for volunteers, whether it is task specific or general involvement. Shoot us a message on our website if you are interested.

-Officer nominations/election:

President: Lisa D

VP: Meredith B

Morningside Sector VPs: Geri and Matt P

Harmon Sector VP: Jenica

Treasurer: Billy P

Secretary: Ann P

Motion made by Lisa D and seconded by Kim H to for a straight up and down vote rather than voting on each officer nomination. The nominations were unanimously approved.


Lisa D

-Hixon Storage at roughly 56th 1/2 and the frontage road has undergone demolition of the old structure and is proceeding according to schedule.

-The Alcove project at 51st and 35 has removed a story from their building plans, will be 32’ high, with the same aesthetics. Breaking ground in Sept.

-Travis county development at 53rd 1/2 and airport: currently reviewing finalist proposals, will hopefully have more information and neighborhood outreach on that once proposal is accepted.

-Manos de Cristo has some homeless camper issues at night according to nearby residents, Lisa D will reach out to Manos to ask for “No Trespassing” signs to be posted in order to allow APD enforcement. Also requesting more information on construction timeline.

-Discussion of history and several current projects involving/affecting 53rd 1/2 St traffic, speeding, roundabouts, and sidewalks, and other traffic mitigating options

-City of Austin and Tree Folks will be giving away tons of trees to north loop this summer. The North Loop Contact Team will be meeting to assist in coordinating this effort. Stay tuned for more updates.

Meeting Minutes Dec-14-2015

Location: Ridgetop Baptist Church

7pm Lisa D’Augustine opened the meeting. 9 members in attendance

Neighborhood updates

51st Street aesthetics 
This effort has been in process for over 2 years. RNA was able to send one person from our neighborhood.
  • Small group participating from nearby neighborhoods. 15 people from COA, TxDot, etc.
  • First 1.5 hours—orientation shared before at other public meetings
  • 51st, Mueller, Windsor Park photos and people selected road elements
  • 1 developer from Mueller
  • Topics discussed
    • Art elements
    • Trees and ground cover
    • Hard surface recommendations, including pavers
  • Want to finalize the plans and start construction between March and July
  • All citizens are encouraged to send feedback to Karen Lorenzini (—but this needs to be submitted right away.
  • Clint will summarize the meeting and post relevant documents to
53 1/2 Street roundabouts–Billy
  • Placed on Tuesday. Already some pins knocked down. Large trucks can no longer pass through there.
  • This is a proof of concept to determine if they help the community. If we decide we want them to be permanent, we’ll need to work with the city to secure funding.
  • Speed is significantly slower. Lots of honking, especially when several people arrive at the same time. It will take time to know which challenges will change with time and which issues will be more long term. Could we find a driver’s ed video for a 1-lane roundabout and post. Pedestrian safety is also diminished.
  • Billy will provide some initial feedback to the city. E.g. people taking left turns. Will inquire about replacing poles. 12/16/15 update: signs placed.
  • Martha raised a question about people parking too close to the intersection. Clint suggested call to 311 and report it as an issue. They will eventually send a traffic engineer to assess; then, they place the signs. This can be a 6-month process.

Websites and social media

The discussion to consider archiving the Yahoo site was postponed to the next business meeting. It was suggested that we consider that Yahoo will send the full message for a given post, whereas Nextdoor only offers and link.
Open discussion for generating ideas for increasing membership, revenue, and participation. Summary of key points and suggestions.
  • There will always be a percentage of people who feel that we are not communicating enough. When we vote on things to determine letters of support. How do we get a roster that we can use to reach out people in order to collect votes on key issues and to pay their dues? This list would be used only by officers. Reach out once yearly to confirm still living here and remind the resident to pay their dues.
  • Clint suggested that we assemble a roster that would only be used by the President to reach out via email/phone to encourage them to offer they votes on key issues.
  • Lisa B suggested we should also remind members that they can give their written proxy to fellow RNA members.
  • It was also suggested that, maybe once per year, we send out a direct mailer or newsletter to keep people informed.
  • Martha suggested once yearly a streamed “State of the Neighborhood” meeting
  • Lisa B suggested we could also communicate in newsletter or something similar the processes for participation.
  • Next Step: Lisa D and Lisa B will update the roster.

Upcoming meetings

  • January Social: in 2nd week of January, TBD
  • January meeting with Council Member Greg Casar—Lisa D. is working with his staff to secure a date
  • February 22, 7 pm: Next regular RNA business meeting

Meeting Minutes Oct-19-2015

The meeting was opened by RNA President Lisa D’Augustine at 7:04.  There were 23 members in attendance. There were three guests–Cindy Black from the Northfield neighborhood; and, Mark Gilbert and Karen Thigpen from Travis County.

Upcoming meeting dates

Lisa D’Augustine announced the dates for the next 4 RNA meetings. Each of these meetings will be held at 7 pm in one of the classrooms at Ridgetop Baptist Church, located at 708 E. 51st St. PLEASE NOTE: due to holidays, the December and April meetings are not on the 3rd Monday of the month.

  • December14th @7pm
  • February 22nd @7pm
  • April 18th @7pm
  • June 20th @7pm

Treasurer’s report

Megan Gilbride reminded the members that dues are voluntary and that the suggested donation is $10. Our current account balance is $645.11 Due can be mailed to Megan at 923 E. 49th ½ St. or through our website:

Presentation by Cindy Black, NLPT member

Cindy’s child attends Ridgetop Elementary.  She has been advocating for pedestrian improvements for the intersection of 51st and Airport and the area near the school. Has applied for a grant and fee-in-lieu (currently $39,000 in that account). The community needs to tell the city them what it wants to do with those funds. All affected neighborhood associations need to provide a letter of support. Project costs $103,000. Could be 70-30 or 50-50 city-community match. She has informed as many people as possible who live within 300 feet of the school. A vote was held and approved a letter of support for the request.

Proposed amendment to bylaws

A clear supermajority of the members in attendance voted to amend the bylaws, moving the annual election to May of each year.

Presentation by Travis County staff on proposed development at 53 ½ and Airport

County representatives. Mark Gilbert and Karen Thigpen. Last time they addressed the RNA membership was December 2012.

  • Current concept for the 3 acres on the south end of the property, providing office space for growing departments—Health and Human Services, tax offices—61,000 sq ft needed. Will only about 1/3 of the site. 65 -55-45 foot cascading height limit across the site.
  • Higher density is a better return on investment for city tax dollars. Mixed income housing, mixed use.
  • Want developers to propose a variety of ideas in terms of best serving the community. County will lease the land to developers.
  • Board of directors will be the Travis county commissioner’s court.
  • Have drafted a RFQ. This concept is new to Central Texas, but is being done in other communities.
  • Market rate and affordable housing. Will include community space. Most of the 1st floor will be needed for the county office. Maybe only 1 small retail site. It is possible to develop a process that requires community input.

Question: Can the RFQ include a mention about traffic calming measures. Karen described a two step process and they do expect developers to suggest ways to address traffic and parking concerns in their proposals.

For questions or comments email Mark Gilbert and Karen Thigpe

53 ½ St. traffic issues.

Billy Poe, Morningside Sector Vice President, provided some history on the project–TxDOT had considered 52th, 53rd and 53 ½ would be closed off from the I-35access road. But since they are city streets, this was not possible.

So, he and other RNA member started working directly with COA representatives. Transportation department provided info about speed study from March 2014. At 85 percentile of cars/minute, the average speed was 27 MPH. Based on that data, they did not believe there was a significant issue on 53 ½.

New count in recent weeks– am traffic peak hour indicated 362 cars west bound from the access road. Also provided accident history. 3 year period there were 3 accidents.

The city supports traffic circles at Bennet and at Harmon. This new attitude is an improvement. They will put up plastic delineators and remove the stop signs as an experiment to determine the impact to traffic and to gather neighborhood feedback. These are currently marked on the pavement with paint. This is not a permanent solution. If we want it to continue with the traffic circles, they will involve the neighborhood partnering program.

Downsides: Neighbors on those corners would lose a parking space. Noise from braking and accelerating, especially initially.

Neighbors request that the No Trucks sign be placed again at the end East end of 53 ½ St.

Additional information from the city: During the 51st traffic circle build-out, TxDot might temporarily close 53 ½ and advocate the right turn improvements be early-stage project; We should continue to communicate with Travis County to be clear about traffic impacts once they get going on that project.

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Meeting Minutes Aug-17-2015

Lisa D’Augustine opened the meeting at 7:00pm at Ridgetop Baptist Church. There were 6 attendants.

The RNA account balance was not reported and will be followed up on to be reported at the next meeting.

  • No new Travis County public/private venture updates- Billy
  • Bullfight expected opening on Labor Day with ~17 self park spaces and ~20 valet spaces- Clint
Additional Topics
  • If there is interest in a neighborhood information session regarding variance applications for neighborhood zoning compliance (discussed in relation to out of code garages, specifically), please contact a RNA officer.
  • Lisa led a discussion with group support to vote on amending the RNA by-laws to move officer elections from January to May for upcoming and subsequent elections. This change is intended to allow new officers time to become experienced in handling development requests before the most common filing period. This will be voted on during the October meeting.
  • The new RNA website is progressing:
  • COA conducted a traffic volume study on 53rd ½ and is planning on conducting a speed study next
  • A social meet up has tentatively been scheduled as the next NA event for September 20th in the afternoon with details to follow.

Meeting Closed at 8:15 pm by Lisa D’Augustine

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