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City of Austin H.O.M.E. Initiative or Resolution 126

In July 2023, we became aware of a new City of Austin ordinance (Resolution 126 or the H.O.M.E. Initiative) that could have a dramatic effect on every residential neighborhood in the city. While there is no change in the name of the zoning designations, there is in what is allowed within them. The purpose is to allow tiny homes, townhouses, and duplexes on lots that are restricted to one residence. The hope is that by doing so, the price points for these residences will be low enough to attract middle-income buyers.

 

Phase 1 expands the number of units on a lot from one to three and removes the restriction for number of unrelated people living in one unit. On December 7, 2023, the City Council approved the ordinance. In a separate measure, the City is considering removing all requirements for off-street parking.

 

Phase 2, which is to be considered some time in 2024, will allow single-family zoned lots to be subdivided into 2,500 square foot lots.

 

During the summer and fall of 2023, questions about how this change would affect subdivisions with existing deed restrictions remained unanswered. We finally found an answer in a City Q&A post. The link goes to the source document. The words in blue “confirmed in public” link to a video of comments from the City’s legal department.

 

10. How does HOME affect deed restrictions or HOA rules that restrict the number of homes I can have on my property? Does HOME change those restrictions or rules? The Land Development Code cannot supersede HOA or deed restrictions. Deed restrictions control what happens on the land. HOME cannot change those restrictions or rules. 

HOA rules and deed restrictions are private agreements and HOME does not change those terms. City Legal staff have confirmed in public that those private agreements supersede City Code, including what HOME proposes to allow. 

https://assets.austintexas.gov/austincouncilforum/B0-202311331104149.pdf

The short answer is that our deed restrictions should survive any zoning changes. That being said - it is because the HOA carefully attends to our deed restrictions.  If they are not enforced, they could be considered abandoned, and City zoning would take precedence.

 

Also, while the City’s Planning and Development Department may acknowledge that deed restrictions exist, that is the end of their involvement. It is up to the owners, builders, and the HOA to work out the details of new projects with the requirements of the HOA deed restrictions. In some cases, this takes money for the attorney, as well as significant volunteer time.

 

Please consider joining the HOA so we can continue this important work and maintain the character of our neighborhood.

Licensed Drivers for Golf Carts

Allowing minor children to drive golf carts has long been in a gray area in many suburban neighborhoods. Prior to the Texas Attorney General’s 2021 clarification of the Transportation Code, it was unclear who could operate a golf cart on public streets, and neither the County nor the City provided guidance on this issue.

 

Section 521.021 of the Transportation Code prohibits a person, unless expressly exempted, from operating a motor vehicle on a publicly maintained way any part of which is open to the public for vehicular travel unless the person holds a driver’s license. Sections 551.403 and 551.404 of the Code, which authorize a person to operate a golf cart in certain locations, do not exempt such persons from the driver’s license-holding requirement of section 521.021.  The conclusion was that a person driving golf carts on public streets must have a driver’s license. You can read the opinion at https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/opinion-files/opinion/2021/kp-0364.pdf.

  

Last year, the deputy constable who routinely patrols our neighborhood sent a message to the HOA Board about unlicensed minors driving golf carts. On a single day he personally witnessed two incidents, one of which involved the minor driver cutting off a car which was traveling 30 mph. In both cases, he stopped the minor driver and dealt with the situation.

 

The primary concern, of course, is for the safety of everyone in the neighborhood. There also may be liability and insurance consequences for parents who permit unlicensed drivers to operate golf carts on public streets. Those consequences could include a traffic stop, a traffic ticket, or a lawsuit in the event of damages. Coverage and liability may vary among insurers.

 

Many of us have witnessed young drivers operating golf carts in an unsafe manner. Some drivers don’t realize how easily a golf cart can tip over, or how quickly they can gain speed going down a hill. Also, some drivers underestimate the vulnerability of a golf cart, especially when compared to a car or truck.

  

If you have a golf cart, please be aware of the pertinent laws and make sure that it is operated in a safe and legal manner.

June 2023 Hailstorm

This storm produced heavy hail in some places, yet a few streets away, mushy ice. Many people discovered they did have substantial roof damage, and fortunately the members of the BVS Neighbors Email Group were a great resource for reliable roofing companies.

 

Another issue came up – which comes first – roofer inspection or insurance adjuster inspection. The consensus is to call the roofer first because there may be limited damage that you can fix without filing a claim. If an adjuster comes first, it is possible a claim will be filed with your insurance company. As some of us have learned, the fewer claims filed, the better our insurance rates can be.

Old Lampasas Dam Project – March 2023

 

The City of Austin plans a reconstruction of the small dam located off Old Lampasas Road and across from the PEC substation. It is not visible from the street, but does prevent flooding to several homes, as well as roads and downstream improvements.

 

The PDF and zoom presentation (listed below) explain the background and plans, and there is much more information in the Zoom call. Also, the Q&A at the end is very interesting. If you have any interest in this project, watching the YouTube replay is worth your time. The team will communicate as project moves along. 

 

1984 - Dam built from left-over materials from subdivision development.

2010 - Aware of problems after hurricane and began looking at options.

2014 - Began coordination of dam design and construction with many stakeholders. 

2018 - Reached 60% design completion.

2022 - Got Federal permits, 90% design, started COA permitting.

2023 - Will send out for bids.

2024 - Will start construction - 16 months duration.

Main city website

https://www.austintexas.gov/department/old-lampasas-dam-modernization

PDF of presentation slides

https://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Watershed/projects/Old_Lampasas_Presentation_03-20-2023.pdf

 

Replay of zoom call

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYhAnEhCD0k

 

US 183 Mobility Project – February 2023

 

Notes from 2/23/23 The Zoom call --  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFPztg23c48

First presentation – worth your time begins at 12:50 minute mark and is about 15 minutes long.

Project limits – SH 45 to MoPac/Loop 1 -  9 miles on US 183

2 toll lanes on US 183 in each direction 

Direct connection to southbound MoPac via new toll lanes

Sidewalks on access roads

Bike lanes at intersections but not along access roads

Next generation road surface that produces quieter traffic noise

Timing. --  2023-24 Construction. -- 2025-26 Construction and project completion 

Phase 1 (now) --  New center lanes (toll). --  Sidewalks and driveways along access roads 

Phase 2  Construction of new non-toll lanes – one in each direction  

Pat Pluenneke (project manager) at 33 to 35 minute mark - also worth your time

MoPac connectors Questions – 39 min mark

Speed limits  -- Likely the same as MoPac

Connection to Southbound MoPac - Flyover bridge from southbound US 183 toll lanes to southbound MoPac with option to go to express lanes or frontage road beyond Steck.

MoPac southbound - non-toll option – Exit US 183 southbound toll lane, continue on regular US 183 lanes, take existing connector to MoPac.

Duval access ramp - Make access longer and safer.

620 lanes short-term closure

Oak Knoll and Great Hills – short-term traffic lights

Noise during construction - minimize with quieter machine exhaust systems and back-up alarms at lower decibels.

Once Built - Surface grinding and installation of next generation concrete will make traffic noise quieter.

620 intersection - Toll lanes connecting to 45 and 620 are under study.

Working on images of final project.

 

Link to Transcript of Q&A from Zoom Call

https://www.183north.com/upload/files/20230302_183N_Annual_Event_Q_A_S.pdf

 

For maps, scroll down to Multimedia.

https://www.183north.com

 

YouTube link to Conference Replay
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFPztg23c48

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