This is CNO email Notice #15. 06/09/00. Circulation: 50.
Notice from Paul Knowlton, President of CNO, Regarding the Morse Community Project
Circulation Reaches 50
Notice from Paul Knowlton, President of CNO, Regarding the Morse Community Project

Many of our members recently attended a meeting sponsored by the neighborhoods in our area regarding the traditional neighborhood development that the city wants to build on Cameron Road. I feel that it was an effective beginning to understanding what a TND is and how this might affect us.

BACKGROUND: TND stands for a "traditional neighborhood design". These are based on the small town concept. Within the community are homes, town homes, apartments, and commercial/retail areas. This is to be a high-density community with narrower streets, alleys, with all components of the community within walking distance from any given point. Homes are on small lots (45 x 100 ft) with small yards and 4-foot picket fences. This coziness is to promote a sense of community and neighborliness.
The City of Austin won a national award for this design and has wanted to build one. The City has also bought land for 5 destination parks. The idea is to leave most of this land in its native state rather than to build an area like Zilker Park. There are five destination parks and the city plans to build a TND adjacent to three.
Until recently the City was unable to find a developer willing to join in this venture. Milburn has approached the city in regard to building a TND on the Morse Tract located on Cameron Road between Applegate and Meadowmear (south of Braker). Terry Mitchell with Milburn came to the recent meeting to give the developer's concept of this community. Milburn envisions a middle-class community with town-homes beginning in the 90's and houses ranging from 120 to 150 thousand.

CONCERNS: This sounds like an idyllic place, so why would we be concerned? The concept is wonderful and we all wish for a neighborhood where everyone knows your name and watches out for you and is that global village raising the next generation of perfect children. This never quite comes to pass, and there are older established neighborhoods that worry about this idyllic community causing our communities to be a nightmare.
Traffic is a major issue. The city has said that traffic from this community will be accessed primarily from Rundberg and Braker Lane. Those of us who live here already know how congested these streets are and the number accidents caused by congestion on a daily basis. Cut-through traffic is another major concern. In our neighborhood we already have vehicles cutting up Wedgewood and Berrywood to avoid the intersection at IH-35 and Braker. They are also cutting through Four Seasons to and from Dessau. This community would add approximately 1000 additional residences and at least 2000 new cars on our already congested roads. At this time the only entrances and exits to this project are via Cameron.
Environmental concerns were also mentioned. Pole Cat Creek will be affected by the building of this community. Walnut Creek has already been messed up by prior developments and we would not want this to happen to Pole Cat Creek.
Safety is at the top of the list for all neighborhoods involved. This, of course, can also be addressed in the traffic situation. However, absentee homeowners do not have much control over how their tenants are behaving. The apartments in the community are a big concern. These people come and go and rental property is always met with skepticism. There is a great deal of gang and crime activity just down the street in the apartments south of 183 and Cameron. Even in the apartments behind our neighborhood there has been a great deal of drug related crimes.


These issues and those taken from the audience were given to Terry and Tracy Garner of the City of Austin for a response. On some issues we were heard more readily than on others.
We made traffic a priority because this is a major component in the safety issue. We were told that there would be a study done before the project was started. I encourage all of you to contact public works and the City regarding the intersection of Wedgewood, Bluff Bend, and Braker Lane. The city may not be aware of it, but we have all witnessed very serious wrecks at that intersection. We need to be very vigilant in this issue. It will only get worse with an additional 1000 residents sharing Braker. We also asked that the City turn Brown Road into more than a cow path. This would give access from 290 into the commercial area of the community. This would also alleviate all the traffic coming onto Cameron Road where established businesses already cause major traffic jambs and have required additional lights to be installed.
The lot sizes are small (45' by 100") mostly occupied by the house. The materials planned to be used are brick, stone, and perma-plank. The perma-plank causes a concern because it must be painted and maintained to be aesthetically appealing. We were assured they would have strict written covenants and restrictions enforced by a Homeowners’ Assoc. The HOA will also maintain the landscaping within the community. This again brings us back to the apartments, which will be built near Cameron Road and not behind the protective landscaping.
There were no answers given to how water and wastewater lines were to placed across Pole Cat and Walnut Creeks. We are waiting anxiously while they develop their plan.
As far as our neighborhood, sewer systems are a major concern to us. While we were recently told we would not be given the traditional sewer system, but a OSSF system instead, this area will need to go through the annexation and zoning process and will receive the traditional sewer system. This did not make us happy.
The audience asked that there be neighborhood input into the community. Tracy said this is never allowed by the city and the answer was NO! Terry Mitchell did approach Janet Klotz and me saying he would like to meet with representatives of each neighborhood and get their input, to show us other projects that Milburn has completed, etc.
Because there are still questions to answer and developments to explore, we have asked if they would be willing to come to another meeting. They both agreed. We would also like to invite representatives from the Traffic, Zoning, W&WW departments to future meetings.
Tracy and Terry have both said they welcome any questions we may have. I have offered my services as a clearinghouse for all parties involved. They will respond to me and I will disseminate information to all the neighborhoods.
After the meeting on May 15th Tracy Garner of the city told me he feels like there needs to be more communication between the city and the public. Well, maybe we did do a little good after all. I gave him my whole-hearted agreement on that statement.
Both Terry and Tracy encourage everyone to attend the annexation and zoning meeting regarding the Morse Tract TND. A MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR 6-15-00 AT THE VFW HALL AND BEGINS AT 7:00 AND LASTS UNTIL ABOUT 9:00. . We encourage you to attend.
The plan is to let the audience voice their own questions to the City and Milburn. Janet has asked Tracy to bring other departmental personnel since he stated at the last meeting that many questions needed to go to the Water and Wastewater Dept., Zoning Dept., Planning Dept., etc. So far Tracy doesn't seem to be too receptive to that idea. Some of you have asked who to write and what to say. You might let Tracy Watson know you feel that he needs to bring others that can answer your questions.

Contact Information:

Tracy Watson
Director - Special Projects
PO Box 1088
Austin, Texas 78767

Terry Mitchell
VP - Milburn Homes
4515 Seton Parkway, Ste. 200
Austin, Texas 78759
345-4663 fax 345-6080
Circulation Reaches 50
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