Emails to City Council, Mayor, Regarding Neighborhood Developments Get a Poor Response

On Tuesday, June 27, a Copperfield resident sent an email to all Austin City Council members and to mayor Kirk Watson.

The same day Richard Fry, Secretary of the CNO, forwarded the original email with his further comments to the City Council and the Mayor (see the first text below).

On Tuesday, July 11, the same Copperfield resident sent a follow-up email to all Austin City Council members and to mayor Kirk Watson (see the second text below). She finally received a response from one person: Paul Hilgers, the Director of Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department with the City of Austin (see the third text below).

The city council members have yet to show any interest. Any further responses this month will be posted on this web site.

The first Text: Richard Fry's email with original resident's email attached, June 27

Austin City Council members, I am the secretary of the Copperfield Neighborhood Organization. I am forwarding (below) an email sent out by a resident of our neighborhood. I wanted to mention that the concern that she expressed in her email is a legitimate concern and is one shared by many residents of northeast Austin.

The city has recently proposed a new planned-housing project called the Morse Community Project. The Morse Community Project is planned for the area of Cameron Road not far from Braker. A 06-23-1999 article in the Austin American Statesman describes the project with the following headline: “A potential partnership between the City of Austin and a private housing developer to expand a Northeast Austin subdivision could provide housing for families who cannot afford to live in the city.” [It appears that northeast Austin is not regarded as a part of the city]. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has also recommended a low-income tax-credit housing project for consideration in the state’s Year 2000 funding cycle .(http://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/pdf/htf/HTFsar00.pdf). This project is proposed for the northeast corner of Samsung Blvd. and Braker Lane. If the project is approved, it will mark a continuing pattern of constructing low-income tax-credit housing projects in east Austin, northeast Austin, and the Walnut Creek watershed. It will also add to traffic congestion in an area that has seen no recent road construction other than access roads for Dell Computer.

Like Mrs. Kolba-Davis, I want all Austinites to have access to housing. To this end, does it not make sense to make the affordable housing available to ALL quadrants of the city? Do we expect all low-income residents to commute out of northeast Austin?

In march of 1995 the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) considered two such projects in the Austin area. One of them was the Windcrest at Yager Lane project. The other project was in south Austin. Both projects drew opposition from neighbors and many Copperfield residents appeared before the TDHCA board to speak against the project. On 3/28/95 the Board voted FOR the Windcrest at Yager Lane project and turned down the south Austin project.

According to the 10-16-1997 Austin American-Statesman article tax credits were approved for the Meadow Ridge Apartments on Louis Henna Blvd. in south Round Rock.

The construction of just one or two more tax-credit housing projects may help to cement the negative image of east Austin and northeast Austin as an undesirable place in which to live.

I would be very interested in hearing how Austin city council members feel about the issue of concentrating tax-credit housing in northeast Austin. After the July 4 holiday, I plan to make an addition to our neighborhood web site ( http://cno2000.tripod.com/index.html ). I will post a copy of this email and a copy of all responses received from Austin City Council members. I look forward to your responses.

Sincerely,

Richard Fry

Secretary, Copperfield Neighborhood Organization

************************************************************* --- Forwarded Message --- To: will.wynn@ci.austin.tx.us, danny.thomas@ci.austin.tx.us, daryl.slusher@ci.austin.tx.us, beverly.griffith@ci.austin.tx.us, raul.alvarez@ci.austin.tx.us, jackie.goodman@ci.austin.tx.us, kirk.watson@ci.austin.tx.us, cno@postmark.net, peknow@hotmail.com, Rick7@postmark.net, Bonnie.Johnson@frco.com From: Elissa J Kolba-Davis Subject: ZONING Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 14:07:20 -0500

^^"Please''^^ do not have a dense concentration of Low Income housing solely in the Upper North East part of Austin. Please distribute Low Income housing, more specifically Low Income projects ALL OVER Austin.

I'm simply against the crime, high density, & noise from sirens & loud car stereos 'some' Low Income housing projects produce.

We received Windcrest Apartments on Yager Lane. Our neighborhood is inundated with bad elements because of the Low Income apartment project, not to mention traffic. Yager Lane was not even afforded an exit ramp 'to' the Apartments which congests Yager Lane even more.

People are 'not' eager to purchase homes in my neighborhood because of the activities potential home buyers witness in the area, thus resulting in lower home values for all affected, thus making their hard earned investment dwindle.

I want 'everyone' to be able to afford a place to live, but 'please' not at the Expense of a select 'few'.

Please make affordable housing equitable throughout ALL of Austin, as opposed to a segmented area, more specifically North East Austin.

Thank you,

Elissa J. Kolba-Davis

The second Text: resident's Follow-up email, July 11:

Subject: Fw: ZONING Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 10:52:05 -0500 To: kirk.watson@ci.austin.tx.us, beverly.griffith@ci.austin.tx.us, danny.thomas@ci.austin.tx.us, cno@postmark.net, Ghoy@aol.com, peknow@hotmail.com, Bonnie.Johnson@frco.com, Rick7@postmark.net From: Elissa J Kolba-Davis [Show Full Headers]

I don't mean to bother you. But I feel my voice is not strong or loud enough because I have not received a reply from even '1' council member. This is my ((3rd attempt.)) I'm really trying to have a mature attitude during my correspondance, but I'm not getting 'any' feedback from 'anybody'. That concerns me. ^Please^ don't disregard my comments to you.

Austin is a GREAT city. I'm sure you concur. Let's keep it that way!!

Are there any Low Income housing projects West of Mopac?

Your time & consideration in this matter would be Greatly appreciated.

^^"Please''^^ do not have a dense concentration of Low Income housing solely in the Upper North East part of Austin. Please distribute Low Income housing, more specifically Low Income projects ALL OVER Austin.

I'm simply against the crime, high density, & noise from sirens & loud car stereos 'some' Low Income housing projects produce.

We received Windcrest Apartments on Yager Lane. Our neighborhood is inundated with bad elements because of the Low Income apartment project, not to mention traffic. Yager Lane was not even afforded an exit ramp 'to' the Apartments which congests Yager Lane even more.

People are 'not' eager to purchase homes in my neighborhood because of the activities potential home buyers witness in the area, thus resulting in lower home values for all affected, thus making their hard earned investment dwindle.

I want 'everyone' to be able to afford a place to live, but 'please' not at the Expense of a select 'few'.

Please make affordable housing equitable throughout ALL of Austin, as opposed to a segmented area, more specifically North East Austin.

Thank you,

Elissa J. Kolba-Davis

The third Text: Response from Paul Hilgers, the Director of Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department (below) and Copperfield resident's response (above) July 11:

Subject: Re:^^ Response to question from the Mayor^^ Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 14:49:34 -0500 To: Paul.Hilgers@ci.austin.tx.us, Bonnie.Johnson@frco.com, Ghoy@aol.com, peknow@hotmail.com, Rick7@postmark.net, cno@postmark.net From: Elissa J Kolba-Davis [Show Full Headers]

Paul, Thank you for your timely reply. I try not to waste people's time by voicing concerns via the telephone. A burning qestion I've 'always' had was what does S.M.A.R.T. growth stand for?

Is it a true acronymm? If so, what do the letters stand for?

If I could just get a true promise from the City Council & the Planning Board if they will disperse low income housing through out ALL of Austin equitably, I would be Very Happy.

I'm not against low income. But let's make it fair for 'Everybody'. How can we make low income appear desirable for 'ALL' ?

I'm a sensitive person. But there's gotta be a way to help in 'ALL' parts of town.

On Tue, 11 Jul 2000 13:32:57 -0500 writes: > I apologize for not responding earlier to your inquiry to the Mayor. > My > name is Paul Hilgers and I am the Director of Neighborhood Housing > and > Community Development Department with the City of Austin. We have > been > researching our files and making other inquiries with the Austin > Housing > Authority and other entities to see if they had financed any > projects west > of MoPac. At this point, there does not appear to be any affordable > housing > west of MoPac. > > However, the City has taken dramatic steps in recent months to > address this > situation. I would love to visit with you about our S.M.A.R.T. > Housing > program with you. This program outlines a housing policy that will > address > the concerns you have about an overconcentration of affordable > housing in > one area of the City. My phone number 499-3108. > > Also, we are considering providing some funding to an organization, > Central > Texas Mutual Housing Authority, who is looking to build a > multi-family > housing complex in the Oak Hill area. This will be targeted for low > income > residents in an area fairly close to Motorola. > > Once again, please feel free to call me directly and we can talk > about your > concerns. > > Thanks for your nice words about this wonderful City. Finding > housing that > is affordable and available throughout the City is one of the key > strategies > for keeping Austin, Austin.


The mailing address for the Mayor and City Council is:
P.O. Box 1088
Austin TX 78767


Kirk.Watson@ci.austin.tx.us
Daryl.Slusher@ci.austin.tx.us
Raul.Alvarez@ci.austin.tx.us
Jackie.Goodman@ci.austin.tx.us
Beverly.Griffith@ci.austin.tx.us
Danny.Thomas@ci.austin.tx.us
Will.Wynn@ci.austin.tx.us





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