Mueller Neighborhood Association General Meeting Minutes, August 17, 2019

MNA Secretary Front Porch Flyer

Location: Wildflower Terrace

Time: 9:45 – 11:00 a.m.  About 60 people were in attendance, many enjoying the pre-meeting mix-and-mingle time as well as delicious treats from neighborhood chef Ibrahima at [email protected] (more information below in the Local Business Spotlight section).

Items:

1.      Greetings and Announcements [John Wooding] – Taylor Youngblood, current block captain committee chair, has joined the Steering Committee.  Dan Updegrove is stepping into the Treasurer role.  There was a vote on whether to continue to put name tags out at each general meeting.  The majority were in favor of continuing to use tags. Andrew Clements will be stepping into the Transportation and Urban Planning chair role which was recently vacated.

2.      Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes [Alison Raffalovich]  – These have been posted to the site.

3.     Treasurer’s Report [Dan Updegrove] – Beginning balance – $18,066; t-shirt sales and membership dues totaled $748; expenses for Googls Cloud ($8), PO Box ($80) and July 4th event ($2,390) for an ending balance of $16,338. 

4.    POA Review [Joe Freeland or Bill Berman] – Tuesday will be a Mixed-Use Board Meeting at Mueller Central at 11:30 and is open to all.  Thursday is the next transition meeting, and details have been running in a series of articles in the Front Porch Flyer.  On August 27 at 6:30 is the next POA Let’s Talk at Mueller Central, which allows for interactive discussion with Catellus and Associa.  The Landscape Committee is rebidding the overall landscape contract and looking for some funds to improve some of the greenspace areas.

5.    Mueller Commission [Michael Jones] – At this month’s meetings two major topics were discussed, including an update from Catellus on new developments in Town Center and a proposed PUD amendment to increase the density by about 930 resident units and 400,000 in commercial development.  Mueller Commission advises the City Council on how the developer is doing and next month (second Tuesday of September) will make a statement in support or against the proposed PUD amendment.  The Commission would like to hear input from Mueller and surrounding communities.

6.    Catellus Developer Update [Brian Dolezal] – Brian is responsible for marketing communications for Catellus. Jim Adams with McCann Adams studios has been the architect on Mueller from the beginning.  Jim and Catellus have been involved with the redevelopment since 2004 and over that time have been able to increase the number of dwelling units by 35% and the amount of commercial space by 24% within the caps of the existing Planned Unit Development (PUD) and the Master Development Agreement (MDA).  We’re now approaching the PUD zoning for the site cap of 6450 dwelling units and 5.3 million square feet of non-residential space.  The Mueller Commission, neighbors and other stakeholders encouraged the planners, engineers and developer to look for ways to increase density. There is some capacity within the PUD.  They propose 955 more dwelling units on undeveloped sites with the goal of keeping our 25% affordable housing commitment. The height limit is 65’ North of Philomena and 100’ in Town Center. Jim presented details and you can see them at http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=325422.

They estimate we could increase commercial space by 400,000 square feet.  The storm, water and wastewater lines could accommodate the proposed additional capacity, according to engineers. It would increase peak-hour trips by 680 trips over the 8,508 cap in the PUB and an 8% increase in traffic.  Mueller’s grid design can handle the increase and multi-modal transit design helps offset single-occupant vehicles.  Internal capture means people live and work in the community or go t multiple destinations in a single trip. Planned improvements on Airport and E. 51st Street should also increase network efficiency.  For example, they will study where traffic backs up on Southbound Airport at the left turn lane onto Aldrich. 

As the master developer, Catellus negotiates with potential home builders to ultimately select which builder will build out which new areas of Mueller.

Other proposed PUD modifications:

Clarify set-back rules to allow porches and bay windows can more easily be approved.

Allow for on-street loading under certain conditions without City waivers every time.

Possible reduction in off-street parking ratios to be in line with City standards if the City moves forward with Austin-wide changes under consideration to the ratio to reduce the fixed costs for each housing unit.

Define a new Mueller housing type for “cottage houses” of 800-900 square feet to allow for more missing middle housing that is affordable. These are allowed under the current PUD but will be more clearly defined under the proposed change. The majority will be part of the affordable homes program.

Nonprofit developers include Habitat for Humanity building row homes near the Jordan, DMA and Foundation Communities.

Newly established land-use designation for micro-breweries, micro-distilleries and winery.

Benefits include providing up to 239 more affordable units and make City approvals more efficient, all while increasing property tax base for the City, AISD and County while aligning with the Austin Strategic Direction.  They’ll send emails later this month to stakeholders, file the PUD amendment application late August, have a city public notice posted, and plan for a vote in November-December.

The Mueller amenities (parks, pools, etc.) were designed to accommodate not only Mueller residents but also surrounding communities so the incremental population difference is relatively small.  A few years ago the MNA had passed a resolution asking Catellus to consider additional density.  Most of the proposed new density will be in Town Center and just north of the Town Center where remaining vacant lots remain.

Austin generally struggles with affordability and there is a lot of Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) sentiment around density to accommodate affordability, so many in Mueller are appreciative that the stock of affordable and middle-income housing will be increased.  Ani Colt has kept the spotlight on the need for single-floor homes to accommodate those who want to age in place. 

There was discussion of more mixed-use development in the southeast corner of Mueller, including the area around the tower. 

Austin Energy building construction facing Mueller next to TMI has begun. Next month will kick off another new 6-story office building with first-floor retail and a parking garage across from the Alamo Drafthouse. A 5-story hotel is planned for the lot behind the Thinkery across from Colleen’s Kitchen and BD Riley’s. It will have a first-floor restaurant and retail space.  A new apartment complex with two buildings, including one bracketing the blank wall of the parking garage and the second building just north of it. Groundbreaking for the hotel and apartments is likely this fall. The Simond Street extension to Aldrich should open in the fall.

AISD has selected a design and build team for the new middle school to open in August 2022.  The plan is to support 800 students. There is a Campus Architectural Team forming to facilitate community input.

Zach Scott at Manor will probably open near year-end.  Catellus will ask the city to add cover to the two bus stops nearest Wildflower. September 17th is the next Project Connect meeting at the Seton Administrative Center. 

7     Local Business Spotlight: West African Chef Ibrahima from Guinea of CTS Dining.  You can contact Ibrahima at [email protected] or 512.460.1520. They provide private chef, catering and meal-prep services.  Ibrahima’s eventual goal is to have a food truck or restaurant to provide West African food.  He provided complimentary treats for the attendees which were much enjoyed. He has lived in Mueller for 9 months and loves the neighborhood. He moved to Austin 8 years ago, first as an international student, when he began working in food prep at Jester after classes. In the process he fell in love with food.  He is now a lead cook at Jester as well as running CTS Dining.  CTS Dining can cook in your home or prepare it as his home and bring it to your family or party. His team of three provides the food and service. They first catered a birthday party in January 2019 and have grown from there. An example of a popular Guinea dish, which like much Guinean food is served with rice, includes cassaba leaves.  They also use a healthy grain similar to quinoa, and Chef Ibrahima likes to cook with whole grains.   

Respectfully submitted,

Alison Raffalovich, Secretary

September 14, 2019

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