Hello everyone, life’s been crazy so I’ve only been able to drop in and read here and there. I’m posting because I’ve received another e-mail from the guy we love to hate, and it is one of many such baseless diatribes that I’ve gotten from him recently, so I thought I would share it with all of you. I find it sad that after all the progress Austin has made recently that this relatively small group of seemingly clueless NIMBYs have somehow managed to take over, or perhaps created, Austin’s largest neighborhood group (ANC) and have such a strong hold in city hall. Austin is a growing city. This is a fact. If we don’t plan for density then we will continue to sprawl out like our larger in-state metros and we will lose all that makes Austin so great. We will be gaining thousands more single-family stock, placeless neighborhoods with far too little density to support mass-transit and therefore supported entirely by auto. This ostensibly anti-density group seems to be completely out-of-touch with this reality and appears to feel that by hindering New Urbanism, by thwarting increased FAR, and by limiting heights and impervious cover, that a utopia will magically spring from the Earth maybe in the form of a fun little, edible mushroom.
I know many of you live in neighborhoods that are supposedly represented by ANC. What is going on here in your view? From my perspective, all I see is that they are attempting to do everything they can to prevent a successful urban core. I also don’t quite understand the leadership. There is this Jeff Jack guy who I have met on numerous occasions and without fail he has somehow managed to bring up the fact that he is an architect each time. I’ve done some digging and I can’t seem to locate a single project this guy is credited for. All I could find is that he worked for an architecture firm in the 80’s, was fired, and turned around and sued the company. Truth be told, I don’t really find him to be a threat because I understand that nobody really takes him seriously. I do however find ANC’s stance on urbanism to be a threat. The council will listen to those who speak, and if the ANC are the only ones speaking, then…
If you are on here reading, posting, participating, then chances are you know all about how building around the automobile is only going to bring this city down. You know that building a mixed-use building near the urban core is going to enable an occupant to walk to the store, to a restaurant, and even walk to work. Imagine that, this low-carbon emitting individual is doing his/her part. It is possible to live and tread softly, we have got to start speaking up for what we know is right. If you need motivation, drive—yes drive because this green city doesn’t have a train system yet—out to Kyle, or Round Rock. You will be hard pressed to find forests that haven’t been adulterated in some form or another. You’ll see endless parking lots, miles of horizontal strip malls, thousands of roof tops, and of course the ubiquitous automobile. If the ANC is trying to help speed up suburbanization, I must say that they are doing a great job. If they are trying to keep Austin the special place that it is, they are on the wrong path. Who knows, maybe they’re just looking for that magical mushroom. I know I am.
From: "Jeff Jack" <email@example.com>
Date: May 18, 2009 4:48:29 PM CDT
To: <SouthLamarCorridorPlan@yahoogroups.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <ZNAExCom@yahoogroups.com>, <email@example.com>
Subject: [ANCtalk] Is your neighborhood about to become "Downtown"?
Just a reminder that tonight the City of Austin will be having a public meeting to discuss the downtown plan. The consultants who we are paying $1.3 million have come up with draft proposals to deal with affordable housing and density bonuses in "Downtown". But since it is very hard to get any affordable housing downtown with the cost of land ,due to the increased entitlements the city has been giving away (see all those high rise buildings?) and then the cost of construction for those very same high rise condos, so where do they turn to get affordable housing "Downtown"?
What they are now proposing is a "Downtown Impact Area" which includes all of the surrounding neighborhoods and neighborhood planning areas that touch a 2 mile radius from 6th and Congress, This not only includes OWANA, Zilker, Barton Hills and most of near east Austin but extends even out to Barton View! They are essentially hoping to resolve the affordable housing problem in the CBD that current city policy has helped to create, by leap frogging into our surrounding neighborhoods to provide affordable housing to support someone's idea of the appropriate downtown density. What is ironic is the fact that many of our neighborhoods have fought to keep the affordable housing we once had, lost those battles to staff, developers and the City Council and are now being asked to find a way to provide make up affordable housing for downtown when we do not even see how we are going to replace the affordable housing we have lost due to decisions by the very same folks!
So if you live in one of the surrounding neighborhoods within 2 miles of downtown, you may want to attend the meeting tonight to get all the details on what the city staff and consultants have in mind to encourage affordable housing in your neighborhood. The meeting is at 6:00 and runs to 8:30 and will be at the Waller Creek Building , 625 East 10th St. just west of the interstate. The meeting will be in room 104 and parking is available in the buildings parking garage just to the south of the building.
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