South Lamar Neighborhood Association

Meeting Notes

February 19, 2004


President Kevin Lewis called the meeting to order.

Everyone introduced themselves. Approximately 50 people in attendance, plus three APD officers and six program guests.


Kevin explained changes to the bylaws, to be voted on:


Membership eligibility

   1.  Membership in the Association shall be open to all residents and owners of residential property between these boundaries; North: Oltorf, South: Ben White, West: South Lamar, and East: Union Pacific Railroad.


   5. At the Association's first general membership meeting of a year, a member in good standing in the previous year may vote or make a motion immediately upon payment of dues.


The bylaws changes were approved unanimously.


Austin Police Department officers in attendance.

      Officer Dawn Leonard introduced herself as the district representative and liaison with patrol officers. There are five or six patrol officers that cover our area. The usual issues are barking dogs and dumping. Officer Leonard encouraged members to call whenever there is a question:

Phone: 974-4405


After thanking the officers, Kevin added a personal comment that in the face of the local newspaper currently publishing irresponsible journalism about the APD for the purpose of selling more papers, he wanted to acknowledge APD officers' good work and the need for the community to support them.


Presentation by Walgreens (Developer David Darr, The Place Commercial Real Estate; Attorney Steve Drenner).


Steve Drenner presented a slide show highlighting the current plans and contrasting it to the plan that was rejected by SLNA and City Council in July 2003.


      Major Changes from July 2003 plan:

      1. Zoning request is for LR (for store & Taco Xpress) and LO (for back parking areas) vs. GR.

      2. Eastern boundary of retail [zoning] is now only 180' deep vs. 250-350' deep.

      3. Building is located further from Bluebonnet and the neighborhood.

      4. Additional onsite storm water detention (flood relief):  50% more than existing condition

      5. One shared access onto Lamar for both businesses vs. 3 in first plan (2 for Taco Xpress, 1 for Walgreens).

      6. Assistance given to Taco Xpress for new building.

      7. Lighting changed from just being code-compliant to reduced lighting intensity.

      8. Bluebonnet improvements from two lanes (24' wide) to three lanes (36' wide).

      9. Signage will be customized rather than simply code-compliant.

      10. Two benches provided for pedestrian customers to sit and visit.

      11. Darr will pay for sidewalk extension all the way to Del Curto (pending Wongs approval).

      12. Deed Restrictions: Promises are put into writing, enforceable by SLNA, with $15,000 in escrow for 15 months which could be used by SLNA to sue for non-compliance.



* Per SLNA request, they will try to make the outside look more like the Walgreens in Westlake than the cookie-cutter style, using terra cotta colors and native stone with an urban look. 

* Plans show some existing trees will be saved and smaller trees added.

* Truck patterns: both driveways are in/out, and trucks can circle the entire building.

* Northeast corner of the Bluebonnet/Lamar intersection will be made a wider angle, making northbound turns more navigable for trucks.


Discussion and questions ensued.


* Darr is willing to pay for the study and any approved changes to the traffic light sequencing at Lamar/Bluebonnet, as permitted by the City.

* Drenner/Darr will look at the deceleration/merge lane suggested for Lamar (within existing right-of-way), which could also accommodate the city bus stop that currently blocks northbound Lamar traffic.

* Several members suggested that instead of the extra right-turn-only lane from Bluebonnet onto northbound Lamar, make BOTH westbound lanes able to turn left onto Lamar, as few people would use Bluebonnet for northbound Lamar access. Drenner was willing to defer to those who know the traffic best & travel it daily.

* Bluebonnet is an existing bike route, but the limited right-of-way makes a designated bike lane unfeasible.

* Increased traffic is the biggest objection by all: especially debating the claim that the new plan will still generate less than 2000 vehicle trips a day: this plan adds new Taco Xpress traffic to the mix.

* Truck delivery times unknown at this time, but could be arranged per SLNA request. Neighborhood stores typically avoid 10pm-6am deliveries due to noise for neighbors, but some neighbors feel the impact on daytime traffic would be a bigger inconvenience that the noise at night. Taco Xpress now gets their deliveries once a week, plus daily produce in a smaller truck.

* Developer will consider a suggestion to install a height-limiting bar across the Bluebonnet driveway to restrict large delivery trucks from using the neighborhood street.  However, others are concerned that forcing trucks to use only Lamar access, especially for left (south) turns could be too dangerous.

* Maria Corbalan, owner of Taco Xpress, urged people to appreciate the new proposal, and that the property will inevitably be sold to a business of some kind, and that it could be something worse. She also mentioned she has invited the Boot Shop to relocate onto her new property if he's interested.

* Safety issued raised for only one driveway onto Lamar. Southbound traffic would be at risk with Lamar being on a curved hill as well as being 700 feet from the light. Aside from that, Walgreens has been clear that they will not proceed without access onto Bluebonnet.

* Walgreens said it would cost over $150,00 to widen Bluebonnet


Walgreens has not filed the zoning application yet. The city process is: Apply for zoning change, City staff review and make recommendations of approval/conditions. Official notification of hearings is sent out. Zoning and Platting Commission ("ZAP") hears the case, makes recommendation. Proceed to City Council for three readings. City Council decides whether to approve it and what conditions to apply if any. 


Walgreens representatives left the meeting so members could debate. Drenner promised to send the slide presentation to us, for posting on the SLNA website for all residents to review. Agreed Kevin Lewis will advise them of the final SLNA vote/position. Extensive discussion continued. Members voted to extend the meeting past 9pm.


An unofficial show of hands was counted for how many people could accept Walgreens having a driveway onto Bluebonnet, assuming this presentation was an accurate depiction of their intentions. Several of those present said they were satisfied.


Bryan King made a motion "to support Maria's, to support Walgreens, and to continue working with them on this development, but to oppose driveway access to Bluebonnet as it is currently proposed, and to remain open to further discussion."  David Davila seconded the motion. After more discussion, motion passed, 26 to 7. Of those opposed, not all were in agreement: some were ready to approve it as-is, but some were opposed to any possible version of Bluebonnet access.


Marci Roberts moved to close the meeting, motion seconded and approved.


Other Announcements:


SLNA Secretary:

Roberta Leahy has agreed to serve as SLNA Secretary, as elected by the Executive Committee, pursuant to the vote of the entire membership at the October 2003 meeting.


Cleanup Committee:

Carol Gibbs announced that clean up days are scheduled quarterly, the next one being Sat. April 3rd in conjunction with the citywide Keep Austin Beautiful event. Area to clean will be Del Curto Rd., from Cinnamon Path to Clawson Rd, from 8:00am to 11:00am. KAB will host an appreciation event on Town Lake at 11:00am. Flyers will be distributed by the cleanup committee in the coming weeks.  Chairperson for the Cleanup Commmittee is Rona Distenfeld, she may be contacted at 326-3338.


For corrections to these minutes please contact Roberta Leahy at