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Dawson Neighborhood

Feb 8 2016 DNA & DNPCT Meeting Report

[Title and date corrected]

Part One

Chad Cosper, who is DNA Vice President and is a DNPCT Board Member, has issued a statement on social media recapping the events of Monday’s DNA and DNPCT meetings:

“Brief Recap of Feb DNA / DNPCT Meeting
Hi all –


Last night the Dawson Neighborhood Association (DNA) and Dawson Neighborhood Plan Contact Team (DNPCT) met for it’s first meeting of 2016.  Attendance was high, as is typical for the Feb meeting, and all of the new faces showed the recent trend of meeting attendance growing.


In the DNA Meeting, we heard about a proposal to clean up an area of the pond area between Alpine and Pickle Street.  We received new information from the City on recycling in our neighborhood, heard an endorsement for the upcoming Travis County Sheriff election and were reminded that Sunday, Feb 14th is the annual Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, which, of course, causes our neighborhood to become essentially “landlocked” for a few hours.


In the DNPCT Meeting, Marty Harris was confirmed** at Chair of the Board for 2016, Greg Anderson will be Vice-Chair, and Omar Rivera will serve as Board Secretary.  After some discussion, the Contact Team members in attendance overwhelmingly voted to “opt out” of the City’s front and side-yard parking restrictions, as we have historically done every year since the City has asked us to consider the proposal.  We also heard updates from the development team working on a proposal for a new boutique hotel at 2510 South Congress.  They will be asking for variances related to a setback on the Fire Lane / Driveway, a setback related to a proposed swimming pool, and will be requesting a license to sell beer and wine.  We also heard from a representative of the Church in Austin, which would be the Hotel’s direct neighbors.  They oppose all 3 variances.  The proposal will likely come up before the Planning Commission  prior to our next meeting and we are hopeful that the development team and the Church can negotiate some common ground – as both sides seemed willing to try.


Our next meeting will be Monday April 11 and you are encouraged to attend.


BTW – these are not minutes of the meeting.  Official minutes will be posted to the DNA website and included in the next newsletter.” -Chad Cosper, Feb 9, 2016

**The meaning underlying this choice of words reveals that DNPCT has resumed holding non-public meetings and making decisions without public invitation or the presence of the DNPCT Members in clear violation of By-Laws. DNPCT is required in By-Laws per (10A) “The Board shall elect officers from its members at the first regular meeting after the December regular meeting.” Since inception in 2003, DNPCT have actually obeyed this ONLY ONCE so far, at our insistence, Feb 2015.

Part Two

In response to our questions, Chad Cosper emailed us on Feb 9, 2016 to explain what he meant by “confirmed”:

“The vote was conducted by the Board Members during the DNA meeting on secret ballots and announced during the DNPCT meeting. The nominations were announced prior to the vote rally’s being read. There was one nominee for each office. The nominees were nominated during a Board meeting held approximately 3 weeks ago.”

DNPCT By-Laws make a point of defining and limiting the kinds of Meetings DNPCT can hold, and there are only two provided: (7B) Regular and (7C) Special, both of which require a week’s notice to the Membership such as myself. There are no “Board Member only” meetings. There are to be no non-public meetings at all, per (7D) “DNPCT meetings shall be open to the public.”

In response to Cosper’s admission, we of Dawson Neighborhood Organization replied with this statement:

“You held a meeting without the Membership present, and conducted official nominations there. You held officer elections at the right place, but the wrong time. You announced the candidates to the Membership after ballots were conducted! Just as you did at December 14th’s DNA Officer and DNPCT Board Elections, you have conducted a mockery of the voting process, unsupported by By-Laws or Robert’s Rules. We feel that the best way to serve our neighborhood is to observe your obligations and limitations as outlined in the By-Laws and Robert’s Rules.”

In closing, we emphasize that while we certainly support timely communications to the public which open a window on what happens at Neighborhood Association and Plan Team Meetings, this is a very new development. It remains to be seen if this continues. We have proposed, negotiated, urged and pleaded for these groups to do these things, and have been ignored, blocked, and rejected out of hand by the previous DNA President, Secretary, and DNPCT Secretary.

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