West Austin Neighborhood Group

Preserving and Protecting West Austin

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    Proposed Bylaws for Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Planning Team (NPT)

    February 15th, 2010
    by admin

    Bylaws Meeting:  The bylaws for the Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan Contact Team will be discussed on Tuesday, February 16th 6:30 – 7:50pm at Bryker Woods Elementary School.

    Set forth below are the proposed bylaws for the Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Planning Team (NPT).  These bylaws have been prepared based on your template, with additional input from each of the West Austin Neighborhood Group (WANG), Bryker Woods Neighborhood Association (BWNA) and Pemberton Heights Neighborhood Association (PHNA) neighborhood associations.  In addition, the attached bylaws have been designed to comply with the City’s Ordinance No. 20080306-073.

    Bylaws for

    THE CENTRAL WEST AUSTIN COMBINED NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING TEAM

    Adopted and effective on ____ 2010

    SECTION I

    Purpose

    The Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Planning Team (NPT):

    (1) shall act as an educational resource for residents in land use matters;

    (2) shall establish and implement the vision, goals and recommendations of the Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan (CWACNP) as it applies to the Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Planning Area;

    (3) shall review and make recommendations to City Staff, Planning Commission and City Council on all proposed land use cases that may impact the Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Planning Area and review and make recommendations for all proposed amendments to the Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan (CWACNP); and

    (4)  may decide to initiate a plan amendment when appropriate.

    SECTION II

    Members

    Eligibility.

    a. Boundaries.  The Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Planning Area is bounded to the north by 35th Street and 38th Street, to the south by Town Lake (west of MoPac) and 24th Street (east of Mopac), to the east by Lamar Boulevard, and to the west by Town Lake. MoPac is the eastern boundary of the West Austin Neighborhood Group Planning Area (Tarrytown) and the western boundary of the Windsor Road Planning Area (Bryker Woods and Pemberton Heights).

    b. Qualifications.  Each Member of the Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Planning Team (NPT) shall reside in the defined boundaries of the Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Planning Area, and there shall be twelve (12) Members of the NPT, including:

    (1) Two residential property owners holding homestead exemptions from the WANG Planning Area;

    (2) Two residential property owners holding homestead exemptions from the Windsor Road Planning Area;

    (2) One business owner;

    (3) One non-property owner resident (renter); and

    (4) Two board members or officers from each of the following neighborhood associations: West Austin Neighborhood Group (WANG), Bryker Woods Neighborhood Association (BWNA) and Pemberton Heights Neighborhood Association (PHNA).

    c. Appointment and Election of NPT Members.  The initial composition of NPT is as listed in Addendum A of these bylaws.  The current membership of  NPT is as listed in Addendum B and shall be updated yearly by the secretary.

    (1) NTP Membership terms shall be two years beginning June 1st.  Current NPT Members in good standing may be re-elected to serve consecutive terms.
    (2) Elections to replace or re-elect NPT Members whose terms have expired, who have died, resigned, or who have become unable or unwilling to serve shall be held within 90 days after such expiration, death, resignation, incapacity, or unwillingness to serve.
    (3) When any NPT Member’s term expires or there is a vacancy, a majority of the voting NPT Members serving at the time of an election shall elect the replacement from a list of no more than 3 nominees provided by the NPT Members serving at the time of the election.

    d. Agreement.  By joining, NPT Members agree to abide by the Bylaws herein, and agree to support the Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan.

    e. Communication with the Public and the Applicant.  NPT Members may not publicly speak or communicate in their capacity as a NPT member outside an NPT Meeting on a matter which is subject to the Purposes set out in Section I without first having such communication approved by vote at an NPT Meeting, excepting emergency requests for postponements.

    f. Loss of Eligibility.  NPT Members are encouraged to participate through regular meeting attendance, group discussion, group communication, or other activity in support of the NPT.  NPT Members who do not show evidence of active participation for 6 months shall lose their Membership without further notification.  Such individuals may again become NPT Members in good standing thirty days after communicating to the Secretary their intent to re-join the NPT unless a replacement has been elected.

    g. Rights of Members. Only NPT Members in good standing may hold office, introduce motions, or vote.  Each NPT Member shall be provided a copy of the of the adopted CWACNPT bylaws

    SECTION III

    Meetings and Public Hearings

    Agenda.  An agenda for each meeting shall be prepared by the Chair in consultation with the other NPT Officers and NPT Members.  Any NPT Member can place an item on the agenda for discussion, if such item is given to the Chair three days prior to the meeting. Members not meeting this prior notice requirement may discuss any item in New Business.  The agenda must be e-mailed to all NPT Members in good standing not less than one day prior to the meeting.

    Quorum.  A minimum of six (6) NPT Members in good standing including one Officer shall constitute a quorum.  Any act of a majority of the Members present at any meeting and constituting a quorum shall be the act of the NPT.

    Voting. Members must be present to cast votes.  Proxy voting is prohibited.  All matters shall be decided by the affirmative vote of a majority of the NPT Members present in person and voting, except as otherwise expressly provided herein.

    Meeting Records. Minutes for every meeting shall be recorded and maintained by the Secretary.

    Regular Meetings. Regular meetings shall be held on a quarterly basis when needed as determined by the Officers of the NPT at 7 p.m. on the last Monday in the months of January, April, July, and October.  The location of the meetings will be at ____________________.

    Special Called Meetings.  Special Called Meetings may be called by four (4) NPT Members, one of whom must be an Officer.

    Notice of Meeting. A notice giving the date, time, place, and agenda of each Meeting of the NPT shall be given 5 days prior to the meeting if by electronic means or hand delivery to at least the NPT Members in good standing, and 7 days prior if deposited in U.S. mail.

    All meetings will be publicized in the neighborhood using whatever reasonable means that are available, for example, but not limited to:  flyers, mailings, newsletters, print publications, neighborhood listserves, neighborhood association website postings, the ANC listserve and the Neighborhood Planning and Zoning on-line calendar.

    As technological means become available, the following communication tools may be utilized; the City of Austin Public Information Website and when feasible email lists maintained by the Neighborhood Planning and Zoning department.

    Failure to receive a meeting notice does not invalidate the meeting.  However, the provisions of this section must be complied with in good faith. Meetings shall be open to the public.

    Annual Meetings. The Annual Meeting for the election of officers shall be held at the date, time, and place of the Regular Meeting in April, or at such other time as may be determined by the Officers of the NPT.  Notice shall be given in accordance with the provisions for providing notice of a regular meeting.

    Two Public Hearing Limit Per Meeting There will be no more than two hearings scheduled in any meeting of the NPT. In no case shall a Land Use Presentation Hearing and a Land Use Action Hearing occur at the same meeting for the same property. Scheduling will be first-come, first-served. Applicants who have submitted the materials described in the respective Applicant Requirements sections first and before the deadline will be scheduled first.

    Land Use Presentation Hearing.  The purpose of the Land Use Presentation Hearing is to initiate a recommendation in a land use matter or Neighborhood Plan Amendment. Zoning changes are not to be addressed by the NPT, but are instead addressed by the appropriate neighborhood association.  No action will be taken at any Land Use Presentation Hearing. This is a public hearing to collect facts, receive a proposal from an applicant, obtain community input, and to register contact information from interested parties. Land Use Presentation Hearings can be held concurrent with and at the date, time, and place of any Regular Meeting, Special Called Meeting, or Annual Meeting. The Secretary shall collect contact information from interested parties attending the hearing.

    Informal discussion with project stakeholders in NPT Regular and Special Called Meetings is encouraged. Such discussions in any meeting that does not qualify as a Land Use Presentation Hearing would still require a future Land Use Presentation Hearing to initiate a recommendation.

    Notice of Land Use Presentation Hearing. A notice giving the date, time, place, and agenda of each Notice of Land Use Presentation Hearing of the NPT shall be given 5 days prior to the meeting if by electronic means or hand delivery, and 7 days prior if deposited in U.S. mail. The notice shall briefly describe the action to be considered.  In conjunction with the City of Austin’s noticing department, such notice shall, at a minimum, be sent to:

    1) all NPT Members in good standing who have provided e-mail addresses for the purpose of receiving notices;

    2) all registered owners of properties falling within 500’ of any affected property; and

    3) all residents of properties falling within 500’ of any affected property; and

    4) a representative designated to receive such notices from the Department of Neighborhood Planning and Zoning of the City of Austin.

    Applicant Requirements for Initiating a Land Use Presentation Hearing. Prior to the NPT scheduling a Land Use Presentation Hearing, an applicant must provide the following written and/or electronic materials no fewer than 30 days prior to the Regular Meeting date at which the case is to be heard:

    1) a statement of full intent for the proposal; and

    2) a written statement from an employee of The City of Austin’s Watershed Protection and Development Review staff listing all the regulatory processes that will be needed to legally permit and fully implement the proposal; and

    3) all supporting materials needed for the application of regulatory processes identified by the statement of the employee of The City of Austin’s Watershed Protection and Development Review; and

    4) a data file in a format specified by the NPT Chair including the name and mailing address of all current registered owners of properties falling within 300’ of any affected property as maintained by Travis County Appraisal District; and

    5) a map showing building outlines and affected property with indication of the 500’ radius, showing current uses, current zoning, and trees 19 caliper inches or greater located on the property; and

    6) a copy of any deed restrictions for the subject tract; and

    7) a statement on whether the subject property is a contributing or non-contributing property in the Old West Austin National Register Historic District; and

    8) if for Variance, a complete Board of Adjustment application and supporting plans or documents as requested; or

    9) if for Zoning Change, a complete Zoning Change application and supporting plans or documents as requested; or

    10) if for Neighborhood Plan Amendment, a complete Neighborhood Plan Amendment application, Future Land Use Maps, both current and proposed, a list of Plan Recommendations obtained from the CWACNP within a radius of 500’ around the property, and supporting plans or documents as requested; or

    11) if for Site Plan, or a Site Plan for a Conditional Use Permit, a complete Site Plan application and supporting plans or documents as requested; or

    12) if for Historic Zoning Designation, a complete Historic Zoning Designation application and supporting plans or documents as requested. Materials listed in item 5 are not required for Historic Zoning Designation.

    Land Use Action Hearing The purpose of Land Use Action Hearings is to act on and issue recommendations on specific proposals presented introduced at a prior Land Use Presentation Hearing. If in the opinion of the Chair, or a majority of the NPT Members present, there are substantive changes to the proposal first heard at the Land Use Presentation Hearing, which render aspects of the prior proposal invalid, then action must be deferred to a future Land Use Action Hearing.

    Notice Requirements of Land Use Action Hearing. A notice giving the date, time, place, and agenda of each Land Use Action Hearing of the NPT shall be given 5 days prior to the meeting if by electronic means, and 7 days prior if deposited in U.S. mail. The notice shall briefly describe the action to be considered. In conjunction with the City of Austin’s noticing department, such notice shall be sent, at a minimum, to:

    1) all NPT Members in good standing, and

    2) all board members of the following neighborhood associations:  West Austin Neighborhood Group, the Bryker Woods Neighborhood Association, and the Pemberton Heights Neighborhood Association; and

    3) to other parties of interest either registered at the Land Use Presentation Hearing or expressed an interest by other contact.

    Rehearings. There are no provisions of a rehearing for any Land Use Presentation Hearing or Land Use Action Hearing.

    SECTION IV

    Conflicts of Interest

    Each NPT Member shall comply with the conflict of interest provisions in this subsection.

    (a) An NPT Member may not participate in an NPT decision on a matter affecting a person, entity, or property in which the member has a substantial interest.

    (1)     “Interest” is defined, with respect to this Section IV, as an NPT Member or Officer having, either directly or indirectly:

    a. Ownership in or an investment in any property before the NPT regardless of the amount of ownership or investment; or

    b. A financial or business relationship with any applicant or any person or business associated with the applicant or the property at issue regardless of the amount of or type of financial or business relationship; or

    c. Past or present employment by any applicant or any person or business associated with the applicant or the property at issue, including, but not limited to, being a corporate officer or member of the board of directors; or

    d. A known or expected future business, employment, or financial interest or relationship related to the applicant, the property at issue, or any person or business associated with the applicant or the property at issue; or

    e. Indebtedness to the applicant or any person or business associated with the applicant or the property at issue regardless of the amount of the indebtedness;

    f. Any other direct or indirect relationship with an applicant, property at issue, or any person or business associated with the applicant or the property at issue that may hinder an NPT Member’s or Officer’s objectivity in a decision before the NPT.

    An “Interest” shall not include being a neighbor of a property or of an applicant.

    (2)     “Substantial Interest” means an interest in another person or an entity if: the interest is ownership of five percent or more of the voting stock, shares or equity of the entity or ownership of $5,000 or more of the equity or market value of the entity; or funds received by the person from the other person or entity either during the previous 12 months or the previous calendar year equaled or exceeded $5,000 in salary, bonuses, commissions or professional fees or $20,000 in payment for goods, products or nonprofessional services, or 10 percent of the person’s gross income during that period, whichever is less; the person serves as a corporate officer or member of the board of directors or other governing board of the for-profit entity other than a corporate entity owned or created by the city council; or the person is a creditor, debtor, or guarantor of the other person or entity in an amount of $5,000 or more except that a home mortgage loan for the person’s homestead or a loan or lease of a personal automobile shall not be deemed a substantial interest in the creditor or guarantor if entered into at a market rate with a commercial lending institution before the previous 12 months.

    (3)     “Substantial Interest In Real Property” means an interest in real property which is an equitable or legal ownership with a market value of $5,000 or more.

    (4)     “Decision” includes a decision to file an application for a plan amendment and a final recommendation on a proposed plan amendment.

    (b) An NPT Member who has a substantial interest that disqualifies the member from participating in a decision under Paragraph (a) shall submit a disclosure statement to the NPT describing the substantial interest.  The NPT Member shall submit the disclosure statement when the NPT files an application for a plan

    amendment or a final recommendation on a proposed plan amendment, as applicable.

    NPT Members and Officers are highly encouraged to disclose any Interests they may have, regardless of how insignificant, in order to ensure the integrity of any decision made by the NPT. If an NPT Member or Officer has an Interest or a reasonable expectation that they may have or will have an Interest, the NPT Member or Officer must:

    1. Immediately disclose such Interest to the other NPT Members and Officers. Such disclosure must occur, at the latest, prior to the Land Use Hearing. The NPT Member or Officer with the Interest must also disclose such Interest in any correspondence, contact, or discussion pertaining to the project in which the Interest has arisen.

    2. If an NPT Member or Officer has an Interest, the NPT Member or Officer cannot participate in any decision concerning the property at issue, including, but not limited to, the decision of the NPT to submit an application for a plan amendment or the decision to support or not support the project at issue on the property.

    In the event that an Interest is not disclosed and such NPT Member or Officer participates in the decision related to the property at issue (including, but not limited to, the Land Use Hearing), then the NPT’s decision related to such property shall be null and void and the applicant must reapply with the NPT for a new decision with respect to the property at issue.

    Furthermore, in the event that an Interest arises for an NPT Member or Officer within twelve (12) months after a decision is made, then the NPT may declare its previous decision null and void in its sole and exclusive discretion and take whatever action the NPT deems reasonable with respect to the property at issue. Such decision to negate a previous decision by the NPT shall be done by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the NPT Members at any Regular or Special Called Meeting. The NPT Member or Officer with the Interest is encouraged to attend such meeting to discuss their Interest.

    SECTION V

    Officers

    Officers. The officers of the NPT shall be a Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary.

    Terms of Office. Each officer shall serve a term of one year commencing upon election in April. Notwithstanding any other provision hereof, each officer shall serve until his or her successor is elected and qualified.

    Chair. The Chair shall preside over meetings and oversees the running of the NPT, and shall be responsible for the operation of the NPT and its officers pursuant to these bylaws. This shall include conducting meetings, representing the team at official functions, appointing subcommittees, and generally overseeing the business of the NPT.  The Chair shall have the primary responsibility for coordinating with the City of Austin Implementation Planner on the implementation items in the adopted Neighborhood Plan

    Vice-Chair. The vice-chair shall assist the Chair in preparing meeting agendas and conducting meetings and shall assume all duties of the Chair when required.

    Secretary. The secretary shall maintain all written records as required by the City of Austin, including recording and maintaining the minutes, membership records, and contact information on interested parties, and shall produce all written communications as directed by the Chair, or the NPT Members.  The prepared minutes should only reflect what was done and not what was said at the meeting.  They should not contain the record keepers’ or any meeting participant’s opinions.  The membership records shall include current addresses and voting status of NPT Members.

    Election.

    A.               The officers shall be elected at large by the NPT Members at the Regular Meeting in April.  All candidates must be qualified NPT Members.

    B.               Officers will be elected by the NPT Members, by a majority vote if there are two or fewer candidates, or, a plurality vote if there are three or more candidates.

    C.               The secretary will notify the Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Department in writing of the names of the newly elected officers, their contact information, and the date they are due to take office.

    D.              Any elected officer may be removed from office for good cause.  Removal shall be debated by the NPT and shall require a two-thirds vote of NPT Members eligible to vote and present at a meeting of the NPT, providing that a resolution proposing the consideration of the removal has been adopted at a preceding meeting and that notice of the vote for removal has been included in the call to the meeting at which the vote shall take place.

    E.               Should vacancies occur outside the normal election process, candidates for the unfilled term shall be nominated from the floor and elected at the next scheduled meeting following the vacancy.  The person elected to the vacated office will serve for the remainder of the term.

    SECTION VI

    Parliamentary Procedure

    Robert’s Rules. When not inconsistent with these Bylaws, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure. These rules may be suspended at any meeting by a majority vote.

    SECTION VII

    Prohibited Actions

    Political Endorsements. The NPT shall not endorse any candidates for political office.

    SECTION VIII

    Adoption and Amendment of Bylaws

    Adoption. These bylaws of the Central West Austin Combined Neighborhood Planning Team shall become effective on ___________________, 2010.

    Amendments.  These bylaws may be amended or repealed and new bylaws may be adopted by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the NPT Members at any Regular or Special Called Meeting, provided that a resolution proposing the amendment has been adopted at a preceding regular meeting and that notice of the proposed amendment to the bylaws has been given in accordance with the provisions for providing notice of a regular meeting.

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