3 key takeaways from Austin City Council District 10 town hall meeting, June 19

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Austin City Council Member Alison Alter hosted her first general District 10 town hall meeting at the Westover Hills Church of Christ on June 19.

In the meeting, her office gave presentations about the search for a new city manager, speed mitigation in the district, the land development code rewrite process called CodeNEXT and the city’s proposed budget.

“I just want to emphasize that local government matters. Participation matters,” Alter said. “We live in a crazy world today, but you can do things at the local level.”

Here are three key takeaways from the town hall meeting.

1. The public has until July 5 to submit input for the city manager search.

Jan Lehman led a 20-minute discussion Monday night to gather public input on the city manager search. Participants were asked to share the skills they felt were most important for a city manager to have, what personal characteristics they wish to see the new manager display and the most critical challenges Austin would face in the next five to 10 years.

Citizens present at the meeting said they hoped the new city manager would have good leadership skills, the ability to make his or her own decisions and be familiar with Austin. Other speakers said they wanted a manager with experience in other big cities or  foreign cities, to be a consensus builder, and to growth and to the state government.

Citizens who wish to submit more feedback can email jan.lehman@austintexas.gov or visit www.austintexas.gov/page/city-manager-search.

2. A pedestrian hybrid beacon will be installed on Far West Boulevard.

The Austin Transportation Department announced a pedestrian hybrid beacon will be installed before school begins on Far West at  Northledge Drive to assist students crossing to Doss Elementary School. The department said the beacon was considered after receiving requests from the surrounding community.

Pedestrian hybrid beacons are “pedestrian-activated warning devices, which help pedestrians safely cross major roadways where there isn’t a traffic signal,” according to the city’s transportation page. The beacon, which costs about $75,000, was funded through the city’s Quarter Cent Fund on behalf of former District 10 Council Member Sheri Gallo.

3. Citizens have until July 7 to submit feedback regarding CodeNEXT zoning maps.

District 10 Policy Adviser Kurt Cadena-Mitchell gave a presentation about the CodeNEXT progress. Monday’s meeting marked the fifth CodeNEXT discussion hosted by District 10, Alter said.

Cadena said CodeNEXT should be viewed as the “DNA of our city.” Through July 7, the city will accept feedback regarding proposed zoning maps for the new land development code. Cadena told the crowd about the importance of getting involved in CodeNEXT and staying engaged.

“If you’re thrilled now, we want you to be thrilled at the end,” Cadena said. “We rely on you and your neighbors to make sure these maps aren’t just something you can live with but also thrive with.”

Citizens can view the zoning maps and submit feedback at www.tinyurl.com/CodeNEXTmap.

For more meeting details, view our Storify of live tweets from the meeting and visit www.austintexas.gov/department/district-10.

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