Meeting Minutes, AHNA General Membership Meeting, March 16

March 28, 2009 · Filed Under Events and News 

Meeting Minutes, AHNA General Membership Meeting: Monday March 16, 2009

6:31        Meeting called to order by Makenzie Carpenter.  She welcomes everyone.

Seismic Update

Jeff Seay with Gateway Permitting has informed Arlington Heights residents that they will be suspending efforts to collect permits for seismic testing in our neighborhood until September or October due to the current economic climate. 

Treasurer’s Report

As of 1/1/09 AHNA had $11,090.36.

As of 2/28/09 AHNA had $10,030.45. 

Please see the newsletter for more information or contact Renee with questions. 

Crime Report

Officer Miller:  When the economy goes down, crime goes up.  Burglary of houses is on the rise.  Most of these are occurring during the daytime hours.  Get to know your neighbors and report strange people in the neighborhood to the police.  One robbery was reported.  A school child was walking home from school and was robbed.  Watch for people following you home from shopping, especially when you pull in your driveway.  Don’t confront suspicious people.  Stay in your car, lock doors and drive away. 

Q:  What about people passing out flyers?  A:  It is legal for them to pass out flyers, but if they are asking “red flag” or suspicious questions, then please beware and call the police.

Q:  Are particular areas or times being targeted on the robberies?  A:  9:00 – 10:00 AM in the morning.  No particular area.  Please watch for people sitting in their cars in the morning when you leave the house. 

Q:  How many of these burglaries have been of houses with alarm systems or dogs?  A:  I don’t have specific numbers, but places with alarm systems have been robbed.  Most of the time it is people who have just left the house to run a quick errand and did not set the alarm system. 

Q:  What is being stolen?  A:  Mainly electronics, big screen TVs, computers, ect.

Officer Miller:  Are there any concerns in the neighborhood?

Neighbor:  The house across the street from me is for lease and someone is coming by and taking down the sign from the yard.  Yesterday, someone moved the for lease sign to my homes yard. 

Neighbor:  There is graffiti at Clover & I-30 at the underpass. 

Neighbor:   Has crime gone up in our neighborhood since the police sub-station on Birchman has closed?  A:  Unfortunately, yes. 

Neighbor:  I would like to thank the patrol officers for driving an extra time around the block when I went out to walk my dog late one night.  I appreciate them watching out for us!

Neighbor:  We need to collect cell phone numbers from our neighbors in case of emergencies.  All numbers, including home and office are helpful, but I have found that cell phone numbers are the best way to reach people. 

Makenzie:  This is a good time to remind AHNA of the new block captain program as well as the neighborhood crime watch program.  There was information in the January newsletter and information on the website.  Please contact Makenzie if you have any questions, or would like to get involved in these programs.

COP (Citizens On Patrol) classes start April 18th at the Police Academy.  Please contact Officer Miller if you are interested. 

Zoning Committee

A carport variance case at 2116 Hillcrest has been brought to the Zoning Committees attention by the City of Fort Worth.  It will be heard at the Board of Adjustments on March 19th.  A neighbor built a carport without a building permit.  They have gone back now to request a variance for the carport.  The next door neighbor is going to oppose the variance because the carport eave hangs over the property line and during rain storms; water is dumped off the carport roof into the next door neighbor’s yard.

Q:  Does the AHNA Zoning Committee get involved in home owner’s personal building decisions?  

A:  The AHNA Zoning Committee does not interfere with home owners decisions concerning construction on personal property.  However in this case, because the variance was applied for post construction, the City of Fort Worth contacted the Zoning Committee.  The next door neighbor also contacted the Zoning Committee after they received word of the variance and asked for the Zoning Committee’s recommendation.   

The Zoning Committee is going to back the next door neighbor and oppose the carport variance, on grounds that the carport encroaches the property line and causes drainage problems.

Tillman Zoning Case

In 2005 Tillman purchased the property at 1408 & 1412 Montgomery with the purpose of changing the zoning to MU.  After deliberations with AHNA, it was agreed that the property could be zoned PD-SU and the existing bungalows would be retained and used for the new businesses and paving and fencing improvements would be made within one year of Zoning Approval.  A site plan was created and was approved by the Zoning Commission and City Council. 

After this site plan and zoning case was approved, the bungalows on site were demolished.  Being as this was a violation of the Zoning and Approved Site Plan, the Fort Worth Police were called as well as Fort Worth Code Compliance, but by the time Code Compliance made it to the scene, the homes had been completely demolished. 

Currently the properties are vacant and by law, the only thing that can be built on these properties would have to match the footprint of the existing site plan as approved by the Zoning Commission and City Council.  Now Tillman wants to move an existing home to this site.  This house is currently located at 7th and Boland.  This would require an amendment to the existing site plan, which must be re-approved by the Zoning Commission and City Council.    

Based on recent communication with the City of Fort Worth, this Amended Site plan appears to be un-enforceable, as well as its inability to be authorized by the City Council.  AHNA is not against development on this property, but with the process as handled thus far, we feel that we cannot trust the Owner nor the City to follow through with site plans as agreed to by the Zoning Commission and the City Council.     

Q:  What does Tillman want to do with the new house?

A:  Tillman wants to put his business on the first floor and a private residence on the upper floors.   Photos of the house to be moved are being circulated. 

New Business

Tonight’s Presentation

Master Gardener, Sharon Chastain, presents: Harvesting the Rain. 

This time of the year we get a lot of rain in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and by capturing the rain that is shed off your roof in rain barrels, you can water your lawn in the summer, even if there are watering restrictions in place.  The more people that live in an area, the more important water becomes.  Less than 1% of the earth’s water is potable, and drought is always an issue.  The more we develop the urban areas on the earth, the less rainwater is absorbed into the earth and the more runoff is created.  Parking lots and roof surfaces gather water that becomes runoff and is collected in storm drains, thus preventing the water from being absorbed into the ground.  Green building often incorporates permeable surfaces for parking lots, which allow water to be absorbed into the ground, and collecting rainwater off of roof systems.  One inch of rain on 1000 sq.ft. of surface yields 623 gallons of water.  Rainwater is great for watering plants because it has a low pH level, no chemicals and few salts or minerals.

Ways to Harvest Rainwater

Complex systems include rain barrels and cisterns.  These two systems collect and store rainwater for future use.  Rain barrels are inexpensive and no power source is necessary, as they can be gravity fed.  The easiest way to install rain barrels, is to use plastic trash containers, place them a few feet above the ground, and connect them to the downspouts.  The water collected in the gutters and downspouts will need to be filtered prior to being stored in the rain barrels and mosquito dunks can be placed in the barrels to keep mosquitoes from hatching.  There needs to be an overflow valve at the top of the barrel and a spigot at the bottom of the barrels.  Rain barrels tend to be smaller storage containers each holding 40 – 80 gallons of water. 

Cisterns are more complex larger capacity rainwater storage systems that often require pumps and are more expensive.  Most old Texan homes had cisterns as well as Thomas Jefferson’s home Monticello.  A variety of materials can be used for cisterns, including masonry, concrete, metal or plastic, and they can be underground or above ground.  Cisterns can hold 2,000 – 10,000 gallons of water. 

Passive rainwater collection includes berms, catchment basins, detention ponds and rain gardens. 

Other places to get information on rainwater harvesting:

Q:  For rain barrels, are food grade vs. non-food grade containers better?

A:  For non-potable water, either grade container is fine.  The only thing to keep in mind is the color of the barrel.  A light colored barrel that lets sunlight in will cause algae inside the barrel, so be sure to get dark colored barrels so that sunlight cannot penetrate the barrel. 

Upcoming Speakers

April – Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, Steve Huddleston

Meeting Adjourned @ 7:35 pm.


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