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What an incredible evening of support from the community and a showing of demand by area residents for keeping our part of the Texas Hill Country great! I don’t have an exact count of attendees but we packed the cafeteria of Steiner Ranch Elementary. The brief presentation reviewed by Brian Thompto can be seen below; an introduction to Neighborhood Associations, the motivation behind the founding of SRNA by a crew of dedicated residents, and our mission from here.

The evening was both videoed and well photographed; I favored sharing this update with the community as quickly as possible so this post is without those visuals as we have yet to prepare them. I’ll get them up as soon as they’re in hand.

Alas, we didn’t have a formal secretary (yet!) so I’m going to take a stab at the questions from the community to give you a sense for the curiosities, concerns, and cares presented last night. Keep in mind, the evening was focused on the foundation of the Association and not issues in the community. I’m paraphrasing the questions and topics and I may well miss one as I’m recollecting them, if I have missed something, please comment below:

  • Bylaws were not reviewed in detail but were discussed to confirm that they are in place and can be reviewed here. We worked with the Four Points Chamber of Commerce and some Steiner residents who were involved in the development of other Associations in the writing of our own bylaws.
  • Boundaries were discussed to clarify them, with much interest on the part of residents beyond the borders of the Steiner Ranch Neighborhood. The Bylaws make efforts to ensure residents beyond Steiner Ranch are represented if not with Board positions (as they are elected positions), than with advisory representation. The point of the Neighborhood Association is to represent not just those covered by an HOA but everyone in our community from renters to those beyond Steiner Ranch. We’ll continue to work together as we need to to ensure that happens.
  • Some concerns or confusion about having “another” Association (with references to the HOAs). Everyone should be clear, and the slides below attempt to cover this, that a Neighborhood Association is not just another. A Neighborhood Association is the representation of our community with the city, media, businesses, and developers. It is distinct from and works alongside your HOA. If you are interested in development, safety, annexation or incorporation, local business, energy and utility rates, local water controls, or anything else of concern to the residents of this community, join us.
  • While last night was the formal launch of the Association in the community, the Association founders have been busy meeting with the HOA, Taylor Morrison and Quinlan Crossing developers and representatives, and the City of Austin. Issues on which we’ll focus will be determined at the first membership meeting in March but we have been active in developing relationships and determining where we can affect change and make a difference.
  • Much of the discussion of the purpose of dues was tied to the concepts of representation, taxation with and without representation, etc. At this point, the 2012 annual dues ($50 per household or business) were determined to cover the cost of communications, insurance, facilities rental, etc. while providing a little funding beyond that for the work before us. It’s up to the membership and board to determine the ultimate use of SRNA funds.
  • Some issues were brought up including the possibility of an additional road exiting the peninsula, whether or not the SRNA matters to the developers, the impact of the proposed Canyon Glen apartment complex… Issues were not the topic of the evening and will fall to the membership to address but know that residents in attendance last night are passionate about where we go from here and dedicated to working together in our best interest.
  • Everyone wants to know how we reach those who haven’t yet joined and there is concern about adequate representation of our community with only a fraction of the area’s residents within the membership. The SRNA is a representative of the community so your voice needs to be a part of that. It is a voluntary organization so it doesn’t have to be a part of it; we’ve attempted to establish annual dues that are easily affordable – after all, we’re concerned about taxation without representation but we can’t really manage to have representation without some taxation. We’ve accomplished a lot in trying to reach everyone, from coverage on Four Points News, Community Impact, and the Austin-American Statesman to the use of the Steiner Ranch Post, the Steiner HOA’s Social Committee. We tracked down as many neighborhood groups and mailing lists as we could find and reached out through them all. We connected with our neighbor Association in Comanche Trail and were featured in their newsletter. We papered local businesses, Monterone, and Longhorn Village with flyers. No, we didn’t reach everyone and no, we’re hardly done. We have thousands of households to represent and need to figure out how to better reach them all. But, we’re off to a fantastic start from only 6 people discussing how to make a difference over coffee so many months ago. Talk to your neighbors, send out an email, and encourage everyone to join now.
  • We briefly reviewed the ongoing board nominations as the time for registered members to nominate themselves to the board is NOW. Some of the founding members are willing to serve on the board and we have already received some nominations from new members. Elections to the board by members will be held online in the coming weeks.
  • Lastly, the use of social media was encouraged; in case you’ve missed us, we’re all over it and the Steiner Ranch Post and one of the HOA’s Social Committee have been and will continue promoting our work. If you aren’t on those Facebook sites, consider being so; combined, there, we’ve reached about 8,000 people with word of the Association.

Without further adieu…

Thank you again for a wonderful start last night! Please join us now if you haven’t already.