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Council to Consider More Oversight for Neighborhood Contact Teams

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Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News
Council member Pio Renteria wants neighborhood contact teams to have more oversight from the city.

More than 30 neighborhoods in Austin have a neighborhood plan, a document that lays out priorities for that part of the city. And each plan comes with a team made up of residents who make sure that new development projects fit the plan. But, at least one City Council member thinks these neighborhood plan contact teams need more oversight.

Within a team, there’s always a set of players. Like Stuart Hampton, who’s lived in his Bouldin Creek neighborhood for more than 20 years and is chair of the Bouldin Creek neighborhood plan contact team. When Hampton hears that Council member Pio Renteria wants to give the City more power to oversee these contact teams – including making sure that each comply with bylaws and post public notices of their meetings — he argues that his team already plays by these rules.

“I’m struggling with, what is the problem here? My sense is that what we struggle with more is how to get people interested, rather than hiding things from the public,” Hampton says.

Neighborhood plan contact teams are the only neighborhood groups identified in city code. While many of them are concerned with the same geographic space as neighborhood associations, contact teams have only one goal: to make sure their neighborhood sticks to its plan. Council member Renteria’s plan to add more oversight to these teams will go to the full Council later this fall.

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