COVNA Meeting


7:00 p.m. Monday, March 19th
Southwest Church of Christ
8900 Manchaca Rd. (Rear Entrance)

March Program Notes

Our speaker will be Lynda Rife with the group Take On Traffic. They are an organization founded by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce to promote a comprehensive transportation system for Central Texas, to include roads and rail infrastructure. Their website is for anyone who is interested in learning more before the meeting.

From their website:

What would you do with an extra hour every week? That’s how much time you’re losing right now—51 hours a year—to Central Texas traffic. Austin is the most congested city of its size in America, and there’s no question that the region is facing a mobility crisis.

Music in our Schools Month

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Red Cross Month

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Revote Likely at March Meeting

A vote last meeting to be included in the city ordinance banning parking motor vehicles in front and side yards passed. Whether a true quorum was present (15 households) and how votes were counted (1 per household) is in question. Read about this issue below and plan to attend the March meeting so a binding vote can be taken on this important issue.


Floyd Clark
Dominic Chavez
Vacant (please volunteer)
Hal Ferguson
Doug Tabony
Doug DuBois
Doug DuBois
President (282-8245)
Vice President (695-5457)
Treasurer (282-0601)
Newsletter (280-4080)
ANC Delegate (292-9323)
Past President (292-9323)

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with your name(s) to Doug at
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Monthly meetings are held on the
third Monday of the month.
January 15th
February 19th
March 19th
April 16th
May 21st
June Picnic TBA
September 17th
October 15th
November 19th
Dec Party TBA


Prohibiting Front Lawn Parking

At the February COVNA meeting a motion was approved for our neighborhood association to join the City of Austin’s program to prohibit the parking of motor vehicles in front yards and side yards of residences. The program designates February as the sign-up month.

The prohibition includes both operable and non-operable motor vehicles. A motor vehicle may only be parked on a paved surface such as a driveway, a designated parking space, or along a street as long as it does not block a driveway, alley, access to a fire hydrant, or is prohibited by a “No Parking” sign.

The city council will consider our request in April. If approved, COVNA will be included on the city’s Restricted Parking Area Map. The map will expire in three years. To remain on the map after three years, the COVNA president must reapply.

Please see the COVNA web page for more details. For answers and more info about the program, contact Annie Pennie, Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Department, 974-7668.

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Advertise in the COVNA Newsletter
Only $10.00/month. Reaches over 400 homes & Online at
Email Doug Tabony at:

We Still Need Help!!!

We need a volunteer to act as secretary.

The job only takes about two or three hours a month but is vital to the association.


Argument for COVNA Participation

Seeing cars parked on lawns and seeing damaged or abandoned cars in driveways or on the curbs are not the sign of a healthy neighborhood. If we value our neighborhood, I think we must take whatever steps are available to us to try to preserve it.

If COVNA doesn’t agree to the lawn parking ordinance, then neighbors must try to persuade those who are parking on the lawns to stop the practice. If those doing the parking are tenants, neighbors often must track down the property owner, who may live out of state, and try to persuade the owner to do something about the tenants' parking habits.

If COVNA does agree to the lawn parking ordinance, all that is necessary is a simple call to 311, or an email, to report the address where the parking problem is occurring. According to the City website, “an investigator usually visits the property within two business days.” This is similar to the ordinance about loose dogs, abandoned and multiple vehicles.

A little research night revealed 31 non-resident property owners, an indicator for rental properties. I didn’t finish looking up all the streets in the neighborhood, but those I did find showed statistics that really surprised me. I believe it reflects the trend over the last few years of people turning to real estate as one of the better investments. One Austin pair owns at least three different properties in our neighborhood—2 on Vassal and 1 on Shelby Oak.

The ordinance doesn't prohibit driving on lawns, only parking on them. Thus, a person would have the option to drive on the lawn to get around multiple parked vehicles on the driveway, rather than moving vehicles into the street. If a person made the decision to pull into the street rather than driving around on his or her lawn, the association and neighbors would not be responsible for that personal decision.

I think we must do our part to keep up the neighborhood by reporting abandoned & multiple vehicles, endorsing the “no parking on lawns” ordinance, and taking the time to report violations of ordinances, just as we report coyotes, vandalism, break-ins, and suspicious activity in the neighborhood.

Nita Smith

Two Legal Considerations

Argument Against COVNA Participation

I have no argument with trying to keep the neighborhood looking nice. The problem is this particular law against parking on lawns. There is a reason the city has demanded that neighborhood associations buy into it. It attaches liability to the neighborhood associations if an accident can be shown to be the result of this law. If a vehicle being moved to free up another vehicle that normally would have been parked on the grass strikes a child, a dog walker, or t-bones another vehicle, lawsuits can be filed.

I have a cousin, who for the first 15 years of his career was a research lawyer for a federal judge. For the past 20 odd years, he has been a law professor at U.T. I asked him the following questions:

1. Did the City of Austin shift liability to neighborhood associations by making them request this law be brought into their neighborhood? - Answer: yes

2. If an accident can be shown to be a result of this law, can the neighborhood association be sued? - Answer: yes

3. Can each individual in the neighbor hood association be individually sued? - Answer: Depends on the severity of the accident, and the wishes of the Plaintiff, but , yes, absolutely.

Some of our neighbors don't believe this can happen. They believe if the police tell someone to move a vehicle, that the responsibility transfers to the police. Wrong. The police enforce existing laws, period. Look in the yellow pages at all the personal injury lawyers, and ask yourself how many of them do you think would gleefully go after the life savings of everybody in our neighborhood. Ask yourself if you want to open that door for them and how much it will cost you to hire a lawyer to defend yourself against them.

If you do not want to have this liability forced on you, then you must come to the next COVNA meeting, and vote against signing on to this ordinance. Right now, there is a flawed vote in place, in favor of bringing this law into the neighborhood. This vote needs to be dumped, folks. Or you may need to lawyer up.

There are other laws that address excessive, inoperable, etc. vehicles.

Overriding Concern?

When using a torch while I install A/C units, I wet the grass down and use a metal shield to prevent fires. This started me thinking about the expected summer drought, and catalytic converters on low slung cars which get hot enough to start fires if parked in grass tall enough to touch them. A grass/car/house fire would be a disaster and could spread quickly. Since I brought up the subject of liability connected to the parking ordinance, I asked my cousin if fire safety would trump the other liability concerns. He said it would make a compelling argument. The safety of my neighbors outweighs any inconvenience of moving vehicles around, therefore I withdraw my opposition to the parking ordinance.

Steve Hundley




Johnny G’s Butcher Block


Specializing in
Fresh Choice Beef, Pork, Sausage, Jerky
Wild Game Processing

Tanglewood Business Park
11600 Manchaca Rd. Ste H
Austin, TX 78748

Grover Swift
Jill Peevy Swift


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River City Pest Control

Barkley Garner
8704 Oak Ledge Dr, Austin TX 78748

Insect Control
Nuisance Animal Control


Congratulations to COVNA’s past president Frank de la Teja. Jesus “Frank” de la Teja, professor and chair of the history department at Texas State University-San Marcos, has been appointed by Governor Rick Perry as the new Texas State Historian. His duties during the two-year appointment include lecturing, consulting with state officials and encouraging the teaching of Texas history in public schools. Mr. de la Teja will become president of the Texas State Historical Association on March 10. Frank de la Teja received a bachelor's degree in political science from Seton Hall University and a doctoral degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin.