Zoning!

Have you ever wondered about Zoning? Probably not because it sounds boring, is rather confusing and not appear to be of importance. Actually, Zoning is a very important topic to understand and keep up with because it affects all residents in our neighborhood.

This article is intended to educate our neighborhood on topics important to maintaining the integrity of our historic neighborhood. Through such education we are striving to empower each property owner so he/she can make informed decisions before remodeling, tearing down, and starting new construction. We also want to equip property owners with the tools and knowledge needed to help understand how to positively impact new development.

Too often many homeowners feel like “victims” to the threat of new development, not knowing where or how to begin voicing concerns and objections. By knowing some basic facts about Zoning you will be on your way to empowerment. Zoning is the Site Development Standards required by the City of Austin for all new construction and alterations to existing properties. Defined in these Standards are different Zoning Districts, such as Single Family (SF), Multi Family (MF), Neighborhood Commercial (LR). Fortunately, Old Enfield has a combination of only SF and MF zoning and no commercial zoning, which results in an intact residential neighborhood.

Most Single Family Zoning in Old Enfield is SF-3. The SF-3 requirements set forth the by the Site Development Standards require: a minimum lot size of 5750 square feet, minimum lot width of 50 feet, maximum number of dwellings on lot of one, maximum height of 35 feet. A series of setbacks is imposed which refers to the distance you must maintain from your property line to any other buildings. Typically, the front yard must be 25 feet, street side yard 15 feet, interior side yard, one or both, must be maintained at five feet and rear yard at 10 feet. Maximum building coverage allowed is 40 percent and maximum impervious cover is 45 percent.

In our neighborhood there were many homes constructed prior to the adoption of these ordinances that do not comply. So within the ordinance there are exceptions that allow for certain alterations and additions. Any variation from the Zoning ordinance that does not fall within these exceptions may be subject to a variance request from the City of Austin Board of Adjustment.

Most Multi Family Zoning in Old Enfield falls under the standards of MF-3. The requirements set forth by the Site Development Standards require: a minimum lot size of 8,000 square feet, minimum lot width of 50 feet, maximum number of dwellings on the lot is 36 per acre, maximum height is 40 feet.

A series of setbacks is imposed which refers to the distance you must maintain from your property line to any other buildings. Typically, the front yard must be 25 feet, street side yard 15 feet, interior side yard, one or both, must be maintained at five feet and rear yard at 10 feet. Maximum building coverage allowed is 55 percent and maximum impervious cover is 65 percent.

Where a MF property is next to a SF property a special condition exists: Compatibility Standards apply. Compatibility Standards are additional development regulations established to modify the effects of the more intense residential development impact on its adjacent SF property. SF property owners wanting to construct new or additions first go directly to the residential permitting office at which time their plans and property survey will be reviewed for compliance with the Zoning provisions. If there are no issues a building permit will be issued. But should there be issues that do not comply with the Zoning provisions a variance will be required. A variance application is accomplished by filing an application to the Board of Adjustment. Public hearings are held and prior to these hearings all property owners within 300 feet will be notified in writing by the City of the variance request. Each property owner is given the opportunity to voice any objections.

When an MF property owner applies for additions or new construction, the process is different. They must first apply for a Site Development Permit. Once approved the owner may then apply for a building permit. No building permit may be issued for an MF property without a Site Development Permit. Property owners within 300 feet are automatically notified of any Site Development Permit request. At that time notified property owners are able to participate in the process. Should there be issues that do not comply with the Zoning provisions a variance will be required. An application to the Board of Adjustments must be filed similarly to the above.

If you do not know your zoning or are curious about the Zoning around your property, you can obtain this information from One Texas Center first floor map room. You will need your tax parcel ID number. That number is available online at traviscad.org.

This information was originally published in our Spring 2005 Newsletter, and was contributed by Tina Contros and Marlene Romanczak.

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Pease-Niles-Graham Family Papers 1826-1992

The Austin History Center has compiled an archive of the family papers of our founding family. The description of the contents is interesting!

PEASE-GRAHAM-NILES FAMILY PAPERS, 1826-1992 AR.2000.01 1702 ITEMS SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

Correspondence; financial, legal, and business documentation; photographic and printed materials; creative works; ephemera; and objects are included in the 1702 items that make up the Pease-Graham-Niles Papers (1826-1992). The bulk of the material centers on the Graham and Harman families (1901-1992), but a great number of letters from earlier Pease family members fill out the collection.

The first subgroup (1 item) contains a photocopy of the biographical sketch of Governor E. M. Pease (1812-1883) published in Indian Wars & Pioneers of Texas and includes notes citing deeds in Bastrop, Texas.

The next three subgroups consist of letters received by Christiana Griswold Niles (3 items), Juliet Niles (1811-1903, 143 items), and Lucadia Christiana Niles Pease (1813- 1905), which were sent to the Niles home in Connecticut. The largest number of letters was sent from Lucadia to her sister Juliet (96 items). These letters describe the day-today activities of the family, especially the children. Lucadia wrote in 1869 regarding the ongoing debates of the State Constitutional Convention and mentioned enclosing a speech by a Texas woman on women’s suffrage for Juliet’s reference. Also present is a rare personal letter from Gov. Pease written to his sister-in-law when his daughters were ill and Lucadia was recovering from an injured finger and could not write.

The fourth subgroup comprises the records kept by Lucadia and Julia Pease while caring for the Graham children and managing the Pease investments. The largest series contains financial records (171? items), which deal with the investments and properties of the Pease family. Letters received (56 items) include letters to Julia and Lucadia from family and friends. Included are letters from Marshall Graham and R. Niles Graham while away at school, as well as from Pease and Niles relatives. Letters from Lucadia’s nephew Henry Ladd (4 items) contain an account of the 1893 fire in Austin which destroyed the Booth Building owned by Lucadia. Records related to some of Julia’s charity and social activities form another series and include groups such as the Charity Hospital (3 items), Daughters of the Republic of Texas (5 items), the Women’s Auxiliary of the Young Men’s Christian Association (3 items), Vassar College alumnae (7 items), and letters received from Elisabet Ney concerning the formation of a fine arts committee (2 items). Numerous purchase orders and receipts are in the Household Receipts series (43 items) and reflect the spending habits of the household from furnishings to clothing. The legal matters subgroup includes records related to an attempt to have taxes paid in 1866 by the Harris & Pease law firm refunded. Finally, an undated visiting book which includes the names of household visitors is present.

The Julia Maria Pease subgroup (24 items) contains miscellaneous bills, letters received, and notes of Julia’s after her mother’s death in 1905. The Graham Family Papers sub-group (1901-1992, 451 items) is arranged in seven series named for family members: R. Niles Graham, Anita Goeth Graham, Mr. and Mrs. R. Niles Graham, Marshall P. Graham II, Thomas A. G. Graham, Marshall and Thomas Graham, and Mary Harriet Graham. The Graham Family Papers document the Grahams’ business affairs, interests, activities, finances, education, travels, sense of humor, and relationships with family and friends.

The largest series with 322 items (1901-1955) is that of R. Niles Graham. His correspondence reveals a man popular with friends and business associates and much loved by his family. Some letters received by R. Niles Graham mention Woodlawn, his family home. Other correspondence records his strong interest in genealogy. Three documents in the Infield Petroleum subseries reveal his involvement in the oil business during the 1920s, but a much larger bulk of documents about Infield can be found in the first group of Pease-Graham-Niles Papers accessioned by the Austin History Center. The contents of R. Niles Graham’s wallet has been kept together in a subseries. R. Niles Graham kept an association with Trinity College and the Epsilon Chapter of the Delta Psi fraternity throughout his life as evidenced by correspondence in the Trinity College subseries. An photograph of R. Niles and his fraternity brothers has been removed to the Oversize Photo Archives.

R. Niles Graham’s personality shines through in the loving letters he wrote to his wife, Anita, while Mr. Graham traveled around Texas for his oil business. These letters (1911-1920, 61 items) are contained in the Anita Goeth Graham series (1911-1953, 93 items). This series also documents Anita Graham’s work for the blind and her close relationship to her family. Especially rich sources of information are her address and birthday books, which are heavily annotated and packed with enclosures. The Mr. and Mrs. R. Niles Graham series (1917-1966) consists of 18 items that are mainly invitations for social events. Mary Harriet Graham’s series is composed of a single item, a book recording those who attended her funeral in Austin in 1992.

The Marshall P. Graham II series (1929-1955, n.d., 8 items) includes a letter that he sent to his father about legal matters and a letter that he received from Walter E. Long about his mother, Anita Graham, along with a school brochure and dance card. The Graham-Lundgren subseries within the Thomas Graham (1917-1955, n.d., 8 items) series shows that Thomas had a business as an insurance agent. A single card from “Santa” (n.d.) in the Marshall and Thomas Graham series reveals the warmth and sense of humor shared by the family.

A subgroup of papers (1826-1987, 363 items) represents the Harman family. Three-quarters of the documents pertain to the life of Julie Anita Graham Harman (1923- 1987). Items concerning her education reveal that Julie liked to write poetry as a young schoolgirl. Assorted materials (1826-1947, n.d.) include an autograph book dating from 1826 which belonged to Julie’s Great Great Aunt Juliet Niles, and was passed down to Julie and her daughter Margaret by R. Niles Graham. Anita Goeth Graham sent numerous letters (1945-1950) to her daughter, Julie, while Julie and the rest of the Harman family were living in Virginia, in which Anita relayed news from Austin and shared tips on cooking.

The subseries titled “Organization Affiliations and Civic Activities” (1950- [1958]) provides insight into Julie’s service to the Austin community. In addition to several other groups, Julie was especially active in the Volunteer Council for the Austin State Hospital where she designed activities to brighten the lives of “crippled children.” Documents relating to Julie Harman’s membership in the Texas chapter of the Colonial Dames of America include a creative work about the restoration of the Neill Cochran House and photocopies of articles gathered in researching how the Colonial Dames of Texas contributed to the naming of the Official Flower of the State of Texas, the bluebonnet. Also included are copies of an article written by Ethel Mary Franklin [Smith], who was Julie’s father’s cousin, a fellow Colonial Dame, and a celebrated citizen of Austin.

While a student at the University of Texas, Julie was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. A sorority publication from 1954 includes an obituary for Julie’s mother, Anita Goeth Graham, also a member of the organization. Inserted into the publication are two items: a typewritten resolution in memory of Anita from fellow members of the Woman’s Auxiliary of the Good Shepherd Church of Austin, and an undated manuscript in Anita’s hand.

Julie and James married on April 20, 1945. Julie kept a journal of wedding preparation activities. The couple’s social life and the family’s church involvement are reflected in the records contained in the Mr. and Mrs. James Harman series (1938-1977, n.d., 44 items). James’ career in journalism is documented in the James William Harman series (1937-1987, n.d., 24 items). The series pertaining to Margaret and Douglas Harman ([1946]-1966, 23 items) includes mainly printed materials from their childhood and teen years.

The subgroup named “Family Photographic Materials” (1907-1991, n.d.) includes photographic prints (173 items), framed photographs (2 items), and color slide transparencies (6 items). The bulk of the photographs dates from 1935 to 1938. Oversized photographic items in this subgroup are several loose prints (3 items) and a large framed photograph of Ethel Mary Franklin Smith (1 item), cousin of R. Niles Graham. An undated carte de visite featuring a portrait of Dewitt C. Baker, Ms. Smith’s grandfather, may be the oldest photograph in the body of materials. A panoramic photograph depicts Douglas Harman as a member of the Austin High School Graduating Class of 1966. Two photograph albums belonging to Julie Anita Graham, as well as 10 pages from a disbound photo album, are part of this subgroup. A large number of the images depict the Graham family at Woodlawn. Most frequently pictured is Julie Anita Graham. All of these items have been relocated from the family papers to be housed in appropriate collections. Some loose prints located in an envelope in one album have been separated from the album and integrated with the other loose prints.

A subgroup of materials pertaining to the Woodlawn Estate (ca. 1920-1985) includes printed materials, letters, creative works, and photographic materials (117 items). A publication about the architect of the mansion, Abner Cook (1814-1884), includes an essay by Julie Anita Graham Harman. An article titled “So Big Texas,” which appeared in National Geographic Magazine (June 1928), featured a photograph of the Woodlawn home. A print created for the article is part of the photographic materials, in addition to nitrate negatives depicting interior and exterior views of the mansion as well as black and white photographic prints of the estate grounds covered in snow and color slides of the estate in the 1950s. As above, photographs of the Woodlawn Estate have been separated and stored with the photography archives.

Numerous three-dimensional objects belonging to several members of the Pease- Graham-Niles family (1940, n.d., 22 items) are arranged and stored together. A slate writing tablet is inscribed with the name “Carrie”; it is not known whether it originally belonged to Carrie Augusta Pease or Carrie Margaret Graham Cruseman. Most of the objects belonged to R. Niles Graham.

Provenance This accession is the third body of materials representing the Pease-Graham-Niles family received by and housed at the Austin History Center. While two prior accessions (FP A.1 and AR.1998.07) overlap in time with this one and are arranged differently, consulting them is recommended in order to reach a fuller understanding of the family. Items in the Christina Griswold Niles, Juliet Niles, and Lucadia Christiana Niles Pease subgroups were likely among the documents R. Niles Graham brought to Austin from relatives in Connecticut.

Records kept by Lucadia and Julia Pease were originally maintained by carefully folding the papers into a standard length-wise size and marking the subject, usually the name of the sender, on the backside. These documents were received by the Austin History Center with a folio marked “1893 Correspondence,” although the papers found with the folio date from 1888-1896. It was not apparent that any order was used to arrange the documents, but the labels that Lucadia and Julia created have been maintained and are grouped in similar subject units.

 

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Pease-Graham-Niles Family

The Austin History Center has curated a collection of the family papers of the founding family of Old Enfield. Following is an overview of the family history.

The Pease-Graham-Niles family papers represent five generations that span a
period of 150 years and several U.S. states.

At the top of the family tree is Christiana Griswold Niles, mother of six children, including four daughters, Juliet Niles (1811-1903), Lucadia Christiana Niles Pease (1813-1905), Maria “Riar” Harriet Niles Moore (1822-?), and Augusta Flora Niles Ladd (1825-ca.1859). She was married to Richard Niles (1785-1846) on May 17, 1810, in Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut.

Juliet Niles never married and resided at the family home in Poquonock, Connecticut, now part of Hartford. A supporter of women’s rights, Juliet was responsible  for funding the education at Vassar of her niece Christine “Kitty” Ladd-Franklin (1847-1930), who later became a noted scientist and mathematician. Juliet long resided with her friend and housekeeper, Annie Ennis, until her death in September 1903, at the age of 93.

Lucadia Niles Pease, Juliet Niles’ younger sister, was married August 22, 1850, at Poquonock to Elisha Marshall Pease (1812-1883), her cousin through her paternal  grandmother’s, Naomi Marshall Niles, family. E. M. Pease was born January 5, 1812, in Enfield, Connecticut to Lorrain Pease (1788-1848) and Sarah Marshall Pease. E. M.  Pease came to Texas in 1835 and participated in the Texas Revolution. He studied law in Brazoria and in the 1840s established a partnership with John W. Harris for the law firm  Harris & Pease. From 1853 to 1857, Pease served as governor of Texas. He later served as provisional governor from 1867 to 1869, during Reconstruction. The family briefly
lived in Galveston in 1879 while Pease acted as collector of customs. E.M. Pease died August 26, 1883, at Lampasas Spring, Texas, leaving a large estate to be managed jointly by his widow and daughter Julia.

Lucadia and E. M. Pease had three daughters, Carrie Augusta Pease (1851-1882), Julia Maria Pease (1853-1918) and Anne Pease (ca. 1854- ca. 1860). Julia Maria Pease,  also known as Julie, was born March 14, 1853, in Brazoria, Texas. She attended the Hartford Female Seminary in Connecticut and Vassar College, from which she graduated  in 1875 with a B.A. in music and art. Julia was active in charity and social organizations throughout her life. She remained interested in the fine arts, and became good friends  with sculptor Elisabet Ney.

Carrie Augusta Pease married George Thomas Graham (1847-1897). Carrie and George had three children: Marshall P. Graham (1875-1910), Richard Niles Graham  (1881-1959), and Carrie Margaret Graham Crusemann (1882-1961). When Carrie Augusta Pease Graham died in 1882, her sister, Julia, and her mother, Lucadia, assumed  the care of the Graham children. Mr. Graham occasionally visited his children in Austin.

R. Niles Graham, son of Carrie and George Graham, went to Hartford, Connecticut in 1901 to attend Trinity College. He became a member of the Epsilon  Chapter of the Delta Psi Fraternity and remained active as an alumnus throughout his life. When he left Trinity in 1904, he returned to Austin and worked for Crawford & Byrne, a cotton company. R. Niles Graham was a partner in various business ventures with his cousin W. Murray Graham. In the 1920s, R. Niles Graham was secretary of the Infield Petroleum Company, Inc. which had offices in both Austin and Brownwood, Texas. They also formed the Enfield Reality & Home Building in 1916 and developed the first residential addition on the west side of Austin using land from the Pease estate, creating such Austin
neighborhoods as Enfield, Westenfield, Westfield, and Tarry Town.

The name Enfield came from the town in Connecticut where Niles’ grandfather, Governor Pease, grew up. Popular with friends and business associates and known for his sense of humor,  R. Niles Graham maintained a full schedule of business, civic, and social activities. A traveler throughout his life, Niles spent summers in Connecticut or Europe and once  made a trip around the world. While working in the oil industry in the 1920s, he traveled throughout Texas. Active in many organizations, R. Niles was a lifelong member of the
Ben Hur Masonic Lodge in Austin, as were both of his grandfathers. Some of R. Niles’ many interests included: book, stamp, and autograph collecting; genealogy; and buildings of historical significance.

R. Niles Graham married Anita Laura Goeth (1889-1953) on January 4, 1910, daughter of A. C. Goeth and granddaughter of Walter Tips, both well-known Austinites.  Niles and Anita lived at Woodlawn, also known as the Pease Mansion. The original estate was around 3,000 acres, bounded by what is now West 12th Street on the south, on the east by Shoal Creek, on the north by what is now West 24th Street, and on the west by the approximate line of Exposition Boulevard. Governor Pease donated 22 acres along Shoal Creek to the City of Austin in 1875, now Pease Park. R. Niles donated another four acres before developing Enfield. The family resided in the mansion, built in 1853 by
Abner Cook, until 1956 when Governor and Mrs. Allan Shivers purchased the property.

R. Niles and Anita Graham had three children: Marshall Pease II (1911-1977), Thomas Adolf Goeth (1912-1983), and Julie Anita (1923-1987). Marshall Pease II, who  was named for R. Niles’ brother who had died at age 35 in 1910, became a lawyer. Thomas established an insurance agency, Graham-Lundgren & Company, in Austin.  Julie Anita, called “Rabbit” by her parents, attended Austin High School and the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority; she  graduated in 1944 with a B.A. in English. On April 20, 1945, she married James William Harman (1922-?), from Welch, West Virginia. After living in Fort Worth for a short time, they moved to Richmond, Virginia, where James worked as a newspaper journalist, before returning to live in Austin around 1950. Julie and James had two children, Margaret Graham (1947- ), who as a child was called “Graham”, and Douglas Marshall (1948- ). While in Austin, Julie Anita Graham played an active role in a number of civic groups. Later in her life, she was involved in historic preservation. Mary Harriet Graham (1917-1992), a cousin of Julie Anita Graham and daughter of W. Murray Graham and Helen Hood, lived in Austin her entire life. She was a  member of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church and a sustaining member of the Junior League of Austin.

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