Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Rain, Police Facility, Golf Course Info and More!

Get ready!  Here comes the May rains.  So far we have had 3.58 inches of rain in May, about .5 inch yesterday and .04 as of 10:30 AM this morning and more on the way.  "Turn around, don't drown" is a good thing to remember.  There have already been rescues where folks have driven into a flooded low water crossing.  We don't have too many places that are an issue in Lakeway but it can happen.  Lakeway Drive near Lakeway Blvd.  can flood as can the Blvd. near the church.  Be careful, "Turn around, don't drown"!

You can check the current totals at https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KTXLAKEW14
Stay Safe!

Congratulations to the winners of the election, I'm looking forward to seeing them in action leading our great city!  The Official ballot counts should be ready by Travis County this week and council will certify the election at a Special Meeting on May 15th.  The winners will be sworn in at the next regular meeting on May 20, 2019.  I also want to thank the retiring members for their service - they have done a GREAT job!

The Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening of the new Police Facility is scheduled for Saturday, May 11th.  Festivities start at 10 a.m.  Check out the new facility, it is beautiful, functional and will serve the community well.  Thanks to the committee and council that worked diligently for years on the project.  

For those that are wondering, the Live Oak Golf Course is undergoing a significant reconstruction.  The Live Oak Golf Shop and Food and Beverage station will now be closed until September 1st.  The Driving Range and back 9 will stay open for a while.

For you wildlife lovers, here's a short clip of a coyote that visited our back yard last Sunday morning.  I mostly catch foxes and skunks in the middle of the night.  It's great to see wildlife still in the area.

The Lakeway MUD is continuing their installation of sewer service to sections of Lakeway.  If you are interested in the project and want to hear more about it there are public meetings on Thursday May 9 at 10:30am and 5:30pm.  It will be held at the Lakeway Activity center and the same information will be provided at both sessions.  They can answer all your questions!

Don't forget to take the Comprehensive Plan Survey.  Here is a link:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Lakeway-2040-Vision

Enjoy the rainy weather - remember, we'll need it in July and August.  With the lake full (683.7 currently) they will most likely be sending two shipment of water to the downstream farmers.  Hopefully we will get some much needed rain later in the Summer months.

Don't forget, if you need some aerial photo's drop me a note at joe@skypict.com and I'll get it done.

Thanks for the support on the blog!  If you want to be added (or removed) from the email list send a note to lakeway@bain.us .

Stay Safe!

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Final Results

The results are in!  

Mayor:

Cox - 1679
Kilgore - 905
(Definitely a MAJORITY)

Council:

Kumar - 1466
Howell - 1177
Vance - 1020
Sutton - 998
Reichert - 772
Butler - 694
Mead - 691

These are the final results except possibly mail in.  It looks like lawsuits and ethics complaints didn't work in the mayoral race - however we'll have to see what is in store for the winners next week. 

Congratulations to the winners, I am looking forward to a sensible council to lead Lakeway forward.  

===============

There is another survey in case you haven't heard.  The Comprehensive Plan Survey is on line - here is a link.  Let me know what you think - does it serve the purpose expected?  

Thanks for the support - if there are any substantial changes  I will post them.

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us

Early Election Results

The results of the early voting is in.  

Mayor:

Sandy Cox - 1244
Tom Kilgore - 604

 Council:

Kumar - 1106
Howell - 875
Sutton - 744
Vance - 715
Reichert - 524
Mead - 469
Butler - 443

This is just the early voting totals.  I will post the final as soon as it comes out.   It looks like Lakeway may survive!

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us


Friday, May 3, 2019

Rain, Election, Jason's, ZAPCO and More!

Friday is here already!  We've had about 3/4 inch of rain yesterday and today so far with more promised.  You can keep up with the rain totals on my weather station. Weather Underground is making changes to the site but still seems to be giving good information.

The big news of the week is Jason's Deli's Grand Opening is Monday.  I went by and took a couple of pictures - they are ramping up for a crowd.  I wish them luck! 



Election day is finally here Saturday.  Our City's government is serious business.  I'm amazed that several candidates woke up one morning and decided to run for council and mayor.  It's not a prerequisite  to volunteer or be on any commissions or committees but it sure helps to understand some of the issues you will face as an elected official.  Some had never been involved at all until they decided they knew what was best because of their social media involvement.  The folks so worried about integrity seem to be the ones that can't follow the sign laws and want to be seen as heroes.  I for one will be glad it's over.  

ZAPCO met in regular session Wednesday.  Here is the agenda.  As is the norm now, legal counsel was present and was intimately involved. 

5)  Annexation Request in Rough Hollow.  This item was recommended after much involvement by legal council to the council after inclusion of conditions.  Much confusion on agreements and how to make the motion.  Counsel pretty much made the motion.  Recommended and approved unanimously.

6)  Final Plat of the previous area.  Much conversation of this property from property owners, including water quality.  Although the development is under 1997 rules, all water quality and building requirements must meet current standards.  An attorney for the landowners outside the city argued several points over about a 20 minute time span.  This caused ZAPCO to retire to executive session to consult with the attorney.  More speakers after the executive session including a couple of candidates.  Since they are not involved, they really don't understand how the development codes and process works and what rules are included.
Passed unanimously.

7)  Postponed because applicant was unavailable and since the house is rented the owner must give permission for the business.

8)  Simple change to the ordinance to clarify that our practice uses a GIS digital process instead of paper.

9)  New signage for Suds Deluxe Car wash was denied unanimously because of design and color issues.

10)  Monument sign for Suds Deluxe Car wash was denied unanimously because of design and color issues.

11)  Tillman Enterprises sign was approve unanimously.

12)  Variance for Lakeway Market was approved 4-3.

This meeting took significantly more time because of the litigious framework we are now in - caused in part by candidates.  The system that worked well for 50 years is now in the process of being dismantled.  It's going to get worse before it gets better.  
=====================
Last Sunday the Lakeway Park held a celebration with the delayed kite contest along with kayaking and safety training.  Here are a couple of pictures I took.  More at https://skypict.com/lakeway-parks .  I had a camera issue I didn't detect until after these were taken so the quality isn't up to my usual standards.  Enjoy!

There was also a Photo Contest that I discovered that the Art's committee put on.  I hope folks knew about it.  I've entered a couple of pictures so we'll see what happens!  The lake is beautiful this time of year and is unusually clear.  


The Singalong Show last week was a GREAT success.  They had a sell out crowd every night and I think everyone really enjoyed it!  Thanks to all those folks that work so hard to put on the production!

I hope everyone is enjoying the rain, please be safe if you're on the roads.  It looks like more rain on the way.  Thanks for the continued support!  If you want to be added to the email list send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll make it happen!

Have a GREAT weekend!

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us









Friday, April 19, 2019

Storms, Meetings and Signs + More!

Good Friday is upon us!  It looks like a BEAUTIFUL Easter weekend - the Lord is smiling down on us!  Praise the Lord!

The stormy night brought us some much needed rain to the area.  Hopefully nobody experienced any damage from the winds.  It doesn't appear we got any of the threatened hail.  We did get about an inch of beneficial rain and some nice cool mornings.  There was some damage from the storms last week.

City Council had a special meeting April 8th.  Here is a link to that agendaHere is a link to the council packet - more info here.

3) A proposal was accepted and awarded to G. Creek Construction for $352,584 for improvement of the Lower Restroom at City Park.  The award included addition of a trail to the restroom.  Unanimous.


The packet included a sheet on the solicitation process.  One council member questioned that, he must not have read the packet.

4)  A HOT Funding request was granted to the Lakeway Resort and Spa for $20,000 to fund 50% of a  Google Pay Per Click campaign.  These funds are available to all the local Hotel's and businesses that can meet the state requirements for the money.
Unanimous

5)  An access agreement was granted to the Williams property next to the Bee Creek Sports Complex - this was to give secondary access to the property.
Unanimous

6)  The ordinance calling the May 4, 2019 election was amended because of updates on early voting dates and places.
Unanimous

The regular meeting was closed at this point and a work session was started to receive a report on the citywide facility needs assessment.  Here is a link to the video.  For the needs assessment go to Item 7-8.  This is an attempt to determine what is needed to keep the city services going in the long term.  Discussions on remodeling the old Justice Center for expansion of Courts and use by BDS.  Also discussion on enlarging the City Hall complex and Public Works complex along with other facility improvements.  These projects are estimated to cost about $1M per year.  
------------------------
City Council met in regular session on April 15th.  Here is a link to the videoHere is a link to the agenda and here is a link to the council packet with more info.

On item 4, Code "Compliance" is moving forward, the Solid Waste and Recycling Contract will eventually get signed and the Police Station had a hiccup.

5)  The Police Station is pretty much done, there was an IT issue and the move in date has been moved until next week. 

***** There have been questions on social media about the blue lights around the city.  Our police force does an outstanding job of protecting our citizens!  With all the attacks from the media going on, we partnered with the Lowe's in Bee Cave (Stephanie Samuels was the manager then) to furnish LED blue bulbs to citizens to use in yard lights and porch lights to show support for the police.  It was a GREAT success and you can still see the results.  If you want to join in, order some blue lights (LED works best) and show your support!
*****
Items 6-7 were postponed.

8)  SUP was granted to Lake Travis ISD for Portable buildings at their main campus for the Lake Travis Educational Development Center.  Approved unanimously.

9)  SUP was granted for a Short Term Rental at 219 Corinthian Dr.  This locations permit was pulled a little over a year ago for violations (noise and parking).  They have made required corrections, waited the mandatory year and have now been granted a SUP.  Approved unanimously.

10)  SUP was granted for a STR at 1300 Sparrow Lane.  Approved unanimously.

11)  SUP was requested for a convenience store by Quick Trip at RR 620 and Debba Dr.  Although this was approved unanimously by ZAPCO, council decided to delay for 60 days to do a Traffic Study and look at repairs on the city's portion of the street.  This will all be redone with the 620 road project.  The complaints were mostly about county facilities and those residents are not in the City.

12)  SUP was granted for a Medical Office for the property in front of the Middle School on Bee Creek road.  Restrictions were applied to the SUP for type of facilities.

***** I posted a question in a previous blog as to why a SUP is required for a medical facility next to a school.  This was prompted a few years ago because of a proposed facility next to Lakeway Elementary.  That facility was Recovery Ways - a drug+ rehab facility that would have brought in folks that council felt was not in the citizens and neighbors best interest.  That issue eventually went to court and was one of two cases I am aware of that the city did not win.  Because the BDS Director was new and most of the ZAPCO membership is new, that issue was not addressed at ZAPCO.
*****
13)  The PUD amendment was withdrawn.

14)  Enlarged the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee to appoint two new council members and appoint Massa and Trecker as resident members. 

21)  Executive Session - A committee will be formed to audit all the existing PUD agreements.

22)  Executive Session - Kilgore v.s. Lakeway - Motion to direct the city attorney to formalize a settlement agreement with the following terms:
1.  City will not appeal
2.  City will not pay fees to Sandra Cox
3.  Affirmation that Kilgore was justified in bringing his suit and the city wrongfully opposed it
4.  The city will pay $1 in lieu of paying attorney fees.

Vote was 3-2, Mastrangelo, Smith and Higginbothem for and Massa and Trecker against.  Although I disagree with this I will only say that I think this sets a precedence that leaves elected officials at risk when named in lawsuits while performing their duties.
=============
 I attended the Wildlife Advisory Committee meeting April 11th.  Warren Bluntzer (Consultant) gave a presentation including data from 2 surveys about the appropriate herd size for Lakeway.  Per the two surveys, the herd size has increased from about 1 deer to 6-7 acres to 1 deer per 5-6 acres.  The suggested size would be somewhere above 1 deer per 8-9 acres.

The meeting was attended by the committee members, about 6-8 CAFA members and myself.  Maybe one other attendee.  After the presentation, the CAFA members argued the data collection process and felt like they were not being heard.

There were also discussions on other wildlife issues including skunks, coyotes and other animals.

They also discussed signs and deterrents to deer crossing the roads.

The meeting lasted about 2 hours and no decisions were made.
----------------------
The 2019 values have been posted on the Travis County Appraisal District web site.  Check out how much yours have increased.  Remember, this is the value your taxes are based on, if it goes up 5% you can expect your taxes to go up 5% - just sayin.  Their website is http://propaccess.traviscad.org/clientdb/?cid=1

In case you haven't noticed, Live Oak Golf course is getting a face lift.  They have currently killed off the grass in preparation for renew the fairways and greens.  I'm told some of the cart paths will also be fixed.  Here is a link to what it looks like now on 15.

Signs, signs and signs.  Do you think candidates for elected offices should follow the ordinances or should they be exempt?  Some of them must feel they are exempt.  Signs can only be put on PRIVATE property with permission of the owner.  No signs should be on pubic right of way, period.  The top two violators are Mr. Kilgore and Ms. Butler.  Her are a couple of examples, certainly not all inclusive.  There are many more examples.


Here is an example on interior streets.  I was told this morning that the signs are down on Maul Hill except for 1.  All these were in the right of way - no idea if they blew down or were removed.

I'm told there is a blow up on Next Door about the purchase of the Police Facility property.  Let me give an overview about this property:

During the process of developing a plan for the facility five locations were being looked at.  Requirements were central location, size and access.  There were only 5 locations that met these requirements.  We settled on the current parcel and purchased it from Legends.  It was part of the land under contract with the Lakeway MUD.  We paid $950K for the property that was appraised by an independent appraiser at $1.4M.  This was a prime part of the parcel if you look at the full 82 acres.  Legends closed on that parcel and another that was split out of the total parcel to allow the city to go ahead with the project.  We got about a $500K discount.  These purchases are complex, don't be misled by people that have PART of the picture.

It's a beautiful day and I'm getting ready to enjoy it.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend.  Thanks to everyone for all the support.  If you have questions or comments, I'm always listening.

If you need aerial pictures, please consider Sky Pictures - I would appreciate it!

If you want to be added (or removed) from my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done! 


 Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us











Saturday, April 6, 2019

Some Rain, ZAPCO, A Question and More!

Well, here we are on Saturday and we are finally getting a little rain.  We are already considered "dry" for the year because there has been little rain, especially in March.  So far about a half inch today, the weather forecast says maybe a little more.  You can check the rain totals at my weather station.  It's been a little intermittent because Weather Undergound is doing upgrades on their equipment.

ZAPCO met in regular session Wednesday, April 3rd.  Here is that agenda.

5) Annexation request was postponed.  
6)  Final Plat was postponed.
7) Special Use Permit was approved for Lake Travis ISD to put in portable buildings at the Lake Travis Educational Development Center.  Unanimous 
8)  Short Term Rental SUP at 219 Corinthian Dr.  Passed Unanimously - this location had their permit revoked a year ago because of parking and noise issues.
9)  Short Term Rental SUP at 1300 Sparrow Lane - Passed Unanimously
10)  SUP for Quick Trip convenience store at 620 and Debba.  This is the location of Guarantee Automotive.  Passed Unanimously
11)  SUP for medical office use at 4900 Bee Creek Road in front of the Lakeway Middle school - Passed Unanimously
--------------
Question:  Who knows why a SUP is required for a medical center near a school?  What prompted that ordinance?  I don't think any ZAPCO member knew because it was not addressed. 
--------------
12)  A PUD Amendment was requested for part of the land on Lohmans between the Water Tower and the Police Facility to allow for a change from office/retail to storage unit.  There was much discussion on this issue and several residents spoke against it.  This change was denied. Unanimously

13)  Variance was requested from LTISD for installation of artificial turf on the existing playground at LT Elementary.  Although there was a lot of discussion and residents spoke against this variance, it turns out this turf was permeable and no rubber pieces are part of the turf.  Variance passed.

14)  Variance requested for a sign variance (larger than allowed) for business located at 2303 RR 620 A, Unit 170.  Variance was denied.
================
The April 4th Campaign finance reports are online.  Here is a link to that page.  Scroll down and click on the names - it is interesting reading.  One mayoral candidate reported expenses of $26,139.60.  That is a LOT of money for a volunteer job.  $450 has been contributed to this candidate.

Take some time and read through these reports - it is interesting reading.
================
The Police Facility is substantially complete and they are working to get the electronics and 911 facilities up and running.  I understand they will move in on or about April 15th.  It will allow the police to do the job we pay them to do including interviews in a private room, a training room, detention facilities and forensic investigation.  It will be a permanent facility and will accommodate growth through the build out of Lakeway.

The facilities they are leaving will house an expanded court system and when I left was planned for offices for Parks and Recreation.  There is a Special meeting Monday that will probably address some of the issues of facilities needed due to the growth.  Here is a link to that agenda.

3)  RFP for a Lakeway City Park Lower Restroom Improvement Project.  Looks like they are ready to award this contract.
4)  Lakeway Resort and Spa is requesting $20K from the HOT tax fund for advertising.  This is what this fund is designed for and is funded completely by taxes on visitors to the area hotels.
5)  An easement for access to property across the Bee Creek Sports Complex.
6)  An amendment to the election ordinance to true up dates and early voting locations for the May election.
7)  Report on City wide needs assessment done by Huitt-Zollars, Inc.  "The update will include a review of the facility condition assessment performed on the Justice Center
and a short-term and long-term projection of staffing and space needs for city departments to include
Administration, Finance, Solid Waste, Parks & Recreation, Public Works, Building and Development Services, and Municipal Court."

It looks like this meeting will start at 2:00 p.m.  They may get done before midnight.....
=============
Been doing some pictures out near Bergstrom Airport for the Humble Origins Hospitality Management (HOHM) Group.  They own several facilities - including the Lakeway Hampton Inn.  

If you need aerial pictures of a business or residential property, please give me an opportunity to do them for you.  Here's a link to my website - Sky Pictures .  Thank you for those using my service, it is an honor!

I've also picked up a couple of new clients for web hosting and email.  JB Hosting   

Thanks again for all the support.  If you would like to be added (or removed) from my email list send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it taken care of.

Have a great weekend, look out for the rain (sun's out now) go figure!

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us


















Saturday, March 23, 2019

Council Meeting Results, Wildflowers and More!

Did I imagine the forecast of rain?  Forecast or not, no rain.  It is Spring though and the warmer weather has brought out the best in Lakeway, Oak leaves and blooms are starting so get the allergy meds ready.  I'm going to forecast no rain and the sprinkler system is on.

City Council met Monday evening - here is that agenda, and here is the meeting packet.  The meeting lasted until 12:30 a.m.

City's finances are in good shape, tax collections are on schedule and expenses are good with some savings due to vacancies in positions.

Code enforcement v.s. code compliance - it appears that the city is changing from a "Courtesy Notice" to a "Courtesy Reminder" so no one is offended.  They are also dismissing warrants already issued to start fresh with the citizens because the city wants to start fresh.  Sounds like our rules were just too strict.

The Police fencing will be modified with a bar on top to protect the deer and all the children climbing over it since that is now the rule.

The Police project is on time and under budget, they will use some of that savings to fix the fence.  They reached the point of "substantial completion" on March 1st and are now getting everything ready for a move in on about April 10th.  

Council approved an agreement with CTWC (Central Texas Water Coalition) to continue with the annual contract to represent the city's interest in Lake Travis and the LCRA.

Epi Gonzales (TxDOT) gave an update on changes at Flintrock and 620.  There have been some delays because of contractor issues ant they are hoping to get that rectified soon.  That project is changing striping and lights to allow 2 lane turns both left an right onto 620.  They are also looking at medians through Lakeway on 620 and they are trying to come up with acceptable median cuts for businesses throughout the city.  Council is finding out this is not simple and takes time to make changes.  

The Audit Report was clean with no issues.  

Parks and Rec. Committee Chair presented the results of the survey done recently.  I linked a copy of that presentation on a previous blog.

The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee made presented a report on their progress.  They have open houses scheduled along with other events to get citizen input.  Folks need to realize that nearly the entirety of Lakeway is already built out, has plans or is currently zoned.  One exception is the MUD property.  A Comprehensive Plan is a broad brush that suggests the expectation of the future of the city, it is not a micro development tool.

Item 11 - Boat and RV parking.  Council spent an enormous amount of time on an issue that only affects a very small, but vocal part of the population.  They decided to allow 2 days out of 7 for loading and unloading and cleanup of RV's and boats.  

Item 12, Final Plat approved for property on Clara Van and 620.

Item 13, Preliminary Plan Revision - approved with restriction that all promised park and pond improvements be done.

Item 14, Plan revision approved.

Item 16 - Capital Improvement Plan - Discussed dates and plan and schedule was presented.

Item 17 - This item changed two titles, one was Comptroller and now will be Finance Director, the other was to change Communication Coordinator to Communications Director.  For those that haven't heard, Devon Monk and Darren Henson resigned. 

Item 18 created the Charter Review Committee.  Appointments to be made in May.

Item 19 was 86th Legislative Priorities - one issue is SB 2 that caps the increase in city tax rates to 2.5% - this bill has not come to the floor yet and there is a question as to whether there are enough votes.  The other issue is a bill that would restrict the city from regulation of exterior building materials.  Several other items were discussed but no action was taken.

They had two Executive Sessions, started at 10:00 and went to 12:24 a.m.  The first session I suspect they discussed possible legal action against the previous City Attorney, they also did a mid year review of Steve Jones, City Manager and I'm not sure what else.

The second Executive Session discussed the ongoing lawsuit with candidate for Mayor Tom Kilgore and what to do about it.  I heard he was willing to drop the award if the city did not appeal the ruling but I also am told there were other strings attached.  I guess we will find out when they tell us.
---------------------------
A couple of take aways from the meeting.  Council Member Higginbotham attended via video conference.  I feel the members should attend in person - in this particular case it appears there would have been a quorum issue since Council Member Trecker was also out of town.  Members are allowed 2 misses per 6 months but since they voted Council Member Bertram off they are short on members.

It also seems a lot of time is spent on changing rules for a small percentage of the population.  Council needs to remember that the population is about 15,000 now and changing ordinances because 20 or 30 folks are vocal doesn't necessarily represent the entire community - generally people are happy if they aren't complaining.  My opinion is they certainly shouldn't use a small survey taken from "Nextdoor" that certainly isn't representative of the community.  Social media is not representative of the general population.
================
The Hill Country is in bloom!  Get out and enjoy the Indian Paints and Bluebonnets.  These were outside of Llano last weekend - they said we were about 2 week early.  More at Sky Pictures.  

The Lakeway MUD is repainting the water tower next to Lakeway Elementary.  

The Live Oak Golf course will be closing soon for renovations.  The work will start next month and the course will be completely closed from May till September.  New grass on the fairways, new greens and repair of the cart paths.  It should really look good once it is finished.

If you need a Vet for a pet, don't forget to check out Lakeway Vet on 620 - great folks and they really care about your animals! 

If you need aerial photos of your home, property or business, please consider Sky Pictures - we aim to please and I'd appreciate the business!  

If you want a domain hosted, a personal email or a web page for your business, please consider JB Hosting - personal help and great prices.

And if you just want the current weather in Lakeway - here's a link to the 15th Tee Box Station.

Thanks again for all the support and emails.  It is appreciated and lets keep our city GREAT.  Vote responsibly, if you want my opinion, send me a note and I'll give you my suggestion.  I can also add you to my email list for the blog.  lakeway@bain.us

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us