Saturday, February 22, 2020

Weather, Lakeway Church Update, Court Award and More!

*****Weather Roller Coaster*****

Texas is GREAT!  Soggy rain for a few days (about .5 inch at my house total), a little cold and breezy.  Now it's a warming trend, mid 60's - eventually low 70's Monday with a chance of rain Sunday night and Monday morning.  Then a couple of cold fronts come through and a chance of a freeze mid week - some of the plants and trees coming out and looking pretty are likely to get nipped.  Then a warming trend again for the weekend - maybe 70's?

*****Church Construction Update*****

In Process - 2-17-2020
Taken 2-21-2020
Really starting to move along on the Sanctuary construction.  Most of the slab was poured last week.    I eventually hope to do a time lapse of the process - taking pictures every week.  Here's a 360° Video I took February 21, 2020.  Take a couple of minutes and check it out!


*****Upcoming*****

Thursday Feb. 27 - Noon - Brown Bag Luncheon Concert featuring the Second Line Jazz Band.  Here's a link to more info.

Have you done the Heritage Trail Tour?  It's coming up again, three tours on May 15, 2020.  Here's a link to more info.  It well worth the time to see some of the history of Lakeway.

Cool Arts Sales and Studio Tour - this event is coming up on Saturday, August 22, 2020 - mark you calendars.  Here's a link - check it out!

Summer Camp registration is going on at the Activity Center - here's more info.

*****Municipal Court Award*****

Lakeway Municipal Court is now an 8 time winner of the Municipal Traffic Safety Initiatives (MTSI) award.  Judge Madison is doing a great job for the city!  Here's a link to more info.

*****No Oak Pruning*****

Oak pruning is now prohibited from now throught early Summer.  Protect our Oak Trees, pruning is not allowed from February through June because of fungal spore formation and beetle activity in these months.
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Enjoy the "almost" Spring weather.  Don't worry, it will change soon.  Women's Club of Greater Lakeway meets Monday and their guest speaker is Texas' First Lady Cecilia Abbot.  Should be a GREAT meeting.  She has worked hard for the citizens of Texas!




That's all for today, more soon!  If you or someone you know has need of a photo or video, check out Sky Pictures!  As always, you can reach me at lakeway@bain.us with opinions and questions.

If you would like to be added to my email list for all the updates, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done.

Joe Bain








Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Weather, Church Construction, Council Results and More!

*****Weather*****

Well, they say the rain's coming!   Not much so far...  We've had about .06 inch at this posting.  Cool through Friday with a slight warming trend towards the weekend.  We can really use some rain, Lake Travis is at 670.47, down about 11 feet from full.  The islands are starting to show near the dam.  You can check the current conditions at the 15th Tee of Live Oak - here's the link.

*****Lakeway Church Construction*****

Things are moving along at the Lakeway Church.  They started to pour the new Sanctuary foundation Monday.   Here's a link to a short video - Great day for the Church!

*****Council Results*****

Started out almost normally, Mayor Cox was ill and Mayor Pro Tem Higginbotham ran the meeting.

Many items were on the consent agenda, a citizen spoke against item 11 - Short Term Rental at 19 Casa Verde.  This opened a discussion - Council Member Vance was concerned that the neighbor (speaker) had not been notified because the address was not on the list.  Council Member Kumar finally asked for her name and it turned out the notice was mailed to their residence on file - (they did not live in the condo next door, just owned it).  

My concern on this item was it didn't appear most of the Council had read the ordinance they were ruling on, at least the questions indicated that there was not an understanding of the Short Term Rental ordinance.

Another person spoke about the Film Festival that is coming up, and gave the city passes.  Since they are worth in excess of $100 each, I believe the rules won't allow any official (or employee) to accept them. 

15)  Officer Hector Almaguer was honored for his 25 years of service.  Great guy, wish him all the luck in his future endeavors.

16)  After about a 15 minute presentation by Vicki Taylor, Heritage Committee Chair, after discussion, council eventually gave the go ahead to attempt to get a grant and also start the process to rehab the Liebelt Cabin.  Initially they need $9,845 for studies to be complete by May 2020 and if $50K grant is approved by LCRA there will be a 20% match requirement.  Approved unanimously.

17)  Rezoning was approved for 704 Serene Estates Dr. from residential to park.  This was tabled previously - unanimous.

18)  Amend Sec. 24.03.003 of the code to bring it up to date with updates from the State.  Passed unanimously.

19)  45 minute discussion on the new process required by State House Bill 3167.  Shortens the time available and changes current process.  Council seems to want to micro manage this process, why not let the Department Director make necessary changes and bring to council for approval.  There was even discussion of changing the ZAPCO meeting date because of the shorter time frame.  No action was taken.

20)  Grant application for Victims of Crime Act Formula Grant Program was presented by Chief Radford.  Resolution approved unanimously.

21)  Approved interlocal agreement with Bee Cave for their use of the Crime Victim Services Coordinator.  Unanimous.

22)  Amend Chapter 10 Ordinance to allow food trucks in the City.  Do we really want food trucks in the city?  I guess so, they approved it 5-1 with Council Member Smith opposed.  I think this was pushed by the Film Fest.  

What do you think?  One comment was "All of Austin has Food Trucks" - I'm not sure I want to be Austin.

23)  New citizen Survey, lots of discussion on how to get data from other sections of Lakeway.  Ms. Higginbotham went into the deer issue, they are wanting to survey the whole city on an issue that is only an issue in specific areas.  This evolved into a deer discussion.  No action was taken.

24) No one spoke at citizen participation.

25-30)  9:10 p.m.Executive Session.  Project Granite was mentioned again....Maybe they are going to spend the Hotel Tax to bring in more business and traffic.

31)  Council returned at 10:30 p.m.  No action or discussion was done.  Meeting was adjourned.

That's all for today, more as I find out.  Enjoy the soggy weather!  If you know someone that needs photos, send them to Sky Pictures!  If you would like to be added to my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done.  Or just send me you thoughts, always like to hear other opinions.  

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us













Monday, February 17, 2020

Serene Hills Dr, No Election and Council Agenda Explained + More!

*****Weather Of Course*****

Looks like another active week after a very nice weekend!  Made it to 80° Sunday and 80° forecast for Today (Monday).  Temps fall off for the middle of the week with some rain.  Some of the models showing up to 2 inches.  So, don't put those umbrellas away, looks like they might come in handy this week.

*****Serene Hills Dr. Update*****

Looks like Travis County Commissioner Daugherty came through for the Lakeway area again!  Serene Hills from Flintrock to The Hills Dr. is getting a face lift.  New asphalt has been put down and I'm sure new striping is coming soon.  This is a GREAT improvement for the area.  Much smoother and a safety improvement.


*****No Election / Signs*****

Well, the city had survived another Election / Non Election.  Although many complain, no one stepped up to run against the incumbents.  At least we won't have city election signs up, I'm already seeing primary election signs, many displayed illegally.  Just FYI, signs cannot be placed in Right of Way's, that means they need to be at least approximately 10' from the road.  A good rule of thumb is behind the utilities.  If there is a power pole, it is in the ROW - so the sign should be behind the poles.  Remember, these folks want to make the rules for you, shouldn't they follow them?  

*****Council Agenda*****

The City is closed today for Presidents Day so the meeting is Tuesday, February 18.  Here is the agenda / packet.  Only 30 items on this one, meeting should be over by midnight...

Items 1-13 include the consent agenda, so that will go quick.

14) Financial Report.  

15)  The Council is honoring Officer Hector Almaguer for his 25 years of service to the Lakeway Police Department.  He's a great guy and I'm really sorry to see him retire.  Congratulations Hector 
for your great service to the City.

16)  Discussion of the Liebelt Cabin Preservation.  This is the cabin that is located at the City Hall property.  

17)  Zoning Change 704 Serene Estates Dr. - lot in Serene Hills the developer is wanting to give to the community as a small pocket park.  ZAPCO recommended 6-1.

18)  Another amendment to the code of ordinances.  This one pertains to the general provisions of the Flood Hazard Prevention. 

19)  More discussion on Chapter 28 of the code.  Seems like once you start changing the rules, it never ends.  More money for the attorneys, my guess is the costs for ordinance changes is $750K +.  Shame that rules that worked well for 50 years are no longer any good.

20)  Grant Application resolution.  trying to get money from the state to support a Crime Victims Service Coordinator.  If the grant is denied, the city will be on the hook for $65K.

21)  Also doing an interlocal agreement with the City of Bee Cave to share the Crime Victim Service Coordinator.

22)  Ordinance to amend Chapter 10 - yup, another ordinance amendment - this one to allow food trucks for events.  

23)  Get ready, here comes another citizen survey.  

24)  Citizen Participation.

Now we get to the Executive Sessions.

25)  Purchase of land in South-Central Lakeway - Remember the discussion on the YMCA?  My guess is this is what that's about.  Remember, the Y wants the city to furnish the land and facility and they will manage it.  We did a study a few years back on this, that study said 70% of the people using a facility like this would come from outside the city - non tax payers.  I wonder if that has changed?  Or do they even care?

26)  Update for council on the two pending lawsuits over the Cherry Knoll issues.  This was property that was purchased for ROW for the Flintrock road.  Now the sellers are suing and since they signed a contract not to sue, the city is suing them.

27)  Project Granite - anybody know what this is?  Council has been meeting on it for months, no discussion and it has to do with an economic development prospect?  It's time for some information.  Sounds like more tax money expense.

28)  More discussion on the Oaks PUD / Stratus Property.  They've been meeting on this for months too,  seems like a little update to the city is in order on this one too.

29)  Ah, here we go.  Legal and Real Estate Issues Relating to Possible YMCA MOU (Memorandum of Understanding).  I thing the estimates were about $20 Million for the building and then the land.  The school has some land behind the elementary school that joins some of the MUD property that is under contract to Legends.  I guess density is no longer an issue in this area.

30)  Legal and Real Estate Issues relating to Lakeway Highlands / Rough Hollow Development Agreement.  Been meeting on this for months too - no discussion.

And that's it!  Info on the Executive Sessions are just assumptions on my part.  Of course, if I'm close on any of them, Louis will want to fire someone - who's left?
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That's all for today - we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Thanks for following the blog.  If you would like to be added to my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get you added.

Joe Bain

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Obligatory Weather, Hamilton Greenbelt, Transportation and More!

*****Weather Update*****

In case you haven't noticed, it rained this week!  We had a total of about 2.06 inch of rain over about a 5 day span.  The most was 1.44 inch on the 12th, mostly in the early morning hours.  Drying out through the weekend with a possible freeze in the morning warming to the 70's over the weekend.  Welcome to Texas weather!  As always, you can check on current conditions (and history and forecast) on the weather station at the 15th Tee of Live Oak - here is a link to that station.

*****Hamilton Greenbelt*****

Are you taking advantage of the wonderful Lakeway Park areas?   Have you been to Hamilton Greenbelt?  You should go!  Even now, it is a beautiful area, peaceful and scenic.  The Parks Department works hard to keep it that way, they were out today, there was some damage from the rain.  

 There are trails that go throughout the Greenbelt - with creeks and wildlife everywhere.  This was generously donated by Jack and Myrtle Hamilton and they also set up a trust fund to maintain their donation.  




These pictures are near the entrance off Lohmans Crossing.  The trails are about 5 miles long and are mostly easy walking.  There are waterfalls and lovely landscaping and areas to enjoy.  There will be wildflowers this Spring along with Bluebonnets.



Here is a link to more information and locations of other access to the Park.  Do yourself a favor and take a walk and enjoy this wonderful area, maybe this weekend!  It looks like perfect weather for it.  Click on the pictures for larger images, courtesy Sky Pictures Photography!


*****Activity Center "Activity"*****

Here is a link to some great new "Camps" at the Activity Center this year.  It's called KidVenture and there are some I think I would enjoy... I probably couldn't keep up.  Check it our and get your kids enrolled.  Take advantage of some of the neat things that Lakeway provides to it's residents!

*****Transportation*****

TxDOT is setting up an Open House and Public Hearing on the 620 project next week, Thursday, February 20.  It will be held at the High School Cafeteria at 3324 RR 620 South (in the school complex).  Open House starts at 5:30 p.m. and the Formal Hearing starts at 6:30 p.m.  Here's a link to more information.  

I've done a little research on the Main Street project that is high up on the list of desired interior road improvements for Lakeway.  A Traffic Study was done a couple of years ago, the results of which state that a two lane road from Lohmans to 620 would easily carry the forecast traffic.  Legend Communities will build that two lane road at no cost to the city, and the plan is to start in about 12 months, it would be quick to build that part and would be one of the first things they do.  They are willing to sell more ROW to the city in case they want to make it a 4 lane with a median.  Cost estimates for the ROW is about $500K to $700K.  All that is of course negotiable.

The other issue is the part Stratus owns.  They keep putting discussions about this in Executive Sessions, I personally don't see any leverage the city has to get them to build their part.  Of course, they will do that if the city wants to rezone their property to allow 300 apartments....  I think that would be a disaster.

Where is this going?  I hope Legend will be able to move forward with their project without delays from the city.  I also hope the city can find a way to get Stratus to do their part.  It would be nice to get that done in 18 months or so.

*****City Building Commission*****

CBC met today at 9:00 a.m.  3 items on the agenda, one delayed.  Here is that agenda.  

5)  Variance at 1131 Challenger - Air conditioner in the side set back.  Approved.

6)  Variance at 114 Firebird, Moving an outside grill to the side of the house after fire restoration.  Approved.

*****Caronavirus*****

Well, it's close by.  One of the evacuee's from China that was brought to San Antonio for quarantine has been diagnosed and has the virus.  The fact that it's in Texas is too close for me.  Be careful, be clean and hopefully it will stay at the base in San Antonio!

I'm going to leave it there for today!  Maybe another post this weekend.  Enjoy the great weather and go to some of our parks.  If you need photo's, please give Sky Pictures Photography a look!

If you would like to be added to my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done.

Still have Blue lights if you're interested

Joe Bain



Saturday, February 8, 2020

Another Weather Change, LCC Meeting, Blue Lights, Grumpy's and More!

*****Weather*****

Here we go!  Supposed to start raining this evening and forecast to continue through Wednesday.  Do you believe it snowed a little last week?  Supposed to get up to low 70's tomorrow and then the temperature will taper off to the 50's during the day and low 40's at night.  Start a warming trend Wednesday.  Here's a link to my weather station for current conditions.

*****LCC Annual Meeting*****

The annual meeting of the Lakeway Civic Corporation was held last night at the Lakeway Activity Center.  First a little history.   The LCC was set up in the 1960's to enhance the lives of Lakeway citizens.  The LCC Board manages a fund that started with a $200 contribution from the sale of each lot in the original Lakeway area.  That fund is currently around $1.5M. The LCC Board distributes earnings from this fund to qualified projects in Lakeway that included  bout $48K last year.  Projects include park projects, swim center projects, Lakeway Activity Center projects, the community library and other enhancements and improvements in the city.  

This is in combination with the Lakeway Community Foundation (LCF) that is charged with managing a fund that was donated by Jack and Myrtle Hamilton to maintain the greenbelt they generously donated to Lakeway - Hamilton Greenbelt.  That fund provided about $14K last year.

The LCC also recognizes citizens for their contributions over the years by awarding "Meritorious Service Awards" and "Outstanding Citizen of the Year Awards".

This year’s recipients included:

Ron Massa


Ron Massa - Meritorious Service Award










Joan Astorino
Joan Astorino -  Meritorious

Service Award








Major General Rod Kelly - Meritorious Service Award







Paula Crawley
Paula Crawley- Meritorious Service Award









Dave Taylor (left)
David Taylor - Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award.








The individual accomplishments of these recipients is far too long to list individually, but they have all worked hard to give back to the community, amazing folks!

Photo's courtesy Sue Knolle - Thank you!
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*****Blue Lights*****

Do you want a blue light to support the Police?  For the first 4 folks that email me I will give you one if you promise to put it up.  There are the standard light bulbs (led) - regular base.  Send an email to lakeway@bain.us and we'll work out how to get them to you (need to live in Lakeway)!

*****Grumpy's in the News*****


Grumpy's BBQ was in the news this week - TABC and DPS are investigating 6 different bars in the Austin area for illegal gambling.  All of the bars have the same owner.  One of them is Grumpy's Saloon in Lakeway.

*****Coming Up*****

Hazardous Household Waste Drop Off Event Wednesday, Feb. 12 at the Lake Travis Regional Re-Use and Recycling Center, 3207 Neidhardt Dr - just off General Williamson behind Lake Travis Fire and Rescue Station 601.  More information and what they will accept here.

TxDOT is hosting an Open House on the RM 620 Widening Project.  The Open House will be Thursday, February 20 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Lake Travis High School Cafeteria located at 3324 Ranch Road 620.  Formal Hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m.  More info here.

Big Band Bash is Monday, Feb. 10, 8:00 p.m. at the Activity Center.  Free to the public.  More info.

That's all for now.  I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the weekend!  We need the rain for sure.  If you would like to be added to my email, please send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done!

Joe Bain











Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Weather, RED Traffic Safety Program, ZAPCO, and a Little More!

*****Weather!*****

Can you believe it?  80° yesterday and made it up to a balmy 42° today with a lot of wind - wind chill is 35° right now.  Forecast is for a freeze tonight with a chance of mixed precipitation.  That means maybe rain, maybe sleet and maybe snow.... If you don't have to go out, don't.  Here is a link to the weather station - enjoy!

*****Red Traffic Safety Program*****

In conjunction with a program by Baylor Scott & White, Judge Madison is implementing a program in our courts for young drivers.  Here's a link to an interview by KVUE about the program.

*****ZAPCO*****

ZAPCO met today in regular session.  Here is a link to the packet, and here is a link to the video.

5)  Private Park zoning was recommended to Council - one resident that backs up to the property was against it because of security and privacy reasons.  Voted to recommend 6-1.

6)  Short Term rental for a Casa Verde unit was recommended to council unanimously.

7-8)  Signs were approved as requested.

9)  Sign package was approved with a slight modification.

10)  Comprehensive Plan presentation was made by Chairman Larry Harlan.  Well received with some discussion.
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*****Don't forget to sign up for the Lakeway Directory - you have to sign up to be included.  http://lakewaydirectory.com/ 

That's all for now, just a short update!  Keep warm - if you would like to be added to my email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get you added.

Have a GREAT Wednesday and watch for weather issues.

Joe Bain


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Weather Change, Council, Sports Park and More!

*****Weather*****


Ok, get ready!  Winter is going to be back tomorrow!  80° today and projected high tomorrow of 46° with a freeze on the way.  Maybe a little rain too - looks kind of yucky for the next couple of days.  Here's a link to the weather station on the 15th Tee of Live Oak - it might be fun to watch it....

*****Council Results*****

Council met last night in a "Special Session".  Here is the meeting packetHere is a link to the video.  The term "Special Session" seems to lose it's meaning when it is scheduled regularly.   The Mayor called it a "Work Session" also and that might be interpreted incorrectly. 

8)  They heard Item 8 first, Chief Radford made a presentation on an opportunity to expand the interlocal agreement from just dispatching Bee Cave to include Westlake Hills and Rollingwood.  Currently those cities are dispatched by Travis County and there have been some issues.  The two new cities would absorb their portion of the cost of dispatching and also a portion of the staff and facility.  This would benefit the city by saving Lakeway about $100K a year.

Currently Lakeway dispatch handles about 96 calls per day at about an answer rate of 97.58% of calls answered in under 10 seconds.  The addition of the two cities would add about 27 calls per day, on average.

The Chief feels like they can handle that and still stay above 90% and save some money.  Council moved to continue and have Chief Radford bring the agreement to council.

9)  Was supposed to be a presentation on Governance headed up by Mastrangelo.  

Of course, it's whatever the council wants to make of the liaison position - it's always been a conduit from the committee to the council, but if they want to run the committees, why have them?

Nevertheless, it was postponed at his request.

4-5)  Council headed off into Executive Session at 6:48 p.m.  they returned at 7:47 p.m.

6)   Bond Discussion - First a list of items currently on list.

  • $1.2M 2 Lane addition of Main St. - It's my understanding that Legend Communities could furnish the ROW (negotiable) - this would just be from Lohmans to the Stratus property.  I think $1.2 seems pretty light considering underground drainage, curb and gutter and a median.  The traffic study showed that 2 lanes could carry the traffic easily.  If the city doesn't further delay the project, it could probably start in 12 months or so.  (No cost option)
  • SUP (Shared Use Path) $4.5M - I don't have a good handle on exactly what this is.  The maps are confusing and the initial estimate of costs were about $8.02M.  I suspect this is part of that.
  • Sidewalk improvement $3.15M - same as above.  
  • Justice Center Revamp - $2.1M - This would be to re-purpose the old police station for Building and Development.  The original estimates were in the $300-500K range.  This must be a much more extensive remodel.
  • City Hall Remodel - $300K - this is just to remodel the existing City Hall, it does not include any expansion.
  • Pedestrian Bridge at Justice Center from parking lot to pathway under bridge to Hamilton Greenbelt.  $325K
  • Parking Lot and Rest Room for Serene Hills Park - $1.2M
  • All inclusive playground (somewhere in Lakeway Parks) $500K
Another tidbit - It appears they have hired a "Parks Master Planner" to come on line this Fall.

There are concerns that the ROW costs for the 620 project may increase the bond size.  After all was said and done, with the deadline for any bond in May looming at February 14, 2020, they decided to move forward without a bond in May and postponed it.

7)  Ordinance for a Bond Election was not needed was postponed.

8)  The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee gave a report / update.  Council listened and then made extensive changes.

Meeting adjourned at 11:13 p.m.
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*****Sports Park*****

Evidently there is an issue with water / wastewater at the Sports Park project.  The County is working with the MUD and the PUA on a water agreement - should have an answer around the 7th.  90% complete on the design, they have irrigation wells on the site drilled.  Because of projected cost over runs they have had to decrease the number of playing fields slightly.  

*****Lakeway Directory*****

If you haven't done it yet, don't forget to add yourself to the Lakeway Directory so you will be in there when it's printed.  Here's a link to the web site - www.lakewaydirectory.com where you can search for folks and also add you name, address and phone number.

*****Lakeway Construction*****

Both Springhill Suites and La Quinta are promising to be open in the next month or so.  We'll see!




The Ladies of Charity's new building in the Hospital District is moving ahead pretty quickly - they will be in there in two or three months.  

The Lakeway Church construction is starting to move forward too.  Looks like the slab will be poured soon!

That's all for today - more tomorrow after ZAPCO.  If you want to be added (or removed) from the email list, just send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done.  Thanks to all those for the support and interest in what's going on in our little city!

Joe Bain