Saturday, November 16, 2019

Infamous Weather, Wildlife, Council and More!

*****Weather*****

Well, it got cold again this morning, low was about 32.5° at first light.  High yesterday was 63°.  Not too bad overall for January - oops, it's November, burrr.  Looks like the next couple of days it is going to be pretty nice, highs in the 70's, lows in the 40's and 50's.  Next chance of rain Wednesday or Thursday.  It's still dry, I'm appreciative of the rain we've had but we're still behind.  Current conditions on the 15th Tee Box on Live Oak on this link.


*****Wildlife Open House*****

I went Thursday evening, attended better than I expected.  Unfortunately there were more questions than answers.  No presentation, just informational posters around the room.  Places for folks to make comments on near the posters.  Nothing new, no new solutions.  

The deer herd grows annually at a rate of 35%.  Let me put that into numbers.  If the herd was 500 2 years ago it grew to 675 the next year and 900 last year.  It shows at my home, our two herds have grown significantly.

Although there is significant disagreement on this, my opinion is the herd needs to be controlled.  That was the recommendation to City Council from the committee.

In another 5 years, without some control and if the growth remains the same, the herd would grow to over 4000 animals.  Lakeway can't support that size herd - we learned that in our history.

What are the options?  Not feeding would certainly help, but that doesn't work.  There's a feeder near our house I have posted pictures of twice now, still there.

Chemical sterilization is problematic.  For one thing, it's not legal in Texas.  The deer would still have to be trapped and dosed every two years.  It also makes the meat not edible.

Physical sterilization is also problematic.  Still not legal, would require trapping and very expensive.  The two sterilization options would be an issue with the state because the deer are not contained and could / would wander to other areas.

That leaves TTT / TTP.  It's my understanding that some deer could be trapped and transported to areas that have been decimated by anthrax.  The TTP process could again be implemented and food would again be available to those that need it.

I'll leave with this thought.  If the herd continues to grow at the average rate, it won't be long until there is no option.  There will not be places to trap the deer (we've already lost about half of the trapping areas we used to use).  What happens then?  More auto / deer issues and the deer will become unhealthy as they did when when the program was started.  Just the facts, your choice.
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*****City Council*****

Monday evening council will meet in regular session.  Here is the agenda / packet

Kind of mixing it up - the consent agenda is moved to the front and citizen's participation for items 10, 11, 12 is item 3.

13)  SUP for short-term rental at 111 Javelin.  Recommended by ZAPCO.

14)  Future land use map change - this is a new step in zoning.  It is to allow a change of use from "mixed use" to "residential" for the property known as the MUD property on Lohmans.  Recommended by  ZAPCO.

15)  Zoning change for the above property to allow R-1* and R-3+ zoning on that property.  Teh + in R-3 allows 60' wide lots to accommodate side entry garages.  R-1* is slightly smaller than regular R-1 - a significant part of the older Lakeway is R-1*.

16)  Request for land use map change for 15617 Flintrock (across from Flintrock Falls) to allow R-8 zoning.  This is for apartments - 12 per acre.  NOT recommended by ZAPCO.

17)  Request for R-8 zoning for above property - Not recommended by ZAPCO.  Both of these items would require a super majority vote.

18)  Annexation of Crosswind Drive.  Recommended by ZAPCO.

19)  Zoning for above property to GUI - recommended by ZAPCO.

20)  Third reading of revisions to Chapter 28 of the Code.  These are the rules for subdivisions and site development.

21)  Citizens Participation (my guess, 10-10:30? maybe)

22-26) The infamous executive sessions.  Looks like they are going to talk about:

Real Estate issues with the Oaks PUD and Stratus Properties.  I noticed Ms. Zimmerman side-pitched 350 apartments on the Stratus Property again in return for parkland.

Potential Muni building and parkland?

Possible lawsuit on Electra Street about drainage.

More talk about the Cherry Knoll L.L.C. lawsuits.

More talk about the City Manager Position.  Why continue this discussion?  Isn't there a consultant looking for a City Manager?  Maybe a report on that.
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Been a big week for me too!  Got a root canal on Monday and was deposed on the Cherry Knoll L.L.C. lawsuit on Thursday - I can't decide which one was the most fun......

Lot's going on at the Activity Center!  Here's a link to the current events and happenings there.

November 22 is the Lights On celebration and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there to light up the festivities.  It's a fun evening and one of the remaining traditions in Lakeway.

That's all for right now!  I appreciate the continued support of Lakeway Update Blog.  If you would, please forward the blog to your friends and neighbors - they might be interested too!

Picture taking was a little slow this week, rainy and cold!  Weather will be a little better the next few days, let's take advantage of it!  Sky Pictures  

A little plug - Bella (Carabella) was diagnosed with heart failure about a year ago - she won second place in the calendar contest (thank all my Facebook friends!).  She is under the care of Lakeway Vet and Dr. Doyle has been a miracle worker - she is doing GREAT after a year and shows no sign of problems.  His group has been a lifesaver (literally)!  Thank you Dr. Doyle and Lakeway Vet!

Thanks again!  Have a GREAT weekend and enjoy the sunshine!


The Church construction is moving forward too!

Joe Bain

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Weather, Calendar, Joint Meeting and More!

*****Weather*****

WOW!  This is November, right?  Low at the 15th Tee on Live Oak was 27.7°, we got about 0.16 inch of rain before midnight.  Heard sleet sometime in the night but the rain gauge doesn't measure that too well....  Winds blew in and the gusts were 25-30 mph.  Kind of a Blue Norther!  Looks like it's going to warm up a little with another chance of rain Wednesday and Thursday.  So much for Fall!  Here's a link to live information at the 15th Tee Box on Live Oak Golf Course.  38° right now with a light rain. (0.03 inch so far)

Although school and the city had a delayed start, there were no issues on the roads locally - the ground was warm and most of the moisture dried up by the time I left before 8:00 a.m.  


*****Calendar*****

For those that haven't heard, Bella is Miss June in the 2020 calendar.  If you haven't ordered one yet, I think there is still about 25 available.  Here's a link to the full album.  If you would like to try to get one of the remaining calendar, here is a link to the order form.  



*****Joint Session, ZAPCO, Council, Comprehensive Plan*****


3)  Postponed to December meeting.

4)  Executive session.  Lawsuit where we area a party with LTISD to a drainage issue.  Shortest executive session ever - council came out and attorney gave a caption of the issue and settlement agreement - council voted to accept the settlement agreement.  Unanimous.

5)  Comprehensive Plan / Economic Development presentation by Chair Harland and Julie Oakley.  Interesting discussion on the economic issues in the city.   Lots of topics brought up including sales tax, property tax, empty business spaces, infrastructure and increasing costs.  Pretty much boiled down to the issue per council members of would you rather have less services or higher taxes.

Lets break some of it down.  

Let's start with sales taxes - consultant and committee pretty much said there would not be large increases in sales tax base because of the lack of area for large new businesses.  There is no room for another HEB like store or Oaks commercial center.  One council member asked if we were charging the same sales tax as other area cities.... Sales tax rates are set by the State - the max is 8.25% and the state takes 6.25%.  The Library District gets .25% and the city gets the rest.  Part of the city's part is dedicated to road repair.  Every city is different but is capped at 8.25%.  

There was a discussion of the empty  business spaces in the commercial properties.  One member stated that the Oaks had lots of empty space and so did the center where Wells Fargo, Firehouse Subs, etc.  Rocco's space is still empty - a question was how to fill those spaces.

Interesting issue.  If you look at the commercial areas where CVS and Wendy's are, they are full.  The owner of those properties actively works to keep them that way.  The vacant centers have consistently raised rent rates and the full centers have made concessions because of increased property taxes.  The taxes have increased in part because of values that have increased since the Oaks sold.  The leases are "triple net" - that means the tenant is responsible for paying property taxes along with utilities and some repairs.  Of course that's not the only issue.  Finding workers is also a significant problem.  This issue of tax costs is not limited to Lakeway property taxes.  The County, LTISD, ESD No 6, MUD, and Healthcare District all add to the issue.  So what is the real issue?  Is it the city's problem or the property owner's problem?

Infrastructure

 This too is a thorny issue.  As Mrs. Oakley stated, we are actually a pretty young city.  Gated communities are not included in infrastructure issues (except access) because those roads are private.  The new areas including Highlands and Serene Hills and the Preserve have fairly new roads.  The crux of the current issue talked about is the original part of Lakeway - those roads are aging.  There is a percentage of the Sales Tax that is dedicated to road repair and is set aside in a fund.  Consultants "rate" the roads in Lakeway as to the need for repair and this fund is used yearly to overlay, repair or redo roads.  Occasionally  if there is a significant issue, funds are used from the general fund.  An example of this was the bridge on Lakeway Blvd. that collapsed and had to be rebuilt.  More on paying for roads later.

*****Increasing Costs and Taxes*****

There is great concern about the build out of Lakeway.  Currently, a significant amount of new value is added to the tax rolls each year because of new commercial and residential properties.  This will slow down and become much less over the next 10-15 years because of the build out.  Previous councils and staff have understood that for years.  Two things have happened that were not projected for nor known about.  

The State of Texas in their infinite wisdom changed the annexation abilities of small cities (when they are in a county that is over a specific population - Travis is one of those counties) - that pretty much means we are now the way we will be.  The only annexation that can be done is when it is requested by developers or residents.  That is almost over because of the eventual build out of Serene Hills and The Highlands.

The State also changed the ability of the Cities to raise property taxes with a new cap that is half of the previous cap before a rollback election is triggered.  There is a cut out for smaller cities - those under 30,000 population - that is us.  Here is that formula definition  as relayed to me by Interim City Manager Oakley:
"De Minimus Rate" is sum of
1)  No-New-Revenue M&O Rate
2)  the rate that when applied to the current total value will impose an amount of taxes equal to $500,000
3)  debt rate
It's complex.  The current rate of increase of value of our properties is figured into the equation (about 5% last year).  This years budget tax rate stayed the same - thus with the property value increase the city collects in the neighborhood of $250,000 more - under the $500,000 cap.

Elected officials are worried that there will not be enough money without significant tax increases to continue the quality of life in the city.  Therefore the question - more taxes or less services.

Some of my take on the meeting.  I never heard anyone ask about cutting expenses except for downsizing BDS as the permitting and inspection process possibly slows down sometime in the next 5-15 years.  Also, it seems there was some confusion on losing tax income when the build out is complete.  There is no loss of tax income, in fact it will still increase with property values and the increased values will still be there.  A caveat is if for some reason our property values went down.  If you will remember, in the last down turn in the economy our values did flatten, but did not decrease.  

New roads have generally not been built using taxpayer funds.   One exception was the road by the police facility - that was included in the bond.  Generally large expenses are bonded out - the city leaders have done a great job of deciding on current needs and scheduling them for either bond issues or expenditures as needed.  This has given Lakeway a GREAT bond rating and actually low bonded debt as compared to like cities.

Current council is not only looking at repairs but actually bonding out new road construction.  This is an expensive process that is significantly different than past processes.  

Future Land Use Map (FLUM)

There was much discussion on this also.  The map shown on the screen was very hard to see.  It appeared that there was not much change from the previous land use map.  In fact, the plans the Committee centered on were making the 620 corridor "Mixed Use" but with a list of uses.  Some were 2 story (business on bottom and possible residence on top) and 3 story (business on bottom and 2 story residence on top).  I will post the "FLUM" (that has already changed) this week sometime.

Interim City Manager Julie Oakley said she is putting up the Power Point presentation on the Web site tomorrow.  It will have more information.
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*****Wildlife Open House*****

There will be a Wildlife Open House Thursday from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.  There will be a second meeting Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a..m.  These Open Houses will not have any presentations, they will simply be charts and displays that give information about the Lakeway Wildlife situation.

*****Blood Drive*****

The Lakeway Community Blood Drive is Saturday, November 16.  Here is a link to more information so you can sign up!  It's GREAT for the community!

*****CBC*****

City Building will meet in regular session on Thursday.  Here is their agenda.

There's a lot going on in our little city!  Tell your friends about the Lakeway Update Blog if they want to keep up with the goings on.  If you would like to be added to the email list (or removed), send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it done.

Thanks for your interest!

Joe Bain














Monday, November 11, 2019

Weather Alert, Council-ZAPCO-Comprehensive Plan and More!

*****Weather*****

This is a weather alert!  Forecast for winter weather to come in today sometime after noon.  Even a chance for freezing precipitation in Western Travis County (maybe us?) and cold temperatures for he next couple of nights.  Lows in the high 20's for our area.  Rain this afternoon and into the evening.  

Time to put your faucet covers on and bring in those plants that are susceptible to cold temperatures.  Get those winter coats out and get ready for a cold couple of days!  Too early this year, this is January - February weather!

Here's the link to the 15th Tee Weather Station on Live Oak.  Keep up with the current weather!

*****Council, ZAPCO and Comprehensive Plan*****

Council will meet in joint session with ZAPCO and the Comprehensive Plan Committee on Tuesday starting at 9:00 a.m. at the City Hall.  Here is the agenda.

3)  No Packet on the web, looks like they have a requested Utility Easement for Lakeway MUD near Lakeway Blvd. and Trophy Dr.

4)  The infamous Executive Session - early on the agenda, I guess the citizens will have to wait once again.  They say their going to talk about a lawsuit in the Court of Appeals.  This is a case involving the LTISD and the City about the portable buildings near the school.  Here is a link to the Case InfoHere's a link to the appeal that was filed July 12.

***Opinion*** Participants in the Executive can get briefings or consultations from their attorney on certain issues.  They CAN'T make decisions or deliberate on those issues in executive sessions.  All decisions should be made in open session.  Here's a link to Texas Municipal League Open Meeting Act Laws Made Easy.

5)  Comprehensive Plan Committee will make a presentation of their progress to this point and it is called a "Workshop".

There is a note on the agenda that the Joint Session will not start before 10:00 a.m.

Sub item (1) is to Review and Discuss the Future Land Use Map.  Should be interesting.
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They have also posted a possible quorum notice for the Wildlife Committee Open Houses on the 14th and 15th.  

It's my understanding there will be no presentation - it will be some posters and information - no discussion or information other than static displays.  Several of the Committee members will attend to answer questions.

That's all for now, keep warm and stay safe.  Please tell your friends about the Lakeway Update Blog - we need to start really looking at what's going on in our city government.  If you want to be added (or removed) from the email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get it taken care of.

Joe Bain








Sunday, November 10, 2019

Weather!, Election Results, an iPhone Tip and More!

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


Get ready!  It looks like it will be nice until about noon on Monday - then the rain chances pick up, the wind starts blowing and the temperature goes down.  Supposed to be in the low thirty's Tuesday morning.  Protect those plants and pets!  There is a chance of frozen precipitation - so please be aware!  If it looks to be bad, I will post a special notice.

*****Election Results*****

I thought you might want to see the results of the Election on November 5th.  I was a Judge at the Lakeway Randalls (Thanks so much for the voting place!) and we processed 1021 ballots on election day.  The Activity Center processed 304 on election day.  In Travis County there are 804,465 registered voters, a total of 122,059 folks voted for 15.7%.

Final Results:

Prop 1 - (Municipal Judges)  Failed -  Doesn't allow Judges to serve in more than one jurisdiction.

Prop 2 - (Rural Water Projects)  Passed allowing the Water Development Board to issue up to $200M to develop water supply and sewer projects in economically depressed areas.

Prop 3 - Passed allowing the Texas Legislature to give a temporary property tax exemption in a governor-declared disaster area. The exemption would be 15%, 30%, 60%, or 100%, depending on the amount of property damage. 

Prop 4 - Prohibit income tax - Passed statewide, (Failed in Travis County) 

Prop 5 - Passed dedicating sales tax to parks.

Prop 6 - Passed - $3B for cancer research.

Prop 7 - Passed School funding distribution increase.

Prop 8 - Passed - Flood infrastructure fund.

Prop 9 - Passed exempting precious metal in storage (failed in Travis County).

Prop 10 - Passed allowing Law Enforcement Animal adoption.

Travis County Prop A - Passed Expo Ctr Hotel Tax - increase in hotel taxes for all hotels in Travis County (including Lakeway)

The Groundwater District passed with about 75% of the vote.  This was an interesting issue that was not advertised a lot.  The State requires this Groundwater District but does not fund it.  Lakeway is part of the district - the issue is Lakeway does not use groundwater, all ours comes from Lake Travis (surface water).  The claim is there are no taxes as part of the district. 

This election was very interesting!  New election machines and new methods.  Almost everyone like the new machines, you checked in and got a ballot, fed it into a voting / printing tablet, made your choices and then it printed the ballot.  You were given the opportunity to check your selection and then took the ballot over to a scanner - that is where your vote is counted.  It did a digital count and then the paper ballot was stored in a ballot bin in the machine.  There was a little confusion about the last step, some thought the vote was counted when they made their selections - we stopped several folks walking out with the ballot.  

The down side was, it was slower!  There were 1021 votes counted at the Lakeway Randalls on election day.  We had all nine machines set up and there was a waiting line about 80% of the day.  We had less than 16% of the registered voters vote.  They will need to speed it up somehow for the November 2020 election or the lines will be out the door.  

Thanks to all that voted and a special thanks to the folks working the polls with me!
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*****iPhone Tip*****

If you have updated your iPhone to IOS 13 you have the option to silence any calls that are not in your contact list on the phone.  The calls still have the option to leave you a message and will show up on the recent calls list.  If you don't have your friends in your contact list on your phone, this may not be for you.  I'm personally tired of all the spam calls.  To enable this function, go to the "Settings" icon, scroll down to "Phone".  Click on "Phone" and scroll down to "Silence Unknown Callers" and turn it on.  From that point forward, calls that are not in your "Contacts" will no longer ring on the phone.  You can turn it back off at the same place.  Try it out!

Church construction is picking up!  They've got a lot of dirt piled up behind the existing building - hope we don't get a BIG rain!  

If you've been hearing a lot of construction noise (those that live around the Church area) it's the machines moving around this dirt and digging out a hole for a retaining area.  Lots of rock there!  Of course, you can click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

That's all for today - more soon.  Please tell your friends about the Lakeway Update- it is a great way to find out what is going on in the City - we need to be aware of how things are changing!

Thanks again, if you would like to be added to the email list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us (Google shut that off too, but it's working now).

Joe Bain
lakeway@bain.us

Friday, November 8, 2019

Weather, Vets Day, BOA Decision Final, and a Lot More!

*****Weather*****


Well, the weather is now Winter????  Went from 75° to 42° with wind and rain yesterday, Ugh!  We got about .33 inch yesterday and so far about .16 inch today.  It's a balmy 48° now at 4:30 p.m.  Up in the 60's Saturday and Sunday, starting out there on Monday but dropping into the 30's and rain for a couple of days.  That's Texas!

*****Veterans Day*****


Come honor our veterans on Monday, November 11 from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Lake Travis High School Performing Arts Center.  This is a free event - please come together to honor those that have served our country so bravely.  The honorary speaker is LTC Webb, currently serving as Deputy Director for the Outreach and Communications for the Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency.  He is a Vietnam Veteran and served there in the late 60's.

This is a change from normal.  It is on Veterans Day and in the evening - parking should not be an issue and it should be a great event!  See you there.

*****BOA Decision on Boat Dock Final*****

As reported previously, there was an appeal of the City Building Commission decision on a large boat dock in a gated part of the Highlands.  The BOA (Board of Adjustment)  found that Mr. Kilgore did not have standing for the appeal and dismissed it.  They had 10 days to appeal and that time limit has now passed.  


*****Wildlife Open Houses*****

Two different open houses are scheduled next week.  The first is Thursday, November 14 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at the Activity Center.  The second is Friday, November 15 from 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.  

Deer Overpopulated Example
The Wildlife Committee was formed over a year ago and a Biologist was hired to help lead the committee.  They researched and studied our situation and a few months ago presented their recommendation to Council.  Although the council was asked to limit the herd size, they decided that was not necessary.  They did not renew the contract with the Biologist.  So what is new?  The herd increases by about 35% per year - this will be the 3rd year  nothing has been done to control the herd. That means the herd has doubled.  They will be doing another survey in the future.

Our deer are healthy now but they are not living in a natural environment.  Of course, one solution is to not feed the deer.  This has been the law for many
years without success.  I love seeing the deer, I however also am familiar with what happens if we don't control the herd and it gets out of hand.  The problem is much more complex now because there are fewer places to trap.  Chemical birth control is very expensive, is not permanent and is illegal in Texas.  Physical sterilization is very expensive and is also not legal in Texas.   More to come I'm sure!

*****Austin Symphony Orchestra*****

On November 16th at 7:30 p.m. there will be a concert featuring the Austin Symphony Orchestra and students from the Lakeway Band.  It should be a GREAT evening - get your tickets here!

*****Lakeway Phone Directory*****

If you live in 78734 or 78738 (Lakeway Residents) please take a moment to update or add your information to the Lakeway Phone Directory.   The Lakeway Civic Corporation sponsors this endeavor and it is no cost to the residents.  Here is a link for updates / adds!

*****Meetings and Events*****

There will be a joint session of Council, ZAPCO and the Comprehensive Plan Committee on Tuesday, November 12 at 9:00 a.m. at City Hall.

The Big Band Bash is Monday, November 11 at 8:00 p.m. at the Activity Center - this is a free event - if you like Big Band Music this is for you!

Start getting ready!  Lakeway Sing Along will celebrate their 20th anniversary entertaining crowds on Sunday December 8th at the Activity Center.  This is their Christmas Show and benefits area low-income children.  I expect Santa and Mrs. Claus will drop in (this is the real one!).  Shows at 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Lakeway Activity Center.  Admission is an unwrapped gift for a child up to age 17.  Call the Activity Center for more info!  512-261-1010.


That's all for today.  If you see this on Facebook or Twitter and are not getting your email notice, let me know and I'll check the list.  Most people are finding the email in Spam and have to show it as "not spam".  I appreciate your patience on the email matter - it is posted on Facebook and Twitter too.  You can always reach the blog at https://lakewayupdate.blogspot.com or blog.bain.us in your browser.  These links do not change.

Thanks again and enjoy the weather..... More as I find out.  Please forward to your friends - folks need to know what is happening in the city.  It's changing and I'm not sure it's for the best!

Sign up for email, send a note to lakeway@bain.us - it works most of the time!

Joe Bain


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Weather, ZAPCO and MORE!!

*****Weather*****

Get ready, it's going to change!  Started out this morning about 70°, at 1:30 p.m. it's already down to 52° with about 0.18 inches of rain so far.  Forecast rain with a low tonight of 44°.  Be careful out there!


*****ZAPCO*****

Big day at the ZAPCO meeting - packed house!  Here's a link to the agenda / packet.  The first 5 items were standard and they moved the Citizens Participation to the end of the meeting.

6-7)  Land Map Change / Zoning Change - This is a new process - it looks like to me that now they have instituted a separate process to amend the Comprehensive Plan Land Use whenever there is a zoning change.  With the new comprehensive plan due to appear in the next few months I'm not sure it's necessary, but here goes:

The purchasers of a portion of the MUD Tract on Lohmans is requesting a change from "Mixed Use" to "Residential" on the land use map and then zoning for R-1* and R-3 Modified.  This project was originally a "City Center" with significant commercial and more dense residential that was rejected - the developer worked with the city and held town halls.  With the information they gleaned from this they are now presenting this project that would have R-1* lots backing up to the homes on Rolling Green (with an additional 50' buffer) and then the remainder of the property to R-3 Modified.  R-1* is a 10,000 sq. ft. lot - a significant number of lots in the older section of Lakeway are R-1* - both homes I have lived in were R-1* lots.  The R-3 Modified are lots increased to 60' wide to accommodate side entry garages - NO homes will have front entry and regular R-3 allows.

After much discussion and many speakers, some for and some against, the commission voted 5-2 to change the land use map.

After much more discussion, more speakers both for and against, folks that wanted a bigger road (offered with previous project) also wanted road finished into Main Street (developer does not own that property and is not required to do that) the zoning was approved 5-2 to recommend to council.  

Some folks wanted to leave it the same as mixed use - I'm not really sure that wouldn't have been ok too.  But it's done and now we will look for the plan along with another section that will be commercial.

8-9)  Another Land Use / Zoning Application - this one at 15617 Flintrock Rd. across from the entrance to Flintrock.  The applicant is requesting R-8 land use and zoning (apartments) for a property owned by Cherry Knoll LLC.  The house was packed for this particular item, mostly from Flintrock in opposition.  After significant discussion, mostly against the project because of property value and traffic concerns, the commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of this request to council.

10)  Annexation and Zoning on Crosswind for GUI - approved.

11-12)  Variances requested for cut and fill, a lot of this was filled when the traffic circle was done on Highlands and it was really a housekeeping issue.  Approved.

13)  Special Use Permit for short-term rental at 111 Javelin - approved.

14)  Building and Monument Sign for Lamb's Automotive at 1103 RR 620.  Building sign approved unanimously.  Monument sign was denied with a request to bring it into compliance.  Unanimous denial.

15)  Sign alteration request for BBVA Compass.  Approved unanimously.

16)  Sign variance request for Dr. Rhodes, Lake Travis Eye and Laser Center for his new office on Wild Cherry Dr.  Increased sign size and addition because of the location of the building.  Approved unanimously.

17)  Sign package for Creekside at Lakeway - 2050 Lohmans Spur - town home community being built.  Approved unanimously.

**********

*****Lakeway Drivers and Cell Phones*****

Everyone should know by now that it is illegal to use your phone while you are driving in the city limits - Bee Cave also.  It seems like an epidemic, young, old and everyone in between.  What do you think about a council member that doesn't think the law applies to them?  Obviously, at least one feels this way!  Seen on Lakeway Drive going to ZAPCO Wednesday - I guess he's not concerned with the law or your safety.  Don't you think they should set a good example?

*****Municipal Courts Week*****

This week is Municipal Courts Week.  Most folks do not know that Texas Municipal Courts handle more criminal cases than all of the other courts combined (County, State District Courts, and Appellate Courts). Over 5 million cases a year. Over 950 municipal courts in Texas with approximately 1250 municipal judges. Approximately 72% of our cases are traffic, about 17% are criminal cases (Disorderly Conduct, Public Intoxication, Assault, Minor in Possession Alcohol, etc.) and about 11% are civil cases including hearing cases regarding dangerous substandard buildings, dangerous animal cases, and property ownership cases. As State

Magistrates, Texas Municipal Judges issue millions of Arrest Warrants every year and set bail on all classes of criminal cases from Class C Traffic Misdemeanor cases up to Capitol Murder death penalty cases. We also issue Search Warrants at all hours of the day to help law enforcement obtain evidence from DWI blood search warrant matters to DNA swabbing to use in Sexual Assault cases.

Congratulations and thanks to Judge Kevin Madison and Associate Judge Michele Locke for their outstanding work in our courts!

*****Concert*****

The Lakeway Arts Committee is sponsoring a concert in the Lake Travis Performing Arts Center - it will include 26 select members of the Lake Travis High School Band and professional musicians from The Austin Symphony Orchestra.  It will be an hour and a half of GREAT music!  Here is a link to the flyer.  Saturday November 16th at 7:30 p.m.

*****Blood Drive*****

The next Lakeway Community Blood Drive will be Saturday, November 16 from 8 a.m. until noon at the Lakeway Activity Center.  Here's a link to more info.

*****Mail Issues*****

I know there are still some not getting the email, most are finding it in spam - it will most likely come from SkyPict if you want to search for it and mark it as "not spam".  

Spectrum (RR): If you are a Spectrum (austin.rr.com) user here is a link to a help page to stop having SkyPict emails to your spam folder.  It's not real hard but you can probably call them for help.

https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/marking-emails-spam-tb

Gmail:  You’re on the list so something is blocking you.  Check your spam folder for something from SkyPict

If you go to https://gmail.com it should allow you to log into your account.  (do this  on a pc)

On the left side there will be a line of boxes (vertical) – click on the exclamation point (spam) and look for something from skypict – if you find it, right click on it and select not spam – that should fix it.  Let me know if it works.

Here’s a link you can save that gets you to the blog

https://lakewayupdate.blogspot.com

If you want to be added to the list, send a note to lakeway@bain.us , I've got that fixed now.  Seems like Google is waging war against me! 

Don't see any deer?  Here's a picture of a couple that have taken up residence in our flower bed....
10-31-2019
They look happy don't they!

Have a GREAT rest of the week, more soon!

Joe Bain
















Saturday, November 2, 2019

Weather, Calendar, Homeless, Transportation, ZAPCO and More!

Weather?   WOW, a low of 32.5 degrees on Thursday morning and 28 degrees on Friday morning, I guess Fall is over.  We've had a little rain, a total of .4 inch for the week.  Here's a link to current conditions.


*****Calendar*****


Time is almost up!  Please order a calendar to support our local Animal Rescue Groups.  Here is a link, Bella would really appreciate it!




*****Mountain Star Lodge*****  

Get Ready!  There was a big hullabaloo about the Mountain Star Lodge in bee Cave on a list that Austin was looking at to purchase and move homeless to.  Turns out the consultant they hired didn't look very close and failed to see it was not in Austin (that's their story anyway).  That property has been pulled off the list.  KXAN picked it up and made a big deal of it, here's a link - not so big deal when is came off the list.  Fake news?  That being said, we are in the cross hairs - Lakeway has no ordinances prohibiting the behavior that is going on in Austin.  Maybe we need a committee to study that.


*****Transportation Meeting*****

I attended the "Transportation Meeting" last Tuesday evening - I suspect somewhere less than a hundred people went through.  No presentation but nice pretty maps of what is proposed for study.  I'll talk about a few of the items, there were no cost estimates given for any of the items.  

One of the thoughts is the road from the end of Flint Rock Road that would entail building a new section to Bee Creek Rd.  In the County, would entail cooperation between county and city to BUY the property (or condemn it) engineer it, build a new road.  My guess costs would be 10-20 million dollars.  That would also put even more traffic on Serene Hills and the new Flintrock Road - neither were designed for that.  If you fixed the old part of Serene Hills, that is also in the county and The Village of the Hills.  The new Serene Hills would also have to be enlarged.  By the time Right of Way (ROW) was acquired and road was enlarged (all this has to work together) you're looking at almost double the price - you can bet the Village is not interested and the county would be a heavy lift.  Daugherty tried to improve the old part of Serene Hills before the edition was built, had the money, and gave up because of all the push back and re-built Bee Creek road at Hwy 71 with the funds he had identified.

Another interesting concept was a new road from the end of Clubhouse that would connect up to Clara Van.  The  people living in that area objected strenuously to that idea because of the road size and new traffic it would cause - but many of the people in that area want a new connection to the new "Main" street from Crestview and Rolling Green.  Neither is a good idea since both feeder roads were not designed to carry that type of traffic.

Then, of course, the infamous "Main Street".  Initially that was proposed by the developer with his "City Center" concept.  He was willing to pay for a 4 lane mostly divided "Main Street" that would also had a connection to Lohmans Spur and possibly even a third connection.  Although his last proposal was too dense, ZAPCO shut down further negotiation by denying that proposal instead of tabling it as the developer requested.  That project has now moved to a Residential development that includes R1* and R3 proposals.  Pretty much what the vocal citizens wanted - it does not include the previous road nor the connection to Main.  Now the city will have to do that (depending on Stratus) in full at a cost of 5-10 million.  The good news is they have done away some of the wetland regulations and now instead of a bridge they can use culverts.  

Food for thought - FIRST a consultant was hired for about $150K to look at these proposals - THEN a committee was formed.  Seems backwards to me, shouldn't the committee look at consultants and provide the things to look at?  The City Engineer is a smart guy, did they even ask him about the feasibility of these proposals?  Not only that, there seems to be a big push to get a bond on the May election to fund some of these proposals - now understand, there will be a bond proposal to fund the $5M promised for the 620 project.  If another bond is proposed, it MUST be separate from that bond - not combined.


*****ZAPCO*****

Meeting is this Wednesday, November 6 at 9:15 a.m.  Here's the agenda / packet.

There's a lot on their plat this week.  The Future Land Use Map Change for 1931 Lohmans Crossing that was tabled until the Comprehensive Plan Committee maybe made changes that could maybe change the law is on the agenda again for a decision.

7)  Depending on the outcome, item 7 is a request to change the zoning to R-1* and R-3.

8,9)  Cherry Knoll LLC is wanting to rezone 23 acres of land to R-8 (multifamily) read apartments at 15617 Flintrock Road.  The owners are the same folks that are suing the city after signing a contract not to sue the city.  Do we need apartments across the street from the entrance to Flintrock Falls?  Is there a traffic concern?  More to come at ZAPCO!

10)  Annexation of some land East of Crosswing Dr. for GUI.

11,12)  Cut and fill variance request in the Highlands North of the traffic circle.

13)  Short Term Rental request at 111 Javelin Dr.

14-17) Sign requests.

It will be a long day - and while they are meeting I will be in a meeting with attorneys to prep me for a deposition on the Cherry Knoll LLC case.  Fun day.

*****Area Construction*****

Ladies of Charity is building a new facility located just East of the new Springhill Suites in the Medical District.  They are moving dirt at the front end of the construction process.  Click for a larger view.


To the West of the Springhill Suits a new group of office buildings are being constructed.  They will be individual office condos of various sizes - I'm told they will be 1 story on two levels.


There are new business offices that are being built off of Wild Cherry - these are behind the BSW Hospital and are accessed off of Wild Cherry and Peak Lookout Dr.
Lake Travis Eye Center




The new location of Lake Travis Eye Center!  Great folks and the best eye care I've ever found.   Here's a link to their web page.





And just for fun, here's a picture of Mansfield Dam 

Mansfield Dam, November 1, 2019

That's all for now.  Still having some issues with the email list - if your not seeing the email and think you should be on the list, send me an email and I'll check it out.  I think some are being directed into "spam" folders.  If you think a friend would enjoy the blog information, please forward it to them!

Thanks again - see you in the neighborhood.  I'll be the Election Judge at Randalls in Lakeway Tuesday, come see me and don't forget to vote!

Joe Bain