Tuesday, December 18, 2018

CBC, Wildlife Advisory, Police Project, Traffic and Much More!

Our weather is interesting isn't it?  Cold, warm, wet, dry and now a little fog.  Be careful out there, slow down and live.  A significant portion of the traffic issues we have could be greatly improved with a little patience and common sense.

CBC met in regular session on Thursday.  Here is that agenda.  All items were approved without fanfare.  Item 5, view blocking at 816 Mariner was approved with one dissenting vote (found NOT view blocking).

The Wildlife Advisory Committee met on Thursday also.  There are some ideas to help deer, signs, deer reflectors?, reduction of speed limits and there was a discussion on feeding the deer.  

The problem is we have too many deer in Lakeway.  Another spotlight survey was presented to the committee - it shows and estimate of 1350 deer in Lakeway.  The survey only looks at areas that are not good habitat.  That tells me there are more than they estimate.  There are too many deer for the environment to support.  The herd increases by about 30-35% per year.  It's not if but when someone will be severely injured or killed because of an auto accident or even possibly an attack.  

I personally counted 24 deer in front yards as I drove on Vanguard from Zephyr to New Lido.  There were 10 in my back yard.  This is not natural and is not healthy for the deer population.   We need to find a method to  manage the herd.

Looking North
Looking East
The Police Station Project is moving right along.  On time and on budget.  Looks pretty good doesn't it?  Should open Feb-Mar.   Double click the images to see a larger picture. 

City Council had a work session yesterday on traffic and what the city can do about it.  Interesting discussion.  Discussed the upcoming 620 project and time schedule.  There will be more public meetings on this as the design and schedule firm up.

Significant discussion on a "right only" lane Southbound 620 at Lohmans.  Many comments that this was there and went away when the new lane was added.  This is incorrect - people were using the shoulder as a right turn only, this was not a lane - when the new lane went in, there was no room for that same shoulder because of right of way restrictions.

Discussion of PID's (Public Improvement Districts) and TIRZ's (Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone).  These are two different methods of financing infrastructure - basically council is now looking at ways to finance a $10M road to cross the MUD property to obtain access to the Oaks.  It's a shame negotiations were cut off with the developer - he was willing to pay for the road.

Both of these options are problematic.  One forms a taxing district (PID) that the residents of that district pay an assessment on an annual basis to pay for these improvements.  The commercial and residential entities of that district (MUD property development) would pay whatever bond was issued to build a road that the rest of the city residents use for free.

A TIRZ gets revenue on the improvements of the property according to the portion of the tax rate contributed by the city.  This is problematic because of our LOW tax rate.  It also is only available after the improvements are done.  It would be more advantageous if another taxing entity was included, the county for instance, which is what the developer was working on.

Also driving the level of complexity is the land has multiple land owners.  Stratus (developer of the Oaks) owns a piece and is required to build a road across their property when and if they decide to develop it.  As a taxpayer, I don't want to spend $2M to build a road for a developer, increasing their property values and profits.  Their are other owners too, all ow which would benefit from a new road and access.  It's complex!

CAMPO's Executive Director, Ashby Johnson, gave a report on their work.  The growth rate in our area (7 counties) is about 2.8% per year.  this will put the area to about 4M by 2045.  Lots of talk, no roads, maybe bridges or ferry's?, mass transit (buses) to help area traffic.  The area arterial study is ongoing.  I think the best idea is a road across the preserve east of Lakeway, but the environmentalists won't allow that.  All current thoughts would significantly change Lakeway.

All these discussions were at a very high level with issues that will be very hard to find a consensus on.  TxDOT has been very helpful on our issues - remember, they serve the whole state and there is a lot to it.

If you want to see the long version, here is a link.
City Council met in regular session after the work session.  I'll hit the high spots of that meeting - it went past 11PM.  Here is  a link to the meeting agenda and packet.

The City seems to be in good financial shape per the Financial Report given by Julie Oakley.

Per the new BDS Director, there will be multiple avenues to give notice of any doings in the Department - including email lists, signs and notice.  Starts in January.

Chief Radford talked about speeding and basically said it's not so much the speed but the distractions.  They are looking at putting up signs on Lakeway Blvd. that show your speed.

One of the big items on the council agenda was a presentation on adding an "overlay" ESD in addition to the current existing ESD.  The law caps the tax rate for the existing ESD so they are wanting to establish an overlay that would allow an additional $.10 per $100 value.  That is a significant increase.  It would affect parts of Rough Hollow and voters would have a chance to approve or disprove it.

The solicitor ordinance is being amended to remove restrictions for political and religious solicitation.  Put a sign on your door....

The new sign ordinance was adopted with a minor change grandfathering flagpoles.

Swim Center pool improvements were approved.

At about 10:40 PM council reconsidered payment to the mayor for legal expenses.  Two of the council members wanted to rescind the resolution to pay the mayors expense - the motion failed.  Laurie Higginbotham, Louis Mastrangelo and Steve Smith voted to rescind, Bridge Bertram, Ron Massa and Keith Trecker voted against.

If you want to watch the LONG version, here is a link to the video.

Thanks for reading the blog.  I have added pictures of the police project on the Sky Pictures website - here's a link.  Watch as it goes through pictures from start until today.

That's all for now - if you want to be added to my email list send a note to lakeway@bain.us and I'll get you added.

Thanks for the support!  Questions are usually answered!

Joe Bain

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