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Commissioners easily approve Onion Creek subdivision

Friday, August 15, 2008 by Kimberly Reeves

Travis County Commissioners allowed the 476-lot Fox Hill subdivision a fairly painless approval on Tuesday, a sort of tandem action in concert with the Zoning and Platting Commission’s recent approval of a fill mitigation plan.

The 215-acre subdivision on Interstate 35 at Onion Creek straddles the city-county line and was reviewed by the Single Office. In the approval of the preliminary plan this week, Commissioner Margaret Gomez said the developer was simply taking the first step toward developing the plan – putting forward a “bird’s eye view” — and would not go forward with any development without further negotiations with the adjacent neighbors.

The job of county commissioners was to review the portion of the preliminary plan in the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction. Anna Bolin of the Transportation and Natural Resources Department did take the time to review the fill issue, which was a significant concern to neighbors.

What made Fox Hill controversial was an effort by the owner back in 2005 to put a significant amount of fill on the site. Neighbors were concerned that was done simply to pull the property out of the federal floodplain map. ZAP’s job was to sort out the agreement on the fill issue so that the city was assured the issue was mitigated and the subdivision was still out of the flood plain and would not cause flooding problems on adjacent properties.

Attorney Richard Suttle, representing the new owner, argued that the fill occurred under a previous owner and that the current owner should not be punished for the problem. A total of 24-acre feet of fill was spread on the property for the purposes of agriculture, according to the former owner. The new owner has posted fiscal to remove that fill within 90 days.

In the backup documentation, the Transportation and Natural Resources Department assured commissioners that the fill had occurred in the area that was under the city’s jurisdiction and not the county’s.

That made the county’s job relatively easy. No one stepped forward to protest the plat and Gomez assured her colleagues that the removal of fill – and final plat – would be carefully monitored.

The plat won unanimous approval.

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