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Residents complain about development at Commissioners Court

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by Jimmy Maas

A development near Lake Travis brought a contentious public hearing to Tuesday’s Travis County Commissioners Court.  A developer is looking to create a detached-condominium subdivision tentatively called the Summit at Lake Travis.


The project is slated for land off Bee Creek Road approximately two miles north of SH 71 abutting three other neighborhoods, Inverness Point, Vistas at Lake Travis and the now-combined Crosswind and Hidden Hills neighborhoods.


“There are three homeowners associations within the vicinity of this project,” said Clint Jones, developer of the tract, to commissioners. “We have given requisite notice to them, as well as the fire marshal and ESD (Emergency Service District) Number 8.”


“We started meeting with the homeowners back in September of 2012,” continued Jones. “We have met with different homeowners and neighborhood associations over the course of that period. Most recently I met with representatives of all three of the major subdivisions out there.”


But whether or not everyone felt included in those conversations is where the conflict grew.


“We’re not objecting to the program; it just suddenly fell on us,” Paul Quinn, vice president of the Vistas at Lake Travis Home Owners Association, told the court. “Nobody’s been in communications with us since September of 2012. The first time we heard about this was when our president invited herself to a meeting that Clint was having with some other concerned individuals.”


Also refuting the September 2012 claim was Mark Buffington, who lives nearby.


“What I see here is a gentleman trying to tell you he’s given us all this notice around our neighborhood,” said Buffington. “This is not completely true. There are four signs. They are on one side of the property. I live at Tradewind and Crosswind. There’s no sign within 1,000 feet of our house.”


Jim Eubank, a resident of Crosswind, said he has been in touch with Jones about drainage and road access.


“There’s a number of things that over the years he and I have talked about that (there) have been changes,” said Eubank. “The thing that concerns me, and I always expressed this to the developer, is the density, especially where there’s no buffer between the homes and the roads themselves like that.”


Density, safety and drainage were just some issues project neighbors voiced to the court. 


“My primary concern is the traffic that’s going to (occur), not only once the development is complete, but in the process of developing the community with the increased traffic, the big trucks, the cement trucks and things that are going to be traveling down a road that is already extremely dangerous,” said Megan Crow, who says she owns the property that lies next to the development.


One thing neighbors were united on is the need for more time.


“We request that the court postpone all decisions to be made today concerning the subject property pending completion of the independent review with our consultants of the proposed development plans,” asked Jeri Brown, representing Crosswind and Hidden Hills HOA.


But, in the end, Travis County’s power may be limited here.


“We are recommending approval because this meets our requirements,” said Anna Bowlin with Travis County Transportation and Natural Resources. “We have also been reviewing the site plan and once the cancellation has taken place, we’ll be looking to issue that permit for the condominiums.”


“This is one where, as long as the requirements are met, it’s not as though we have discretion as a voting body, correct?” asked Pct. 2 Commissioner Bruce Todd to county attorneys, “meaning we would not be able to deny it based on our own preferences as long as they met all of our requirements.”


The county’s only card to play is its discretion on the vacation of the plat. Commissioners discussed the matter further in executive session. They may take action on the item next week.


“If this was in Austin, Texas, you all wouldn’t think about it twice,” charged Buffington. “In the county, you give more leeway.”


The county finds itself in the middle here because when the Lakehurst subdivision was first approved and laid out in 1941, the land wasn’t under Lakeway’s authority. The county approved the lots then, and now, with a condominium exception, it has to partially cancel its actions of more than 70 years ago for Jones and his company to move forward.


The development plans pass all county criteria for recommendation. It is pending City of Lakeway approval for a permit since it lies in its extra territorial jurisdiction. The development also needs approval from the LCRA for its septic system, because it is close to the lake.

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