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Office development on unincorporated land draws neighborhood opposition

Monday, April 9, 2018 by Caleb Pritchard

Anxieties over traffic, safety, environmental degradation and more pushed the Travis County Commissioners Court last week to postpone action on an item that would clear the way for the construction of two new office buildings on a rural but rapidly growing stretch of Hamilton Pool Road.

Joe Mansour, founder of Accord Interests, told the court during a public hearing at its Tuesday voting session that he wants to build the offices primarily to house his company.

“There is simply no office space out there, and there are a lot of homes out there,” Mansour explained. “We believe there is ample need in that area for some of these residents to be able to go a short distance and office and we would be able to provide that.”

Mansour has requested to revise the existing plat by consolidating into one nine of the existing, undeveloped lots at the corner of Hamilton Pool Road and Longhorn Skyway. The two office buildings would combine for more than 40,000 square feet of space and feature parking for approximately 100 cars. In addition to fire coverage provided by Emergency Services District 6, Mansour has contracted with Deer Creek Ranch Water Co. to provide water.

One neighbor of the project questioned the ability of that firm to handle the demand that would be created by the proposed development.

“The original Deer Creek water infrastructure is unstable, it’s inadequate, it’s a major disaster waiting to happen,” Shawn Taylor told the court. “The reliability of the water on any given day is questionable. There’s many times I have no water coming to my house, and I live three driveways away from where this site will be.”

Taylor was one of several neighbors who showed up to Tuesday’s meeting to voice opposition to Mansour’s project. Others complained that Hamilton Pool Road is unsafe enough as it is with existing traffic.

“And if you put 108 more parking places in there coming and going all day long, then what you are doing is throwing gasoline on this fire we have out there,” said Greg Ceshker.

Other residents suggested the site may contain a natural spring that would be irreparably damaged by the construction. Mansour said an environmental consultant he hired to investigate that claim turned up no evidence to support it.

After closing the public hearing, County Judge Sarah Eckhardt opted to take the proposed plat revision into executive session to discuss with county attorneys what legal options are available to the court. When the court emerged from those closed-door talks, Eckhardt announced that the court would take no action that day.

“It will probably come back in two weeks,” she said.

This story has been corrected to reflect the correct name of the speaker, Shawn Taylor (not White).

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