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Travis Club paused, pending a traffic analysis

Thursday, July 21, 2022 by Seth Smalley

On July 12, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted to deny developers of Travis Club, a subdivision plan at Bee Creek Road and Thurman Bend Drive with a golf course and marina, the ability to move ahead with phase one of construction before a traffic impact analysis is conducted. However, commissioners expressed approval of other variance requests by the developer, which would allow a trail system in place of sidewalks, access to neighboring subdivisions and development within a waterway buffer zone. The development was essentially authorized, pending the results of the traffic analysis.

Plans for the former 1,047-acre ranch in western Travis County include developing a golf course, marina, 274 single-family lots, 223 “villa” units, 29 open space lots, a system of trails, seven golf course lots and 59,499 feet of private road (11 percent of which would be impervious).

Some of the variances requested were previously granted by the county in 2008, but had since expired.

Numerous residents and public commenters spoke out against the development, citing doubt about whether the development serves community needs and integrates well with the surrounding area. Others expressed concerns over traffic safety, the affordability of the development, and access and ingress issues.

“I strongly urge the court to deny the developer’s preliminary plan and the phasing and the variances until a robust and approved traffic impact analysis can be, and should be, completed,” said Linda Pollock, resident of Siesta Shores, adjacent to the development. “These are Hill Country roads. They are narrow. There are tight curves, and there are many hills of different elevations. … This will create a very impactful traffic situation.”

One public commenter, who approved of the plan, identified herself as an area Realtor and associate of the Covert family, the former proprietors, as well as the current owners of the area car dealership Covert Auto Group.

She said the Covert family had multiple offers for the land, and selected the buyer based on the reputation of the developers and the requirement that the buyer be a ”good steward of the land, respectful of what it was, is, and will be.”

Every other area resident spoke against the development.

“What they’re talking about building is housing that is unaffordable for the vast majority of Travis County residents and will greatly exceed the average cost of housing for the community,” said Kent Bradford, who identified himself as a concerned neighbor. “When we’re looking at housing shortages, we shouldn’t be building high-end homes, we should be focusing on homes that will allow more of our community’s members an affordable place to live.”

Other residents brought to light environmental concerns, as the property housed native Ashe juniper trees that could be “50 to 200 years old” and habitats for the golden-cheeked warbler, an endangered species of bird native to Central Texas.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, golden-cheeked warblers are endangered “because many tall juniper and oak woodlands have been cleared to build houses, roads and stores.”

Photo made available through a Creative Commons license.

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