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Council postpones action on Country Club suit

Monday, December 17, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Arguments over development of the Austin Country Club’s 179-acre tract did not end with last Thursday’s Council meeting as was expected. The item will be back on the second agenda of 2019, on Feb. 7. The country club sued the city when the city’s environmental staff insisted that the club abide by current regulations, as opposed to the limited regulations that were in effect in 1982. After hearing staff members’ presentation about a proposed settlement agreement between the city and the country club, Council still had questions and wanted more time to consider the proposed settlement. Under the 1982 regulations, there were no critical water quality zones, no critical environmental features and no water quality treatment required. The heritage tree ordinance had not yet been enacted and there was limited tree protection. Under the proposal outlined for Council on Thursday, impervious cover, or hardscape, would be limited to 20 percent, as opposed to the 25.5 percent impervious cover limit in the 1982 regulations. The Zoning and Platting Commission had urged Council to “carefully consider the details of the proposed development terms, specifically to emphasize that current code applies unless otherwise specified and to ensure utmost protection from flooding, tree removal, and open-ended development timelines.” According to a memo from Council Member Alison Alter to her constituents, “The terms and conditions recommended by staff seek to strike a balance between the environmental and scenic protections provided under these two different regulatory schemes. Austin Country Club’s property, located off of Loop 360 in Northwest Austin, is approximately 179.67 acres. The proposed conditions would apply to future development of the property, which could include expansion and improvement of the golf course, clubhouse, and outdoor recreational facilities, as well as additional residential and commercial land uses.”

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