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Lake Travis neighbors voice concerns for endangered bird, environment ahead of massive condo development


Travis Club, a massive 1,047-acre multi-use development, is getting closer to breaking ground in northwest Spicewood despite environmental concerns from nearby neighbors.

The development would include 274 single-family lots, 223 villa units, a marina and a golf course near the mouth of Lake Travis. The project has been proposed multiple times leading up to the vote, first in July 2008 under the project name Vizcaya.

The Travis County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 in favor of the new development—approving utility use and site plans—on Tuesday, bringing it one step closer to construction. Commissioner Brigid Shea cast the dissenting vote.

Concerned neighbors joined in on the meeting, citing concern for the habitat of the endangered Golden-Cheeked Warbler, worsening drought conditions and potential traffic disruptions.

Protecting the Golden-Cheeked Warbler

Concerns have gathered over the habitat stability of the Central Texas native Golden-Cheeked Warbler, which raises its young exclusively in the Hill Country.

Several neighbors have reported vegetation clearing on nesting grounds, which is prohibited by the moratorium between March 1 and Aug. 31, saying that could cause an existential threat to the bird. The developers have said they plan to set aside some land for conservation but have not released detailed plans.

Linda Pollock, a resident of Spicewood, implored the court to oppose the preliminary plan for a number of reasons, namely the damage it would cause to native flora and fauna.

“This land of the proposed development has been untouched, natural and native for many years,” Pollock said. “There are mature native ash juniper trees that could be as old as 50 to 200 years. The continuous canopies that are provided by these mature ash junipers are a habitat for the Golden Cheeked Warbler, which has been sighted in the area.”

During her time, Pollock explained that mature trees also bring up cool groundwater, which reduces erosion and helps with downslope flooding. Pollock said she hoped the court would determine “the development design is inappropriate, outdated and detrimental to the people and the environment.”

Building a golf course in a drought

Travis County is currently under a D4, “extreme drought,” with parts reaching D5, “exceptional drought,” Micah King, representing Kit Bradford with law firm Husch Blackwell, mentioned but brought attention to drought conditions, followed by reiterating the need to protect the warbler.

“In our current drought situation, we’re expected to have a mega-drought over the coming decades and just last week LCRA cut off water to its downstream agricultural customers to honor its firm water contracts,” King said. “Why are we promoting a golf course and issuing an environmental variance when it’s exactly the worst type of use you want to have in a buffer?”

Traffic concerns

(Travis County Commissioners)

Nearly everyone who spoke brought up the Hill Country’s famously narrow, windy and often dangerous two-lane roadways. Mayor of neighboring Village at Briarcliffe Al Hostetler said their government is “very much opposed” pending a traffic analysis on Bee Creek Road and Thurman Bend Road.

“Early approval will set the stage for disaster,” Hostetler said. “There are ten curves, some of them very tight in that 1 and a half miles. Also, the intersection has been deemed dangerous enough for the highway department to post warning signs on bee creek that say ‘box view.’”

Meanwhile, property association president of Angel Bay Charles Gordon said the analysis will be “critical” on such a “dangerous… winding road.”

The project must now undergo traffic analysis, which is expected to take six-nine months, throughout all four stages of development before the commission will give further approval.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway