Lost Creek Civic Organization
2017 Priority Programs
The following programs will be focused on by the LCCO in 2017. Other issues will certainly surface and require responses.
Wildfire Adapted Community
A fire adapted community is defined by the United States Forest Service as "a knowledgeable and engaged community in which the awareness and actions of residents regarding infrastructure, buildings, landscaping, and the surrounding ecosystem lessens the need for extensive protection actions and enables the community to safely accept fire as a part of the surrounding landscape." The National Wildfire Coordinating Group definition, which was developed approved by the Wildland Urban Interface Mitigation Committee, is "A human community consisting of informed and prepared citizens collaboratively planning and taking action to safely co-exist with wildland fire." See A Fire Adapted Community at http://tinyurl.com/zf9f8es for more information.
Las Cimas – Westbank 360 Corridor
High density centers are forming in suburbs. For example the area along 360 between Bee Cave (2244) and Westbank. It has multiple neighborhoods, about 1 million square feet of office space, 3 schools, a fire station, a shopping center, and an athletic/community center. It also incorporates areas of Austin, Westlake and Travis County.
Within this type of center, we need local area transit.
For the section of Loop 360 between Las Cimas Drive and Westbank Drive that all the neighborhoods and businesses on this section, together with EISD, City of Westlake Hills, and Travis County be involved in conceptual design of the improvements to Loop 360.
The improvements should be designed to increase mobility within the corridor and connect the corridor to other areas of the city. Walkability should be a high priority.
Marshall Ranch Project
For the third time, Lost Creek is going to have to engage with a developer and the City of Austin over the Marshall Ranch property on Lost Creek Blvd. Near the entrance to Lost Creek, the tract is zoned for single family housing and will have to be rezoned if it used for any other purpose. The first developer was Cousins Properties. The development failed after neighborhood and some city council members opposition, and the property owners failed to extend the contract to Cousins. The second was a team led by the land owner, Dan Marshall. Their proposed development was acceptable to many residents of Lost Creek. Dan and his sister have instead sold the property to Riverside Resources for development. The plans for their development are currently unknown.
This 38 acre tract of land, the last piece of the Marshall Ranch, has historical significance and has a historical cemetery. It is difficult to develop because the land has steep slopes and has three zoning overlays with severe restrictions – Loop 360 Hill Country Roadway, Barton Springs Zone and Eanes Creek Watershed. In addition, Lost Creek is sensitive to its development because it is bounded on two sides by residential and was never intended for any other use. The peak of the land is the highest point in Lost Creek. Residents fear the development's impact on their homes value, their quality of life, their privacy, and the already congested traffic. There are also concerns about the impact of the new 10+1 city council structure and the new urbanism concepts embedded in CodeNEXT, the new land development code, on the development of land like the Marshall Ranch.
Lost Creek is a collection of neighborhoods. There are 19 sets of deed restrictions. This has prevented the formation of a homeowners association. Lost Creek has six different nonpolitical organizations:
For Lost Creek to have a homeowner's association(s), all the different deed restrictions would have to merged into one, or 19 different homeowner's associations could be formed. None of the organizations can truly claim to represent Lost Creek on all issues. As result, we lack political, legal and financial power.
TxDOT Billboards on Loop 360
The Texas Transportation Commission should rescind permission for TxDOT to place so called Logo Signs on Loop 360 (actually billboards advertising mostly fast food restaurants) and consider adopting a rule for TxDOT to follow on these logo signs where they are in conflict with local signage laws, especially along designated scenic roadways in the Cities of Austin, West Lake Hills and Rollingwood. Loop 360 is a designated scenic roadway by the City of Austin.
The results of the petition to remove the signs to date are:
In addition resolutions asking that the signs be removed were passed by:
Cities of West Lake Hills and Rollingwood
Neighborhood Organizations - Rob Roy HOA, Lost Creek Civic Organization, Barton Creek North Property Owners Association, Davenport Rim Condominium Association, Davenport Ranch Patio Home Owners Association
Moreover, several newspaper articles and a TV new's story have discussed the issue. Social media coverage has appeared on Facebook and a blog.
"CodeNEXT" is the name given by the City of Austin to the ongoing total rewrite of the City's land use and building rules, known as the Land Development Code. It will rezone every parcel of land in the city, including allowing uses not previously allowed in many neighborhoods. It will address what can be built, where it can be built, how much can be built, and how it can be used. Our concern, which should be yours, is that the new code not change what Mayor Adler calls the soul and spirit of Austin.
The initial draft was released January 30th. The City staff and consultants have conducted three years of public meetings with individuals and have accepted position papers from organized groups; however, the process did not result in meaningful engagement with neighborhoods or their representatives.
The new code will give new zoning designations to all of Austin, but just where these new zones will be applied is still unknown. Draft zoning maps won't be released until April 18th. There is no process yet for neighborhood input into the mapping process.
In addition to changing the zoning rules, the new code will address a variety of other important rules, such as limits on impervious cover, drainage, landscaping, and tree protection, all of which could have dramatic effects on the safety and quality of life in your neighborhood.
The Planning Department calls the new code "Draft 1". It will be considered first by the Planning Commission and the Zoning and Platting Commission, and there will be citizen comment and input pathways before the Council takes it up later this year. We need to use them to communicate our concerns.
Draft 1 creates two different zoning systems. One creates Transect Zones, and the other creates Non-Transect Zones. There will no longer be SF2 or SF3 lots. Transect lots will have design criteria focusing on the form of buildings. This is called "form-based zoning". The theory is that what a building looks like is more important than what it is used for. Non-Transect lots will not be subject to the design criteria. Both types of zoning will have specific use tables that apply to specific categories.
When the maps are released, it is likely that the suburban lots that are not now "walkable" will have Non-Transect Zoning. Apparently, Draft 1 does not define "walkable" but it is a criteria that the mapping teams will apply in deciding how to zone your property. Except for lots having at least 10,000 square feet, Draft 1 is calling for auxiliary dwelling units to be approved uses in all Non-Transect zones. Some Non-Transect zones will allow duplexes. Today's SF2 zoning allows neither duplexes nor auxiliary dwelling units. SF3 zoning allows both. The closer a neighborhood is to downtown, the greater the chance that it will have Transect zones. If so, allowed uses in some residential zones may include not only duplexes and auxiliary dwelling units, but also cottages, multifamily, and businesses. In all Transect categories, required on-site parking is just one space per dwelling unit.