Editor's note: This story has been updated with a response from a city of Austin spokesperson.

In the latest volley in an ongoing dispute, Williamson County has filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the city of Austin from using a former hotel as a housing facility for people experiencing homelessness.

A June 17 news release from Williamson County states the suit seeks a temporary restraining order and a temporary and permanent injunction against a nonprofit created by the city—AHFC Pecan Park PSH.

Williamson County officials have authorized funding for a special prosecutor to assist the county attorney’s office with the lawsuit, according to the release.

If successful, the suit would stop the nonprofit from creating homeless housing at the former Candlewood Suites location in Williamson County in violation of restrictions for the intended use of that property, the release states.

On Aug. 11, 2021, the city of Austin purchased the southern Williamson County Candlewood Suites hotel, located at 10811 Pecan Park Blvd., Bldg. 2, Austin, for $9.55 million. At that time, council estimated an additional $1.66 million in costs anticipated for building renovations.

The 7-4 vote from Austin City Council went against warnings from Williamson County officials, who threatened legal action one day prior on Aug. 10 if the city moved forward with its plans for the shelter.

Williamson County commissioners heard from several residents who live near the former hotel during an Aug. 10, 2021 Commissioners Court meeting. All six residents spoke in favor of a potential lawsuit against the city of Austin if the city approved the purchase.

“Mayor [Steve Adler], you can do things under the cover of darkness, but you will not trample upon the people of Williamson County,” Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said at that meeting.

The same week, Williamson County Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long also petitioned Austin officials to hold off on going down the "flawed path" of the hotel purchase in a pair of letters sent to the city.

The city had been working on a plan to purchase the hotel since at least Feb. 1, 2021.

Austin officials at that time stated the facility would provide "services, shelter or housing" units per an approved city resolution.

Beyond residents who live near the hotel and county officials, some Austin City Council members echoed concerns about the process, including Mackenzie Kelly, Alison Alter, Ann Kitchen and Leslie Pool.

Kelly, whose District 6 surrounds the hotel, expressed her view that Austin did not act on a resolution she sponsored last spring directing Austin to cooperate with neighboring counties on homeless strategy.

“I remain concerned that we have not adequately addressed the concerns of the residents or engaged our Williamson County partners. ... Moving forward without consensus puts us at greater risk of litigation—an irresponsible and avoidable use of city resources," Kelly said last August.

Other concerns regarding the plan for the former hotel have centered on a lack of several major resources nearby, including public transit, mental health care and accessible grocery stores.

From the onset of the city’s hotel-to-shelter conversion plan, Williamson County officials have repeatedly criticized Austin officials for poor communication with outside stakeholders.

In a recent example, Gravell upbraided the city of Austin during a May 10 Commissioners Court meeting.

“It is just beyond comprehension to me that the city of Austin would buy a homeless hotel, say they are retrofitting it, but yet do nothing with it, and then allow homeless people to break into it and use it," he said, referring to a recent report of a break-in at the hotel.

Williamson County Public Information Officer Connie Odom said next steps include scheduling a hearing to obtain an injunction against the city of Austin wherein a judge will decide whether or not to grant the request from Williamson County. A date for the hearing has not yet been set. If the request is not granted, Odom said other filings against the city could be issued.

A email from a city of Austin spokesperson states the city has not yet been served with the lawsuit. However, city officials and staff are aware that Williamson County has been considering litigation.

The spokesperson said in the email that after many community and stakeholder conversations, the city has been moving forward with solutions to address homelessness in the Central Austin region.

On May 19, Austin City Council voted to negotiate a $3.9 million contract with Family Eldercare that will fund rehab work, such as the conversion of hotel rooms into one-bedroom apartments, interior redesigns and outdoor landscaping.

The Austin spokesperson said in the email the city is still contracting with Family Eldercare.

"We are pleased to be moving forward to establish a permanent supportive housing facility in Williamson County and look forward to the work that Eldercare will do to operate the facility," the spokesperson said. "Eldercare has had success with similar projects and we are hopeful that our neighbors experiencing homelessness will soon benefit from the renovated facility and services it will provide.”

Ben Thompson and Claire Shoop contributed to this story.