Travis County commissioners delay approving RV park proposal near Hamilton Pool Preserve as residents raise concern

Travis County commissioners are considering a proposed RV development on Stagecoach Ranch Road in Dripping Springs, less than a half mile from the Hamilton Pool Preserve.
Travis County commissioners are considering a proposed RV development on Stagecoach Ranch Road in Dripping Springs, less than a half mile from the Hamilton Pool Preserve.

Travis County commissioners are considering a proposed RV development on Stagecoach Ranch Road in Dripping Springs, less than a half mile from the Hamilton Pool Preserve.

For the second week in a row, dozens of Dripping Springs residents filled the Travis County Commissioners Court chambers, prepared to speak in opposition to a proposed RV park at 401 Stagecoach Ranch Road, less than a half mile away from the Hamilton Pool Preserve.

Recent RV park proposals have prompted backlash from community members and led to a procedural change in which they are now considered as a special type of subdivision, similar to condominiums, and require commissioner approval to obtain a development permit.

The proposed Bentree RV Resort project would include 80 pad sites for recreational vehicles and a permanent office structure with a pool.

Resident concerns


Residents raised a number of concerns, including about groundwater supply, septic drainage, environmental impact, evacuation routes and safety.

A petition called “Save Hamilton Pool” has garnered 22,844 signatures in opposition to development.

“The Bentree ... trailer park proposed development’s main goal is maximum density for maximum profit, and its tactic is to push the limits of weak county regulations and place the environment at risk,” the petition states.


Many residents raised concerns about the impact of the development on the nearby Hamilton Pool Preserve.

“Hamilton Pool is a classic,” Travis County resident Lewis Adams said Dec. 3. “There’s no place like [it] hardly in this county, and I think of the thousands of visitors, the children that swim in that pool, and I think of the health hazards [in] the long term that could develop from underground septic and sewage going into that creek.”

Others asked commissioners to consider the impact an RV park could have should there ever be a need to evacuate from the dead-end street.

“When I specifically asked [Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, who represents Precinct 3] how am I supposed to evacuate my family of four children and, of course, a pet pig and chickens, out of Stagecoach Ranch Road behind 80-plus RVs, the answer was, ‘That is not under my jurisdiction,’” Travis County resident Angelica Johnson told commissioners at a Dec. 3 meeting.

Daugherty echoed concerns he had heard from constituents that the proposed development would serve long-term residents rather than campers or seasonal RV users.

“We have learned in the last six weeks that RV parks have become living quarters. And that is something, quite frankly, that myself and I think all of us share that that is not what we want these things to be,” Daugherty said at the Dec. 3 meeting. “And so we have pushed back on the applicant.”

County provisions


County staff, in considering the RV park’s application for a development permit, looked more closely at many of these concerns.

Staff wrote in a brief that water availability is not necessary because RVs can be moved easily to a location outside of the park where there is water.

As far as emergency plans, the proposed development meets fire code requirements. Unless instructed by emergency responders to evacuate, RVs are supposed to shelter in place.

The county development code does not require secondary access via a second external street to subdivisions with fewer than 100 RVs.

Additionally, all RV parks must adhere to a restrictive covenant that requires all vehicles to be road-ready and licensed for highway use. The covenant also sets a limit of 180 consecutive days for any RV to stay on-site.

Some residents wondered how enforceable these restrictions would be, if implemented.

Next steps


Commissioners decided Dec. 10 to delay voting on the agenda item, allowing more time for county staff to speak with the developer and develop assurances for both groundwater supply and an additional evacuation route.

“Both parties [the developer and the neighborhood] recognize that there needs to be some work on this,” Daugherty said.
By Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.


MOST RECENT

Austin Public Health will resume providing coronavirus testing for individuals without symptoms. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Asymptomatic coronavirus tests now available through Austin Public Health

Despite relative progress in county efforts to contain the virus, Dr. Mark Escott has urged the community to stay vigilant in social distancing and wearing masks.

Lake Travis Spay & Neuter Advocacy Program launched in the Lake Travis area in July. (Courtesy Lake Travis Spay & Nueter)
Lake Travis nonprofit works to reduce animal shelter intake and euthanasia numbers

A newly launched nonprofit organization, Lake Travis Spay & Neuter Advocacy Program, or LT SNAP, is working to address dog and cat overpopulation in the Lake Travis region.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler (Courtesy ATXN)
Austin mayor pushes for new ideas in policing, $100M cut to police budget during State of the City address

Austin Mayor Steve Adler also said the city needs a police chief who will champion change.

A teal coronavirus graphic
Travis County adds 202 new coronavirus cases Aug. 5

The county has confirmed 22,024 cases of the virus, with an estimated 20,059 recoveries.

A camp is set up by someone experiencing homelessness in August 2019. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Petition to reinstate Austin's homeless camping ban ruled invalid by city clerk

The group behind the petition said "this fight is not over."

The Confederate Soldiers Monument stands on the south grounds of the Texas Capitol. A group of Democratic lawmakers have called for its removal, along with other statues and portraits honoring the Confederacy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
State legislators seek removal of Confederate monuments at Texas Capitol

The decision may ultimately lie with Gov. Greg Abbott and the rest of the State Preservation Board, which last year authorized the removal of a plaque in the Capitol that said slavery was not an underlying cause of the Confederate rebellion.

Trustees reviewed a potential transitional model for resuming in-person learning. (Courtesy Eanes ISD)
Eanes ISD officials still figuring out a plan to return students to campuses

In an attempt to facilitate the most sustainable and safe environment for the 2020-21 school year, students at Eanes ISD could return to the classroom following a multiweek transitional period, per a presentation shared during an EISD study session Aug. 4.

French pastry cafe Foliepop's is now accommodating pickup and delivery orders at the Hill Country Galleria. (Courtesy Foliepop's)
Bee Cave French pastry house Foliepop's opens for online orders

Foliepop’s, a new french pastry and coffee house cafe at the Hill Country Galleria, opened for online orders July 29 with daily pickup and deliveries available starting Aug. 2.

Austin City Hall was one of several downtown buildings to get vandalized during June's protests against police brutality. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Latest Austin police budget proposal seeks compromise, longer-term commitment to transformational change

The effort to make significant changes to the Austin Police Department has been met with clashing interests.