Election Q&A: Meet the candidates for Bee Cave City Council

Meet the candidates running for Bee Cave City Council. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Meet the candidates running for Bee Cave City Council. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Meet the candidates running for Bee Cave City Council. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)



Lake Travis Westlake



Bee Cave City Council










ANDREW CLARK



Occupation: Attorney focusing on public finance, business and real estate transactions.


Experience: I served on the City's Planning and Zoning Commission for over 3 years prior to my service on the Council. I have served on multiple nonprofit boards including the Lake Travis Education Foundation and served as legal counsel to hundreds of cities and school districts throughout the state.






Why are you running for city council?



AC: I am running for re-election because there are several vitally important initiatives that are not completed yet. Specifically, (i) the comprehensive code update; (ii) capital improvement plans related to road infrastructure and our park network; and (iii) economic development. As a city we have made significant progress in all of these areas during my three years on council, and I am committed to seeing each through to completion in the next two years. Our historically low property tax rate is a huge advantage for our residents; therefore, it is crucial for the city to be proactive in attracting and retaining businesses that will ensure the continued strength of our sales tax revenue. Not only is this an economic benefit for our citizens, but an outstanding and diverse business community contributes to our quality of life.



Do you support the comprehensive plan for the city of Bee Cave?



AC: I do support the comprehensive plan. I believe that the most critically important parts of the plan right now are Mobility, Parks & Recreation and Housing. I have made it clear that one of my priorities as a City is developing our road network to alleviate our overcrowded state highways. We have worked with the County and Lake Travis ISD and secured commitments to complete the Vail Divide Extension to Hamilton Pool Road. Anyone who has traveled through the intersection at Hamilton Pool Road and SH 71 knows how badly our city needs this project to be completed. Continued review of the Thoroughfare Plan (which is part of the Comprehensive Plan) is vital to prepare for the inevitable growth. Additionally, we have some very exciting things happening as we work through the updated master plan for Central Park and developing plans for our other recreation and open spaces. Having first class parks and open spaces is absolutely a priority for me.



What other priorities for the city are important to you and why?



AC: Public Safety continues to be a priority for me. I am fully committed to providing our police department all the resources it needs to keep our citizens safe. I believe that other communities that have taken funding away from their police departments have put their citizens in danger, and I will never agree to a reallocation of resources that would put our citizens in jeopardy.









KEVIN HIGHT



Occupation: Hight is currently a private investor, philanthropist, and active in community services. After serving in executive roles for more than 25 years in investment management and other corporate roles, Hight is currently retired from the corporate world and has turned his efforts towards serving the communities he is involved.


Experience: Hight has served on the Bee Cave City Council for approximately one year. Previously, Hight was a Planning & Zoning Commissioner for approximately six years. Hight also currently serves as the President of the Uplands HOA and has been a board member since 2010, is a board member for the Austin Rowing Club, and a member of the Whitman College President's Advisory Board.






Why are you running for city council?



KH: Bee Cave has experienced tremendous growth in the dozen years we've been part of the community. As we look forward, there are still opportunities for growth, and Council needs to find that delicate balance between being business friendly, but mindful and protective of the great attributes that make this such a great community. Finding that balance is nuanced and requires Council Members that are able to put in the time and effort to listen to all sides and seek creative solutions that meet the needs of the entire community.



Do you support the comprehensive plan for the city of Bee Cave?



KH: The City of Bee Cave has been blessed with a tremendously talented and dedicated staff that have worked diligently not only in the day-to-day activities of the City, but in working on the long-term comprehensive plan for the City. What is sometimes lost is that the Plan is not written in stone and will absolutely be modified over time as circumstances develop. The most critical of these go hand-in-hand: maintaining open space within the City, and managing traffic and growth to find that balance between being business friendly and protective of our spot as a gateway to the Hill Country.



What other priorities for the city are important to you and why?



KH: The current City Council has gone to great lengths to be open and transparent about its decision making, despite what some might say. The pandemic has both helped and hurt those efforts. As we start planning for some degree of normalcy again, we need to find ways to build upon those successful efforts that helped with transparency, and find new ways to solicit community engagement. As we saw in this winter's snow storm, we live in a community where so many are willing to dedicate and serve the community. We need to find ways to harness that for more mundane periods and not save it all for the crises.









ANDREW REBBER



Occupation: Western Regional Manager for The Verdin Company for over 25 years. I work with communities, universities, developers and churches to create focal points using bells, clocks, towers among other amenities. We recently cast a replica bronze canon for the Alamo.


Experience: Member of City of Cedar Park City Charter Review Board, Planning and Zoning Commissioner, City of Cedar Park City Council Member, City of Cedar Park Past president and current member of Lakeway/ Lake Travis Rotary Club, Board Member of Bee Cave Friends of the Park Foundation, Member of Mt Olive Lutheran Church






Why are you running for city council?



AR: As the City of Bee Cave transitions from a growing community to a more mature city, it will be important that the Council looks at long-term impacts when making current policies. We live in a unique community with urban, suburban and rural home sites with Nature Preserves, parkland and environmental features such as Little Barton Creek located in a rather small geographical area. As we develop existing parks, create new roadways and finalize two of the last major developments at The Backyard and Spanish Oaks, the Council needs to ensure that these plans take into account the sustainability of the Hill Country Lifestyle, our water needs and environment in which we live. Currently the City has one of the lowest property tax rates in Texas due to our reliance on the commercial retail tax. However, with the commercial growth west on Highway 71 this will start to impact our tax receipts. We need to focus on retaining existing businesses and encouraging visitors to make Bee Cave a destination for their Hill Country and Highland lakes visit. With my past experience as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner and City Council Member in Cedar Park as well as over 25 years of business experience with an MBA from The University of Texas, I believe that I bring a unique perspective that can help move the City forward. As a Parks Foundation Member I understand the value of open spaces and the need to keep them as such. On Council I will encourage debate and discussion of ideas in the public , will encourage community involvement and a free flow of ideas between Council Members.



Do you support the comprehensive plan for the City of Bee Cave?



AR: The Comprehensive Plan was a well discussed and documented guideline for the future of the City. Written five years ago, most of it still is relevant and should be used to guide future discussions and Council Decisions, but it is not a rules document. That being said, one of the critical areas that needs to be discussed is development in the Hamilton Pool Rd segment of the City and ETJ. The Plan describes the area, “As one of the remaining areas in Bee Cave that epitomizes the rural and “Hill Country” character of the City, Hamilton Pool Road is also classified as a “Character Overlay Area.” The City needs to create a long-term strategy to use in this area that takes into consideration the traffic, water supply and runoff issues, public safety and keeping this a more rural asset as described in the Plan. As the City finishes its buildout, we also need to review the part of the Plan discussing the connectivity of the neighborhoods. Bee Cave is spread out geographically due in large part to terrain as well as being divided by two major State arterials making it important to create a sense of community. The Comprehensive Plan includes several ideas that we can use to promote connectivity. These would include finishing and connecting hike and bike paths, creating new connector roads, reimagining Central Park, promotion of the existing Preserves as well as keeping the Brown Tract as some type of public space.



What other priorities for the city are important to you and why?



AR: Water resources area big priority for me and I will be an advocate for that on Council. We reside in a semi-arid area with reliance on a dwindling aquifer and surface water that has shown stress over the past decade. This will only increase as development continues in Western Travis and Hays Counties. This can be a multi-faceted approach using conservation, native landscaping and working with our Water Districts while also limiting the financial impact on residents and business owners. Keeping our tax property tax rate low will also be a priority. This will require working with commercial businesses and developers to keep tax dollars in our City. As growth continues outside of our tax area we will need to ensure that the revenue keeps pace with the changes, which will allow us to keep the City services as well as the Police and Public Safety entities well-funded and staffed. As we saw last month with the ice storm, Public Safety is of utmost importance and preparing for these events in the future will require a review and implementation of a Contingency Plan. Establishing available shelters, food and water distribution and evacuation routes need to be discussed. We also live in a very high Wildfire area and we need be prepared and help to mitigate our exposure to it.









JOANN TAYLOR



Occupation: For the past 24 years, I have served in a diverse set of roles in education, including 10 years teaching high school English and 14 years directing and managing innovative, large-scale initiatives focused on human capital management systems in districts.


Experience: My experience includes developing and managing large budgets, contracts, requests for proposal/inquiry, and serving as the project director for state and federal grants. I have also had the opportunity to manage both small and large teams in my various roles in administration.






Why are you running for city council?



JT: My husband and I chose to move to Bee Cave in 2009 because of the small town feel and character of the city. I believe it is important to have representatives who care about maintaining this way of life and being an advocate for the citizens. Each neighborhood in Bee Cave has its own special character, and the neighbors in each area should have a voice in the developments that impact them as well as a way to express their concerns and desires for improvements.



Do you support the comprehensive plan for the City of Bee Cave?



JT: I support the comprehensive plan as guidelines for growth and development as well as a desire to maintain the hill country feel. While all aspects of the plan are needed, the most important elements for consideration would be land use, mobility planning, and parks. The mobility planning is an area that I believe that council needs to review to ensure that it is meeting the needs of the citizens and that the citizens approve of the designs to use current natural spaces for new roadways. I also believe it would be beneficial to consider the economic section as the Hill Country Galleria has gone through some significant changes since the plan was written.



What other priorities for the city are important to you and why?



JT: Transparency: It is important for citizens to have easy access to information about decisions and initiatives within the city. Providing ample opportunities for residents to engage in new initiatives through workshops, committees, and surveys helps educate and promote innovative ideas and programs. Improving the current city website with more modern content and accessibility would help share information more readily. As a member of the city council, I would encourage open and honest debates about the issues and avoid making decisions behind closed doors. Fair governance is vitally important to our development and quality of life.









ANDREA WILLOTT



Occupation: Retired. Former public school teacher and HEB corporate trainer.


Experience: BS Degree Education from Texas State University; served on the Ladera HOA (2016-2019) and the Bee Cave Planning and Zoning Commission (2018-2019). Elected to Bee Cave City Council in 2019. Currently serve on the Executive Committee of CAPCOG (Capital Area Council of Governments).






Why are you running for city council?



AW: I want to serve another term because there are several important projects and issues facing the city and I believe my experience and understanding of those issues is essential for continuity. Those projects include, but are not limited to, the development of the Backyard, Spanish Oaks Village, solutions to the low-water crossing on Great Divide.



Do you support the comprehensive plan for the City of Bee Cave?



AW: YES. The most critical areas of the plan are the construction of roads to take traffic off our roads under the control of TxDOT. It has been five years since the comprehensive plan was approved in 2016 and needs to be reviewed because the city has grown in population and needs. In addition, the city needs to present a plan to the citizens of Bee Cave about Central Park improvements and vision for the Brown property on Great Divide Drive.



What other priorities for the city are important to you and why?



AW: I would like to continue discussions about workforce housing. I believe the economy is coming back strong after COVID 19 and Bee Cave will see many more people relocating here. With that we will see more businesses wanting to come here and they need employees. Currently the community is becoming unaffordable for teachers, firefighters, police and nurses, and they cannot live here where they work. Lakeway is already on the bandwagon and has built affordable housing and it is time Bee Cave did, too.


By Greg Perliski
Greg edits Community Impact Newspaper's Lakeway/Lake Travis and Northwest Austin editions. During the course of his diverse career, he has written for newspapers, online publications and corporate communications teams. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin. You can reach him at gperliski@communityimpact.com


MOST RECENT

Under the city of Austin's phased enforcement plan released May 10, citations at public encampments will begin in mid-June to be followed by arrests and clearances in July as necessary. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's homeless ordinances back on books May 11, but arrests, camp clearings won't start until July

Austin announced a "phased process" to introduce Proposition B ordinances beginning with one month of outreach followed by one month of warnings and citations before arrests or clearances begin as necessary.

Pfizer vaccines could become available to kids 12 and up as soon as next week. (Courtesy Adobe Stock/Graphic by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
FDA expands Pfizer vaccine authorization to children ages 12 to 15 years old

This is the first time people under the age of 16 have been granted access to a coronavirus vaccine.

Butler Park Pitch & Putt reopened to the public in April. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Butler Park Pitch & Putt reopens in Austin; turf fields open in Pflugerville and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Heather Sánchez
Leander ISD hires new area superintendent

Heather Sánchez will be a new area superintendent at Leander ISD.

Eanes ISD trustees will meet May 11 for a special-called board meeting. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Diversity, equity and inclusion report, budget updates and mask policy on May 11 Eanes ISD agenda

The Eanes ISD board of trustees is scheduled to meet May 11 for a special-called meeting at the district’s Central Administration Building.

Succulent plants, like these agave, or century plants, at the Hill Country Galleria, were severely damaged by the 2021 winter storm. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper).
Assessing true damage to Hill Country landscapes to take time

Industry experts conducting survey to tally impact of historic winter storm.

From left: Peter Keilty and Chris Abramson of Bees for All tend to one of their hives. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bees for All teaches the importance of local pollinators

Local business produces honey from seven hives on a 5-acres site.

Chacasso (pictured) and Micah Pearman own Flip'N Art, a custom art business in Bee Cave.
Lake Travis area becomes unlikely home to a growing arts scene

“Arts are the light coming out of the darkness. You need to see the beauty around us and the beauty that we can all create, and we’re just hungry for connection.” Kat Albert said. “For us, it’s not just about seeing something beautiful. It’s about having that interaction with another human that makes you feel alive.”

Utility work is related to ongoing construction of a bypass of RM 2222 and RM 620. (Courtesy Fotolia)
TxDOT lane closure scheduled for RM 620 beginning May 9

Drivers in west Travis County headed southbound on RM 620 should expect delays beginning at RM 2222 to Steiner Ranch Boulevard on May 9 from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Work crews with the Texas Department of Transportation will have the right lane closed due to utility work.

Tents have become a common sight throughout Austin including along Cesar Chavez Street downtown, but with the passage of Proposition B the city may now consider moving unsheltered homeless individuals to designated sites. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall notebook: Designated campsites for the homeless are back on the table

City staff had previously dismissed developing official camping locations in 2019, but new directives from City Council this week could revive the concept in Austin.

Wag-A-Bag is headquartered in Round Rock. (Megan Cardona/Community Impact Newspaper)
Wag-A-Bag to operate under new ownership, name; Austin, TxDOT at odds over I-35 overhaul; and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Austin area.