Crosswind residents concerned about stormwater runoff into Lake Travis

Residents have reported heavy sediment runoff in Little Rough Hollow Cove. (Courtesy Christy Muse)
Residents have reported heavy sediment runoff in Little Rough Hollow Cove. (Courtesy Christy Muse)

Residents have reported heavy sediment runoff in Little Rough Hollow Cove. (Courtesy Christy Muse)

Nearby residents of a new neighborhood being built on the south shore of Lake Travis have raised concerns about stormwater runoff—a condition that a development official said is temporary due to construction.

In April, several residents of the adjacent Crosswind community spoke before Lakeway City Council to express concerns regarding site plans for Las Brisas, a section of the Rough Hollow Development currently under construction.

Construction led by Joe Bland Construction LP began 10 years ago on the 2,000-acre housing development owned by Legend Communities. Today, it is one of the largest residential developments in the area, with 25 neighborhoods, according to the development’s website.

Work on Rough Hollow is over 50% complete, and construction on the Las Brisas neighborhood is expected to be completed by the end of October, according to Bill Hayes, chief operating officer of Legend Communities.

Christy Muse, a 20-year resident of the Crosswind community, said early on she foresaw the potential for environmental issues, particularly concerning stormwater runoff into Lake Travis. Following heavy rainfall the morning of Sept. 9, Muse said she witnessed the issue firsthand.


According to Muse, construction runoff and sediment made its way into Little Rough Hollow Cove, an inlet to the lake, which sparked a response from residents, the city of Lakeway and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Since April 21, the TCEQ has received five complaints related to stormwater runoff into Little Rough Hollow, which eventually led to an investigation in May, according to TCEQ spokesperson Brian McGovern.

During the investigation, five violations emerged related to the development’s stormwater pollution prevention plan. The findings prompted a notice of violation issued July 13, which, according to McGovern, has since been resolved. The TCEQ began a second investigation Sept. 9 in the wake of recent complaints.

Additionally, the city of Lakeway issued its own violation Sept. 10 for failed erosion sediment control through stormwater discharge, according to Communications Director Jarrod Wise. Since May, Lakeway has filed three stop-work orders for Joe Bland Construction in response to runoff, Wise said.

However, stormwater violation notices are not uncommon during construction, according to Hayes, who also said they can occur just by nature of loose construction sediment and rainfall.

Silt fences, which are used to collect sediment from stormwater runoff, were installed among other measures to address the runoff, but Hayes said such measures can temporarily fail in the event of a storm.

Despite the actions taken by the developers and local officials, Muse said the larger issue is related to the development’s initial site plans that back more than 20 years. She feels violations have only served as temporary measures for a site plan agreement she thinks is not up to the city’s present standards. In part, Muse said she believes the clear-cutting of trees is to blame.

Bland Construction is following the code regulations that were in place at that time of the 1997 agreement, according to Wise, who said certain requirements, including those for post-construction water quality control have changed since.

As construction comes to an end, Muse said she believes these issues will continue.

“Stormwater events are an indication of what’s going to happen after [the development is] built out,” Muse said. “There won’t be construction sediment. It’ll be oil, herbicides, pesticides—everything coming off the development.”

Hayes said he has heard similar statements from residents but maintained that the stormwater runoff is a temporary occurrence. The current cause for the runoff is an abundance of loose construction dirt and a lack of vegetation, according to Hayes, who said the issue will not continue once the neighborhood is completed.

“We’re very sympathetic to what’s going on, and, believe me, it’s in our best interest to keep the lake looking good and that cove looking good because we’re trying to sell home sites that look over it,” Hayes said.

By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.


MOST RECENT

The legality of reinstating tighter restrictions on public camping, solicitation, and sitting and lying down remains vague. (Courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats ‘statewide camping ban’ as homeless debate heats up

The legality of reinstating tighter restrictions on public camping, solicitation, and sitting and lying down remains vague.

Staff at Lake Travis ISD received COVID-19 vaccinations Jan. 19. (Courtesy Marco Alvarado)
Staff at Eanes, Lake Travis ISDs obtain COVID-19 vaccine

Through a partnership with local health entities, this week, Eanes ISD and Lake Travis ISD secured COVID-19 vaccines for a combined 338 eligible staff members.

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. (Courtesy Texas Children’s Hospital)
'We still have a long way to go': Central Texas physician answers questions about COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions for Community Impact Newspaper related to the coronavirus vaccine, its efficacy and costs, and other related matters.

Pam Sanchez, chief financial officer for Lake Travis ISD, presented early budget estimates during a Jan. 20 school board meeting. (Courtesy Lake Travis ISD)
Lake Travis ISD begins preliminary budget discussions featuring tax rate reductions, enrollment projects

During a Jan. 20 Lake Travis ISD board of trustees meeting, LTISD Chief Financial Officer Pam Sanchez began the 2021-22 preliminary budget overview, which featured projectiosn for enrollment, revenue and property value for the district.

Photo of a doctor handling a vaccine
As community waits anxiously, here is where Travis County stands with COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Demand still exceeds supply for vaccines in the Austin area, even for those in Phase 1 of distribution.

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter. (Courtesy Adobe Stock Images)
President Joe Biden's inauguration spurs reactions from elected officials around Texas

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter.

Art Barn ATX owner Amber Gordon uses resin on a project. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
Get messy on purpose, enjoy lake views at Art Barn ATX in Leander

The business hosts birthday parties and summer camps along with art sessions for all ages.

In addition to vaccine hubs, there are also smaller community vaccine providers throughout Texas, such as pharmacies, that may also have the vaccine available. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
EXPLAINED: When, where and how Texans can receive the COVID-19 vaccine

As Texas is still in the early stages of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, many Texans are still unsure about where, when and how they can get inoculated.

Lakeway city council voted Jan. 19 to annex and zone land off Tomichi Trail for use as a future park. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lakeway council votes to annex and zone land for park to be near Crosswind community

Lakeway City Council heard environmental concerns at its Jan. 19 meeting.

Save Austin Now wants to overturn a city policy that allows public camping. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Aiming to reinstate camping ban, group guarantees it has enough signatures to put controversial policy on ballot

If validated, the controversial decision to lift the public camping ban could be up to voters in May.

The Austin-based eatery's menu is inspired by Nashville hot chicken; offerings include chicken bites, jumbo tenders, chicken sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and homemade pies. (Courtesy Tumble 22)
Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant coming to Round Rock and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.