Rough Hollow surveillance cameras to be removed from Lakeway city streets

Lakeway City Council reported the presence of surveillance cameras in Rough Hollow during the June 21 council meeting. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Lakeway City Council reported the presence of surveillance cameras in Rough Hollow during the June 21 council meeting. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Lakeway City Council reported the presence of surveillance cameras in Rough Hollow during the June 21 council meeting. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

A series of eight cameras designed to monitor motorists driving through western Lakeway in the Rough Hollow subdivision will be removed after it was discussed at the Lakeway City Council meeting June 21 that the video equipment was installed without approval from council members.

The cameras, reportedly installed in March, are along a main thoroughfare at Highlands Boulevard and Duffy Lane and Highlands Boulevard and Bee Creek Road. Other locations are near the intersections of Bee Creek and White Horse Cove, Peninsula Way and Primo Fiore Terrace.

Lakeway Mayor Tom Kilgore brought the issue to the council agenda after hearing about the cameras to make the general public aware of the presence of the cameras, which according to a discussion during the June 21 meeting, were installed based on an agreement signed by former Lakeway Police Chief Todd Radford with the manufacturer of the cameras, Flock Safety. The move was reportedly part of an initiative with the Rough Hollow homeowners association.

Bill Hayes, chief operating officer for Legend Communities, which developed the Rough Hollow community, who was in attendance at the meeting for another item on the council agenda, told council members during a public hearing on the matter that he was not aware that the cameras were not part of an official city initiative and would have the cameras removed.

“The system was presented to us sort of with the endorsement of the Lakeway police,” Hayes said. “We thought we were doing a favor essentially in allowing this to get up. I’ll order to take them down immediately—all cameras. We thought we were being a good partner with the city.”

Much of the council discussion around the cameras was that the city had no policy in place with the manufacturer of the cameras to manage the data collected by the cameras, which record license plate numbers and compare motorists' license plates with broad crime-prevention databases to determine if the plate number was reported stolen.

Data is also shared with the Lakeway Police Department, but Capt. David Crowder, who is acting police chief while the city seeks a replacement for Radford, said he knows very little about the system.

During the meeting, Council Member Gretchen Vance asked Crowder how Radford signed a contract to install the cameras.

“I can’t tell you how that happened other than Flock offered to share that information with us and there were a couple of meetings about that. We are not involved in collecting the data or anything like that.”

Vance then asked if Crowder knows if Flock shares data from Rough Hollow with its national law enforcement data network known as Talon. Crowder said he did not know. In the past six months the cameras within Rough Hollow have contributed to two investigations of theft of building materials, according to the council discussion.

Earlier in the conversation, Vance said she was concerned that the presence of the cameras on Lakeway city streets and the constant electronic surveillance was a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures.

“Going down a road you have some expectation of privacy that your data won’t be collected,” Vance said. “The HOA has placed these cameras not in their private roads but in city roads in the right of way. And collecting information about a citizen's innocent activity, just in case they do something wrong, I have an absolute, fundamental opposition to that.”

A phone call to Radford was not returned at the time of this article's publication.
By Greg Perliski

Editor, Lake Travis/Westlake & Northwest Austin

Greg joined Community Impact as an editor in November 2020. In the communities he covers, Greg reports on local government, transportation, real estate development and business. He has written for newspapers, online publications and corporate communications teams. Greg earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin.


Photo of a hand holding a vaccine vial
As COVID-19 hospitalizations track upward, Austin Public Health renews call for vaccinations

APH also mirrors the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest guidance for vaccinated individuals to wear masks in some circumstances.

The request to table talks regarding designated campsites came one week after city staff detailed two properties that could be used for such an initiative. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Ellis, Harper-Madison call for halt to Austin's 'Band-Aid' sanctioned homeless encampment plans

The East and Southwest Austin representatives shared their thoughts on the process one week after city properties in their districts were tapped as workable encampment sites.

School starts Aug. 18 at Lake Travis ISD. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Lake Travis ISD releases early plans for 2021-22 school year on masks, virtual learning, vaccines

Lake Travis ISD Superintendent Paul Norton addressed plans for the 2021-22 school year in a July 27 letter to the community.

The CDC reversed its masking guidance for fully vaccinated individuals in response to the transmissibility of the delta variant of COVID-19 in a press conference July 27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
NEW CDC GUIDANCE: All individuals should wear masks in K-12 schools, including those who are fully vaccinated

The new CDC guidance, announced July 27, also recommends people in areas with "high" or "substantial" levels of transmission wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

Early voting runs from Oct. 18-29, and election day is Nov. 2. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Rollingwood City Council, tax elections to appear on Nov. 2 ballot

Rollingwood City Council terms are expiring for incumbents Amy Pattillo, Wendi Hundley and Buck Shapiro.

Leander ISD
Leander ISD names 2 new high school principals

Leander ISD trustees approved new principals for Rouse High School and New Hope High School.

Lakeway City Council discussed rising property valuations July 26 during a budget workshop. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lakeway property valuations rise 12% from FY 2020-21

Rising taxable values likely to bring a lower proposed tax rate from city staff.

The monthslong search for Austin's new police chief is expected to wrap up before the end of August. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Search for Austin's next top cop narrows to 7 finalists; new chief to be named by end of August

Seven finalists from across the country remain in the search for Austin's next police chief, the city announced July 26.

Eanes ISD will not require face coverings for students or staff when school begins Aug. 18. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Eanes ISD superintendent: Students will return to ‘pre-pandemic’ operations in August

Eanes ISD will kick off the 2021-22 school year Aug. 18 with a 100% return back to in-person learning. The district released updated safety protocols July 26, which include information on face masks, extracurricular activities, COVID-19 cases and more.

Chick-fil-A will open a location in downtown Austin on July 29. (Courtesy Chick-fil-A)
Chick-fil-A coming to downtown Austin; Dutch Bros Coffee opens in Round Rock and more Central Texas news

Located at 600 Congress Ave., Ste. C150, the newest outpost for the fast-food fried chicken giant is locally owned by Luke Steigmeyer.

State Rep. Vikki Goodwin, D-Austin sent a letter July 23 urging Gov. Greg Abbott to allow schools to require masks. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas state reps. call on Abbott to permit school mask mandates amid rising COVID-19 cases

The letter, spearheaded by Rep. Vikki Goodwin, called upon Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath to permit school districts to enact mask mandates and provide virtual learning options.

With current high demand, consumers should plan ahead when purchasing furniture, according to local expert Brian Morgan. (Courtesy Kam Idris on Unsplash)
Q&A: Austin furniture expert offers advice on choosing pieces for your home

An Austin expert offers advice for making your next furniture purchase.