During a wide-ranging Bee Cave City Council meeting, council members unanimously approved two actions July 13 concerning two major, much discussed multiuse development projects within the city—the Village of Spanish Oaks and The Backyard.

First, council members approved the creation of a public improvement district, or PID, for the 80-acre The Village at Spanish Oaks development. While several remaining steps are necessary to formalize the PID, the council approval allows for the city and the developers to issue bonds to raise money for improvements within the PID, Bee Cave City Manager Clint Garza said. And the bonds issued would be paid off by assessments paid only by property owners living within the PID, which covers the same area as The Village of Spanish Oaks.

“The council at some point in the near future will vote whether to issue debt,” he said.

Jack Creveling, senior vice president of real estate for the site's developer, CCNG Inc., said during a presentation to council that funds generated from the PID would be used to purchase upgraded materials, such as brick and stone pavers used in the construction of roadways and walkways within The Village of Spanish Oaks development.

Secondly, council members approved a preliminary plat for The Backyard, and in doing so, opened the way for Bee Cave city staff to begin discussions with the developer, JPD Backyard Finance LLC, on specific construction plans and ultimately a final plat for the 35-acre site. Plans for the site include a 3,700-seat amphitheater, a dance hall, shopping, and parking garages.

Notably, the preliminary plat approved by council includes staking out a new segment of a planned central Bee Cave thoroughfare known as Willie Way. In discussing the site designs for The Backyard, city staff told Bee Cave council members during the July 13 meeting that Travis County Emergency Services had released the name Wille Way for use by the city of Bee Cave.

In April, the city of Bee Cave opened a segment of Willie Way to motorists that connects Bee Cave Parkway and Ladera Boulevard. At that time, city staff was concerned the name of the street might have to change due to Travis County stating the name was already in use and could not be repeated due to possible confusion with 911 emergency services.

“They [Travis County] had thought it was reserved, but they now have released it to us,” Garza said after the meeting. “It is awesome news.”

As envisioned by both civic and business members of the community, Willie Way would eventually run from Ladera Boulevard in the north to Hwy. 71 in the south by passing through The Backyard development. JPD Backyard Finance is currently negotiating with a neighboring landowner to accomplish such a connection, city staff told council during the meeting.

In the preliminary plat council approved June 13, Willie Way runs south from Bee Cave Parkway, through The Backyard development and intersects with another proposed roadway tentatively named Live Oak Lane. This yet-to-be-built road, which staff said may have its own naming issues, would connect to western portions of the development where office buildings and a hotel are planned.

Bee Cave Arts Foundation

In other business, the city of Bee Cave approved spending $50,000 in hotel occupancy tax proceeds with the Bee Cave Arts Foundation. The approval came after a lengthy discussion among council members on how to approach an initial request of $140,000 from the foundation made by its representative, Deby Childress. The funds would be used for the planning of a second light festival, known as BuzzFest. The first BuzzFest was held in December 2020.

The decision to spend tax funds with the foundation was made only after lengthy back-and-forth discussion among council members as to how the foundation should go about raising funds to meet Buzzfest’s total estimated cost and how the request impacts the city’s available hotel tax budget of $120,000 for promotion of the arts.

During the foundation's presentation, council heard that an estimated 19,000 people attended BuzzFest over a three-day period in December 2020, and Mayor Kara King said the Hill Country Galleria and its tenants benefited from that foot traffic. Thus, the Hill Country Galleria should assist in funding the next BuzzFest, which is tentatively scheduled for February 2022, she said.

“I feel like the Galleria has benefited greatly from what you all have brought to the Galleria,” King told Childress. “They did record sales. I am hesitant to spend our total budget on one event. There could be other things that we might want to have money for.”

In the end, the council voted to approve $50,000 with the understanding that the arts foundation would return to council at its Aug. 10 meeting to further discuss what funding options are available to the city of Bee Cave.

Council Member Jon Cobb said it was important to support the arts foundation and BuzzFest so that it can grow into an event that could more easily attract private funding.

"To me, this is the kind of thing that makes me think different," he said. "To me it had a very cool vibe to it. I am excited, and I think there is opportunity for this to be massive."