Interlocal agreement could see land annex trade between Bee Cave and Travis County

Several residents of the Homestead neighborhood and other residences adjacent to the low water crossing on Great Divide Drive show their approval for the city of Bee Cave annexing the low water crossing.

Several residents of the Homestead neighborhood and other residences adjacent to the low water crossing on Great Divide Drive show their approval for the city of Bee Cave annexing the low water crossing.

Bee Cave City Council voted unanimously to adopt an interlocal agreement with Travis County that would put the county-maintained portion of a low water crossing on Great Divide Drive in city jurisdiction, and result in the city disannexing a stretch of property where a potential extension of Vail Divide would go.

The motion, voted on during the May 14 meeting, effectively puts the onus on Travis County to adopt the agreement, which would then set in motion unofficial timeframes for each party to commence annexation proceedings, public hearings and various other actions.

City documents state Travis County officials initially requested the agreement following disputes over a low water crossing on Great Divide Drive south of Hwy. 71. The Little Barton Creek low water crossing had been selected to receive funding from a 2017 $185 million county bond package, but many residents of adjacent neighborhood the Homestead pleaded with Bee Cave officials to annex the county-owned crossing after disagreeing with the large-scale bridge county officials proposed for the site.

Should the deal move forward, council would annex the crossing on Great Divide Drive along with any responsibilities to improvements and ongoing maintenance. In exchange, the city would disannex areas within the construction limits of a future Vail Divide Drive extension that is between Hwy. 71 and Hamilton Pool Road, according to city documents.

The agreement also states Bee Cave would relinquish its ownership of a portion of Vail Divide Drive, which is in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, and Travis County would help fund a bridge and roadway along Vail Divide Drive intended to provide access to a new Lake Travis ISD school currently under construction.

Though every member of council voted to adopt the motion, some within the body expressed apprehensions.

Council member Andrew Clark said though he might vote in favor of the interlocal agreement, much remains unknown about city obligations moving forward.

"We don't know what we're getting into in terms of cost," Clark said. "The second thing is in terms of the road and taking the low water crossing out ... in this case it's a lot of unknown and it makes me a little uncomfortable that we may be getting at this a little too quickly."

Mayor Pro Tem Bill Goodwin also pointed out flaws with the proposed agreement and echoed Clark's point.

"This interlocal agreement is a very imperfect way to address this issue," Goodwin said, adding the agreement obligates the city of Bee Cave to spend an as yet unknown amount of money.

The city’s agreement is just one stepping stone in a lengthy process, as Travis County must still place the agreement on one of their upcoming agendas before Bee Cave can officially consider annexation commencement, according to a timeline put out by the city.

After that, the city must conduct public hearings ahead of possible adoption of annexation and disannexation ordinances. Then, within 90 days Bee Cave must retain an engineering firm to provide possible improvement solutions.

Proposed timeline for the interlocal agreement:*

-Bee Cave adopts Interlocal Agreement.
-Travis County adopts Interlocal Agreement.
-Within 15 days of Travis County adopting agreement, Travis County places item on next agenda to request annexation.
-Within 15 days of Travis County adopting annexation, Bee Cave places item on next agenda to consider annexation commencement.
-Bee Cave conducts public hearings and considers adoption of an annexation ordinance, as well as a disannexation ordinance.
-Within 90 days, Bee Cave retains an engineering firm to provide possible improvement solutions.
-Engineering analysis and possible solutions are developed.
-Within 90 days, Bee Cave will decide on the most cost effective solution.
-Within six months, Bee Cave will retain an engineering firm to design the selected improvement.
-Design work is completed.
-Within 90 days of the completion of the design, Bee Cave will commence the procurement process for
construction of the selected improvement.

*Timeframes and deadlines remain subject to change until the agreement is completely executed, according to City Manager Clint Garza.
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


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