Guest houses could change character of Dripping Springs communities, City Council worries

Dripping Springs Mayor Bill Foulds
Dripping Springs City Council has seen an increase in people looking to put casitas on their properties, Mayor Bill Foulds said Jan. 18. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Dripping Springs City Council has seen an increase in people looking to put casitas on their properties, Mayor Bill Foulds said Jan. 18. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Dripping Springs City Council considered plans for a proposed guest house that raised questions Jan. 18 about how smaller secondary homes could change the character of a neighborhood.

Mayor Bill Foulds said the city has seen an increase in requests for guest houses that are large enough to stand alone. In the case considered Jan. 18 at 106 Bonnie Drive, the proposed accessory house was three bedrooms and 1,600 square feet and shared a driveway and electricity with a 2,000-square-foot main house on the same 1-acre lot.

“As we carve up large subdivisions, we’re changing the character of our town,” Foulds said.

Foulds said adding small extra homes to lots could increase traffic in neighborhoods. He said homeowners in the area choose neighborhoods with big lots for the quiet streets and for safety of kids riding bikes and playing near the road.

Mayor Pro Tem Taline Manassian asked what would happen if every homeowner in the area added a three-bedroom home to their lot.


Council Member Wade Wade King agreed and addressed Todd Larson, the homeowner who proposed adding the casita at 106 Bonnie Drive.

“I’m not in favor of this at all—it feels like you’re putting a huge house on this lot,” King said. “Two problems I have is nobody showed up here tonight to complain about it, and you seem like a really nice guy. So I’m having a hard time finding a reason to not support it.”

Council unanimously agreed to deny the request but suggested a smaller casita might be approved. Council Members Geoffrey Tahuahua and Sherrie Parks said council should consider more specific regulations around guest homes, such as a size limit.
By Maggie Quinlan

Reporter, Southwest Austin/Dripping Springs

Maggie joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July 2021 after a year spent covering crime, courts and politics at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, near the border with Idaho. In Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs, Maggie covers education, business, healthcare, transportation, real estate development and nonprofits. Prior to CI, she graduated from Washington State University, where she was managing editor of the student newspaper and a section editor at her hometown newspaper based in Moscow, Idaho. Maggie dreamed of living in the Austin area for years and feels honored to serve the communities of Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs.