Council decides duplexes not being rezoned to single-family

The West Lake Hills' appointed subcommittee, formed Feb. 22 to investigate the city's history of multifamily use, said the committee found no reason to believe past councils had meant to do away entirely of multifamily zoning within West Lake Hills.

"If the city wanted to do away with multifamily, they'd have done so by now," Councilman Stan Graham said.

After the committee's presentation of its findings, the council discontinued its efforts to rezone all R-2 multifamily to R-1 single-family residential zoning.

Council instead instructed staff to make recommendations at the next council meeting April 11 for building code changes to R-2 multifamily residential that would be more similar to the restrictions of single-family residential.

Whether the council plans to bring the rezoning of Reveille Road back on the agenda was not determined.

A moratorium on building permits for multifamily residential areas has been extended through April.

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West Lake Hills moves forward on purchase of LCRA wastewater system

On March 28, West Lake Hills City Council gave Mayor Dave Claunch the authority to submit an offer to the Lower Colorado River Authority of about $16 million to purchase its wastewater system.

The LCRA has been divesting many of its wastewater systems in western Travis County. It signed an agreement with West Travis County Public Utility Agency on March 19 and may sell the Rollingwood wastewater system to Rollingwood, dependent on a successful election to approve issuing bonds for the purchase.

While Rollingwood is holding an election to issue bonds, Claunch said this is not a viable option for West Lake Hills, since only one-third of the city's residents are on the wastewater system.

"It wouldn't be fair for the other residents' property taxes to up for these people," he said.

West Lake Hills is looking into dipping into its reserves of $7.2 million as part of the sale. In that scenario, the city would use $2 million from its general fund with the intention of saving about $3.3 million by not having to borrow that amount from a bank.

"It's the same idea as, 'Why take out a bigger loan on a house when you've got money in the bank to go towards a home?'" Claunch said.

The city made its first purchase offer with LCRA on June 25, 2009. The reasoning for purchasing now, Claunch said, is that there is the possibility of LCRA selling the system to Corix Infrastructure Inc., a Canadian company that builds and manages utility infrastructures in North America.

"[Buying the system] is not going to result in lower water bill rates today or tomorrow, but it could further down the road," Claunch said.

Only one resident spoke on the matter.

"I'm not categorically opposed to making an offer, but I think $16 million is too much," resident Jane Noble said. "The only reason I've been given for this amount is that this is the amount the LCRA is asking for."

West Lake Hills is expecting LCRA to make decision on its offer at the LCRA board meeting April 18. The city has spent $160,000 since January 2011 on the wastewater system issue.