Red tape almost cleared as Junction Athletic Complex nears ground breaking a year-and-a-half behind schedule

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In August 2017, the owners and developers of Junction Athletic Complex, a 69-acre indoor-outdoor sports grounds just outside Austin proper’s southwest boundary, said the project was a month away from construction.

Now, more than a year-and-a-half later, the lot at 8921 W. Hwy. 290 has just completed its variance approvals from the city of Austin’s boards and commissions but still awaits final approval from the Texas Department of Transportation related to corridor improvement work in the area. Although a zoning and platting commission approval March 5 brought it closer to ground breaking, people close to the project have no timeline on when it will begin.

Connor Overby, a civil engineer with Texas Engineering Solution who is working on the project, said the final approval needs to come from TxDOT, which he said has been a slow process.

“We’ve been 98 percent of the way since November,” Overby said.

Jonathan Garner, a city environmental program coordinator working on the project, said the project’s delay was owed to difficulty in getting the site plan in compliance.

The project is located just outside Austin proper’s boundary in what is known as the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, a 2-mile wide perimeter of land that is semi-regulated by city of Austin development regulations, although not completely.

Although no estimates have been given on when the project could break ground, back when the project was expected to begin in September 2017, the estimated completion date given by the developer was one year.

The Junction Athletic Complex will take up 69 acres, with 250,000 square feet of impervious cover due to a parking garage and a facility that will house basketball and volleyball courts, a weight room, a locker room, a pro shop, a concession stand and a 50-meter pool. Outside, the project will offer 12 sand volleyball courts and four regulation-sized grass fields. There will also be a 2-mile walking trail around the property.

The project has been met with friction by some neighbors of the area, who express concern over the traffic, the noise and the capacity of the facility. Several aired their grievances at the March 5 zoning and platting commission meeting; however the commission, which marked the last step in city of Austin approvals, approved the variances requested by the developer 6-3.

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Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and USA Today. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
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