Save Our Spicewood Community Meeting 4/23/2017

 President Michael Moore welcomed the audience at 6:05 pm.

Board Members Present:
Michael Moore
Orion Weldon, 832-693-4445
Matt McCabe, 512-796-8463,
Marlowe Macintyre, Secretary, 512 799-0104,

Others Present
Mary Moore, 805-889-9956,
Tina Weldon, 609-815-6410,
Bob Johnson, Member, 512-925-7001,
Kathy Crawford, 512-496-3316,
Jo Richmond,  512-627-9451,
Byron Zinn, Commissioner and President, Burnet County ESD 9
Thomas Ranch Representatives Keith Young and Robert Delesandro


  1. Michael Moore introduced the organization, and recapped what we have been doing and asked for help.  “What we really need is we need your vote.”

  2. Michael introduced each member of the organization.

  3. Matt McCabe, Safety Committee, introduced Byron Zinn.

  4. Byron Zinn, Commissioner and President, Burnet County ESD 9, spoke about the new system for 911 calls. Byron said that they are trying to make the 911 system work smoothly with no areas that are not covered easily -- in other words, there will be an area on either side of the Travis/Burnet county lines that will be a dual area -- that means that both counties will be able to handle those calls, so that whichever county answers the 911 call first, will handle that call.

Byron mentioned that all of the commissioners are volunteer.  The commissioners have decided that they are working on 3 key areas: 1) How fast are we getting there?  2) How well equipped will we be for emergencies; and 3) How well trained are we for any emergencies?

With the new EMS station -- located next to the Spicewood Elementary School -- the emergency responders will be able to handle situations such as heart attacks with providing medications.  The building could be up and ready for operations by October 2017 or till the end of the year.  (ESD 9 will own the building and the property.  EMS will contract through the county.)

Matt McCabe asked if the new EMS will be able cover Blanco County -- and Byron says that the answer is YES!  Byron says that the new Spicewood EMS will, also, be able to cover east of the Pedernales.  Byron stated that EMS/ESD 9 will NOT cover anything about police department.  Currently the ambulance service is coming from Marble Falls.

Audience Question: Where does the sales tax revenue go for the corridor along HWY 71 in Spicewood?  Byron responded: We are collecting a 2 cent sales tax that will go to fund the EMS station.  However, the sales tax does not completely fund the station; the revenue for the first year is around $200,000.  Operating costs should run about $500,000 per year; so, Burnet county is negotiating with our EMS for funding.

5) We held up the various emergency contact posters, and it turns out to be a really complicated situation.  It turns out that some of our contact numbers are only office.  It became really clear that the emergency phone contact information is difficult because there are so many ways that the greater Spicewood area is broken up into.  However, Byron Zinn gave us all hope that the 911 issue will be taken care of in the near future.

  1. Orion Weldon spoke about the Dark Skies Initiative.  Orion said that we want to have a “friendly approach” to heavy industry and new development as to how to preserve the night sky.

4 Questions to think about for Dark Skies:

  1. Do you need all of those new lights?

  2. If you need that light, can it be on a motion detector -- does it have to be on all night?  Studies have shown that if a light is on all the time, it actually aids burglary.  Therefore, lighting all night does not deter crime; whereas a motion detector can help startle.

  3. Try to buy an LED that is less that 3000 Kelvin (this is the warm tone LED lighting).

  4. Can you do Fully Shielded Lighting?  Fully Shielded Lighting creates a cone that is less dangerous for drivers.

6)Orion spoke about HWY 71 on Linda Wall’s behalf.  (Linda is the real expert at this point, but Linda did fill Orion in on her information.)  Orion said that Kathy Kratz, 512 756-2316, is the TXDot engineer for Burnet County.  Kathy said that in 2 or 3 years, the HWY 71 plans on repaving -- at that time, restriping can be done then.  Kathy says that there are different ways we can restripe the lines.  In Travis County, Victor Vargas, 512 282-2113, is the South Travis Engineer for TXDot.  There are NO PLANS verbalized by CAMPO or by Kratz & Vargas, to extend a center lane for HWY 71 in the future.  Matt McCabe clarified that the proposed restriping is one lane going east, one lane going west, and a center turn lane.  An audience member said that they are planing on restriping from Pedernales Bridge to Fall Creek -- they will kill one of the westbound lanes in order to get a center lane (that was from Victor Vargas & Gerald Daurety).

  1. Matt McCabe said that we have created several internet links for search engines.  “If there is any information that you would like to have considered, please let us know.  Contact us through our website.”

  2. Michael asked our audience if there is any way that people want to help, we would really appreciate your help.

  3. Michael presented that “If you don’t have water, you die.”  Michael told the audience that he is a water lawyer.  Water is a big issue.  Knowing where water comes from, knowing where it is going, and knowing where are the septic is going.  What can the earth sustain?  What can the community sustain?  

  4. Michael asked if the audience has any questions about SOS.

Question:  Is there anyone who can come and educate the   community on rainwater collection?Michael responded that we are working on getting together with experts.

Question:  What is the location of the Christopher Ranch Development?  Answer: on HWY 71, almost opposite of Lauren Concrete.  Website might be  There will be one entrance on HWY 71 and one entrance onto 404 in the back of that development.

  1. Keith Young and Robert Delesandro spoke about the progress in securing permits from appropriate departments.

  2. Question: where will the waste water go?  Answer: on the golf course.

  3. Questions for Thomas Ranch development:  

  4. What are you going to do about water retention ponds?

  5. How will the power requirements be meant for Thomas Ranch?  Answer: we haven’t even thought of that yet.  Question: will you be willing to provide underground power lines?  

Are you going to allow solar panels?  Answer: under state law, you can’t prohibit solar panels anymore.

  1. What are you going to do about rainwater collection?  Will Thomas Ranch allow rainwater collection in a usable manner, or just allow 55 gal barrels for homeowners?  Answer: This is a cluster development with smaller lots: 50, 60, 75 foot lots.  We have not talked about it as a project.  Matt McCabe reported that the new HEB in Lakeway already has rainwater collection, solar panels on the roof, etc.  Answer: for the rainwater collection, the best way might be on the commercial properties.

  2. Question: what control will the developers have?  Answer: we will develop builder guidelines to address these questions. Answer: Mr. Thomas wants this to be a master planned community.  Question: would you be willing to invite the community into planning this master community.  Answer: I can’t make that decision, but I will bring it back for discussion.

  3. Question: how is rainwater going to be dealt with in relationship to dumping into the little creeks that run through Thomas Ranch.  Answer: by state law, we can not increase the amount of water running off onto someone else’s property.   So, there will be detention/retention ponds.  As part of the Highland Lakes, there are incentive to capturing storm water -- there can be vegetative strips, wet ponds with plants, and over time that water moves on out and it is clean water.  We are required to provide that.

  4. Question: what is Thomas Ranch doing with TXDot to expand or add turn lanes to 71 to add turn lanes today -- before the accidents start to happen.  It is too late to make plans with TXDot after the development starts.  Answer: we are looking into putting in a decelerating and turn lane on 71.  I think Austin Golf Club comes up on one side, I think we might have some room there.  When the Marketplace comes in, the plan is to add a left turn lane along our frontage.

  5. Question:  (as per Orion)  What plans if any do you have for your builders to get their concrete and their asphalt?  We know that we might be the default place for where your asphalt is coming from?  Answer: we don’t know.  

Audience Questions:

Question: We have property that runs off of Thomas Ranch, and we get a lot of water running down that creek.  What we don’t want to see is Thomas Ranch damming up the creek so that there is no water running in those existing creeks.  

Question: My primary interest is in the Marketplace.  I understand that the Marketplace will come later in the development -- the residences will come first.  Answer: They are planning on starting off with a small grocery retail, but more with a local flavor.  Scott & White is hoping to have a clinic there.  The marketplace entrance will be up on 71.  Question: where will the Marketplace be?  Answer: it will be near Fall Creek Estates Drive.  Question:  Where do you anticipate the Scott & White clinic to be?  Answer: off 71, but we don’t know.

Question: (from an audience member who used to be a developer in another state)  These types of questions usually happen with a municipality; but where does those questions go here?  So how do you plan to develop to handle a 100 year storm?  Answer: that is exactly what we do.  This is the first step.  We don’t have a land plan yet, it is just analysis.  We formalize the land plan over the next 6 months.  We know where the water goes over the 10, 25, 100 year storms.  We then have to run analysis, and in some areas you can do it in one big pump; but we can’t really formalize that -- but when we submit it to the county and LCRA, that plan goes to it.  Question: Spicewood is not regulated, and it is the good will of the developers. Answer: there is no city out here.  There are multiple districts that we have to answer to.  Question:  (by Michael)  we want you (the developers) to put in those restrictions that will help us.  Questions: will anyone in the development actually live here in development. Answer:  no real answer provided.

Question:  the road is very twisty; can you re-route Pale Face Ranch Road to make it safer?  Answer:  we own the portion by the zip line, and we can take that out to fix that.  Question:  can that road be fixed prior to the big trucks in down to Haney Flat before that happens?  Answer: we have talked to Travis County.  We are funding the straightening out of the road wherever we can.  But, Travis County does not have a high priority on that road.

Question:  do you have firm contracts with LCRA with water.  Answer: we have contract for 1600 acre feet of water.  (Michael said, “That’s a lie.  An acre foot covers one home.  That is not enough water.”) For some of the open space, we will be using the effluent.  That will cut down a little on the water use.

Question:  it looks like most of the development will effect before Haney Flat Road.  When do you propose starting to put stuff in?  Answer: Pale Face Ranch Road and Haney Flat Road.    We will be creating a new intersection.  There will be a Market in that area.  Question: what is your time frame for breaking ground?  Answer: we don’t know yet.  Going through Travis County takes year.  As best, a 4 years process before you break ground.

Bob Johnson brought up the point that Save Our Spicewood is now a genuine non-profit; and become members of donate.

The meeting broke up at 7:59 pm.  The Thomas Ranch developers had a line of questioners.

Marlowe Macintyre, Secretary