Posts Tagged ‘Oak Hill’

Barton Springs Relief

When I last passed by Barton Springs Pool, I also checked out Eliza Springs, the Researchers at Eliza Springscool amphitheater-type pool next to the playscape, to see if there were any alligators in it.  I don’t know if I really ever saw an alligator living there or if it’s just one of those thing I remember because I was told as a kid and believed it… but the sign at Eliza says that no alligators live there.  Much to my surprise, there was a lot of activity in the pool.  People were acting as much like alligators as they could, except instead of trying to eat the salamanders that live there, which are protected species, they were simply “researching” them. 

As you hopefully know, the water at Barton Springs and the adjacent springs comes from the highly porous Edwards Aquifer.  Anything that gets dumped over the ground – motor oil, fertilizer for grass, diazonon to kill ants – eventually makes its way into the aquifer and then to the Springs and some people’s drinking water.

You may have read my post earlier this week about Oak Hill’s neighborhood plan.  Well, what happens in Oak Hill and Southwest Austin affects the treasure that is the aquifer and Barton Springs.  And now, dear citizens, you have an opportunity to comment on the plans for that area, without leaving the comfort of your desk.  Nope, no all-night council meeting required (yet).  Just go to the city’s survey about the Oak Hill plan and fill it out. You know the friends of developers will.

Then, to reward yourself for your participation, go on down to Barton Springs this Saturday for Free Swim Day (according to an email newsletter from the Save Our Springs Alliance, whose web site seems to be hosed at the moment)!

Oak Hill whiners FLUMmoxed

So if you bother to move to the outskirts of Austin, you must be doing so to get a big house on a big lot on a quiet street, close to “good” schools, for much cheaper than Central Austin. If you do so, you have no right to complain that you can’t walk to the store.

Well, people in Oak Hill and Southwest Austin apparently want their cake and to eat it too. As much as I am an avid proponent of denser development and public transit, I find it disingenuous of the community leaders in that area to now start blaming the Save Our Springs ordinance for the fact that their neighborhoods aren’t (and may never be) more pedestrian friendly and dense.

Tomorrow night, the city’s planning staff will present the tentative Future Land Use Map (FLUM) and plan documents to stakeholders for one last discussion before the planning commission and city council vote on it. David Richardson, who lead the effort at the neighborhood level, complains to Community Impact that the SOS ordinance blocks any and every kind of good development because

landowners cannot develop or put impervious cover, which is anything from rooftops to parking lots, over more than 25 percent of an individual landowner’s property, in the area called the contributing zone.

Mr. Richardson complains that you can’t put in denser muliple-use development that would make walking and biking more appealing because of the “roadblocks” like this.

The SOS ordinance *should* be a roadblock. Its intent is to discourage development, which causes water pollution in the sensitive contributing zone and the more sensitive recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer. If you want to live in a densely developed area, move to Central Austin!

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