Eggs cost a $1.00
Lakeway’s Population was 5600
Mark Zuckerberg was 13
22 Years later, if you are reading this, we sit firmly in 2019, eggs cost $3.65, we have over 15, 000 residents and Facebook has been going strong for 15 years. So much has changed in Lakeway since 1997. So much has stayed the same—for some.
What if I told you that some development in Lakeway was still ongoing under the ordinances and rules our City established in 1997? What if I told you that some development in Lakeway was required to abide by all current codes and ordinances? If I go to HEB today and buy eggs for $1.00 a dozen because I am grandfathered in on 1997 prices and yet you have to pay 2019 costs and shell out $3.65, how would that make you feel? What if there was so much more at stake like property values, water quality, and environmental impacts.
On December 19, 1997, the City and Lakeway Partners, LLC along with principles that would become the development we all know as “Rough Hollow Lakeway” entered into an agreement that was to be governed by the 1997 ordinances and codes that were on Lakeway’s books at the time. Additionally, they were provided the provision to be “grandfathered” over the next 10 years under these same codes. Now developers make deals with Cities all the time to protect their financial interest when developing the land, housing, and projects. It is just the way the world works, so it is not unexpected that you would find a generalized provision like this in most development deals. It is called partnership, yet in some partnerships, when you give an inch, they take a mile.
In this agreement was a provision to extend the grandfather period, one year at a time, for up to five years. Which means at most, the 1997 codes could govern, at maximum, 15 years which would put us in 2012. In a 2007, Amendment 6 was adopted as part of a modification to the original agreement, and it extended development under the 1997 ordinances to 2022.
As you are reading this, you might be saying, “why does this matter.” Let me show you why it matters. Citizens of Lakeway, as well as Citizens in Lakeway’s ETJ, deserve regulatory certainty when dealing with development. If one builder can follow the rules from 1997, yet another had to follow the new ordinances and codes in 2019, it does not take a rocket scientists to see that the builders who are operating under 2019 rules are at a financial disadvantage. Residents who are having land developed adjacent to them, have the right to be concerned that protections put in place since 1997 to protect the watershed, water quality, and the environment do not have to be followed due to this grandfathered provision.
Our City lacks transparency. This 1997 ordinance cannot be found on the City’s website, and yet we have builders using it to create homes in our city. Expecting current residents to understand which regulations apply to current developments is challenging if not impossible.
May 1, 2019, ZAPCO will vote on a final plat for property under these 1997 ordiances. I implore the members of ZAPCO to shelve this vote until the next set of Lakeway leaders can assess this situation and set Lakeway on path that works for all of Lakeway, not just some of it.