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House approves controversial change to ‘sanctuary cities’ bill

678-home subdivision to bring traffic signal to Hamilton Pool Road


Provence development plans call for 1,600 lots, but water service hasn’t been secured for nearly 1,000.

In future phases, Provence could include an elementary school on 12 to 15 acres.

A 678-home development will begin construction in June, and it is expected to bring a new traffic signal and possibly an elementary school to the winding, narrow thoroughfare of Hamilton Pool Road.

The first phase of Provence — a development planned on the 910-acre Hatchett Tract with two entrances on Hamilton Pool Road — received approval from the Travis County Commissioners Court this month and had previously secured water service from the West Travis County Public Utility Agency. The first 678 lots will be constructed on roughly 460 acres of land.

Opponents to dense residential development along the two-lane road garnered one victory March 16 when the agency denied the developer’s request for enough water to serve close to 1,000 additional homes, plus commercial buildings along the road and an amenity center. Masonwood LLC developer Jim Meredith said he is exploring other options for water to serve the additional units. Plans call for 1,637 lots total in Provence. Meredith said he’s considering coming down to perhaps 1,400 lots, depending on market demands.

Neighbors have been objecting to the development since 2013, when the plan debuted with 1,800 tightly packed units. Concerns voiced have included pollution of Little Barton Creek, which runs through the property, and a strain on water capacity. But the biggest complaint has been increased traffic on Hamilton Pool Road, a snaky street with one lane of traffic traveling each direction and narrow shoulders. In November 2013, the Bee Cave City Council adopted a resolution opposing the development.

The recent approval of the first 678 lots by Travis County was the final hurdle for phase 1 of Provence to break ground.

“We have very few things that we can deny a plat over,” Travis County Precinct 3 Commissioner Gerald Daugherty said. “We don’t have any kind of zoning authority. The one thing we do have is the ordinance capabilities of making sure that the plat is going to comply with some of the rules that we can enforce, (including) the availability of water, the setback … (and) dual access entrances.”

Meredith said the county had also given the green light years ago to an eventual total of 1,637 lots on the tract, and that staff at the water utility had indicated the water for the additional 959 homes was available. The denial at the March 16 agency meeting “blindsided” the developers, Meredith said.

The full buildout of Provence might include an elementary school, which Meredith said he’s working on with the Lake Travis school district.

“This is a big project,” Meredith said. “It’s a 10- or 15-year deal.”

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