Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition | March 2022

SOUTHWEST AUSTIN DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION

VOLUME 14, ISSUE 12  MARCH 24APRIL 20, 2022

ONLINE AT

Boil-water notices pile up, prompt reviews

February 2022 Cause: human error at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant Duration: four days Cause: extreme rainfall drained into the Colorado River system Duration: seven days February 2021 Cause: low distribution pressure due to Winter Storm Uri Duration: seven days All of Austin Water’s customers have been ordered to boil their water before consumption three times in the past four years. October 2018 SOURCES: AUSTIN WATER, TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

IMPACTS

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TODO LIST

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Survey supports Austin ISD lifting maskmandate

Human error at the UllrichWater Treatment Plant cited as cause for the Feb. 5 boil-water notice.

COURTESY AUSTIN WATER

Concerns over the possible con- tamination of Austin’s drinking water supply Feb. 5 prompted the third city- wide boil-water notice in less than four BY CLAIRE SHOOP & BEN THOMPSON

years and brought an ongoing shakeup and intense scrutiny to civic utility Austin Water. After enduring quality notices from other causes in 2018 and 2021,

community members and city ocials are now seeking answers on how the 11th-largest U.S. city repeatedly failed to reliably provide clean water to its

EDUCATION

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Dripping Springs ocials try to pause ‘outrageous’ growth

The city of Dripping Springs has seen massive growth in the last two years, including a spike in home builds. BUILDING THE BOOM

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BY MAGGIE QUINLAN & DARCY SPRAGUE

BUSINESS FEATURE

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together a long-term plan for the city. The move was a legal maneuver to buy time, but the city has yet to shore up any concrete plans to address the growth. On Feb. 15, the morato- rium, originally enacted in

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Dripping Springs remains under a development mor- atorium—issued over a lack of wastewater capacity and a need for an overhaul of the comprehensive land-use plan—as ocials attempt to slow growth enough to piece

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SOURCE: CITY OF DRIPPING SPRINGSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 2019 2018 2020 2021 2017 2016

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DINING FEATURE

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Curious what is selling in your neighborhood? Scan me *All prices shown are list price

ACTIVE

ACTIVE

ACTIVE

PENDING

realtyaustin.com/p/8603259

realtyaustin.com/p/7977987

realtyaustin.com/p/8355432

realtyaustin.com/p/7229564

$815,000

$1,200,000

$1,750,000

$995,000

4 bds

3.5 ba 3,028 sq ft

4 bds

2.5 ba 2,498 sq ft

4 bds

3.5 ba 4,309 sq ft

3 bds

2.5 ba 2,473 sq ft

653 Hazy Hills Loop, Dripping Springs, TX 78620 Stefan Benteler | 512-487-9993

4182 Travis Country Cir, Austin, TX 78735 Liz Warren | 512-212-7872

6708 Midwood Pkwy, Austin, TX 78736 Cheri Martz | 512-716-9178

5701 Sunset Rdg, Austin, TX 78735 Rebecca Gindele | 512-587-3020

PENDING

PENDING

PENDING

PENDING

realtyaustin.com/p/8036012

realtyaustin.com/p/3283282

realtyaustin.com/p/4641338

realtyaustin.com/p/3643471

$1,000,000

$1,100,000

$1,500,000

$1,700,000

4 bds

3 ba

3,214 sq ft

3 bds

3 ba

2,904 sq ft

5 bds

4 ba

3,819 sq ft

5 bds

3.5 ba 3,300 sq ft

1338 Bearkat Canyon Dr, Dripping Springs, TX 78620 Sari Pearce | 512-516-1972

230 S Oak Forest Dr, Dripping Springs, TX 78620 Hume Rost Group | 512-820-5778

740 Jacksdaw Dr, Austin, TX 78737 JC Adams | 512-751-9667

12712 Mundomar Dr, Austin, TX 78739 Charles Runnels | 512-914-0183

PENDING

PENDING

SOLD OVER ASKING

SOLD OVER ASKING

realtyaustin.com/p/9311207

realtyaustin.com/p/2600648

realtyaustin.com/p/5151589

realtyaustin.com/p/8230359

$1,950,000

$3,495,000

$900,000

$975,000

5 bds

3 ba

4,068 sq ft

4 bds

4.5 ba 5,373 sq ft

4 bds

2.5 ba 2,432 sq ft

4 bds

3.5 ba 3,589 sq ft

4801 Eagle Feather Dr, Austin, TX 78735 Jennifer Berbas | 512-655-3830

3710 Barton Creek Blvd, Austin, TX 78735 Shannon Owen | 512-825-0707

1018 Windmill Rd, Dripping Springs, TX 78620 Amy Paczosa | 512-743-3667

9505 Argyle Dr, Austin, TX 78749 KimWilkin | 512-632-3992

If you’re looking to buy, now is the time to do it before interest rates rise. But what exactly is an interest rate? Sometimes the terminology of homeownership can be overwhelming at first. We’re here to help you make sense of it all so you can begin your home search with confidence. Scan to learn more! Interest Rates are Rising

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MARCH 2022

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMDEEDA: At Community Impact Newspaper, we love lauding our local businesses, so if there is a restaurant your family has been going to for years or a shop in your neighborhood you think more people should know about, then we want to hear from you. To nominate a local business for us to feature, email swanews@communityimpact.com. Deeda Lovett, GENERALMANAGER dlovett@communityimpact.com

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FROM DARCY: Growing up in a rural town, boil-water notices were common and not overly impactful. After three city-wide boil-water notices in Austin, I realized how much more water issues aect everyday life when an entire large city is impacted. This month, our front-page story breaks down what lead to the latest boil-water notice. Darcy Sprague, EDITOR dsprague@communityimpact.com

Our purpose is to be a light for our readers, customers, partners and each other.

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MARCH 2022

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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Tejas Birria

COURTESY TEJAS BIRRIA

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February. The first floor is leased to Kim- ley-Horn, one of the nation’s premier plan- ning, design and engineering consultants. The second floor is leased to software company Tricentis. The 40,000-square-

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foot third floor is available for lease. www.uplandscorporatecenter.com 4 Blo Blow Dry Bar opened in Circle C at 5700 Slaughter Lane, Ste. 230, Austin, on Feb. 18. The bar offers five signature hairstyling options, a variety of hair treatments, makeup looks and a la carte products. 737-212-0523. www.blomedry.com/blo-circle-c .

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5 Buda taco truck Tejas Birria opened a second location at 10701 Menchaca Road, Austin, in February. The menu features a variety of birria de res— stewed beef or lamb—tacos, quesadillas and birria ramen. The business also 6 Milan Laser Hair Removal will open a second location in the Austin area at 4211 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin on March 29. Milan is the largest laser hair removal company in the country, with over 25 locations in Texas. The company offers an Unlimited Package, which provides unlimited laser hair removal treatments for life at no additional cost. 737-787- 7177. www.milanlaseraustin.com COMING SOON 7 Knockout Wear , a Western and lifestyle wear store, is opening a location at Barton Creek Square Mall in Austin this April. The mall is located at 2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin. The Odes- sa-based company offers brands such as offers birria by the pound. www.tejas-birria.square.site

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TM; © 2022 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SOUTHWEST AUSTIN NOWOPEN 1 Vibe Optometry opened in De- cember at 5601 Brodie Lane, Ste. 530, Sunset Valley. The eye care center offers services, including eye exams, contact lens exams, treatment of eye conditions and diseases, co-management of Lasik

surgeries and more. Owner Dr. Sarah Blackwelder is a licensed therapeutic optometrist with a focus in dry eye and ocular disease. The practice also offers a large selection of contact lenses and designer glasses frames. 512-358-8200. www.vibeoptometry.com 2 Total Men’s Primary Care opened its 20th Austin-area location at 4211 S. La- mar Blvd., Ste. A26, Austin, in February.

The clinic is a one-stop shop for men’s health needs, offering treatment for con- ditions including erectile dysfunction and low testosterone. Most major insurance plans are accepted. 512-759-8385. www.totalmens.com 3 Uplands Corporate Center Phase II , a 124,405-square-foot office building located on 48 acres at 5301 Southwest Parkway, Austin, opened for business in

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COMPILED BY GLORIE MARTINEZ

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Knockout Wear

Bird’s Barbershop

COURTESY KNOCKOUT WEAR

COURTESY BIRD’S BARBERSHOP

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Stony's Pizza opened its first brick and mortar location in Oak Hill.

COURTESY STONY'S PIZZA

FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN Fifteen years after opening its rst food truck, Stony’s Pizza opened its rst brick-and-mortar location in March at 9521 Hwy. 290, Austin. Stony’s serves authentic New York-style pizza as well as gyros and pasta dishes. The business launched a soft opening in March, oering a limited menu of pizza, calzones, sandwiches and salads. Owner Tony Cohn aims to have a grand opening with a full menu by the end of March. uted over 64 million pounds of food, according to a press release. The food bank is located at 6500 Metropolis Drive, Austin. 512-282-2111. www.centraltexasfoodbank.org 13 Good Times Austin , a traveling 1964 ice cream truck, will mark 10 years in business April 3. The truck offers a variety of frozen treats to customers, from bomb pops to ice cream sandwich- es. Good Times Austin is home based in Southwest Austin, but the truck can be booked for private events throughout the Austin area. 512-496-0712. www.goodtimesaustin.com 14 Eurasia Sushi Bar & Seafood in Oak

9521 Hwy. 290, Austin 512-599-4333 www.stonys.pizza

Central Texas Food Bank

Good Times Austin

COURTESY CENTRAL TEXAS FOOD BANK

COURTESY GOOD TIMES AUSTIN

Oakley, Ray-Ban, Ariat, G-Shock, Rock Revival, American Fighter, Hurley, Under Armour and more. www.kowear.com 8 Austin-based salon chain Birds Barbershop will open a new location in the second half of 2022 in Southcross Station at 3601 W. William Cannon Drive, Austin. Birds Barbershop celebrated 15 years in business in 2021 and has grown to nine Austin locations since friends Jayson Rapaport and Michael Portman opened the first store on South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, in May 2006. www.birdsbarbershop.com 9 Casual apparel retailer Rue 21 will open a new location this spring in Barton Creek Square Mall, located at 2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin. The new store will be located on the lower level of the mall. The store will offer options for men, women and plus-size individu- als, and it sells a variety of accessories, including jewelry, bags, sunglasses, belts and more. www.rue21.com/store 10 Sola Salon Studios will open a new location this summer at Barton Creek

Square Mall, 2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin. The business provides beauty professionals with fully equipped salon studios and tools to launch their own businesses. The salon will be located next to Nordstrom on the upper level. www.solasalonstudios.com RELOCATIONS 11 Wham Bam Bagels relocated to 415 E. St. Elmo Road, Austin, in January after three years at its former location at 4329 S. Congress Ave., Austin. The food truck offers bagels, breakfast sandwiches and coffee drinks and opens at 7 a.m. every day until products sell out. 512-351-6467. www.whambamatx.com ANNIVERSARIES 12 The Central Texas Food Bank celebrated its 40th anniversary March 3. The nonprofit was originally called the Capital Area Food Bank. It opened in 1982 and was the second food bank in Texas. Last year, the food bank distrib-

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Hill Plaza celebrated its five-year anni- versary in March. The restaurant serves fresh European-inspired sushi, hand rolls, seafood, ramen and more. Eurasia also offers a selection of cocktails, beer and sake. The business is located at 7101 W. Hwy. 71, Ste. C13, Austin. 512-382-0968. www.eurasiasushiaustin.com 15 Chuy’s is celebrating its 40th year in Austin in April. The Tex-Mex restau- rant chain has several locations through- out Austin including a south location at 4301 W. William Cannon Drive, Austin. The chain began in Austin in 1982 on Barton Springs Road. 512-899-2489. www.chuys.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon

COMPILED BY GLORIE MARTINEZ

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Real Life Church

Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries & Shakes

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RENDERING COURTESY TC4 & CO

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ANNIVERSARIES 6 Primrose School of Dripping Springs , a private school serving chil- dren from infancy to kindergarten, cele- brated its five-year anniversary in March. School is located at 13832 Sawyer Ranch Road, Dripping Springs. 512-751-1500. www.primroseschools.com RENOVATIONS 7 Crossfit 737 is constructing a second building at its Dripping Springs location at 12909 Nutty Brown Road. In addition to Crossfit programs for kids and adults, the gym offers programs in strength and conditioning, Olympic lifting and yoga for athletes. The owners expects to com- plete the second building by late July. 512-906-9600. www.crossfit737.com

locations and one food truck. The new establishment at 165 Hargraves Drive, Austin, will be the company’s fifth brick- and-mortar location in the Austin area. www.mightyfineburgers.com RELOCATIONS 5 The Dripping Springs Farmers Market is moving from its old location at Veterans Memorial Park on March 23. The market will now be located at The Pound House Farmstead, located adjacent to Founders Memorial Park off Founders Park Road. The new location, 419-B Founders Park Road, Dripping Springs, will be accessible via RR 12 or Rob Shelton Boulevard off Hwy. 290. The market will be open every Wednes- day from 3-6 p.m. 512-750-5942. www.cityofdrippingsprings.com

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DRIPPING SPRINGS NOWOPEN

COMING SOON 3 Massage Heights Body & Face is coming to The Shops at Ledgestone at 12680 W. Hwy. 290, Ste. 140, Austin, in May. Franchisees Joe Kelly and Patrick Kinsella are branching out from their current Massage Heights Retreat based in San Antonio. The business offers a va- riety of therapeutic massages and facials performed by licensed professionals. www.massageheights.com 4 Austin-based Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries & Shakes will open a location at the Belterra Village Shopping Center between late 2022 and early 2023. Established in 2007, Mighty Fine has grown to four brick-and-mortar

1 Craft brewery Ghost Note Brewing opened in January. The menu offers a selection of 10 craft beers, wine and ci- der. Ghost Note also features live music. It is located at 23663 RR 12, Dripping Springs, near Ghost Note Lane. 512-553- 2870. www.ghostnotebrewing.com 2 Real Life Church opened a new kids building at 13701 FM 1826, Austin. Real Life, a multicampus ministry with loca- tions in Austin and Corpus Christi, was founded in South Austin nine years ago. The church opened in February. 512-284-7652. www.myreallife.org

3D MAMMOGRAPHY IN 30 MINUTES At ARA, we believe that taking care of your health should be convenient, quick, and absolutely accurate. That’s why we offer 3D mammography in 13 of our locations. We’ll get you in and out in a flash. Then, one of our more than 115 expert radiologists will evaluate the images and issue a detailed report so you can get a clear picture of your health. What are you waiting for?

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MARCH 2022

TO-DO LIST

March & April events

APRIL 03

FLY YOUR KITE ZILKER METROPOLITAN PARK

APRIL 07-24

SAY HAKUNAMATATA BASS CONCERT HALL

ABC Kite Fest, one of Austin’s longest-running traditions, will return to the city April 3 for its 93rd year. There were be events for all ages. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Zilker Metropolitan Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin. 512-837-9500. www.abckitefest.org (Courtesy ABC Kite Fest)

Broadway in Austin will put on a stage adaptation of the 1994 Disney film “The Lion King.” The story follows a lion cub named Sima on his path to become king. Times vary. $35 and up. Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive, Austin. 512-471-1444.

31 FIND YOUR CAREER Austin Public Library is hosting its 9th Annual Youth Career Fest where students ages 13-18 will get to explore different career fields, network, attend workshops and listen to keynote speakers. 9 a.m.-noon. Free. Central Library, 710 W. Cesar Chavez

MARCH 30 HEAR THE BLUES Local musician Lewis Christian will play a free concert at Still Austin Whiskey Co. Christian is a blues and rock singer and guitar player. 7 p.m. Free. Still Austin Whiskey Co., 440 E. St. Elmo Road,

APRIL 01 LISTEN TOA LOCAL BAND The Wyatt Weaver band will perform at Armadillo Den. The band is from Dripping Springs and made up of Wyatt Weaver, Connor Swanson, Nick Gray, and Lawrence Gray. 8 p.m. $xx. Armadillo Den, 10106 Menchaca Road, Austin.

512-993-2998. www. armadillodenaustin.com 02 WATCHA GAME The Harlem Globetrotters will perform at the Frank Erwin Center in a family-friendly exhibition game. The team was founded in 1927 and combines athleticism, theater and comedy. 7 p.m. $25 and up. Frank Erwin Center, 1701 Red

St., Austin. 512-974-7400. www.library.austintexas.gov

Austin. 512-276-2700. www.stillaustin.com

THURSDAY, FRIDAY & SATURDAY MARCH 31 - APRIL 2

*Dollar Sale runs Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 3/31/22-4/2/22. Valid on wine and spirits 750ml or larger. Sale items can be shopped in-store ONLY at all Twin Liquors and Sigel’s locations. Selection varies by store. Items and prices subject to change without notice. No further discount on Sale Items, Final Few, or Closeouts. No rain checks. Some exclusions apply. Please drink responsibly.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY DARCY SPRAGUE

22 THROUGH 24

For Laughs Austin—a collaboration between the festival formerly known as Moontower Comedy Festival and comedy event organizers Just For Laughs—will return to Austin. The event will take place in the Paramount Theatre and nine other venues. Comedians Nicole Byer, Marc Maron and dozens of others will perform. Times, costs and locations vary. www.austintheatre.org/ moontower-comedy 16 GRAB A CRAFT BEER At the Art & Beer Night Market, attendees will be able to listen to music from 40 local artists while enjoying food and craft beers from The Brewtorium. This will be an indoor and outdoor event featuring local Austin businesses. Noon-8 p.m. Free. The Brewtorium, 6015 Dillard Circle, Ste. A, Austin. Eventbrite: Art & Beer Night Market Austin 20 PRACTICE YOUR PUTT The American Mini Golf Alliance will host its first international mini golf tournament in Dripping Springs. The event will have an $18,000 purse. Times vary. $150 to register. Dreamland, 2770 Hwy. 290, Dripping Springs. www.dreamland.us/live/

River St., Austin. 512-471-7744. www.uterwincenter.com 06 THROUGHMAY 01 TAKE INA PERFORMANCE The Zach Theatre will put its spin on “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” as part of its 2022 lineup. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a 1975 musical comedy and horror show. Audience members must be 14 years old and up. Times vary. $25-$95. Zach Theatre 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin. 512-476-0541. www.zachtheatre.org 08 GET SPOOKY Dame Dynamite Presents is hosting Horrorscopes, an event where participants of all ages can shop at a witch’s market, watch spooky rituals and dark spells and get the chance to win money in the Zodiac Costume Contest. 8 p.m-midnight. $25-$30. The Far Out Lounge and Stage, 8504 S. Congress Ave., Austin. 512-351-9909. www. thefaroutaustin.com 08 THROUGH 10 WATCHMOTORCYCLE RACING Circuit of The Americas will host three days of motorcycle racing with some of the best riders in the world. This event will be the only North American stop of the racing series, the MotoGP Red

Bull Grand Prix. Times vary. $42 and up. Circuit of The Americas, 9201 Circuit of The Americas Blvd., Austin. 512-301- 6600. www.circuitoftheamericas.com 09 GONUTS FOR SQUIRREL FEST Pease Park Conservancy and H-E-B will present the Squirrel Fest at Kingsbury Commons at Pease Park. The event offers a day of activities, food and music for all ages. It will feature a marketplace by Frida Friday, Austin’s largest cultural market centering women of color creator; music by MeowNow Brass Band; STEM activities and more. The movie Zootopia will be shown on the Great Lawn after dark. 4-10 p.m. Free. 1100 Kingsbury St., Austin. www. peasepark.org/squirrel-fest 10 COMPETE AT THE CAPITOL 10K The Capitol 10K race will return. More than 23,000 people competed in the Statesman Capitol 10K race last year, making it the largest 10K race in Texas. The 45th annual event is organized by the Austin-American Statesman. 8 a.m. (race start). $45 (youth), $55 (adults). 305 S. Congress Ave., Austin. 512-445-3598. www.cap10k.com 13 THROUGH 24 HAVE A LAUGH The newly rebranded Moontower Just

EXPLORE AUSTIN’S

REGGAE SCENE At Austin’s Reggae Festival, there will be live performances by artists including The Expendables, Roots From the Clay, Julian Marley and more. 3-9 p.m. Attendees can buy single-day tickets or purchase a three-day wristband in advance for $50. Auditorium Shores, 900 W. Riverside Drive, Austin. www.austinreggaefest.com 22 THROUGH 24 CELEBRATE THE DRIP Drippings Springs Founder’s Day fest will bring thousands to the city’s historic downtown to celebrate its heritage. The annual event began in 1850. There will be a parade, carnival and other activities. Times vary. Free general admission. 511 Mercer St., Dripping Springs. www. cityofdrippingsprings.com/founders-day 29 THROUGH 30 SEE GEORGE STRAIT LIVE George Strait will perform at the “Strait from Moody Center” grand opening celebration presented by Bud Light. There will also be special appearances by Willie Nelson & Family and Randy Rogers Band. 7:30 p.m. $364 and up. Moody Center, 2001 Robert Dedman Drive, Austin. www.moodycenteratx.com/ event/george-strait

Find more or submit Southwest Austin or Dripping Springs events at communityimpact.com Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES $150million in transit projects set to start in 2022

ONGOING PROJECTS

HOME DEPOT BLVD.

VIOLET CROWN TRAIL

BY BEN THOMPSON

SOUTHAUSTINMOBILITY BOND PROJECTS Projects on four major South Austin roads will kick o in 2022, including adding or improving bike lanes and sidewalks as well as installing new crossing beacons.

The Austin Corridor Program Oce continues to make progress on the nearly $500 million in transportation upgrades it is overseeing as part of the city’s 2016 mobility bond. Around $150 million in safety and other mobility projects expected to get o the ground in 2022. This year’s planned work along nine segments of the city’s major arterials, such as William Cannon, Slaughter Lane, S. Lamar and Riverside Drive, stems from the $482 million dedicated to corridors out of the total $720 million 2016 bond. Money has already gone toward inter- section and trac signal updates, new sidewalks and bicycle lanes, and other pathways. The corridor oce said it remains on track to have all bond-backed projects completed or underway by 2024. “We have over 20 critical safety and mobility improvements that we’ve already completed as part of this program,” Corridor Program Oce Director Mike Trimble told members of City Council’s Mobility Committee on March 10. “We will also be moving several of our larger design-bid-build projects into bid and construction this year.” Trimble said several projects, including several focused on signals, bike and pedestrian improvements will go through the bid and construc- tion this year. The projects will total about $150 million worth of work. That work is about half of the Corridor Program Oce’s total plan. According to the corridor oce, work on Airport Boulevard north of 55th Street as well as on Burnet

MOPAC

N

Violet Crown North Construction began in mid-February on the northern section of Violet Crown Trail. The trail will stretch 1 mile from Home Depot Boulevard to MoPac, just north of William Cannon Drive. Timeline: Feb. 2022-Feb. 2023 Cost: $2.9 million Funding sources: 2012 bond, Austin mobility bonds, Capital Area Metro- politan Planning Organization grant

360

1

183

71

290

71

35

1826

R

45

N

SOURCE: AUSTIN CORRIDOR PROGRAM OFFICECOMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

between Koenig Lane and White Horse Trail will be the rst on tap in 2022. Trimble said awards for both projects will appear on council’s April 7 agenda for possible approval, along- side a contract for general signal, bike and pedestrian updates on targeted corridors. “It’s a real credit to the team working on these projects that we’re able to say we’ll be delivering these projects in accordance with our eight-year goal,” Trimble said in a statement. “But at the end of the day, the community and the outcomes are the driving force behind what we’re doing, and we’re committed to delivering these improvements as soon as possible.” The work, mainly using 2016 bond money, comes as the city also seeks to build up its mobility spending with

support from the federal infrastructure package passed in 2021. Transporta- tion sta told council they are seeking millions of dollars for additional projects throughout the city as that funding is doled out nationwide. Among the largest projects, the city is eyeing to move on with federal backing is the Southeast Austin Connector, an expansion of the long-awaited Bergstrom Spur urban trail that would connect South Austin to the airport area along an abandoned rail line. Sta said the original spur project proposal also now includes improved connections to the Country Club Creek Trail and South Pleasant Valley Drive. An application for a $20 million federal match on the project is heading to council next month.

N

Elroy Road A project to widen Elroy Road from a two-lane rural road to a ve-lane artery nished in March. The project also included construction of a bike lane and sidewalk in each direction. The road serves Del Valle schools and Circuit of The Americas. The project also addressed past ooding issues. Timeline: June 2020-March 2022

Estimated cost: $25.9 million Funding Source: 2017 bond

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MARCH 16. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT SWANEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MARCH 2022

AustinWater.org iRRiGATiON COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM 14

TRANSPORTATION Capital Metro driver shortage disrupts riders’ daily commute

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Capital Metro has experi- enced increased sta shortages, and riders have noticed inconsistencies in day-to-day bus routes. Capital Metro’s lack of drivers has led to a surge in delays, cancellations and long-term service changes. “I was supposed to be waiting for a bus right now, actually, and it never got here at the right time,” said Ruby Soto, a passenger at a bus stop on San Jacinto Boulevard. In September, Capital Metro published service changes citing a stang shortage made more persistent due to the pandemic. At that time it reduced the frequency of service and suspended routes to better accommodate active routes. “Currently, we are still about 50 operators short from our active ranks,” said Jenna Maxeld, a spokes- person for Capital Metro, through an email interview. With fewer bus operators, it is more dicult to nd coverage when a driver calls in sick. Julie Perez has been an extra board driver with Capital Metro for 25 years. Her role is to ll in for absent drivers, so she drives a new route every day. She has noticed an increased need for extra board drivers over the past two years, but she said it may not just be because of the pandemic. Pay wage disputes and access to equal benets were on the forefront of Capital Metro’s expanded contract with MV Transportation, which went into eect in January 2020. MV Transportation, a Dallas-based contracting service, has worked with Capital Metro since 2012. The extended contract from January 2020 includes overseeing all operations and maintenance services of the bus and transit system of Capital Metro. In hopes of attracting new bus operators, the public transit agency increased wages across the board and added a hiring bonus. New operators now start at $22 per hour and can receive up to $3,500 as a hiring bonus, according to Capital Metro’s job postings. BY JENNIFER CASTILLO, ANA GARZA & KRISTEN TIBBETTS

Perez said she has noticed many new trainees since the wage increase, and Maxeld said the incentives seem to be increasing interest in applicants. “Currently, we have a record number of operators in training, over 60, which means we will have more operators in the eld in a couple of months,” Maxeld said over email. On average, it takes two months for all hired bus operators to train for and receive a commercial driver’s license, according to Capital Metro’s hiring page. Even though Capital Metro is hiring more drivers, not all are actively working, causing a delay, Perez said. Riders are still experienc- ing disruptions to their commute. For all MetroBus routes in Decem- ber 2021, buses arrived on time 79% of the time. This is a decrease from before the pandemic in December 2019 when routes were on time almost 84% of the time, according to Capital Metro’s performance dashboard. Derek Webster does not own a car and uses the Route 10 bus. He relies on MetroAlerts, an email and text service that noties users of service changes. However, he said he notices inconsistencies in these alerts. “This time [the bus] was supposed to be here at 10:27 a.m., according to the Metro message,” he said. The bus did not arrive on time, and Webster waited an extra 15 minutes for the next arrival. “So that is not accurate,” he said. “They report on buses that simply don’t exist.” Not all riders share the same expe- rience as Webster. Willy Brown, who takes the Route 20 bus to the River- side neighborhood, said he believes many riders are just impatient. “Routes are running faster,” Brown said. “They want them to arrive [even] faster.” Capital Metro’s total ridership for January was over 1 million on the MetroBus. Ridership typically increases with tourism-driven events such as South by Southwest Confer- ence & Festivals, and Austin FC home games returned in February. For many regulars, they said the

Capital Metro has seen a shortage of drivers that has aected its ability to sta bus routes. (Jennifer Castillo/Community Impact Newspaper)

NOWARRIVING A shortage of Capital Metro bus drivers has aected the agency’s on-time bus performance since 2020.

100%

87.3%

95% 90% 75% 85% 80% 0

79.3%

2020 2021

SOURCE: CAPITAL METROCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

RIDING THEWAVE Ridership on Capital Metro services dropped in half at the start of the pandemic in spring 2020 but has slowly rebounded. The lowest point was in February 2021 when Winter Storm Uri caused statewide power outages.

3M

2.6 million

2.5M

1.9 million

2M

945,500

1.5M

1M

500K

2021

2020

2022

0

SOURCE: CAPITAL METROCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

constant changes have made it dicult to nd condence in Capital Metro services, and passengers want more improvements. Capital Metro said it continues to strive for equal and eective service for all riders with the sta it has. “On a daily basis, we spread our resources across routes to ensure no one route is adversely aected,”

Maxeld said via email. Jennifer Castillo, Ana Garza, Kris- ten Tibbetts are reporting fellows for a Community Impact Newspaper and University of Texas at Austin partner- ship with a focus on our growing and diverse neighborhoods. The project is supported by the school of journalism and media’s Dallas Morning News Innovation Endowment.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

NEWS BRIEFS

Stories from the web

Austin loses appeal over land development code rewrite lawsuit

BY BEN THOMPSON

aordability and increasing housing supply,” Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement. Austin spent nearly $120,000 on the land development code litigation so far, according to the city, while millions more were spent on the code revision process since 2012. Appeal denied In Texas, cities are required to notify residents when land near their property is under rezoning consideration. If at least 20% of noticed residents object, the possible zoning change must pass by a higher margin at the city level. The 19 property owners who challenged the city in court contended that the Austin leaders ignored that state rule during the process. Austin’s land code revision would have eec- tively changed the zoning categories of every prop- erty in the city. While public hearings were held throughout the process, Austin did not undergo the state-mandated individual notication process and argued that Texas zoning rules did not apply to its broad rewrite. The courts disagreed, holding that resident notices are required. A new land code would

PROTEST PROCESS

On March 17, the 14th Court of Appeals dealt another blow to Austin ocials’ yearslong push to revise the city’s land development code. The 1980s land code governs what can be built in Austin and where. Over the past decade, the city moved multiple versions of a code rewrite through often contentious and tense public forums. The latest code revision made it through two of the three City Council votes required to make the change ocial. However, a resident lawsuit halted the eort in March 2020 after a Travis County judge ruled the city skirted state law related to property owner rights to protest the rewrite. The city appealed that ruling, leading to the March decision. “What it really boils down to is, the citizens in Austin are going to be heard, and their voices are going to be heard, and the city is going to have to acknowledge those protests,” said Doug Becker, an attorney for the citizen appellees, in an interview with Community Impact Newspaper . The city has yet to decide on any further legal action related to its land use update. “Whatever the nal outcome in the courts, our city’s most pressing challenge is still housing

Texas law grants property owners notice and protest rights during proposed rezonings near their land. Austin contended its land code update was not subject to these rules. Step 1: A rezoning is proposed at the city level.

Step 2: Properties within 200 feet of the subject land are notied of a public hearing concerning the potential change. Step 3: If at least 20% of relevant property owners protest the rezoning, it must clear City Council by a three-fourths margin—in Austin, nine total votes.

SOURCE: STATE OF TEXASCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

have to pass council with at least a three-fourths majority—nine votes—if enough property owners protest the change. Moving forward, the city can either seek to appeal the new ruling or bring the land develop- ment code rewrite back to council.

Council OKs funding for SouthAustin aordable condo, apartment projects

BY BEN THOMPSON

aordable units along future light rail lines, where there is a higher risk of displacement,” Citrine owner Teresa Bowyer said in an email. “We viewed our development as an opportunity to ensure that aordable ownership opportunities would be in place prior to the arrival of the Orange Line.” A few miles to the west, Capital A Housing will build a new perma- nent supportive housing complex for the formerly homeless at 7331 Menchaca Road just outside the

listed at an aordable level. The project team from the Summertree and Citrine Developments said they selected the South Austin site given their view on the need for aordable options in the rapidly developing cor- ridor, and its place along the future Project Connect transit system line that will run down Congress Avenue. “Aordable housing is needed everywhere in Austin, but with the passage of Project Connect it is even more important to secure permanently

35

Plans for an aordable condo- minium project and apartment com- plex for people exiting homelessness are moving ahead in South Austin. City Council approved $4.98 mil- lion in loans to support both projects March 3 with funding from the city’s $250 million 2018 housing bond. At 7308 S. Congress Ave., Summer- tree Development plans to construct 74 one- and two-bedroom condos, half of which are expected to be

.

N

Southbridge Villas community. The new apartment complex will feature 45 eciency rental units. Summertree’s project is backed by a $460,000 loan from the city, while Capital A received $4.52 million.

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18

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Austin ISD

HIGHLIGHTS AUSTIN ISD The new Rosedale School campus held a grand opening ceremony March 7. The campus was funded through Austin ISD’s 2017 bond project to create a modernized facility for students with severe special needs. AISD originally opened Rosedale Elementary School in 1988 to serve students ages 3-22 who were medically fragile or needed intensive behavioral support. Prior to the recent opening of the new campus, the school was operated at 2117 W. 49th St., Austin. AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE Amazon is partnering with nine colleges in Texas, including Austin Community College, to fully fund tuition for hourly employees. The project is part of Amazon’s expanded career opportunities programs and oers 750,000 employees the chance to access education from 140 institutions nationwide. TEXAS The Texas Education Agency announced March 10 that it has formed a task force to examine hiring problems that many districts are facing. The Teacher Vacancy Task Force will bring stakeholders, such as superintendents, teachers and human resource oficers, together monthly to address stafing shortages. On March 15, the TEA announced it would add 24 teachers to the task force. Austin ISD Next meetings: March 28 and April 14 at 5:30 p.m. 4000 S. I-35, Austin www.austinisd.org Dripping Springs ISD Next meetings: April 18 at 6:30 p.m. and April 25 at 6 p.m. 510 W. Mercer St., Dripping Springs www.dsisdtx.us Meetings are being held virtually and in person. MEETINGSWE COVER

Data: SomeAustin students are disproportionately disciplined

DISPROPORTIONATELY DISCIPLINED Austin ISD trustees received an update on disciplinary data March 10. The district has a goal of eliminating disparities in disciplinary action by 2026.

BY GLORIE MARTINEZ

incidents dropped by 47% for Black students and 39% for special educa- tion students since 2018-19, the last pre-COVID-19 year when data was collected. The district is working to decrease these disparities to zero by August 2026. Campuses with disproportion- ate disciplinary action data will be required to create an action plan to foster equitable outcomes for Black and special education students. AISD’s Central Discipline Oce will work with the schools to provide indi- vidualized support on a campuswide and classroom-specic level. Superintendent Stephanie Eliz- alde emphasized the importance of moving away from a zero-tolerance policy toward disorderly conduct to

AUSTIN ISD Trustees reviewed data during the March 10 school board meeting showing that Black and special education students are dispro- portionately disciplined. The data shows that as of Febru- ary, Black students made up 19% of students who received disciplinary actions—deined as in-school or home school suspensions for full or partial school days, and discre- tionary removals to the district’s Alternative Learning Center—despite being 6.3% of AISD’s student popu- lation. Special education students were involved in 32% of disciplinary action incidents. They represent 13% of AISD students. The overall number of disciplinary

6.3%

13%

of AISD students have special needs

of AISD students are Black

19%

32%

of disciplinary actions were taken against Black students

of disciplinary actions were taken against special needs students

SOURCE: AUSTIN ISD COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

lower rates of disciplinary actions in the district. “I hear a lot about zero-tolerance philosophy,” Elizalde said. “I need everyone to remember that one of my students is somebody’s child.”

AISD removesmaskmandate AUSTIN ISD As of March 7, students in Austin ISD are no longer required to wear a mask as long as COVID-19 community spread remains low or moderate. Prevention guidance, which states students do not have to wear masks in areas of low or medium transmission for COVID-19. Travis County is low risk as of March 21. “We learned that masks work along with our BY DARCY SPRAGUE

GATHERING OPINIONS Prior to lifting the mask mandate, Austin ISD asked community members to weigh in. Of the more than 26,000 responses, 75% of individuals identied as parents.

50% lift mask mandate

45% maintain mandate

26,000 community members

The decision was made March 2 during a school board meeting. Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said the district would lift the mandate in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and

layered protocols,” Eliz- alde said. “These layered protocols eectively got us through delta and omicron, and for that, and our entire community, we are eternally grateful.”

5% unsure

SOURCE: AUSTIN ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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