Proposed hotel causes rift in community

Proposed hotel causes rift

A room with a view, that's what one local hotel developer is hoping to bring to Northwest Austin with a new boutique hotel near the Arboretum.

About three weeks ago an application to build "The Spicewood" was submitted. The 11-story hotel would sit off Spicewood Springs Drive near 360. Some homeowners who live nearby aren't happy about this, some retailers in the area are.

Homeowner Sharon George lives within walking distance of the proposed hotel site.

"I was outraged because this is a beautiful part of Austin," George said. "It's a very unique property."

If approved, the hotel would sit on just over 11 acres of land adjacent to Bull Creek within Austin's two-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction where George said developers do not have to deal with as many city regulations.

"While we have to adhere to city zoning standards and the land development code and building code, properties and developments in the ETJ don't," George said.

Rick Brimer, the President of the Bull Creek Foundation, is concerned about the creek.

"There's a number of public parks along the area that people use and we want to make sure that that area is preserved for the use of the public and they can enjoy it without having to worry about the quality of the water," Brimer said.

In the hotel's site plan, an engineer behind the build said there will be a partial sedimentation and filtration pond to remove pollutants from runoff before it enters the water and a detention pond for flood control. Still, Brimer and George have other concerns.

"Everybody is concerned about traffic," George said. "Especially when it floods and low water crossing are blocked, funneling traffic through the neighborhood. A hotel with 120 rooms and all their staff is going to contribute to that traffic issue."

Don Kermath said he's hoping the traffic will stop at his shop, Emprizo, inside the nearby Arboretum shopping center.

"I'm all for any of those kinds of developments," Kermath said. "Anything that brings more people into the area is going to be good for our store."

In an area that has been overshadowed by the Domain, Kermath said a hotel could really help things.

The city has until December 7 to get back to the hotel's developer, David Kahn, with the first report on the application.

Tonight, Brimer said he met with Kahn and released a statement saying, "While Mr. Kahn is within his rights to develop the property as proposed, he acknowledged that the community might do what it can to oppose, delay, or stop the development. No agreements or commitments were made by Mr. Kahn or ourselves with the exception of trying to work together towards a mutually agreeable solution."

(© 2016 KVUE)


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